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Compare and Contrast - Management 301 - Mid-Term Paper - Draper


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Compare and Contrast - Management 301 - Mid-Term Paper - Draper

  1. 1. RUNNING HEAD: COMPARE AND CONTRAST 1 Compare and Contrast: Lean, Six Sigma, & Kaizen Mid-Term Paper Siena Heights University Edward J Draper
  2. 2. Compare and Contrast 2 Compare and Contrast: Lean, Six Sigma, & Kaizen When a business is looking to improve their process, they look to different methodologies that are common in the business world. The commonly used ones for process improvement are Lean, Six Sigma, & Kaizen. Too often people see each of these ideologies as an approach to fixing all problems and they will ask which one is best for the problem at hand? It is not necessarily that easy and is not often the case; the design of each of these methods is around different principles and is to be used in different scenarios. Chad Walters (2013) says in his article, “They are specialized tools used to solve specialized problems; much as a socket is different from a hammer.” With this paper, we will look at the principles of each. Lean is a process that focuses on standardization, waste reduction, and performance. Though not the inventor of the ideology, Henry Ford was the first to integrate the entire process into his production process at Ford Motor Company (A Brief History of Lean, n.d.). Prior to this, automobile manufacturing consisted of building the car from the ground up, in one spot. He began moving the automobile through the individuals working on it, which came to be the modern assembly line. Each was proficient in his or her job, as their responsibilities were simplified so that the worker could become extremely proficient at their few tasks. The repetition in their work made the individuals more efficient and skilled, significantly reducing the time it took to build an automobile. Ultimately, the unnecessary steps in the production process must be cut if they do not add value to the product. Six Sigma is a process created by Motorola but most commonly associated with General Electric (DeMerceau, n.d.). It focuses on more complex problems; it looks at value through mapping and stresses consistency. It is designed to make the customer happier and to increase profits. The organization can use this ideology as a philosophy, as part of the process, or a
  3. 3. Compare and Contrast 3 statistics tool for different levels of process improvement. It takes into consideration all of the behind the scenes actions to ensure that there is little variation within the process (DeMerceau, n.d.). Terence Burton (n.d.) suggests that Six Sigma is drilling into the hidden cost of poor quality. Kaizen is a process designed by the Japanese, which focuses on continuous improvement (Choudhury, n.d.). The purpose is to humanize the workplace through simplification of overly hard work and reduction of waste through process mapping and grouping tasks. It is a continuous cycle which includes seven cycles: Identifying Opportunity, Analyzing the Process, Developing an Optimal Solution, Implementing the Solution, Study the Results, Standardize the Solution, Plan for the Future. In order for an organization to implement Kaizen into the workplace, they must get all parties involved to begin considering three things; the present condition, the desired state, and a plan to reach that state (Choudhury, n.d.). All three of the processes have one major thing in common, they each focus on the reduction of waste, grouping tasks, and simplifying work. When used in everyday practice, Lean, Six Sigma, and Kaizen can provide structure and focus to what needs to be completed to improve the organization and improve profitability (Burton, n.d.). Each ideology is commonly used conjunction with one of the others and result in significant reduction in costs. Kaizen, for instance, can be implemented in the overall Six Sigma process (Choudhury, n.d.). Six Sigma can improve the process and Kaizen is the monitoring and control aspect that it needs to continue the improvement as processes can deteriorate without the control (Choudhury, n.d.). When contrasting the three; Kaizen is more of an ideology used by an organization to create a culture, while Six Sigma and Lean are focused in on specific process. Kaizen ideology can be used with either of the other two methods and, as I said previously, can act as the control.
  4. 4. Compare and Contrast 4 The University Alliance (n.d.) suggests that Lean focuses on the valueless steps within the process, while Six Sigma focuses on the variation in the process which will lead to wasted time and inconsistency. These methods each have their purpose. A successful organization will use each of them as a tool for specific situations. They will use the Kaizen method to create a culture of improvement while looking at the areas where there are excessive steps in the process (Lean) and the areas where the end result is inconsistent (Six Sigma). Effective leadership will continuously look at their processes using these methods, failure to do so will ensure their organization is destined to eventually fail.
  5. 5. Compare and Contrast 5 References: A Brief History of Lean. (n.d.). Retrieved from Burton, T. T. (n.d.). Is this a six sigma, lean or kaizen project? Six sigma Retrieved from or-kaizen-project/ Choudhury, A. (n.d.). Kaizen with six sigma ensures continuous improvement. Retrieved from improvement/ DeMerceau, J. (n.d.). Advantages & disadvantages of six sigma. Retrieved from University Alliance. (n.d.). Six Sigma vs. Lean Six Sigma. Retrieved from sigma/#.VrVP2fkrLIU Walters, C. (2013). Lean | six sigma | kaizen: What is lean six sigma kaizen. Leanblitz consulting Retrieved from