Lean Six Sigma

Getting to Know the Tool Kit

Lean Six Sigma is designed to be a comprehensive program. Embedded within the two initiatives are pervasive philosophical, values, models, and tools. This creates a challenge when trying to describe what Lean and Six Sigma have to offer when combined. As well, it can make training and implementation challenging because employees may get confused between theory and practical next steps. This is especially true in logistics, given its hands-on focus on operations. Consequently, it is important for the logistician to understand Lean Six Sigma beyond theory, from a practical point of lean_six_sigmaview. In order to be effective, the logistician must be armed not only with theory, but also practical knowledge and tools that will lend directly to improved operational effectiveness and reduced costs.

Many training courses and books will attempt to separate the Lean tools from the Six Sigma tools. For example, one may argue that voice of the customer is a six sigma tool, whereas value stream mapping is a Lean tool. Although the tools’ origins may be traced to one camp or the other, the logistician simply needs to know what tools are available and when they are best applied.

First, the tools are not “new.” In most cases, it is only the common application to logistics and operations that are new. Second, the list provided is not meant to serve as a comprehensive catalogue to available tools, methods, and concepts, but rather as a representative sample of valued, tested tools used in Lean Six Sigma Logistics. Lastly, the lists are intended to provide awareness and the beginnings of a working knowledge of the tool. Fortunately, volumes of reference books and web content exist for each tool.

Six Sigma Statistical Process Control Methodology

Statistical process control is an important part of Lean Six Sigma methodology, which precedes the following steps, also called DMAIC (Define, Analyze, Improve, and Control)

  1. Define - benchmarking, process flow mapping, flowcharts
  2. Measure - defect metrics, data collection, sampling
  3. Analyze - fishbone diagrams, failure analysis, root cause analysis
  4. Improve - modeling, tolerance controls, defect control, design changes
  5. Control - SPC control chart, performance management

Lean: The ORLOE Problem Solving Model

Identifying waste and the root cause of problems are important areas of lean thinking. At LeanCor, we’ve developed a method for empowered problem solving called the ORLOE Model. It is based on five phases of activity, with each phase divided into Purpose, Tollgate Questions, and Processes and Tools. The five phases of activity are as follows:

1. Operate: Do the work and identify the problem.

Tools: Voice of Customer, CTQ Checklist, Team Member Standard Work, Visual Management, Run Charts, Scoreboards, Leader Standard Work

2. Review: Define the problem and document the current state.

Tools: Go See Management, A3O (A3 ORLOE Problem Solving Model ), Process Map, Swim Lane Map, Current State Value Stream Map.

3. Learn: Determine the root cause.

Tools: Pareto - Critical Few, Brainstorming, Cause & Effect, 5 Why Analysis.

4. Optimize: Identify solutions.

Tools: Future State Improvement Tools, Velocity - One Piece Flow, Pull Systems , Future State Maps & Gap Analysis, XY Matrix for Prioritization, 5S, Leveled Flow

5. Execute: Implement and sustain the solutions.

Tools: Implementation Plan, Timeline, FMEA, Dashboards, Communication Plan, Review Process.

A continuous improvement culture is where people are problem solving at every opportunity. ORLOE was developed to help reach this ideal state. ORLOE provides more descriptive, straight forward, “how to” instructions for effective problem solving. The “Operate” phase provides the minimum things that must be in place for team members to expose problems and be connected to the business. These things include voice of customer, standard work, and visibility to the plan vs. actual state. Team members can use ORLOE to stop at every problem, use the tools available to dig down to the root cause of the problem, make improvements to eliminate that root cause, and then put controls in place to make sure the process is actually improved and then sustained. This is the goal of a lean organization; to make small, incremental improvements daily in the need to seek perfection.


Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification: Class Begins May 12th!

Results-oriented, the Lean Six Sigma (LSS) Greenbelt certification course is designed for organizations that want to develop employees to be problem solving experts in production-based, service based, transactional, and healthcare environments. The participants learn the thinking and tools behind Lean Six Sigma through online modules and an in-class workshop, then apply those concepts through completion of a project at their workplace.

Take the next step in your career. Implement significant improvement opportunities for your organization.

Register today!

Posted by LeanCor Supply Chain Group

blog author

LeanCor Supply Chain Group is a trusted supply chain partner that specializes in lean principles to deliver operational improvement. LeanCor’s three integrated divisions – LeanCor Training and Education, LeanCor Consulting, and LeanCor Logistics – help organizations eliminate waste, drive down costs, and build a culture of continuous improvement.

LinkedIn Google+



NEW: Resource Center

Lean Logistics and Transportation Management

From carrier management to network design, browse our best content – webinars, articles, videos, podcasts, and more. 

Visit the Transportation Resource Center

Subscribe Now!

Recent Posts

Supply Chain Brief