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PhD recycling to SixSigma

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  • #35162

    drivm1
    Participant

    I am a PhD, MPH in social epidemiology/lots of biostatistics and presentations/publications  interested in applying Six Sigma in Health Care Informatics Management. How do I get started getting a certification as a Green Belt or Black Belt without depending on  employer/employment supported workshops and assuming that out-of-pocket workshops are out of reach financially?
    Thanks for all suggestions.

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    #98120

    Ken Feldman
    Participant

    Pick up a few of the popular books and start reading.  Research the internet to find examples of applications in healthcare.  If private work shops are out of reach financially, try university based programs, they may be cheaper.  Good luck and there is lots of opportunity to improve healthcare by applying SS.

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    #98189

    Malcolm T. Upton
    Participant

    I’d second Darth’s suggestion, with these two additions. Give higher priority to integrated Lean Six Sigma sources, and try to find sources that at least give equal time to service, if not concentrating on it. Almost all of my process improvement experience (including a little bit in military healthcare) is in service/transactional areas, not manufacturing. I think an integrated Lean Six Sigma approach would be the most valuable for healthcare, followed by Lean (with a strong tie to Voice of the Customer), followed by a pure Six Sigma approach. I’d say all of these would be more likely to provide success than most TQM implementations I’ve seen. In May, Chuck Cox is going to be presenting a paper that the two of us wrote comparing TQM, Lean, Six Sigma, and Lean Six Sigma at the Pan-Pacific Management Conference XX.You can download it here:https://www.isixsigma.com/library/downloads/LeanSixSigma.pdf

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    #98197

    Suresh Singh
    Member

    My suggestion would be visit some companies who have recently implemented the SS. Have a network with core people therein.
     
    Kind regards
     
    Suresh Singh
    MOHS, MAviaM, MBA

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    #98250

    Prof. Tom
    Participant

    drivm1,
    A large number of my students these days are from the heathcare field and it is growing all the time.  As a professional courtesy, one egghead to another, how would you like to shadow me in one of my online Lean Six Sigma programs?  Let me know  The rest of the folks are right as well…ya gotta start reading.  I would recommend, “Lean Six Sigma”, by Michael George and “Factory Physics”, by Wallace Hopp.

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    #98278

    drivm1
    Participant

    Thanks for your offer Tom. I would be delighted for this opportunity. Let me know how to and when at [email protected]  ;  My basic issue is that 1.) I understand the SS field and have acquainted myself with the methodology and various papers but the organizations which seek to apply various Six Sigma tools/methodologies appear to insist on “Certifications of Black Belts”, etc. (a very costly procedure which I do not have and appears superfluous to me at present); 2.) the skills and knowledge from other fields is not accepted as comparable, i.e. PhD (epidemiology/methods) does not equal SS Black Belt unless formal certification process is undergone; 3.) organizations seek already certified BB and shy away from egghead PhDs, as you note, although SS is derived from academic research methods; 4.) I have read quite a bit and am continuing to research how to best become certified as BB without having to “buy” it; so how do I get certified?  5.) I have several publications and presentations at AAPOR and the ASA (Am Stat Assoc) on validity/reliability of statistical methods and error and would welcome the opportunity to read comparisons of methods and perhaps I can even contribute with another perspective.

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    #98281

    SSNewby
    Member

    At the risk of setting off a cacophony of hysterical responses, you can take the ASQ (American Society of Quality) Six Sigma Black Belt Certification exam and, upon passing it, you are “Certified.”
     Many Six Sigma practitioners disdain the ASQ CSSBB because it does not require extensive (expensive) training and completed project work.   You take the exam and, if you are proficient with the ASQ Six Sigma body of knowledge, you are certified (after paying a very nominal fee of a couple of hundred dollars).

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    #98283

    drivm1
    Participant

    Thank you. I did indeed find them last week for $89 membership which I thought was far better than other professional organizations. I was actually mulling over this option but was not sure whether it was “recognized”… It appears they do mostly manufacturing and their certification is “theirs” as a brand label. I have already had extensive training in statistics and methods and a great deal of project experience as a PhD specializing in surveys and multilevel multivariate modeling, as well as health risk assessment and predictive modeling. I figure that I could read up on the necessary materials myself and take the exam. Thanks again for this idea.

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    #98316

    Chad
    Participant

    drivm1,
    I understand your situation, but from the other side.  I am a ‘Certified’ BB looking to get a PhD to further my understanding, knowledge, etc. but no takers so far.  What programs are you familiar with that have an applied research emphasis and/or industrial tracks?
    Sincerely,
    Chad

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    #98318

    drivm1
    Participant

    there are several options depending on where you live
    please contact me off list at [email protected]  
     

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    #98373

    Martínez
    Participant

    The fact that you continue in your posts to refer to the fact that you have a stats background just drives home to me that you don’t know what six sigma is. It is not a stats course, and you do need to attend the training. Your stats background only means you’ll do better in certain areas of the training than others.
    Please take the ASQ exam that way when i see your resume and it says Certified BB from ASQ I can laugh as I place it in my trash can.
    Don’t short change six sigma with the fact that you have a PHD. I have mentored research PHD’s working on GB projects in the pharma industry and I can tell you..you need the training.

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    #98379

    SSNewby
    Member

    To more fully answer the question I addressed in my previous posting, ASQ can “Certify” you as a Six Sigma Black Belt.   A PhD in a statistics-related field can/will help you understand some of the more technical elements of, and tools used in, the Six Sigma process, and also helps give you research skills and hopefully an analytical mode of thought.   You are skilled in scientific problem solving and Six Sigma has its roots in scientific problem solving – another plus.
     
    But, you won’t get the knowledge of Six Sigma application that you need to enable you to lead Six Sigma projects or initiatives solely from books, and “Certification” without practicum will certainly (and should) be questioned.  You can certainly get a tremendous jumpstart on the process, but you need some practical training. 
     
    I was where you are not too long ago.  I’m a PhD in a statistics-related field (however, unlike your Epidemiology, it was in the purest and most difficult of the research fields Operations Research, but we can debate that another time), with quite a few years in various Quality/Engineering/Operations positions and really felt that I could understand and apply Six Sigma from the combination of my research into the field and my technical and management knowledge and experience.   My need to understand Six Sigma came from having program responsibility for my corporation, and I decided that it would be a good idea to have done a couple of Six Sigma projects before the program was to be started.   My strong suggestion is get training, capable and well versed training, complete the training, and lead to completion Six Sigma projects.   The knowledge and experience that you gain, your education, AND “Certification” will mean something to anyone.
     
    My thoughts anyway (from having been where you are).
     SSNewby

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    #98381

    SSNewby
    Member

    Prof. Tom,
     
    Is your offer to shadow your Lean Six Sigma program open to non-academicians?   One of my corporate responsibilities is to develop and implement a Six Sigma program (in process) and then to, in relatively short order, follow that up with an effective Lean program, and I’d like to see the program approach that you have developed as well as see the input and commentary from your students.    Thanks for considering my question.
     SSNewby

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    #98382

    drivm1
    Participant

    SSNewby-
    Thanks for your kind and generous reply. I appreciate your understanding that anyone in research admits quite readily that practica are essential for indepth understanding. I’m about to start a project. Question: can I start it by applying a Six Sigma methodology on my own or do I need to go through some sort of formal approval process before it is recognized as a legitimate SS project? I am solely responsible for the operation and construction of the project. The project will hopefully have long-term effects on outcome.

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    #98383

    Ken Feldman
    Participant

    Prof. Tom, if it is not giving away any proprietary secrets, how have you integrated Lean and Six Sigma or have you just combined the titles and still have it as separate and typically sequential processes?  Is there a truly integrated Roadmap or two separate ones?  Thanks for any insights.

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    #98388

    SSNewby
    Member

    Truly a rubber meets the road question.   Well stated and multi-layered.    Somewhat typical of my plunging in and then considering the ramifications let me think as I go:

     I believe that you’d be a more effective Six Sigma practitioner with formal training
     

    You are about to begin an important project. 
     

    Would you be better off using the Six Sigma DMAIC process than not using it?    If you can properly apply the process, the answer is yes.
     

    Can you properly apply the DMAIC process without formal training?   I believe that you can understand the logical sequencing, the tools, and the use of the tools.
     

    What does the Six Sigma practitioner bring to the table beyond the analytical DMAIC process?   I believe that the Black Belt also possesses facilitative skills in knowing how to scope a project, derive a cost-benefit analysis for the project, sell the project, create and energize a matrix-managed interdisciplinary team, identify the need for and bring in various key subject matter experts at needed times in the project lifecycle, determine those true corrective and preventive actions that preclude problem recurrence, and drive the project to conclusion.
     

    Can you (or anyone) effectively combine these skills, traits and characteristics without formal training?    I don’t know you, your experience, skills sets, track record, or the problem you are facing, so it’s hard to personalize the answer.   To some degree it depends on you, the need for the participation of others in the project, the do-ability of the project, and the organizational resources and imperative(s).   I’d say, being ignorant of the aforementioned, that you’d be more effective with training but a talented and driven person can achieve a great deal.  You already have so there is no reason to assume that you can’t continue in that manner.  
     

    Is there an effective analogy to depict the answer that I’m trying to provide?   Let’s try one.   You are very fit and an experienced hiker and outdoorsman.  You are a skilled indoor wall climber.   In fact you are VERY good at indoor wall climbing.   You research and study EVERYTHING you do.  You always have and always will.   You have a trip planned to Yosemite and you are going to climb the sheer flat face of Half Dome, and you are pumped, yelling “Yeeehaaa!!!!”   You have books on rock climbing and just bought all of the equipment you could possibly need.    Most people are recommending that you take some rock climbing lessons, but you feel that you have the technical skills to accomplish the task and have read books written by the masters.  Are you going to make it?  I hope so. Would you be better off having had some lessons?  I believe so. 
     

    To the question is it a legitimate Six Sigma project?   You answer that.  It is your call.   Are you a legitimate Six Sigma practitioner and did you recognize it as a Six Sigma project?   If your answer to both is yes, it is.  If your answer to either is no, it is not.  You legitimize it, or not.  
     
    That’s about the best I can do with your question.  There are certainly more knowledgeable Six Sigma people here in the forum than I am.  But, if it was me, I’d get some training to assure a better result, but, if the project was important, and for one reason or another training was not available, I’d do the project and I’d use the DMAIC process.  Good luck with your project and your intellectual query.

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    #98390

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    drivm1,
    A couple issues. If you have applied SS and you still see it as a basic statistics course there is a pretty high probability you have not applied SS or still do not understand what it is.
    Second point, “reasonable cost.” If you have applied SS and understand the benifit to your business, back calculate using normal investment criteria for your business you should be able to develop a budget you can spend. Since you are a business owner (I have applied SS in my own health informatics firm …..) you should understand ROI very well – this should be an easy decision for you. 
    If it still looks expensive you are back at the first paragraph where you have not applied it correctly.
    Good luck.

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    #98410

    Prof. Tom
    Participant

    I had not thought about that before.  Send me an email direct and I will ask my supervisor.  [email protected]

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    #98411

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    abetf,
    I apologize for jumping in but I am having a problem understanding why this is so complex.
    In the basic TPS there are 4 general steps: 1. Workplace Organization (5S is a piece of that not the whole thing) 2. Standardized Work 3. Continuous Improvement 4. JIT/Kanban.
    If you apply the first 2 steps it will take the people induced noise out of the system. The level of chaos drops and problem identification becomes easier. Not everything needs to be a Six Sigma project but if something is a JDI it still needs to do some level of control. It will also take care of the inertia thing – it will get people rocking (like baseball outfielders) without turning their world upside down. They get involved and are more amenable to change.
    Step 3 is CI. For some reason people believe this is exclusive of SS. Read Womack. Toyota had both Kaizen and a breakthrough strategy – I don’t have the book with me for the actual name (like Kaikaiku). You pick the right tools for the problem. resolving all your problems by sacrificing goats at the alter of 3.4 dpm is not the answer. 
    Step 4 is where a lot of people start. These are sophisticated steps – it is the result of a controled predictable process. Running JIT when you dont know what will make it through the process on any given day is a crap shoot. If you are running to a Takt time how can you possibly tell a customer you can hit it if you don’t understand what you will produce that day unless you load up on WIP or FGI?
    We started doing this on the FMU 139 program that Mario Perez-Wilson refered to in a prevous post as far back as 1986. Toyota was doing it before then. This isn’t cutting edge stuff as some would like you to believe – just common sense (just remeber the quote from Public Enemy – “sense ain’t never been common” Arsenio Hall Show).
    I learned about Bottlenecks from a giy named Larry Bartlett. After reading The Goal  and a few classroom sessions with a guy named Bill Fechter, I was standing on the production floor with Larry and asked him how to find the bottleneck. He said “We’re going to run the factory for a couple days and see where the s–t piles up.” This isn’t a spectator sport – you just have to get involved.
    If you want to understand how to “see” read a book called “Thinking In Pictures” by Temple Grandin – ISBN 0-679-77289-8. It is an amazing story (then think about credentials as absolute criteria). You will need to exptrapolate concepts here as well if you intend to use it.
    If your Champion and Lead Engineers were sent for training and did not relay anything to you – first they are probably the wrong people to be in charge and second they should be on the payroll deduction plan for the cost of the training. Just my opinion.
    Good luck.

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    #98412

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    It is easier to do Lean first.
    Good luck.

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    #98414

    Prof. Tom
    Participant

    Darth,
    I am not sure there are any real propietary secrets left out there!  Yes they are actually integrated.  When my students are building out their Six Sigma projects they must use Lean thinking.  I combined this into the curriculum in a number of places and I will give a few examples.  First when they are in the Define phase and they are creating a high level process map for their project, they must create the first map based on their understanding of the process.  Then they must collect/create at least three process maps from the input of process SME’s and folks who work directly on that process.  These maps inevitably are not the same.  They then analyze the differences and determine which MUDA is being created due to the differences.  Based on this input they then create an updated process map and propose it to their organization.  The MUDA or waste may be eliminated at that point, if not the variation caused by that MUDA may be selected as the target of the Six Sigma project.
    That is just the first area where Six Sigma and Lean are combined in the curriculum.  I have also put a lot of work in there on Value Streaming based on Taichi Ohno and Shigeo Shingo’s teachings and writings…and I had an epiphany!!!!  I spent a few years in Japan and the rest of the Far East back in the eighties and that experience led me to realize that the thought processes that we here in the US were using associated with Lean were culturally reversed.  What I mean is, we were thinking about Lean…backwards.  Once I saw this I understood why Lean programs at Toyota were so far advanced compared to what many organizations here in North America were implementing.  The Lean I am using in my courses is now much more patterned after Shingo’s direction.  He was the guy who created the process called SMED-the single minute exchange of dies.  Well, a lot of manufacturing processes and processes outside of manufacturing, as in healthcare do not have dies…but they have applications of one sort or another.  So now I use SMEA as a side feeder to the value stream.   Lean then is all about the valuse stream and how you look at the flow and the confluences.  It was a real eye opener!!!  Lean then identifies the areas of waste and Six Sigma seeks to reduce that identified waste through the reduction in variation…a very nice combo!

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    #98505

    Malcolm T. Upton
    Participant

    If you want applied research instead of academic research, don’t look at Ph.D., look at one of the more applied degrees (DBA, DM, etc.). I’m partial to the University of Phoenix Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, but that is because I’m almost finished with it. Of course, the fact that I picked it in the first place should indicate that I thought it was the best choice three and a half years ago when I got started.

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    #98506

    Malcolm T. Upton
    Participant

    If you attempt this before you get formal Black Belt training, I strongly suggest you get a good field manual to guide you. I just finished polling 93 Black Belts and Green Belts in their first year of leading projects. Basically I asked them what the best field manual was (the details are a little more complex). Their response was that only two works came out as better in a statistically significant way, Virtual Coach (George Group, 2004) and The Six Sigma Way Team Fieldbook (Pande et al., 2002)
    The only generally available of the two is The Six Sigma Way Team Fieldbook, although I’m pretty sure you could get Virtual Coach if you took a public offering Black Belt training from George Group (check http://www.georgegroup.com for details).
    Note, I am an employee of George Group, but the research was part of my doctoral dissertation work. George Group is not associated in any way with The Six Sigma Way Team Fieldbook.

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    #98507

    Ron
    Member

    A must read booklet was published by Palladyne Publishing in 2001 written by Mikel Harry. Its title is Six Sigma Knowledge Design (Illuminating the path to successful deployment).
    You need to read this before going ahead with any sixsigma implementation

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