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.