How To Compare Six Sigma, Lean and the Theory of Constraints

Article

Nave, Dave   (2002, ASQ)   Comforce Technical Services

Quality Progress    Vol. 35    No. 3
QICID: 15365    March 2002    pp. 73-78
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Article Abstract

Many process improvement methodologies appear to conflict with each other, making it difficult to decide which best fits an organization's needs and culture. Three improvement methodologies - Six Sigma, Lean thinking, and Theory of constraints - are discussed and a model is presented to clarify their concepts, similarities, and differences. Improvement methodologies all begin by taking the product or service configuration at face value and improving the process or system. However, each views the design through its own theory and tools. Selection of a process improvement methodology depends upon the culture of the organization. Six Sigma stresses analytical studies. Lean thinking values visual change and right now time. Theory of constraint uses a systems approach and separates workers and management. Once the values of a specific program are identified, a comparison of the primary and secondary effects of their philosophies can make the selection easier.

Keywords

Comparison,Core values,Cultural change,Lean manufacturing,Management styles,Goldratt's Theory of Constraints (TOC),Quality improvement (QI),Quality philosophy,Quality tools,Six Sigma,Process analysis


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