5 Essential Lean Six Sigma Tools to Boost Your Process

If you want to rule the competition in today’s marketplace, the Lean six Sigma methodology is a vital asset for you. DMAIC is one of the core modus operandi of the Lean Six Sigma Strategy. The acronym stands for: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. In this strategy, one must define the problem and the objective, measure the key points of the current process, analyze factors to determine the cause and effect relationships, work towards the optimization of the process and control the process to avoid any deviation from the target goal. 

Process improvement

For any method to be on it’s track and work in the best way possible, the process involved in it should be well organized. Process boosting and improvement plays a major role in various business strategies. Analyzing and enhancing the business process gives refined and efficient outcomes. 

Process improvement involves a sequence of actions like improving performance, refining analysis, elevating profits, identifying weaknesses, etc. 

For your business to break through and flourish, the following are the five Lean Six Sigma tools for process boosting:

  1. Business process mapping
  2. The 5S
  3. The 5 Whys 
  4. Pareto Chart
  5. Standardized work

1.Business process mapping

Business process mapping is the scheme to understand the end to end business process and it’s working. It proves to be of great help in problem-solving. It involves an accurate layout of how a business functions, the roles, and responsibilities, the standards to be followed in each step of the process, and the standards for measuring success and other information relevant to the process. 

Depending on your business goals, you can use the process map that works the best for you. Some of them are listed below:

  • High-level maps: Provides quick insight into what the process does without going into larger details. 
  • Detailed maps: Provides the entire process in detail. 
  • Swimlane maps: Separates into steps that show who does what. 
  • SIPOC maps: Stands for supplier’s inputs processes outputs customers. Provides what the process aims to accomplish along with the people involved in it.
  • Value stream maps: Provides important information for process improvement. These are detailed and difficult to read. They’re mainly used for lean six sigma operations.

Benefits of business process mapping:

  • It visualizes the whole process and pinpoints the root cause of any sort of problem in the process. 
  • Brings everyone and every department together. 
  • It finds out the potential risks created by the process if any. 
  • It is suitable for training a new employee and engaging the present employees.  
  • Creates accuracy and accessibility in an organization. 

2. The 5S method

The 5S system sets its sight on having a better workplace for finer results. It aims at creating an organized workplace, keeping it tidy, orderly and uncluttered to reduce the gathering of waste and eliminating what is unnecessary. Clean surroundings give rise to a pleasant work environment, both mentally and physically. The outcome of this system is efficient functioning and optimized productivity. 

What are the 5S? 

The 5S strategy contributes to the process of creating a neat environment for work. Following concepts are used in the same:

  • Sort: This step asks you to go through all your material and decide what is required and what isn’t. Thus, getting rid of all the unnecessary stuff. 
  • Set: Once the trash is gone, you are required to set up and arrange what is left with you in your workspace according to the requirement of your goal. 
  • Sweep and shine: In this step, you create a plan for cleaning and maintaining your equipment in your workspace on a regular basis. 
  • Standardize: Set standards and keep records of the three previous steps. Through this step, efforts to keep your surroundings clean will become your habit. 
  • Sustain: Develop long term sustainability to foster a tidy environment. Saving and documenting all your procedures will help in process improvement.

Benefits of 5S Strategy

  • Improved efficiency and increased productivity
  • Lesser delays
  • Improved performance and sales
  • Less production of waste

3. The 5 Whys

Fixing a problem with quick fix majorly results in the recurrence of the problem. With the 5 whys strategy, the process improvement gets easier as one can find out the root cause of the problem. 

This method helps you to have an in-depth understanding of the issue. 

In this strategy, if you’re facing a problem, ask yourself why 5 times. By repeatedly asking “why”, you can flake off the symptoms of the problem and reach its principal cause. 

Write down the problem for everyone to be able to focus on it. Ask yourself why the problem occurred. If your answer is not the root cause, keep repeating the question until you’re satisfied with the answer and can recognize it as the main cause. 

Benefits of the 5 whys strategy

  • Pinpoints the main cause of the problem 
  • Your team learns to understand which kind of problems need to prioritised
  • Helps you fix many problems in the process
  • Saves time by fixing the main problem

4. Pareto Chart

Pareto Chart indicates the origin of the bulk of problems in a process. These problems usually arise from a small number of practices. This tool displays the relationship between the cause and the problem. 

People say that 20% of customers are responsible for 80% of trade. This theory when applied in Lean six sigma it results in the graph called Pareto chart. 

This chart shows the relative frequency of problems, hence, creating a summary of the problems with the highest priority to the lowest. If you work by improving problems based on these priorities, you will definitely get the best results. 

Benefits of Pareto Chart:

  • Helps to identify the main cause and the major cause of the problem
  • Enhanced problem solving skills 
  • Better decision making skill
  • Drawing this chart is easy

5. Standardized work

Standardized work is a simple concept that, in simple words, refers to keeping records of your best methods and practices. These practices include processes, tools and equipment, materials, and more. This tool makes sure that your operations run flawlessly. 

In order to achieve cycle time equal to takt time and a good workflow, efficient work must be standardized at all levels of your business process. Your process improvement strategy must evolve constantly. 

Benefits of standardized work:

  • Process improvement keeps evolving and is never ending
  • Waste production is reduced
  • Less time is spent on guessing the right tactics
  • Increases customer satisfaction
  • Makes budget and results predictable

With the world developing and modernizing every second of the day, we should also keep our qualifications up to the mark and updated with the market trends. The best part about this era is that everything is online which means you can get Six Sigma Online Certification from the comforts of your house and you don’t even have to go through the troubles of finding the institution, there are various sites which provide online courses on six sigma. So, grab that certificate and get that money rolling.