Do You Use (Or Try to Use) 6 Sigma in the Home?

A person trained in 6 Sigma is given a set of tools to solve problems. When you have been practising 6 Sigma for a while as I have (3 years as a Black Belt), the tools become part of your everyday life. In ‘Performance Based Leadership’ terms I have become unconsciously competent on the tools (or that’s what I’d like to think).

I sadly admit that this has been transferred into my home life.I now have a set process for getting ready in the morning, which is too sad to print.

I ask my girlfriend questions like, “Who is going to be responsible for this ‘chore’?” (taken from RACI). From my PBL training I now give feedback to friends in an objective manner (NORMS) based e.g. “You have turned up late three times to the past 5 dinner parties”. In the past I would have said, “You’re an unreliable $%$****”.

I now go into businesses and see examples of the eight forms of waste. In supermarkets at the checkout I see shoppers unpack a basket then watch the till operators scanning the goods and then watch the shoppers packing them again (3 moves) when this could be done, as I have seen it done in Japan, in 2 moves. A classic case of waste of motion! Sad observation, but I can’t help noticing it.

Comments 7

  1. Eugene Jacquescoley

    Unfortunately I have not found a task at home worthy of this process. But I plan to keep digging.

  2. JenZ

    In trying to accurately price my house, I have run regressions in Minitab to try to predict price as well as $/sq ft based upon neighborhood, #beds and bathrooms, garage and basement stats, lot size, school systems, and house style. (I found that readily quantifiable housing stats only account for about half of the variation in housing prices.) I also used logistic regression to guide my 2004 March Madness bracket picks. That wasn’t successful, by the way, just extremely geeky.

  3. Dotane harel

    I ran a 2-sample t test in Minitab to show the progress my son achieved between two report cards.

  4. Mark S. Harland

    As an MBB I decided it was about time I started practising what I preach. So I sat my wife down and explained about Six Sigma and Lean.
    In particular I went to huge lengths to explain the benefits of 5S.

    Since then I’ve tagged the b***h, and removed her from the process of going down the pub for a few beers or playing golf all weekend.

    That said, as we all know Six Sigma doesn’t come cheap, and before anyone else embarks on the same programme, they might want to consider the balance of solicitors fees against having the NVA in their home. After all I guess she really does need two cupboards just for shoes, and I suppose I could go without having more than a square inch of quilt under which to sleep, I shouldn’t really panic and scream like that when sitting in the passenger seat, and I guess whatever soap is on the box is infinately more preferable to the Champions League/ World Cup/ latest Test Match etc……….nah! it’s worth every penny, be Lean, be Mean…be Poor!!

  5. Diane

    I created a flowchart using Post-It Notes of our morning routine with my kids. They are now in college and apparently doing well. :)

  6. Matt Meyers

    As a BB, I have thought about leaning my home, and philosophically it makes no sense to me.

    First, my home is not purposely created to generate profit; it is for entertainment and relaxation (and shelter), both of which could be seen as inherently wasteful in the eyes of lean.

    Second, my finances are structured differently, too, such that keeping extra stuff on hand that is not immediately usable makes financial sense (up to a point). If I keep extra stuff around, I don’t have to go to the store later and buy something that I threw away last month. Keeping extra screws or 2x4s or other random things flies in the face of 5S.

    Third, my time at home is essentially free, because I am an employee for a large business. If I were a consultant, or I worked at home, there would be a more direct tie between my efforts and my income, such that my home time might not necessarily be "free." But, for me, it essentially is.

    Fourth, I am the end customer, so I refer to my first point.

    And fifth, my wife told me "Don’t use your work on me."

    The fifth point basically ended that line of logic for me.

  7. JenZ

    Here’s a potential cost of not "leaning" your house… or rather, my house.

    My husband is convinced we need a bigger house. Not a little bit, a lot. Not next year, yesterday. We’ve been looking for 2 years. Can’t afford the houses that have everything we want. Aren’t about to drop such big bucks on something that’s not pretty darn close to perfect. So we’re still in our 1250 sq ft shoebox with 2, soon to be 3, pre-schoolers and about 9 million toys.

    If we went through the house and took everything we don’t need, every shirt from the 80’s still hanging in the hubby’s closet, every stupid toy not touched for a month, every box of ribbons and track trophies from high school, every partially-functional Off-Road arcade game, and every scrap piece of 2×4 or wood trim that we might need "someday", and took it to the curb, we would free up, in my estimation, 350 sqft in the house and the entire 2-1/2 car garage (which houses no cars, by the way).

    If the simple, but disciplined, application of 5S could avoid the perceived need to increase mortgage interest and real estate tax expense by $15k a year, and that’s after the "big" tax savings of deductions (assuming they aren’t wiped out by the AMT this year or next), then in my book, it’s worth it !

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