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Keeping an Organization Healthy

I’m sure most of you have seen infomercials for get-fit-quick gimmicks. There’s a man on the TV who excitedly tells you of a way to lose weight and get fit in seven days. We fall for these gimmicks time after time with the same result … a new contraption that sits unused, except as a place to…

Where’s Your Data?!

I’ve had more than one colleague accuse me of being overly focused on the data when making business decisions. Clearly I’m not the only one. Who else feels like this kid some days?

What Gets Measured Gets Done

Ever heard the phrase “What gets measured gets done?” It gets tossed around when someone is trying to convince you of adding a metric to your project or scorecard. It sounds good, doesn’t it? If we can measure X, then we will achieve the performance we want. It is not that easy. Simply measuring something…

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Help with a Future iSixSigma Article on Gage R&R

Hello iSixSigma readers! We are working on an article about gage R&R and need your help with data collection for analysis. What we need: Raw data itself (either 5-part or 10-part analyses including operators, parts, trials and measurements) The tolerance spread Is this one- or two-sided tolerance What we would like: Gage family information (e.g.,…

Survey on Black Belt Return on Investment – Get Free Results!

In 2005 iSixSigma published its first original research on Black Belt return on investment. The project explored the return on investment companies achieve through Black Belt improvement projects.   Seven years later, iSixSigma is revisiting this topic and I hope that you will participate today – https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FBCWQW7. Help us learn what’s changed and what’s stayed the…

What Is Your Proudest Project Accomplishment?

The interviewer asked me: “What is your proudest project accomplishment?” I’m sure she wanted to hear about traditional success measures like millions of dollars saved, cycle time decreased or customer satisfaction increased. I blurted out – my preschool! While it most likely cost me the interview, that moment reminded me of other important problems we solve. Like…

Minitab Training in Seattle With Eduardo Santiago

I enjoyed taking the Washington State Ferry across Puget Sound from Bainbridge Island today, then driving to Kirkland (East Seattle) to attend Minitab‘s statistics training session. As advertised, Minitab delivered: [div4 class=”approved2″ class2=”module-icon”]Learn to use Minitab Statistical Software to analyze your project data by attending Minitab Training in Seattle, WA March 19-23, 2012. The hands-on…

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All That Glitters Isn’t Gold

Gold’s recent run on Wall Street made me think about what makes businesses valuable. Gold represents an investment; business invests its capital into tools, equipment and facilities. Conjuring up thoughts of gold I imagined someone grabbing a cloth and physically shining up some jewelry or a gold bar. I chuckled. Who shines a gold bar? But who…

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Roadblocks to Implementation

Every Six Sigma project and Lean event goes exactly as planned right? There are many reasons for detours during your project journey; unfortunately, many of these are unpredictable. As much as we try to avoid these pitfalls by following established methodologies or hiring experienced project management personnel, it remains clear that some of the best…

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Participate in iSixSigma’s 9th Annual Salary Survey

It is time for iSixSigma’s 9th annual Global Six Sigma Salary Survey! Every year iSixSigma analyzes information in its Job Shop database to produce a Six Sigma-specific salary report.   Please note: Although the data is pulled from our Job Shop, it is only presented in aggregated or summarized format; no personally identifying information is…

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Hiring a Lean Mindset

I was recently asked if I was aware of any research on the advantages of hiring people with a “Lean mindset” vs. those with specific industry experience. My response was, regretfully, that I did not know of any documented research. I was then asked, would I prefer that my company hire people with a “Lean…

Communicate Change Throughout the Value Stream

I was recently asked, “What is the most efficient way to communicate change throughout the value stream?” What I am about to propose does not need to take the place of other methods to communicate change. Historically, email, newsletters, video or updating policies all have had their place. I have had good experiences using a…

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Learn to Use Your iSixSigma Profile

Michael Cyger is on a roll with videos about the new iSixSigma.com – he’s posted a new one on how to use your iSixSigma profile. If you have any questions about how to upload your avatar (I needed help with the cropping feature), learn what’s contributing to your reputation, add your bio and more, this is…

New Year, New Site

Welcome to iSixSigma.com Version 4.0! I am excited to announce the launch of iSixSigma.com, Version 4.0, after purchasing back iSixSigma on November 7th. In this short video, I describe some of the new features and exciting updates we’ve made to this version of iSixSigma. Next Video: How to Use iSixSigma.com »

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iSixSigma Founder Promises Rebirth of Lean Six Sigma Website

Readers will again have access to the best Six Sigma, Lean and operational excellence resources as well as more ways to share, learn and discover Bainbridge Island, Wash (PRWEB) November 08, 2011: iSixSigma.com, the leading online community and resource portal dedicated to Six Sigma, Lean and other operational excellence methodologies, is back under the ownership…

Painted into a Corner- Practical Leadership Tips

As I travel the country for Auburn University, assisting companies with lean implementations, one of the first signs of resistance occurs during the discussion of standards. Just last week, a supervisor said, “the operators feel like standards are painting them into a corner and don’t allow room for dealing with problems.” When I hear this…

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Disaster Preparedness

Greetings! This is my first blog for iSixSigma. By way of introduction, I’m on the outreach faculty of Auburn University where I support local industry with leadership coaching and lean implementation services. I look forward to sharing the common goal of continuous improvement and daily learning! As most of you know, Alabama was hit with…

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Are you ready for a run?

I was running outside in the back country on a beautiful morning. It reminded me of the summer days when I was training for marathons with groups of runners. Those were some most memorable days I ever had, a lot of hard work, sweat, pain, but also full of fun. What does it have to…

Beware of Tools and 'The Next Big Thing'

Isn’t it amazing how there’s “the next big thing” everyday? Headlines from blogs, sales websites, newspapers, even Twitter and LinkedIn, carry this headline continuously. How many of these “things” really are new? Years ago when I started my continuous improvement journey, I read about Deming and Juran. Quality Circles and SPC were big. Then Total…

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VOC – Not Fast or Easy

Voice of the customer, often qualitative in nature, may appear simple. But identifying the right customers and their needs, in my opinion, is exceedingly challenging in practice.

Eliminate the 8th Waste

In these difficult economic times it is vital now more than ever that organizational leadership understand and implement the best defense against all types of waste. Value added analysis and percentage increases to the overall value added activity must be among the top measurements for all employees. Non-value activities need to be reduced and cultural…

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Lean Manufacturing Vs. Continuous Improvement

Let’s start off by defining Lean manufacturing. Lean (as described on multiple on-line resources) is described as a production practice that focuses on the elimination of wasteful elements in all process to increase the value to the customer. Sounds great! What organization wouldn’t want to implement a program to eliminate waste? The problem is that…

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Webinar Shares Nordstrom Best Practices on Statistical Process Control

Got best practices? If you’ve been attending (or separately purchasing components of) the iSixSigma “Best of the Best” Webinar Series, you are on your way. These hour-long sessions deliver process improvement secrets from some of the world’s most respected companies. The first two sessions in the series featured best practices from MoneyGram International (“MoneyGram’s Transformation…

To script or not to script customer interactions?

In light of our overall desire to standardize processes in order to reduce variation, I’ve seen a fair share of projects in the service or transactional spaces where one of the recommendations is to script key parts of the customer interaction. While this may make sense to help shorten a call or standardize the interaction,…

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Rush Hour

If you travel to multiple sites to support projects as I do, you know what it is like to drive on the highway during rush hour. Last week I was driving to another company site, which is normally about 1.5 hours away if there is no traffic. I was cruising at the speed limit until…

Creating a DMAIC Pathway for Innovation

The common Six Sigma roadmap can provide value in even the most unstructured environments By Braden Kelley On the surface, the DMAIC roadmap and the concept of innovation appear to be mutually exclusive ideas. At least that’s what many critics have claimed is the Achilles’ heel of the Six Sigma methodology. Six Sigma and innovation,…

Driving Government Improvements at the 2011 Performance Symposium

Continuous improvement (CI) practitioners know that Lean Six Sigma can be applied to almost any business process to achieve positive results. But perhaps no other sector better represents the challenges and potential of Six Sigma than the federal government. In the case of the U.S. military, incremental performance improvements can be a matter of life…

Do Organizational Leaders Really Understand CI?

Many times in our industry, organizational leaders spout that they desire and believe in continuous improvement. They use the latest buzzwords and seem very serious when they communicate the new direction that they want to take. I don’t know if CI is truly understood by many organizational leaders due to the fact that most of…

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Notes on Newt, Comments on Coffee, and Memos on MoneyGram

Ramblings, grumblings and samplings from the desk of Paul V. Arnold on June 9, 2011: Notes on Newt: iSixSigma publisher Katie Barry forwarded a Politico.com article to me this morning that chronicled Newt Gingrich’s formal signing in New Hampshire of a pledge to adopt Lean Six Sigma principles if elected President of the United States….

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Project Termination and LSS Certification

How often are your DMAIC projects terminated before their completion? While it’s a benefit to make early decisions in the Define or Measure phase to stop unpromising and/or non-priority projects, it can be difficult in the later phases after the organization has invested in significant time and resources. The problem is not unique to continuous…

2011 Energy Forum Got Attendees Pumped Up and Energized

Nearly 150 change management professionals representing more than 60 companies in the oil & gas and utilities sectors attended the 2011 iSixSigma Live! Energy Forum for Process Excellence on May 16-19 in Houston. Those attendees came from 19 states and eight countries (United States, plus Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Thailand and the United…

Workshops Open Up 2011 iSixSigma Energy Forum in Houston

Three exceptional workshops opened up the third annual iSixSigma Energy Forum for Process Excellence, being held May 16-19 at the Westin Oaks Hotel in Houston. The workshops, attended May 16 by a host of leaders in the oil & gas and utilities sectors, were as follows: “Change Management: The Cornerstone of a Successful Lean Six…

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Energy Forum Preview: Smart Solutions to Smart Meter Challenges

One of the “holy grails” of continuous process improvement is the reliable collection and analysis of real-time data. At Southern California Edison (SCE), one of the largest utilities in the United States, this fine level of data is being given not only to the process improvement teams, but to their customers, as well, in the…

What’s Inside the May/June Issue

The latest issue of iSixSigma Magazine highlights the DFSS program at John Deere Power Systems, measures the critical inputs for Lean Six Sigma success and offers tips for recharging your deployment.

Productivity and Employment

When talking about Lean and Six Sigma, people often associate them with improved productivity. Other times they associate them with their possible consequences: high profitability or loss of jobs. In today’s economic environment, many people are concerned with the potential trade-off between productivity improvement and employment. But is there such a trade-off relationship? A recent…

Master Black Belt Certification – The value of program leadership

  As many of you know, there are significant differences in Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt expectations and certification criteria between organizations. Typically Master Black Belt certifications focus on advanced tool knowledge, training/project coaching experience, portfolio management and program leadership to name a few of the most common ones. While I’ve always thought that…

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Introductions – A deployment leader’s blog

Hello fellow Lean Six Sigma professionals! Not so long ago, in conversation with iSixSigma, the opportunity to start blogging to share ideas and insights on deployment leadership came up. In addition to the personal blog that I’ve been maintaining for the past few months on WordPress in which I’ve been touching on a broad range…

The End of The Beginning

Everyone building Lean Six Sigma in an organization probably agrees that the challenge is not teaching the tools but changing the mindset. As many of us have experienced, we could introduce misconceptions that are counter-productive. For example, there are a lot of discussions or even debates on the standards of Black Belt certification – what…

Welcome to My New Blog

Throughout my professional career, I have always considered myself to be a life-long learner and educator who has continually strived to improve my own skill set as well as many of my business colleagues. My primarily focus for competency development has related to how organizations can become more effective in problem solving/prevention, innovation and continuous…

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Trust

I read a lot of our client’s feedback, pages and pages of comments and thoughts. I use this information to align our processes and improve our customer experience. Let me touch on one area. When I read comments from people who think highly of us a single word appears repeatedly – Responsive and its visa-a-versa…

Highlights from the 2011 Retail Forum for Process Excellence

iSixSigma’s first Retail Forum for Process Excellence, presented by SSA & Company, wrapped up last week at the Westin Edina Galleria in Minneapolis. Attendees at the four-day event had the opportunity to learn from workshops, keynote addresses, breakout sessions, panel discussions and a site tour. They also had a chance to meet, network and share…

Targets are great

The curtains were drawn the room was dark. The man tied to the chair could not escape. The kidnapers were out negotiating the ransom. The man spied his iPhone on the table. He shuffled the chair forward inch by inch. Leaning forward he activated his iPhone with his nose. He managed to start e-mail and…