This week there was quite a bit of Six Sigma chatter in the headlines… The U.S. Army regularly makes the news these days touting their success with Lean Six Sigma. This latest article, Lean Six Sigma Eases Fiscal Constraint Challenges, from mentions that the Army saved $30 million last year from applying Lean Six Sigma to the Humvee line. Read more about the Army’s business transformation efforts in Army Continues to Make Progress in Business Transformation.

More from the government sector… King County in Washington, USA, is working towards Six Sigma with their mail-in ballot collection and reporting process. An article that ran in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2004 urged government to hold election standards to Six Sigma. Looks like they got the message in King County.

Invistics released the results from a survey of more than 1,500 pharmaceutical manufacturers. Notable findings include, “more than half of the respondents said their companies have implemented lean, Six Sigma or Operational Excellence” but “less than half of those lean initiatives have produced satisfactory results.” The article goes on to state the reason success is limited in the pharma industry, “…fundamental complexities of the pharmaceutical manufacturing process…

Here’s my question…So the “less than half” that are successful with their initiatives, are their fundamental processes less complex or do they just know how to improve a process, complex or not? I don’t think you can blame a complex process for a Lean or Six Sigma initiative failing to produce satisfactory results. There’s got to be more to it than that.

3M, a well-known Six Sigma company, recently launched the ePassport Reader. A “rigorous and extensive Six Sigma launch process” is credited to making ePassport Reader flexible, reliable and robust.

And last but not least, a big shout out to Travis Eck, Manager of Operations for Trinity Real Estate Solutions Inspections division, for earning his Black Belt. His project involved reducing the cycle time of inspections. Congrats on earning your Black Belt Travis! (And kudos to Trinity for their unique way of recognizing Travis’ Six Sigma achievement by issuing a press release.)

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