The mounting trend and concern of competition in the business industry led to the approach of seeking better ways of doing things in the management purview. Quality management used to be a peripheral expanse to the core management structure within organizations.

This however changed the course of how quality used to be seen which now, is more of an overriding management phenomenon that organizations use to manoeuvre business objectives effectively. Among the many quality management and process improvement systems available in the industrial layouts, Lean and Six Sigma are commoners and vastly known. Lean is a direct extrapolation of the Toyota Production System (TPS) which became known to the world as the “machine that changed the world” (Womack et al., 1990). Lean is an embedment within the culture and DNA of Toyota which focuses on the elimination of waste. As it is, wastes refer to all that are non-value adding activities categorized in seven forms which customers are unwilling to pay for. This leads to a cordial structuring of the process that focuses only on the things that customers would look for from the provider.

Formed in Motorola, Six Sigma on the other line of the quadrant emphasizes variation (Antony, 2011). Variation in process’ performance is something inherent no matter how perfect the process underlies; thus, focus is placed on minimization of such variation, common and special causes alike. Six Sigma’s orientation of handling process improvement is more structured and data oriented, objectively specifying the underlying root causes before a decision is made through every phase of the projects.

Read full article at Annotated methodological review of Lean Six Sigma

By: Muraliraj Jagantheran (M.Ec, ICBB) (PhD Candidate – PhD (Economics), Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)