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14 Key Lean Six Sigma Tools

Above all, this is a list of 14 Lean Six Sigma Tools. I give the inputs and outputs of each tool or method. Subsequently, these tools will position your system as a leader today and into the future. Study each Lean Six Sigma Tool.

SWOT, PEST, and Porters 5 Forces

Output: Input for Strategic Plan establishing long-term goals and objectives. Along with the necessary actions to accomplish them. Leverage strengths and improve weaknesses. Eliminate threats. Note, this is a result of using all of the methods.


  1. Strengths,
  2. Weaknesses,
  3. Opportunities,
  4. Threats,
  5. Politics,
  6. Economy,
  7. Society,
  8. Technology,
  9. Buyer Power,
  10. The threat of Substitution,
  11. Supplier Power,
  12. The threat of New Entry, and
  13. Competitive Rivalry.

Lead Every Complex Project with the Lean Six Sigma Tool – Project Charter

Output: The reason you are performing the task and the challenges. A definitive statement of the goal and scope. Including a list of stakeholders, individuals on the team, and the plan.


  1. Business Case,
  2. Problem Statement,
  3. Goal Statement,
  4. Project Scope,
  5. Project Plan, and
  6. Project Team.

Lean Six Sigma Tool Brainstorming and Brainwriting 6-3-5

Output: New ideas to power innovation and growth among participants.


  1. Collective Knowledge,
  2. A varied perspectives, and
  3. A Structure for Idea Generation.


Output: The information about all the impediments to perfection or actions that impede increased profits.


  1. Defects,
  2. Overproduction,
  3. Waiting,
  4. Non-utilized talent,
  5. Transportation,
  6. Inventory,
  7. Motion,
  8. Extra processing, and
  9. Services to support the above, such as HVAC and real estate space.

Value Stream

Output: Profound Knowledge of every process needed to provide a product or service.


  1. The time through the process,
  2. The time during the process that value is being added, and
  3. The defect rate.

Production Statistics

Output: The right statistic at the right time is used to make the right decision. Statistics are used to analyze the performance of your environment. Statistics progress you through the acronym DIKW (Data Information Knowledge Wisdom).


  1. Discrete or continuous data,
  2. Data that follows a normal distribution and data that doesn’t,
  3. Whether you are measuring a central tendency or a variation,
  4. Whether you are measuring a sample or a population,
  5. Whether you are comparing two sets of data, multiple sets of data, or characterizing one set of data, and
  6. Data that is subject to measurement error.

A Key Lean Six Sigma Tool – House of Quality or Quality Function Deployment

Output: The Key Solutions are a quantitative measure of feature importance such as cost or customer service. The quantitative measure comes with a percentage importance to ease analysis.


  1. Customer Requirements,
  2. Competition,
  3. Engineering Solutions,
  4. Engineering/Customer Relationships
  5. Correlations, resulting in
  6. A Summary of Key Conclusions

Fishbone Diagram

Output: An understanding, beyond what failed, but what caused the failure. It helps you understand if the issue is a person, a process, or a machine.

Input: Each of the subject areas is fleshed out in more detail. For example, Material may affect surgery contamination if there are issues with sterilization or material wear:

  1. Material,
  2. Measurement,
  3. Machine,
  4. Process,
  5. Environment, and
  6. Worker.

DOE (Design of Experiments)

Output: The optimized mix input levels to a process that includes the effect of interactions.

Input: This methodology incorporates different levels of mixing by changing the values of each mixture such that each combination is tested. This allows you to determine the best mixture ratio and eliminate the impact of interactions.


Output: The optimal solution to your problem or challenge.


  1. Identify the problem,
  2. Identify the feature that worsens when the problem improves,
  3. Consult the TRIZ matrix for solutions, and
  4. Progress through the list of solutions to find the optimal one.

Mind Map

Output: The design of a project solution such as a Refrigerator Inventory System.

Input: A Mind Map is a design process and the impact is your imagination guided to flesh out all aspects of the design criteria.

FMEA (Failure Modes Effects Analysis)

Output: Allows you to detect associated project risks before you even start. Delivers a risk mitigation strategy.


  1. Process,
  2. Identified Failure Risks,
  3. Impacts of Failure,
  4. Failure Severity Rating (1-10),
  5. Occurrence Probability (1-10),
  6. Current Mitigation Controls, and
  7. Detection Ability (1-10).

Each of the above-listed inputs is performed for each Identified Failure Risk. For instance, for a Hospital surgery, you might have the following three risks:

  1. Supplies don’t arrive on time,
  2. Tools contaminated, and
  3. The patient doesn’t arrive.

Control Chart Failures: We Control Chart was a wonderful invention for processes that operate at 3 sigma. This was used long ago but today nobody should be operating at only 3 sigma. Toyota operates at greater than 6 Sigma and control charts are useless at that level of performance.

Kaizen Event is Outdated: Toyota does not perform Kaizen Events because it would slow them down, be ineffectual, and not consider their strategic importance. Toyota’s Kata Continuous Improvement, Policy Propagation, and Realization improves at a rate of 11 ideas per person per year and all those ideas move Toyota forward in their strategic direction.

Lean Six Sigma Tool Summary

Between Lean Six Sigma Tools and the Tools of The Toyota Production System, you will march towards Extreme Operational Excellence, a competitive advantage. Academic powerhouses Treacy and Wiersema determined that all great companies either excelled in Operational Excellence, Innovation, or Customer Intimacy.

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