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Steven J. Pautz

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Voice of the Customer: Have You Asked Enough Questions?

To drive improvement through Lean Six Sigma and other continuous improvement projects, it is imperative for practitioners to determine first what is important to the customers who are affected by the process. Customers can take on a variety of different views. Listed below are examples of typical customers identified in a SIPOC diagram (suppliers, inputs,…

Hypothesis Testing: Fear No More

When analyzing data as part of a Lean Six Sigma project, some Belts can become confused to the point of fear when their coach tells them they need to perform a hypothesis test. This fear often comes from two sources: 1) the selection of the appropriate hypothesis test and 2) the interpretation of the results….


Not Everything Needs DMAIC

After coaching Lean Six Sigma for the last 12 years, it is still surprising to see how many projects get cancelled because they are not considered “valid.” Practitioners and managers must remember that this methodology is designed for making process improvements. If leadership cannot identify a broken process, more work by the project sponsor is…


FMEA Can Add Value in Various Project Stages

The failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) tool has several variations. In transactional environments, it is sometimes referred to as an EMEA – where E stands for human errors. Other variations include the process FMEA (pFMEA) and design FMEA (dFMEA). The fundamental purpose of any FMEA, however, is to identify, evaluate and take actions to…

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Gain Support with Organizational Improvement Strategy

Striving to improve should be the prime directive for all business leaders. If organizations do not improve, they run the risk of getting left behind. So the question is: What is the best strategy or approach for improvement? Over the last 20 years, many continuous improvement initiatives have been introduced, but only one seems to…

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What’s in a Name? It’s the Approach, Not the Name

This article is the first of two on using a systematic approach to implementing a strategic initiative. The second article is “What’s in a Name? Systematic Approach to an Initiative.” For more than 30 years, global competition has driven businesses to seek new and better ways to be competitive in the marketplace. Some companies, in…

What’s in a Name? Systematic Approach to an Initiative

This article is the second of two on using a systematic approach to implementing a strategic initiative. The first article is “What’s in a Name? It’s the Approach, Not the Name.” When a company decides to deploy a strategic initiative, whether the approach is called Six Sigma or something else, it must stay focused on…

Help for Project Leaders: ‘Advanced Data Door Worksheet’

Difficulties can arise in any phase of a Lean Six Sigma process improvement project, but one issue often shows up early in projects using the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) model. When Black Belts or Green Belts charged with running an improvement project reach the Measure phase, they are confronted with the question: What…

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