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A current survey suggests that employers are favoring Lean than Black Belt employees. There are four main reason based on the survey. I will analyze this to validate the analysis. As a quick background, Lean eliminates waste from your process when looking at a known problem. Six Sigma reduces variance from a process looking at unknown problems.
In reviewing over 7,000 job postings in 2013, pure lean represented 41%, pure Six Sigma represented 27%, and the combined was the remaining 32%. Please note the history of this report is from 2005. Every year the demand for either pure lean or Six Sigma were relatively close except for the past two years. Six Sigma was higher in 2012 and Lean taking the lead in 2013. With this type of variance in the past two years and relative no significant variance in the first seven years, I would not accept the data without additional testing for correlation and deeper investigation of the data.
The responses from the employers were very interesting. The consensus is that lean is preferred over Six Sigma due to the following:
- LEAN is easier to learn and understand for employees without a mathematical or engineering background. Lower educated people can be integrated easier in professional teams.
- LEAN can be applied without having a huge amount of (statistical) data. Therefore LEAN can also be applied in small sized companies where strict process definitions and collecting data is not that critical for business success.
- LEAN supports more than Six Sigma a cultural transformation by introducing a Kaizen culture.
- LEAN shows faster results in (manual) assembly industries than Six Sigma does.
Another point the author didn’t mention is that lean is applied against a known problem while Six Sigma is applied against an UNKNOWN problem. For most small manufacturing businesses, they know the problems but have difficulty in correcting the problem. As you can see, the lean champion has a better skill set to assist in the problem solving process. Thus, the lean approach is now the better option for process improvement and current in demand skill set. However, as in the past several years, these two skill sets work in combination and the overall gap will close quickly.
Gary Kapanowski – Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt – Excelsior
The following blog is the opinion of Gary Kapanowski and Garykapanowski.com. It is the sole intent to broadcast this opinion from Gary Kapanowski and Garykapanowski.com exclusively and not to reflect on any other institutions or organizations associated with Gary Kapanowski or Garykapanowski.com.