Root-cause effects

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Because I’m currently reviewing the materials on cause and effect I seem to be noticing it everywhere, I wonder why? Either way finding root-causes is an essential part of my job and I have a wealth of tools available such as Ishikawa diagrams, correlation, regression models, DOE and multivariate charts. In reviewing the on-line materials […]

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A Fun Exercise YOU Can Use to Aid Facilitation

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I am trying to make Six Sigma meetings at my project in the UK fun and a little ‘different’ than the normal meetings there. I am gathering up fun exercises and video clips to play in between facilitation of the DMAIC tools. I will share with you one GREAT team exercise (I got from my […]

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Transactional Kaizen

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According to Wikipedia, the internet encyclopedia, Kaizen http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaizenis : “Japanese for “change for the better” or “improvement”, the English translation is “continuous improvement” or “continual improvement.” The goals of Kaizen include the elimination of waste (defined as “activities that add cost but do not add value”), just-in-time delivery, production load leveling of amount and types, […]

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Let Them Eat Cake

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Our organizationhasjust comethrough a phase that I’ve heard called “The Wave III Bump” by other institutions – the projects are all successful, but they just take so darn long, isn’t there any way we can speed things up? Our organization responded by moving to Lean in a big way; we’ve done Rapid Improvement Events (kaizen […]

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DBR andamp; Six Sigma

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Having worked a couple of projects combining Lean, Six Sigma, and Theory of Constraints over the past year or so, I’ve often been asked how these methodologies work together.This is still a point of great debate amongst the hardliners but generally I find most practitioners are open to learning and applying tools that improve business […]

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Shazam!

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Having spent the last week in a healthcare Rapid Improvement Event (i.e. Kaizen), I continue to marvel at the power and resourcefulness of a dedicated team of people. Our topic was “Patient Access” – in other words, how to get patients into beds more rapidly in a hospital that is typically at (or beyond) stated […]

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Which Comes First: Process or Behavior?

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Fixing or otherwise improving a process usually involves changing it in some way. For this reason, Six Sigma projects almost always involve some element of process engineering or re-engineering. On top of that, folks in deployment leader roles or similar are often tasked with developing brand new processes like project selection, candidate identification, certification, and […]

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Sustainability of Kaizens in Healthcare

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Ok, I have to pose a question for the general “Lean Thinkers” out there who are aware of how conservative healthcare is. I have been reading so many articles that highlight the success of Kaizen events in healthcare settings. However, I have to ask myself, do they really work? Do the changes really sustain? Is […]

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Analysis using Maps (Part 1)

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Here is another example of the use of IT in projects. I would like to describe how useful mapping is in data analysis. I will use a fictitious scenario. Sigma Industries have a fantastic product that VOC research says should be a phenomenal success. But the problem is product sales are not meeting expectations. As […]

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Week of a Black Belt Part 9: Challenges of Project Selection

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Why are we struggling with selecting the “right” Six Sigma Black Belt projects? The “right” projects are the projects that are delivered on time, within the budget and generating or exceeding projected savings in a sustained manner. The “wrong” projects are by default all other. Now think about your own organization. What’s the proportion of […]

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The People Side of Lean

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In the beginning… there is some valid concern expressed about the people side of lean and how individuals are affected by Lean initiatives in the public sector. There is a common, prima facie response when lean thinking is first introduced in the public sector. “We are about serving people not making cars”, they say. This […]

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What We Ask Our Black Belts To Do

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I am regularly asked what characterizes an ideal Black Belt candidate. Like most people in the field, I have a list of adjectives and descriptive phrases I can trot out at a moment’s notice. Mine comprises about 50 items under the following headings: 1) Aptitude For Change; 2) Education and Experience; 3) Intellectual Curiosity; 4) […]

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Key Performance Indicators in Strategic Planning for Six Sigma

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It is very important to understand how to create a good key performance indicator or KPI for Six Sigma.This is also true when you add Six Sigma to your strategic plan, as I have. The KPIs that you develop must first be a goal(s) of your organization, department, etc.These should be agreed upon.Remember, these will […]

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What’s the Point of a Project?

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In a perfect world, every project would lead directly to financial gain. We’d draft a charter that, when well executed, produced savings or income that translated directly to the bottom line. And this would be good because we all like making money. We can put it in the bank, earn interest on it, add many […]

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Six Sigma Beyond DMAIC

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There is a strong tendency for Six Sigma programs to forge an inextricable link between project management roadmaps, notably DMAIC, and statistical tools. This has never made much sense to me. In my experience, Six Sigma programs can not only exist and survive without the use of typical roadmaps, but prosper and flourish. In the […]

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A Brave New World

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When Jack and the lads (and ladies I’m sure) started putting together Six Sigma they got together in many rooms over many months and slowly designed an effective and data based project management and process control structure. For many years now it has worked effectively in businesses across the globe from manufacturing to finance and […]

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Unexpected Application of Lean Six Sigma Tools in Daily Operational Activities

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Sometimes operational people from my organisation approach me with “the” 1000-Euro-question: “Six Sigma guy, can you please help me analyze this set of data.” Asking me to help, they usually have an issue they really can’t resolve themselves. Perceiving Lean Six Sigma too far away from daily operations they turn in despair to the Six […]

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Change and Documentation

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In a business process improvement project, a critical factor is documenting the standard work or the “least waste way.” One of the issues I have been dealing with recently is ensuring that documentation is in place and up to date. Unfortunately as the saying goes, “the only constant is change…” and as outside factors change […]

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Lean and Six Sigma in service and manufacturing industries

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Lean and Six Sigma applications are different between service industries and manufacturing industries. Is that statement really true? There is no straightforward answer. The answer is ambiguous. It can be: no, there is no difference. But it can be: they are the same to certain extend. The answer can also be: yes, the application is […]

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Healthcare is A Lot Like Manufacturing

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Lean Six Sigma’s application to healthcare has been slow at best. One reason for this is that healthcare professionals view manufacturing as an industry that deals with the simple process of making inanimate objects. Healthcare, on the other hand, deals with complex processes that improve and prolong the functionality of the human anatomy. Consequently, healthcare […]

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Communicating Process Capability

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Have you experienced the following? Consider that after implementing an improvement the process capability has improved from 3.5 sigma to 4.2 sigma. Proudly you celebrate this very nice Six Sigma methodology success in your organisation. How many questions did you get after or during your presentation about how important this improvement really is? What does […]

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Are All Six Sigma Deployment Models Equal?

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Do all Six Sigma deployment models return the same results – proportionally – to the resources and time invested? The topic of deployment models can be a thorny issue among Six Sigma practitioners. Many claim that the best model is to initiate a Six Sigma program from the “top-down” (ala GE’s Jack Welch, who mandated […]

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