Lean and Six Sigma were evolved within manufacturing industries and typically in the product and manufacturing functions. However, manufacturers implementing Lean Six Sigma found that their customers weren’t just focused on price and quality but also service. In the mid-1990s, a pre-eminent manufacturer did a disloyalty survey (clients who switched to another supplier) and found that 70% of the disaffected customers left because of ‘poor service’ i.e. difficult to do business with and so they found another supplier with better service. Hence, these companies began to apply Lean Six Sigma to their business processes and service processes.
With the adoption of Lean Six Sigma by GE Capital in 1996, the Lean Six Sigma methods were shown to apply to transaction and service businesses and industries. The intent of Lean Six Sigma is to streamline process, reduce waste and deliver to the customer what the customer wants when the customer wants it. Lean Six Sigma has made its way from the shop floor to all industries. The Lean methodology has leverage in streamlining processes and reducing waste including defects. The Six Sigma has leverage in quantifying cause and effect relationships for defect reduction and design efforts. The two complement each other and have overlapping synergies.