Supplement FMEA with a Risk Priority Matrix for Better Results

Within the world of risk management – a common aspect of improvement projects – there is a distinction between response and mitigation. A response is taken in reaction to risk, while mitigation is undertaken proactively. Thus, responses are implemented once risk materializes, and mitigation actions must be planned and implemented before a risk presents itself….


Why Lean Manufacturing Fails

During both prosperous and difficult times, successful businesses naturally look for new ways to improve performance. However, in recent years, as the world economy suffered through one of the worst recessions in history, many companies turned in droves to Lean and other variations of continuous improvement programs to rescue their sagging businesses. But, did they…


Understanding Six Sigma Deployment Failures

A recent iSixSigma Discussion Forum thread posed the following question: “Have there been any Six Sigma deployments that have failed?” My answer is ambiguous enough to make me sound like a politician. The question immediately begs definition of the term “failure.” My definition of a failure would be anything that does not deliver the Return…


To Save Cost, Set Product Warranties Based on Quality

Imagine you are the quality manager for a consumer electronics manufacturer. At the previous staff meeting, the CEO asked the management team for ideas that could help the company become more competitive and increase profits. It is now one month later. During the staff meeting, members of the marketing department present some research that shows…


Rush to Enact Solutions Sabotages a DMAIC Project

In 2004, a small and relatively young technology company (7,500 employees and an annual revenue of $2 billion) implemented the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002, or what is usually referred to as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). In an effort to be fully compliant the company identified and initiated more than…