Lean Six Sigma

About Lean Six Sigma

Lean Six Sigma is one of most successful and widely applied business transformation tools across every industrial sector in the past 3 decades. In recent days, with improving awareness of customers, depreciating tolerance towards poor quality, heightened regulatory and compliance requirements, Lean Six Sigma is becoming a must-be in many companies in developed countries and in emerging markets in Asia and Africa.

In Asia, it is gaining momentum among many corporate houses in the past decade. Automobiles, Electronics and Banking have already ventured into Lean Six Sigma – improving the quality of our lives. Telecom, medicine, engineering, BPO and more are joining the band creating a huge demand for quality supplies, quality people and quality organisations.

Lean Six Sigma helps in increasing yield of processes, reducing instances of rejections, and increasing the reliability of processes; it has in itself the roots of many advanced requirements like statistical approach to problem-solving, robust CAPA systems, the design of experiments and so on.

What is Six Sigma?

Generally, Six Sigma initiatives are started with Yellow / Green Belt training programs; but within a short span of time, we have seen that it manifest to support the organisation in four ways below.

  • Helps to strategize and drive revenue increase, cost reduction and process improvements
  • Guides Senior Management to create a vision to provide defect free, positive environment to the organisation.
  • Helps as a documented methodology for problem-solving. If used in the right manner, Six Sigma improvements are bullet-proof and they give high-yielding returns.
  • Six Sigma is universal scale to measure the process Performances with its own unit known as Sigma unit.

IDMAIC Structure of Implementation

We follow the IDMAIC

  1. Identify: Identify the business pain area which needs to be addressed. This step involves discussion with Top Management, Observations and Data Analysis.
  2. Define: Defining the Projects that will help to improve the business pain areas.
  3. Measure: Measure the process performance in terms of the project parameter (goes in hand with Define phase).
  4. Analyse: Analyse the root causes of the problem
  5. Improve: Take corrective actions on the root causes to improve the project parameters
  6. Control: Establish effective control measures – both hard & soft – connecting with KPIs

Belt Structure

The entire Lean Six Sigma program is implemented across organisation through the belt framework. Below are the different belts (levels of expertise) used in LSS.

  • Yellow Belt – Beginner’s Level. Yellow belts can support in data collection.
  • Green Belt – Intermediate Level. Green belts can support six sigma projects in data collection, analysis, solution generation and implementation.
  • Black Belt – Having a thorough knowledge of statistics, project management and tools, identify projects, they can train green belts and oversee project execution by green belts.
  • Master Black Belt – As the name says, a Master in the subject and business, he can mentor green belts, black belts, guide champions and sponsors through DMAIC.

Training & Project Support

CSense’ unique way of training ensures people involve fully and attain maximum knowledge during training sessions. Training methods include learning by listening, learning by teaching, learning by playing and learning by doing.

CSense Project Management support will ensure that learning is applied in undertaken projects. CSense believes that any implementation engagement will yield 5X ROI in client’s books and high-impact leaders and inspired teams are developed and nurtured along the way. In a sense, Process improvement becomes a by-product of people elevation.

Deliverables and Timeline (for wave 1)


No. Of Days of Engagement

Target Completion Wk#

Champion Workshop with Key People



Identify Opportunities & Potential Areas



Green Belt Training



Define – Measure Grounding Session



Define – Measure Guiding Session



Define-Measure Steering Committee Review



Analyse Grounding Session



Analyse Guiding Session



Analyse Steering Committee Review



Improve Grounding Session



Improve Guiding Session



Improve Steering Committee Review



Control Grounding Session



Control Review



Wave 1 completion & Kickoff for Wave 2




21 days

28 Weeks

Note: The number of days is estimated based on our experience in handling similar projects but it is indicative. In some rare circumstances, when people need more support in projects, the number of days may increase. CSense will bear the increase up to 1 day. We will highlight on the excess days as required in advance and proceed with mutual acceptance. Agreed excess days will be charged over and above the quoted value.



Champions are the process owners and/or Managers and/or Head of Departments in a company. More precisely, Champion for a six sigma project is the process owners and/or Managers and/or Head of Department which is going to get benefited out of the projects. Key roles of champions – he is a very important member of both the management team and in Six Sigma team and accountable for the success of the project undertaken in his purview. S/He is expected to support project team in project identification, steering through roadblocks, liaisoning for necessary resources, monitoring the progress as per plan, providing required technical and managerial assistance to the team. He shall be present in all the Milestone reviews.

Champion Workshop

This workshop provides the managerial and technical knowledge necessary to plan and implement Six Sigma and support the project teams. It covers the principles, tools and application of Six Sigma including deployment strategies for establishing metrics, selection teams and projects. The technical points would be

  • Project Selection Methods
  • Basics of Statistical application
  • Capability
  • Measurement System Analysis
  • Root Cause Analysis and
  • Validation

Project Selection

Project selection discussion will follow the Champion Workshop. People from Top Management, champions and CSense expert are expected to participate in this discussion. Project selection for six sigma needs the following

  • A problem
  • A process
  • Associated financial benefit
  • A customer metric or business metric

If we know the root cause and/or solution to the problem, it is not advisable to take up six sigma for that problem. Because Six Sigma is an investigative problem-solving methodology.

Grounding Session

Grounding session is a group learning activity when CSense expert inculcates the spirit of Six Sigma to the Teams with the tools and techniques of that particular phase (Define & Measure, Analyse, Improve or Control). Templates used in this phase and Minitab tools will be discussed in detail.

Guiding Session

The Methodological guidance is provided in these sessions to teams. The effective knowledge transfer happens when CSense expert works on the project along with the individual team. Review inputs include, fine-tuning, clarifications, expediting, and other Six Sigma technical support.

Milestone Review

Milestone reviews are status checks the project sponsor (the top management) and champions conduct along with team members and consultant. This helps to monitor and support the project progress. The sponsors and champions are expected to evaluate progress according to the plan set forth in project charter, enquire about any obstacles and ways to overcome, discuss lessons learned during the phase, allocate resources as required and recognise the accomplishments of teams. It is an open and safe environment for teams to present reality and seek support from Management and a learning platform for Champions.


Six Sigma Projects are conducted in waves. One wave of deployment will normally involve 3 to 4 green belt projects. Teams and Management would have prioritised and selected the project for wave 1. As part of the continual improvement, CSense strongly recommends to plan and undertake Wave 2 to sustain curiosity among people.

Recommended Approach

  • Plan for a long game: With every process improvement methodology, the organisation shall try to incorporate the continuous improvement in the minds of people. Once the organisation achieves this culture change, then it can run on an auto-pilot mode. Process improvement is not going to be a success if the organisation views it as a sprint run.
  • Start small: Start with one plant and with 3 to 4 projects in the first wave. This ensures buy-in from the teams and creates curiosity among other people in the company.
  • Priority  & Focus: Remember all the problems could not be solved at the same time. Prioritisation and focus are the keys to success.
  • Roadmap: We recommend to start with two waves of Green Belt in sequence. One wave usually takes 4 to 6 months time. Then we can derive a long-term roadmap for continuing and the culture change.

Key to Success in Lean Six Sigma Implementation

  • Involvement of Top Management and Champions at every phase of the project is critical. This commitment demonstrates and signals management’s expectations from the teams.
  • Discipline to the sequence and methodology is important to achieve breakthrough improvements.
  • Presence and availability of team members throughout the wave of the project. Strict adherence to the plan and timelines ensures project’s success.
  • Technical inputs, attending to roadblocks and constraints by champions and top management.
  • Assurance of Top Management that it will encourage no-blame culture (when a problem is exposed or found out – no one should ask “why this has not done in past?”. Because this single question will seize the behaviour of the team to expose problems and discuss in an open forum.
  • Support in implementation of solutions identified and validated by the team, on time is critical.
  • Encourage teams to speak the financial terms. LSS is all about profit, cost and losses. Cultivating profit-thinking is the base for Leadership development.