Top Six Sigma Problem Solving Tools You Should Know About

Lean and Six Sigma is a business process and data-driven methodology that aims to produce nearly perfect products for customers. It reduces product defects to 3.4 parts per million or 99.99966% defect-free products. It is essential for any improvement in business processes as it dramatically improves the efficiency of the company by identifying weaknesses and flaws in the process. Lean and Six Sigma professionals have developed a number of problem-solving and continuous improvement tools and toolkits over the years that help with control and problem-solving in manufacturing.

Top Lean Six Sigma Problem-Solving Tools

What is the six sigma problem-solving toolkit?
What is the six sigma problem-solving toolkit?

1. DMAIC

DMAIC is a five-step process. It is the most widely used Six Sigma toolkits.

These are the 5 steps:

  • Define
  • Measure
  • Analyze
  • Get better
  • Control

DMAIC is a process that helps continuous improvement in manufacturing processes by using data and measuring objectives tools. DMADV is a process that helps in the development of new products and services. DMAIC, on the other hand, is helpful for improving existing processes.

DMADV stands for:

  • Define
  • Measure
  • Analyze
  • Design
  • Verify

DMADV is a process that helps to develop high-quality products or services by creating an efficient process and performing thorough analyses.

2. The 5 Whys

The tool of “5 Whys” is used to determine the root cause for problems within your organization. It is often used in the Analyze phase of DMAIC.

These are the 5 Whys.

  • Make sure you write down the problem so each person in your team can concentrate on it.
  • Ask yourself why this problem has occurred.
  • Ask why if your initial answer does not address the root cause of your problem.
  • To determine the root cause of the problem, repeat this question at least five more times.
  • You don’t have to ask why five times. However, if you ask 5 times you will get clarity on the root cause.

3. The 5S System

The 5S System is a method for organizing workplace materials in a way that makes it easier to access them and allows for better management. This system eliminates the waste caused by poor working conditions and inefficient workstations.

The 5S are:

  • Seiri – Only the essential items are left, and all other items are taken out of current production.
  • Seiton (Set in Order) Organize all your items and label them so they are clutter-free.
  • Seiso – Maintain a clean work area and inspect all items regularly.
  • Seiketsu – Create the standards you have established, sort them and arrange them.
  • Sustain (Sustainment) –Apply the standards you have established for your company and encourage everyone to follow them.

4. Value Stream Mapping

Value stream mapping is used in DMAIC’s Analyze phase and in Lean Manufacturing tools. It is perfect for Lean 6 Sigma. A value stream map is a tool that helps you optimize flow within your company. It shows the flow of information and materials in one of your processes.

The Value Stream mapping allows you to identify 3 things.

  • Value Enabling Activities – Identifying activities that, when enabled, add value and efficiency to your processes
  • Value-Adding Activities Identifying activities that add value in your processes.
  • Activities that are not value-adding: Identifying, and then eliminating those activities that don’t add any value to your process.

You can reduce the time it takes to complete a process and eliminate any non-value-adding activities by using Value Stream Mapping.

What are lean and six sigma problem-solving and continuous improvement tools?
What are lean and six sigma problem-solving and continuous improvement tools?

5. Regression Analysis

Regression analysis can be used to determine the mathematical relationship between an output and an input variable. It is a statistical process that estimates and understands the relationship between variables. This allows you to visualize patterns and deviations from the desired patterns in your workflow.

Regression analysis, in layman’s terms, is a statistical technique that determines the degree of a relationship between two variables. If the relationship is strong enough, one can identify the values for one variable by using a simple linear formula. However, regression analysis must be done with caution.

6. Pareto Chart

Pareto Chart shows which part of the process has the greatest influence on output. To create such a chart, you must first identify the components and how they are measured. This allows Six Sigma teams, through the display of differences between data groups, to identify the most critical issues.

This toolkit is the most important in Six Sigma because it allows the team to identify 20% of the resources that cause 80% of the problems in their processes. It will help you identify the component that needs your attention immediately.

7. FMEA

FMEA can be described as Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA). FMEA was developed in the 1950s and helps businesses identify and eliminate weak points. It examines the causes and consequences of subsystems, assemblies, and components. Six Sigma toolkit practitioners can use it to identify and correct problems before they occur, which results in better quality products, services, and processes.

8. Kaizen

Kaizen means continuous improvement. Kaizen is a continuous improvement tool that involves continuously observing, identifying, and implementing incremental improvements in your manufacturing process. It involves all employees and managers being involved and encouraged to participate in the manufacturing improvements process with lean six sigma tools.

Through the combined talents and knowledge of all employees, it helps to correct even the smallest inefficiencies. It helps to reduce waste in production.

9. Poka-Yoke

Poka-yoke, a Japanese term that means mistake-proofing, is also known as a Japanese term. It assists in the identification and correction of human errors that employees make during production and manufacturing.

10. Kanban System

Kanban is a Japanese term that means billboard. The Kanban System, a supply chain management system, focuses on cost reduction through the implementation of a just-in-time inventory control system. It is easy to use and offers many benefits. This is why it is one of the most widely used lean and six sigma manufacturing tools. The Kanban system improves efficiency and gives more focus to your business. It works with a simple, elegant idea. Kanban activates the supply chain only when there is demand. Feeling additional resources and allowing you to use them better increases efficiency. This system improves all current business processes by setting limits on inventory holding.

Have you used any of the LSS problem-solving tools?

Tell us your experience in the comments below.

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