iSixSigma

Blogs

Blogs from iSixSigma Version 1.0 and 2.0 (Years 2000 to 2011).

The Fastest Way to Achieve Zero Defects

In the aerospace industry, zero defects has been the driver for customers and competition since Phil Crosby and his team at the Martin Company provided the Army with a zero defect missile in the 1960s. This is not a new concept but the first question that comes to mind is: how much do we need…

5 Service-based Business Process Mapping Tips

Business process mapping is a great method for understanding the complex processes that impact a business’s bottom line. Comparing a map of how a process is supposed to work and how a process actually works can be revealing. These methods, originally developed to understand manufacturing processes, do not always translate well to service or transactional…

Case Study: Optimizing Fuel Economy

Late last year, I decided to upgrade my vehicle. For seven years I’d driven a Honda Civic. It was nothing special, just a reliable vehicle with good gas mileage – the perfect commuter car. But now I’ve got two kids, own a home and picked up woodworking as a hobby; fitting car seats and dimensional…

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Process Improvement in the Age of Smart Manufacturing

Process improvement projects have typically been a labor-intensive and imprecise process. Labor-intensive in that capturing the as-designed vs the actual current-state process required facilitated meetings, interviews, surveys and analyzing operational data over an extended time period. Imprecise in that workers will typically act differently when they know they are being watched and measured. The Hawthorne…

Collecting Ideas for Improvement – ASPIRE

Building a culture of continuous improvement within an organization goes beyond the ability to execute process improvement projects. An organization that supports continuous improvement promotes a non-blaming culture, focuses on the improvement responsibility of all employees and uses the talent of the entire workforce. Such an organization empowers employees to speak up when they see…

5 Suggestions for an OpEX Practitioner in a Digital World

The Lean Six Sigma (LSS) Green Belt and Black Belt curriculum needs an overhaul. The original operational excellence (OpEx) Lean Six Sigma methodology developed by Motorola in the 1980s and made famous by Jack Welch at General Electric (GE) in the early 1990s is finding itself a bit long in the tooth in comparison to…

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Understanding Permutations and Combinations

In Six Sigma problem solving, it is often important to calculate the likelihood that a combination of events or an ordered combination of events will occur. Understanding some of the basic concepts of probability provides practitioners with the tools to make predictions about events or event combinations. This provides a good foundation for understanding probability…

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Case Study: 5S in Practice

5S is a Lean tool that helps in workplace organization. The following is the list of five Japanese words and their translation in English. (Seiri) Sorting and prioritizing: Going through all the tools, materials, etc., in the work area and keeping only the essential items. Everything else is stored or discarded. (Seiton) Straighten or set…

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A Macro That Writes Macros

If you are like me, you may find yourself writing a fair number of MS Excel macros to automate repeatable tasks. One day it dawned on me, however, that several of the aspects of writing macros were repeatable tasks themselves. When writing a macro I would often start by: Creating a data structure that would…

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Driving Change One Project at a Time

When you try to perform process improvement, whether for cost, quality or other reasons, you will often find yourself in an environment where the status quo is the status quo. You may be new, and find yourself awash in a sea of this-is-how-we-do-things. People are in their comfort zones. Management may or may not get…

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How Much Training Is Needed to Create Good Black Belts?

One would think that with the levels of standardization and process efficiency we drive in Lean Six Sigma that there would be consensus on how much training a certified Black Belt should receive. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, despite the herculean efforts by the American Society of Quality (ASQ) and the…

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Everybody, Every Day: What’s Next for the Professional Problem Solver?

From safety to quality to productivity, there’s a trend in the way organizations have approached process-oriented movements. Starting as the responsibility of an individual or a group of people, to be successful, the movement inevitably shifts to shared accountability – it becomes the responsibility of everybody, every day. Professional problem solvers that have taken this…

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Growing Your Business

Every organization is under pressure to drive success for shareholders, stakeholders and owners. Organizations retreat to their comfort zones when challenged with achieving higher levels of success. Frequently, this results in controlling the bottom line. Continuous improvement can be used to enable top-line growth. Figure 1 shows a compelling reason to focus on improving your…

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Congratulations iSixSigma Movers and Shakers!

Have you been paying attention to your iSixSigma User Profile rankings? We’ve had a couple of community members jump levels in the past few months. We offer our thanks and congratulations to them for being a part of the iSixSigma community! Gary P. Cox: Silver Shelby Jarvis: Silver Forgotten what the rankings are? Want to…

Using Performance Boards Successfully in Services

Faced with stiffening competition, increasingly demanding customers, high labor costs, and, in some markets, slowing growth, service businesses around the world are trying to boost their productivity. Although manufacturing businesses can raise productivity levels by monitoring and reducing waste and variance in their relatively homogeneous production and distribution processes, service businesses find that improving performance…

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Leveraging Lean Six Sigma Tools for Strategic Planning

The Northern Regional Medical Command (NRMC) Office of the Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) is a team of high caliber military and civilian leaders tasked with deploying and supporting the use of information technology across 33 hospitals and clinics up and down the Eastern seaboard and extending as far West as the Mississippi River. This…

Cold Beer

I have to admit this is one of my favorite subjects – beer! Recently I toured the Ellis Island Casino and Brewery in Las Vegas. Our guide stated that their customers loved “cold” beer. Like most of you I immediately thought of Six Sigma critical-to-quality (CTQ) trees. (Yes, this stuff can be a curse.) As…

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A Look at 6S

The Lean Six Sigma (LSS) tool 6S has long been used by LSS practitioners as a tool for organizing work spaces from shop floors to operating rooms. This tool can also have tremendous value in organizing an area where many workers spend the majority of their work time – the electronic workspace. 6S Overview 6S…

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Should You Invest in Growth Potential or Talent?

The Difference Between a Growth Mindset and a Fixed Mindset “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” – Pablo Picasso As the engineering manager of a large manufacturing facility, Rick had a knack for identifying talent. Rick had a set of criteria that…

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“Good” Continuous Improvement Programs

The startling fact is that most continuous improvement programs – whether they use Six Sigma, Lean, total quality management or some other methodology – fail to survive in the long term (Edward Pound, 2014). This stands in stark contrast with programs like the Toyota Production System that has been successful for over 60 years and…

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Congratulations iSixSigma Movers and Shakers!

Have you been paying attention to your iSixSigma User Profile rankings? We’ve had a couple of community members jump levels in the past month. We offer our thanks and congratulations to them for being a part of the iSixSigma community! Chris Seider: Gold Trish G: Silver Michael Carver: Copper Forgotten what the rankings are? Want…

Statistical Analysis and Data Mining Top Skill of 2014

LinkedIn, the largest and most popular business-oriented social networking service, announced over the weekend their top 25 “hottest skills” of 2014. What is a “hot skill” you’re likely wondering, as I did. Basically, LinkedIn looked across all 330 million member profiles, determined who was hired, which jobs were posted that recruiters were searching for talented…

What Process Improvement Can Learn From Soccer

Billions of people across the globe were bitten by soccer fever in 2014. It’s a sport that is widely followed and has the highest level of thrill. The other day I was watching a repeat telecast of the Brazil vs Chile match. It was an exciting match that went into extra time and then eventually…

Benchmarking Is Not an Option

Over the course of the last year, I have had the privilege to speak with many companies that are either starting or are in the early stages of business transformation. It is astounding how many have not engaged in any form of benchmarking and even more astounding that many never intend to. Most understand the…

Congratulations iSixSigma Movers and Shakers!

Are you paying attention to your iSixSigma User Profile rankings? Get your ranking higher like two community members have in the past month. We offer our thanks and congratulations to them for being a part of the iSixSigma community! Pranali Humne: Aluminum Eric Maass: Aluminum You can earn reputation points a variety of ways, including:…

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