Lean Sigma History
Lean Sigma is part of the Six Sigma business management strategy originally
developed by Motorola in 1986. It was created as a set of practices designed
to improve manufacturing processes and eliminate defects, but its application
has been extended to other types of business processes. By the late 1990s,
approximately two-thirds of Fortune 500 organizations began Six Sigma initiatives with the aim of reducing costs and improving quality.
The term “Six Sigma” originated from terminology associated with statistical modeling of manufacturing processes. The maturity of a manufacturing
process can be described by a “sigma” rating indicating its yield, or the percentage of defect-free products it creates. A six sigma process is one in which
99.99966 percent of the products manufactured are statistically expected to
be free of defects ( 3. 4 defects per million). Motorola set a goal of “six sigma”
for all of its manufacturing operations, and this goal became a byword for the
management and engineering practices used to achieve it.
The first service team has since
extended the business day by running
two shifts of staff, who build relation-
ships with customers through prompt
follow-up calls, sales support through
outbound call campaigns and rein-
vestment in activities that add value.
NACE’s education department experi-
enced some significant improvements.
For example, it:
• Executed additional courses, increas-
ing the annual capacity from 400 to
Built more meaningful relationships
with instructors, students, corporate
clients and licensees.
Types of Waste
• Defects. Correcting defective products
• Overproduction. Producing more than
• Waiting. Idle employees, machines or
• Not using talent.
• Transportation. Any movement (
material or information) that does not
directly support value-added operations.
• Inventory. Product or supplies.
• Motion. Movement of people or
machines that does not add value.
• Excess processing. Any process or
operation that does not add value to