How to prepare Strategy for Lean Six Sigma Implementation ?

If your organization has taken a decision on Lean Six Sigma implementation at the workplace, I must congratulate you. It’s a decision worth applauding. Lean Six Sigma is a proven methodology to improve workplace efficiency, bring process improvement and cut cost.

If you are the Lean Six Sigma Black-Belt and have been asked to set up a strategy, this article is going to be very insightful to you.If you are among the management team, this piece can help you identify if your implementation plan is good-enough to get you results. Let’s uncover the strategy preparation  process with the set of some questions.

1. What should be analyzed first to define the road-map for Lean/Six Sigma implementation in an organization?


First of all, establish Current State of the organization. This would include jotting down some key metrics :

  • Throughput time, Lead time, Change Over time and OEE(Overall Equipment Efficiency)

  • Operational Expenses

  • Losses (Yield loss, Batch failures & Market complains) ,

  • Rework %age


Other issues to look at are :


  • Whether the company is mature enough to handle a full fledged data based problem solving approach.

  • Whether there are systems in place to collect data and also established processes.

  • Organization’s Culture, agility, receptiveness to change, Maturity level, Level of Management Commitment.


These are some of the issues to be noticed / observed.


Recognize above mentioned soft issues by visiting and experiencing the process/work place,  undertaking meetings and interviews with the employees as well as management.


In a way a conduct diagnostic of that organization in consideration .  

2. How to put across strategy for Lean Six Sigma Implementation in an organization?

If six sigma is a new approach that the company is about to implement, there are almost 99% chances that the employees are not aware of the program and the activities related to it. This is why the organization should seek help from the professional consultants of Lean Six Sigma. One should hire people who have adequate experience in implementing Lean Six Sigma practically , if possible in the organization resembling the one under consideration.


Make a plan for Lean with Lean Temple Approach (Foundational tools first, like 5S, Visual Management).Lean is a bottom-up approach.


For Six Sigma take up projects that will give quick wins. This will give confidence to top management and other people in the organization.Six Sigma is top-down approach.


For organizations that are already practising Lean Six Sigma , identify current state and make a plan for the next level. Inputs from point no. 1 will be very useful here.

3. What should be ideal timeline for Lean Six Sigma Implementation?

Put Strategy for 6 to 12 months and conduct continuous evaluation and review. 

time line

4. What could be the issues during Lean Six Sigma Strategy proposal and initial analysis?


  • Commitment from leadership

  • Not enough Budget for Lean Six Sigma Implementation

  • No Dedicated resources


  • Too many improvement initiatives- confused executives

  • Resistance to change from event driven to process driven mindset

  • Lack of standard training material including software

  • Lack of systematic project selection, execution & review

  • Lack of continuity/sustenance in implementation

  • Management’s thought process that Lean Six Sigma is a panacea

  • No motivation to adopt new practises by shop-floor team

5. What are some Do and Don’t during the Lean Six Sigma Implementation phase?

do's and don'ts
do’s and don’ts


  • Pick the most critical projects which will impact bottom line.

  • Pick talented executives for training.

  • Make the initiative popular and position it as a program which accelerates the career path of those who go through it.

  • Pilot projects should be done within 6 months.

  • Post which a standardized training calendar with regularized projects can be started.

  • Identification of addressable issue through facts and data.

  • Consent of leadership on addressable issues.

  • Appreciate efforts to improve process

  • Hand hold and give credit to doers

  • Think from Implementation perspective

  • Make sure availability of manpower for projects

  • Ensure that the organization is not in a midst of a different transformation,  else your project may go on a back burner.

  • Make sure that you escalate all hurdles against the execution to the champions and management from time to time.



  • Jump to implementation of projects in pockets

  • Spoon feed

  • Blame

  • Focus on cost only

  • Take up world hunger projects.

  • Expect a 100% project closure rate.

  • Overkill by taking up too many projects.

  • Over-promise and under-deliver


A Lean Six Sigma Implementation Strategy , like any other organizational strategy, should be prepared with careful thoughts and planning. It sets the direction of your continual improvement drive. A flawed strategy will consume time and resources without giving any fruitful results, leading to frustration among the employees and especially the ones that are part of project teams. Timely  review and change in course must be done to ensure that the strategy remains relevant and is working as an enabler in the success of the organization.

This blog has been written with inputs from many Lean Six Sigma Professionals. Sincere gratitude to all of them. The list is pretty long, hence it’s not published.

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