Martin K. Hutchison


  • 1) Having managers above you who have no clue how to use or manage you. You will find managers who want to “project manage” you to the point that artificial deadlines and tangible targets become your driving factor, not improvement (chase $$/year in a non-bottleneck process, or in a process that itself is compensation for an upstream problem that…[Read more]

  • I don’t think the key is being a SS company, but in being a Continuous Improvement company. SS is a tool for continuous improvement. When functional managers are themselves always improving and encourage their people to work cross-functionally on their priorities and also on other functions priorities, then you can pull out the bag of Lean/SS/TOC…[Read more]

  • Think in terms of SIPOC- Supplier, Input, Process, Output, Customer. Your process map is full of them, but maybe missing some.

    Go to a process owner and ask what inputs he gets and from whom. Think information as well as parts, tools, equipment, even work instructions and drawings. Ask what would make those inputs better. Then ask what good looks…[Read more]

  • For supplied parts, perhaps a lot acceptance sampling plan for KQC’s and have a defined response for when lots fail?

    Otherwise fly to china and put SPC charts on their walls and train them to use them, get data sent to you electronically every night. Good luck with that. 2 years, 3 months ago

  • I hate the practical implementation of measurements for CI. Often we know that a company is out of control, that we have processes that no one thinks is effective, yet we don’t spend the time correcting them (as a CI project) because we don’t know how to accurately forecast the results and timeline.

    Then when we do tackle these issues, we find…[Read more]

  • @johnelwer “Is six sigma a way of running a company or just another set of tools anyone can use without the required strategic commitment?”

    Wow. So there is a “breakthrough” in thinking that happens along the way to really understanding Continuous Improvement, and part of that is understanding that the first part is partially true and the second…[Read more]

  • “Works for us” is one of the top justifications that I have heard for ineffective practices that I have heard.

    If you think of SS in terms of “opportunities to make a mistake” and its iterations, you could run 10 parts through 3 tollgates and measure units into the tollgate vs. bad units, and thus each tollgate has a FPY. You could then sum the…[Read more]

  • You cannot plan it, and unlike someone posting above, I would never set a time limit for the define phase, unless calling a project complete is more important than calling it a true success.

    I say define takes as long as it takes. Since you have to define it in measurable terms, those two items overlap. And if you want to solve a complex problem,…[Read more]

  • Don’t do it wrong.

    The point about shortcuts isn’t about being laborious in your effort. Imagine situations whereby you could do things right and have your ERP manage data (for example, use workorders to […]

  • After your first paragraph,I disagree, Anita. You seem to favor a VSM first approach, and that often leads to improving a process that you don’t really want. I saw this before in a company that thought PFMEA was […]

  • Effective change is imagining the future you want and then getting there. At this point, the work tends to focus on removing roadblocks. Asking “why” we do what we do now is useful, it can uncover KQC’s for the […]

  • If you are interested, do the ASQ SS Green Belt certification. Don’t represent yourself as an expert, but you will then be familiar with the processes and tools. It will take time as a team member before being able to lead a team.

    Meanwhile, do some studying on how to find the right things to put these tools to work on. SS is just a tool. Knowing…[Read more]

  • 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 […]

  • I use a SIPOC during my due diligence to decide who to talk to and/or who to bring on the team (stakeholder functions with a contribution or view of the problem that may be different from that of the in-process “expert”). It is an easy tool to use to make sure that you capture all the physical and information inputs and outputs for the basic…[Read more]

  • In my view, the issues are a lack of understanding of what a true continuous improvement culture really is and the desperate need for it. If a workplace thinks they have that part, the next step is Root Cause Analysis skill. So many managers focus upwards on politics, not downward on functional imperative that their efforts to drive RCA result in…[Read more]

  • Not to be mean, but the wording of your post sounds like you jumped into a BB without practical work experience. That does not a Black Belt make.

    Most folks looking to hire a BB are looking for people who have applied it, preferably before even getting the certification. Your challenge now is to find a respectible entry level professional job (If…[Read more]

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