Difference Between Lean and Six Sigma

Lean and Six Sigma are often combined into one term called, “Lean Six Sigma.”  While both disciplines fall under the continuous improvement umbrella, they are unique in most of their focus areas.

Lean focuses on waste reduction, deploying a number of tools aimed at the Seven Wastes:  Overproduction, Transportation, Defects, Waiting, Inventory, Over-processing, and Motion.

Six Sigma focuses most heavily on defect reduction, which is really a subset of all the wastes addressed within Lean.

There is very little tool overlap with Lean and Six Sigma, but some exceptions do exist, such as mistake proofing.