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Lean six sigma uses a combination of lean thinking and six sigma project methodology called DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, and control) to achieve high performing business results. The DMAIC approach is proven to help organizations achieve on time delivery of the right quality and quantity to satisfy customers. Lean thinking is based upon the reduction of waste and focused on added value. An important decision for an organization is to choose between lean, six sigma or some combination of these concepts. This paper studies the most relevant characteristics of the three methodologies based upon an original research study. A review of literature describes how organizations differ greatly in terms of scale and are categorized as small, medium (SME) and large. Based upon a maturity model concepts, this paper studies the characteristics of these organizations and proposes the best methodology among lean, six sigma, and lean six sigma. Maturity models represent the spectrum in which organizations operate process management and quality principles. The result of this study should help the organization represent the most suitable methodology based on the comparison of characteristics and requirements of the firm. The interaction of lean and six sigma methods and the environment in which lean, six sigma, or both, are implemented does not preclude analysis and pre-assessment of which method to adopt. This paper will help compare these methodologies on the basis of the goals and the context of the firm and help organizations choose the right approach.



In Proceedings of the Conference for Industry and Education Collaboration: Educating for a Sustainable Future, February 5-7, 2014

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