Department of Business Development and Technology

Diego Pacheco

18 comparative aspects between Lean and Six Sigma: Complementarity and implications

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Diego Pacheco
  • Isaac Pergher, University Federal of Pernambuco
  • ,
  • Guilherme Luís Roehe Vaccaro, University of Sinos Valley
  • ,
  • Carlos Fernando Jung, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
  • ,
  • Carla ten Caten, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul

Purpose – This paper aims to presents a conceptual comparative analysis of Lean manufacturing and Six Sigma, highlighting 18 critical aspects between such approaches and their respective implications for management decision-making. Design/methodology/approach – Qualitative approach based on the results obtained from literature review about Lean and Six Sigma. Findings – The main points of divergence between Lean and Six Sigma have been highlighted based on 18 criteria. Seventeen criteria are proposed as a result of a review of the literature and one criterion, and “quality control”, is suggested by the authors. Research limitations/implications – This article mitigates the literature gap regarding whether and how Lean and Six Sigma are synergistic approaches. Practical implications – This study enables decision-makers to evaluate the Lean and Six Sigma practices. The results of the analysis performed originated three observations: frst, both approaches are predominantly complementary; second, it is possible to create a single model integrating both approaches studied in this research; and third, when Lean is implemented as stand-alone approach, it falls short of specifc tools to leverage its full potential according to the complexity of the problem under consideration. Originality/value – This paper analyzes which aspects from Lean and Six Sigma can be learnt from organizational change and productivity improvement efforts. The analysis includes a comparison of 18 critical aspects for practical use of Lean and Six Sigma.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Lean Six Sigma
Pages (from-to)161-175
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

    Research areas

  • Improvement efforts, Lean manufacturing, Productivity, Six sigma

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