What was today to become Lean Six Sigma can be traced to Motorola in the United States in 1986 to compete with the Kaizen business model in Japan. Ever since World War 2 Japan was experiencing an economic boom and Japanese products at the time had a higher quality than American ones.
Lean Six Sigma is a synergized managerial concept of Lean and Six Sigma. Lean traditionally focuses on the elimination of the eight kinds of wastes/muda classified as defects, over-production, waiting, non-utilized talent, transportation, inventory, motion and extra-processing. Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in (manufacturing and business) processes. Synergistically, Lean aims to achieve continuous flow by tightening the linkages between process steps while Six Sigma focuses on reducing process variation (in all its forms) for the process steps thereby enabling a tightening of those linkages. Lean Six Sigma uses the DMAIC phases similar to that of Six Sigma. Lean Six Sigma projects comprise aspects of Lean’s waste elimination and the Six Sigma focus on reducing defects, based on critical to quality characteristics. The DMAIC toolkit of Lean Six Sigma comprises all the Lean and Six Sigma tools. The training for Lean Six Sigma is provided through the belt based training system similar to that of Six Sigma. The belt personnel are designated as white belts, yellow belts, green belts, black belts and master black belts, similar to judo.