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Lean Sigma implementation scheme in the cosmetics industry.

The steps of the implementation scheme are NUMERAL ADVANCE know-how.


Business objectives for quality in cosmetics industry :

The objectives are to develop brands for the different product lines and to open new markets, especially for export (European Union, ASEAN, ALENA…).

In building a relation with its market and its consumers, the brand will use some quality criteria.

Cosmetic quality criteria :

Quality criteria are what consumers are expecting…as well as what the public authorities are controlling. In fact, the cosmetics quality criteria have different levels of compliance, from mandatory for safety reasons to “good to have” for comfort reasons. The consumer is looking for a variety of choice, some pleasant textures and easy to use (comfort criteria), but most of all, not to have is health damaged (safety criteria).

The generic quality criteria classification of cosmetics industry is:

Quality criteria classification in Cosmectics industry






  Safety/ Reliability

  Cosmetics for human consumption has to be safe for the health.

  2   Compliance   Product and processing must comply to the national food laws


  Product mensuration

  Cosmetics industry has to deliver the packaging with the required measures such as weight, size, trace element composition, fat content…


  Texture of product

  Cosmetic product must be of an attractive texture


 Attractivity   Cosmetic products have to be attractive (texture, colour, packaging


 Confidence  The general look of the product is giving a feeling of confidence and trust


 Health  The product has a beneficial influence on health



 The usage of the product must bring results


  Ease of used and packaging

Ease of use is going from cooking information, prepared food to manageable packages.


  Product information

All legal and practical information on the product must be available (on the package, website…)


  Processed in respect of SRE

All precaution for environment protection and waste management are taken during processing and for the raw material.

Business plan for quality criteria :

Quality criteria are linked to the business by the fact that consumers will pay for it as long as they think the criteria bring them some value. Good texture, easy preparation, good results and environment protection are values that the consumer is ready to pay for.

So, as for any business objective, quality criteria must be selected on the cost/revenue principle. This is building the business plan of the mandatory and the “comfort” criteria in accordance with the marketing plan.

Lean Sigma in the cosmetics industry :

If the origin of Lean Sigma is with the mechanical and high tech industries, some important consumer's good companies have successfully been using Lean Sigma method for several years to improve their performance.

Lean Sigma is the most efficient method in managing the quality criteria in accordance with the business objectives. Indeed, Lean Sigma is an improvement method and each main food standards such as GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices), ISO 9001 or ISO 14001 can benefit from this continuous improvement activity. From this starting point, it is easy to “plug-in” a Lean Sigma approach into the different Management Systems. The processes and the procedures stated in the Management System and controlled by the public authorities to grant the licence will not be changed. Business improvement can start with this initial scheme.

Lean method :

Lean method has for objective to reach optimum efficiency in the production and logistic areas. Its three main business criteria are:

  • time delivery,
  • amount of stock and work-in-progress,
  • cash flow in production and stock.

In the food processing, Lean management system will be often integrated with the traceability management system.

Six Sigma method :

Six Sigma method has for objective to reach the right level of quality. The market has expectations about quality criteria such as reliability, ease of use, availability, flexibility… With Six Sigma, the business metric of quality is unique and universal: DPMO (Defect Per Million of Opportunity against market expectations).

In the cosmetics industry, the main types of defects are:

   Quality criteria


   Examples of Defect

  Safety / reliability

  Salmonella, Trichinella


  Missing information on label

  Product size

  140 instead of 150 oz for the ingredient's quantity

  Product texture

  Bad looking after lying in the sun


  No result after several months of use

  Ease of use

  No indication on how to use it


  No stock on the retailer shelf spaces during a promotion campaign

  Environmental requirement

  Polluted water from production unit not being reprocessed

Combining Lean and Six Sigma will lead to quick delivery and low cash-flow with no defect.

Business improvement with Lean Sigma :

Lean and Six Sigma are quantitative methods (statistical and analytical) for tracking defects and optimizing workflow.

The business improvements that Lean Sigma will bring are:

  • to focus on quality criteria expected from the market,
  • to benchmark its quality and efficiency level and to compare it with the competitive level,
  • to link financial and operational objectives through the quality criteria,
  • to use the Lean Sigma ISO standard for getting the Best Practices (ISO13053).

Experiences of using Lean Sigma as an improvement method have demonstrated decrease in general costs from 25 to 40% without new investment.

Deployment of Lean Sigma with NUMERAL ADVANCE :

The Lean Sigma programme will be introduced in four steps:

Diagnostic and benchmark :

This first step is to evaluate the quality level (Six Sigma) and the efficiency (Lean) of your organisation focused on the selected criteria. This diagnostic will include a benchmark on quality and efficiency.

  1. The first step is to settle the most competitive criteria of the organisation.
  2. Then, market prices are collected in order to establish the Quality/Price benchmark on those criteria.
  3. Then, a second benchmark is processed for the costs of quality to fulfill those criteria.

NUMERAL ADVANCE can supply benchmarks for the major geographical regions around the world (Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia) and the main European countries.


  • selection of the criteria,
  • evaluation of the company quality level on the different criteria,
  • benchmark with the market levels (markets expectations),
  • benchmark of the costs of Quality Management System (QMS),
  • diagnostic comments.

See for details about criteria and business

Entering new markets with Lean Sigma :

The resulting numbers form the previous benchmarks will fuel the plan to open new markets. Indeed, knowing the type of criteria and the level of quality that are expected, it is easier to build a business plan that will take advantage of the strong points (origin, recipe, bio practices, high concentration of vitamins, unique appearance, preparation…) and turn them into revenues.

This quality business plan shall be build on the principles of Lean Sigma method : business objectives, quality contribution to business, team organisation, sponsorship, monitoring and corrective actions…

At a global level, criteria and their quality level are different from one region to the other (Americas, Europe, Asia…). The business plan will include a step by step approach starting with the markets that give quick results and preparing for the long term markets.


  • selection of markets from the previously selected criteria,
  • food regulation requirements costs analysis on these markets,
  • financial figures from Lean Sigma to build the quality business plan (costs of QMS in its life cycle),
  • implementation of the quality business plan in accordance with the general marketing plan.

Lean Sigma implementation :

This step is to deploy the Lean Sigma practices and procedures designed to reach the business objectives. These practices and procedures will be integrated into the existing Management System (ISO 9001, ISO 14001...).

Training and coaching Lean Sigma procedures :

The personnel will be trained and coached for the Lean Sigma practices and procedures that were previously implemented.