The House of Lean Six Sigma – Room 1

In Part 1 of this series, we reviewed the foundational concepts of Allergan’s visualization of The House of Lean Six Sigma, covering both the Foundation and Roof of their house diagram.

In this installment, we move to Room 1. In the context of Lean Six Sigma, when a problem is known, and its cause is known, this represents a ripe opportunity for immediate application of the Improve stage of the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) methodology. This scenario allows teams to harness their expertise in devising and implementing appropriate solutions. They might optimize processes, reduce waste, and increase efficiencies while establishing controls to maintain the improved state and prevent the problem’s reoccurrence.

DMAIC – Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control

DMAIC is the more well-known and most-used Lean Six Sigma project method. DMAIC focuses on improving an existing process by incorporating the following phases:

  • Define: Define the problem, output to be improved, customers, and process associated with the problem.
  • Measure: Collect data from the process to establish a baseline for the improvements.
  • Analyze: Analyze the data to find the root causes of defects.
  • Improve: Develop, test, and implement solutions to improve the process.
  • Control: Implement process controls to sustain the improvements.

Room 1 Tools

Kaizen Blitz

Also known as a Kaizen event or Kaizen burst, a Kaizen Blitz is a concentrated, short-term project to improve a process. It involves a cross-functional team working together intensely for a defined period, often a week, to identify and implement rapid improvements. The objective is to quickly eliminate waste, increase efficiency, and achieve measurable results.

Control Plans

Control Plans are essential documents in the Control phase of Lean Six Sigma, outlining the strategy for maintaining improvements. They detail the methods and measures for controlling key process input and output variables, including the monitoring procedures, response plans for dealing with out-of-control conditions, and the responsibilities of team members. Control Plans help ensure that the gains achieved during the project are sustainable over time.


Poka-Yoke is a Japanese term loosely translated to “mistake-proofing.” In Lean Six Sigma, it refers to any mechanism or technique that helps an equipment operator avoid mistakes. The goal is to design the process so that errors are either impossible or immediately noticeable, preventing defects.


Known as Jidoka in the Toyota Production System, autonomation is the concept of automated processes that can stop in response to abnormal conditions. This allows for immediate issue identification and resolution, preventing the production of defective products and promoting quality at the source.

Just Do It!

In the context of Lean Six Sigma, “Just Do It!” refers to making simple, obvious improvements without going through the complete DMAIC process. These are typically low-risk, beneficial changes that don’t require detailed analysis to validate their effectiveness. They allow for immediate results and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

SMED (Single-Minute Exchange of Die)

SMED stands for Single-Minute Exchange of Die, a system devised to dramatically reduce the time it takes to complete equipment changeovers. The technique is one of the many lean production methods for reducing waste in a manufacturing process. It provides a rapid and efficient way of converting a manufacturing process from running the current product to running the following product.

CFM (Critical Few Metrics)

CFM, or Critical Few Metrics, are the limited vital metrics that accurately represent the health and success of the Lean Six Sigma project or process. The selection of CFM is based on their direct influence on key business or project objectives. These metrics drive decision-making and help to monitor and control the process effectively, ensuring alignment with the overall goals.


While these tools are an integral part of a Six Sigma program, they can also be implemented as standalone quality improvement actions or as part of other process improvement initiatives. Return for future articles in this series to learn more about the other tools that support the House of Lean Six Sigma.

Process improvement is a way of life at Thurman Co.

In addition to an in-house culture that thrives on ownership and responsibility throughout our team, we help businesses manage projects to significantly impact their success and growth, which often includes analyzing and improving processes.

When you’re ready to put your project in the hands of a trusted professional organization, contact us to learn more about working together.

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