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Six Sigma vs. Lean Six Sigma

There is an ongoing debate in the business world about whether Lean or Six Sigma is the better system to implement when it comes to streamlining business processes and eliminating waste. Both sides have proponents and detractors who can cite various situations in which one system may produce better results than the other.

Others argue that the best approach to creating the most efficient and effective business structure requires incorporating both Six Sigma and Lean principles. In order to view the debate in the proper context, however, you need to understand the differences and similarities between the two systems.

Six Sigma Basics

The essential goal of Six Sigma is to eliminate defects and waste, thereby improving quality and efficiency, by streamlining and improving all business processes. While it was first designed for use in manufacturing, practitioners quickly discovered that Six Sigma could be useful and applicable throughout all aspects of a business - from customer support to management to service delivery.

Today, Six Sigma plays a key role in the leadership of an organization, and its wide-scale implementation can help a company to achieve real and measurable results.

The Lean Approach

Like Six Sigma, Lean is a tool used by businesses to streamline manufacturing and production processes. The main emphasis of Lean is on cutting out unnecessary and wasteful steps in the creation of a product so that only steps that directly add value to the product are taken.

As far as Lean methodology is concerned, the only way to determine if something has value or not is to consider whether a customer would be willing to pay for it. Any part of the production that does not add value is simply removed from the equation, leaving a highly streamlined and profitable process in place that will flow smoothly and efficiently.

Comparing Six Sigma and Lean

Essentially, Six Sigma and Lean systems have the same goal. They both seek to eliminate waste and create the most efficient system possible, but they take different approaches toward how achieving this goal. In simplest terms, the main difference between Lean and Six Sigma is that they identify the root cause of waste differently.

Lean practitioners believe that waste comes from unnecessary steps in the production process that do not add value to the finished product, while Six Sigma proponents assert that waste results from variation within the process.

Of course, there is truth in both of these assessments, which is why both Lean and Six Sigma methodologies have been so successful in improving overall business performance in a variety of fields. In fact, these two disciplines have proven to be especially successful when working in tandem - hence the creation of Lean Six Sigma.

Optimize Your Business With Lean Six Sigma Training

The reality is that the broader your toolkit, the better prepared you are to tackle the complex problems that businesses face in today's competitive marketplace.

The good news is that you can obtain comprehensive training in both Lean and Six Sigma from a single source with the certificate courses and master certificate program offered by Villanova University. And because Villanova's training is offered 100% online, you can complete the coursework no matter where you are or what the constraints of your schedule might be.

Villanova has consistently been ranked #1 by U.S. News & World Report in the Master's category/North region for 20 years, and its intensive, non-degree certificate programs are highly respected throughout the business world.

Furthermore, it also offers the industry's only university-backed, 100% online Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma certification exams. Each of Villanova's certificate courses prepares students for the corresponding certification exam. Students can enroll in Six Sigma Green BeltLean Six Sigma or Lean Six Sigma Black Belt courses, or complete all three to earn a Master Certificate in Six Sigma. In addition, Villanova also offers a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt certificate course and certification.

When you enroll in Villanova's expert-led Lean Six Sigma training, you have the opportunity to:

  • View lectures anytime and anywhere via streaming video, CD-ROM or MP4 downloads
  • Communicate with instructors and classmates through online message boards, live chat rooms, email, virtual whiteboards and two-way voice over IP (VOIP)
  • Complete your coursework and tests and take certification exams 100% online, at any time it's convenient for you
  • Participate in live weekly interactive sessions with noted Lean Six Sigma experts who have extensive experience in the field
  • Obtain an official, framed certificate of achievement from Villanova University upon completion of each certificate course, plus a master certificate at the end of the three-course series

With Villanova's flexible, video-based e-learning platform, you can gain essential Lean and Six Sigma training at your convenience to improve your company's standing - and your own - in the business world.