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What new tools were developed for SS

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  • #36539

    Finance Jock
    Participant

    I’m intrigued by some recent discussions about people’s six sigma expertise and validity of their certification. 
    What is it that was newly created by Six Sigma that an expert in Quality would not have?
    DOE isn’t new
    SPC isn’t new
    The statistical tools are not new
    Process and statistical thinking isn’t new
     

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    #105667

    Charmed SIX
    Participant

    I agree fully with you.Looks like re-oroducing the same TQM’s Tools.

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    #105668

    Charmed SIX
    Participant

    I agree fully with you.Looks like re-oroducing the same TQM’s Tools.

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    #105669

    Darth
    Participant

    If you focus just on the tools, you are correct.  Tools is tools.  The primary difference has been the discipline of the DMAIC methodology, the rigid use of Teams, the support structure of the Belts, the increased involvement of Senior Leadership and the emphasis on financial justification of projects rather than the feel good of much of TQM and Quality Circles.  Another poster on this Forum, John Smith, is an old line expert and hopefully he will respond to this thread and offer us his opinions and insights.

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    #105691

    Finance Jock
    Participant

    It sounds as if you’re advocating bureaucracy.  Teams and training are not new or unique to Six Sigma.
    Sr. management involvement is only as good as management and moreover, given that Sr. management’s longevity is about 3 years (at least of CEOs) how much staying power can the average SS program have. 
    As for financial justification, well hmm, it’s questionable at best. 
    I have seen and heard of many claims of huge hard savings that are at best cost avoidance.
    I must be missing the point.
    I have seen improvement projects yield some great results but if they had been SS projects it would have taken months in not quarters to yield results.

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    #105693

    Darth
    Participant

    I am not advocating anything.  You asked why SS might be different than previous attempts at QI.  And yes, a good bit of it has to do with some great marketing and promotion and a search for the Holy Grail.  Some are doing it well and most are not.  Some organizations were successful with TQM and most were not.  Some make great use of ISO and most don’t.  Some used Deming’s methods with success and most didn’t.  Some companies have had success with Lean and TPS, most haven’t.  SS has repackaged a number of elements from the past and it has been working pretty well when the environment is supportive of that kind of committment.  As for the comment regarding SS and CEO longevity.  You are correct.  Look at the companies deemed to be SS benchmarks and you will notice that the CEO had quite a long stay at the top….ex: Welch and Bossidy.  Can a company thrive and be successful without a formal SS effort? Of course.  GE was successful before SS and likely would have been had it not adopted SS.  Yet, SS helped expedite improvement and change along with some of Welch’s other initiatives.  Does the SS methodology work?, Yes.  I am not sure where you want to go with this thread.  SS has been around longer than most people expected and it appears will continue to be around for a while longer.  Structure and discipline can be a good thing if properly applied. 

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    #105694

    Mikel
    Member

    You are not missing anything. You are completely correct. Thank you for enlightening us. SS id BS.
    Oh enlightened one – what is it you do to get superior results in your organization?

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    #105696

    Finance Jock
    Participant

    I’m not knocking SS.  I have been confused by the posts.  First, what is a blackbelt and what are the competencies of a blackbelt?  Many posters have contridicted themselves.  First you are a blakbelt if you have been trained.  No, you are not a blackbelt because you were not trained by a decent organization.  Oh yeah, by the way, there is no governoring body and it can’t be ASQ.  Nay the training from U of Mich doesn’t count nor does whoever it is in Arizona.  The tools are not new but what is new is top management support.  So despite knowing how to apply the tools correctly, you are not Six Sigma certifiable because top management doesn’t support it.

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    #105697

    Mikel
    Member

    Sorry for my pervious sarcasm, I understand your point.
    Truth is that the majority of what is called SS is BS (and I’m not BS’ing this time).
    But if you are willing to do your homework, there are a handful of folks out there who can make a big difference.
    By the way the UM and UT programs as well as most others either online or through universities are pretty much worthless. That point, by whoever made it is right.

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    #105702

    Fontanilla
    Participant

    Stan makes very interesting (and painful) points. 
    You are right, the tools are not new.
    The meticulous use of the tools and a very systematic, pragmatic approach to improvement are what is new.  I would also argue the training in the application of the tools is more refined, understood, and deliberate.  Although, as you said earlier, there isn’t a governing/sanctioning body to ensure consistency of Blackbelt’s competencies.  I have seen so called Blackbelts who can’t perform data transformations, use control charts correctly, and most disappointing of al,l they can’t articulate why variation is so evil and its cumulative impact. 
    There is more to SS than statistical tools and top management support.  Tools and data will only get you so far.  We all know that eating too much (and unfortunately, drinking too much) is bad for us but yet we do so. I like to say the data is directional.  You have to be able to communicate and verbally justify your results to the average person and use your data for affect (you do have to have data). 
    I think of Six Sigma in terms of cooking (speaking drinking and eating too much), it is a better and more consistent recipe for process excellence.  The enablers could be better, more accurate cooking gear such as measuring cups, stoves, and ranges.

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    #105708

    Just a reader
    Participant

    I listen a very funny definition of what is six sigma, froma CEO, after a presentation : they want to set order in my company, great !
    All things said are right, no news, no revolution, just new fashion as was in the past others discipline. How many of company that use SS must give their success to it ? Maybe they was in Fortune 500 also witout SS. 
    Just one is really true, it is a great business,  for all.
    Regards

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    #105711

    EdG
    Participant

    Stan,
    Questions that will hopefully see you clarify a point.  Are you saying that most “university programs are worthless” because they mess-up the management and involvement aspects of SS?
    I would think that most universities would be “good” at teaching the tools aspect of SS.  They have been teaching statistics for decades so I would think they can handle that.
    From a personal experience aspect, I had statistics and DOE in my graduate studies from GA Tech one year prior to my training from GE in SS.  While taking my classes at Tech, I kept thinking, “okay, these tools are good but when/how will or should I apply them back at work in the real world?”  Unfortunately, the professors (and TAs) couldn’t seem to provide good answers/examples to that.  Then in my training with GE “the light bulb came on and I damn near fell out of my seat.”  Needless to say, it was then that I became extremely motivated (and excited — I know, I’m a geek.) because I was then learning “that’s how or when I should be using these tools!!!”
    Maybe it would be adequate to use the university programs but understand their limitations?  Just a thought…
    I’m interested in your serious thoughts.  Are they truly a complete waste of time, or do they have some limited value?

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    #105712

    Mikel
    Member

    IF the universities are smart enough to know that they lack implementation experience and got help on the mentoring side of the equation, I think it would work.
    You hit exactly on the problem, they approach this as a class, not a culture change.

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    #105713

    Darth
    Participant

    Stan, I have not fully agreed with your generalizations of academic based SS training as being totally useless.  But, I believe, your last comment captured the downsides of most programs and reflects my experiences with them as well.  Plus, I love the new font.
    Please advise if any of your neighbors appear to be ready to sell their new waterfront property.  I have been looking in the area for a real steal.

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    #105720

    KBailey
    Participant

    If you ask me, part of our problem as a society is that we rely too much on academic education as preparation for the job. The real reasons so many companies put so much stock in academic degrees? Because it saves their HR folks from having to come up with a measurement system that works.
    Academics can’t teach how to use things in the real world because they’re so isolated from the real world. Even if they once knew, they don’t keep up. Most of what they have to go by is what they learn from other professional academics.
    It all comes back to the fact that the outputs are a function of the inputs.

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    #105721

    KBailey
    Participant

    I forgot to make the point: real world learning is the more efficient and effective. When classroom instruction is needed, the best teachers are often those with up-to-date real world experience.

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    #105724

    Charmed SIX
    Participant

    I’m glad to read your comments.I agree fully with you.What about all those PHD Holders who pretend to “know better than any-body else”(please it is not  “phd” envy),we are suffering  a lot from this attitude ,specially in what you may call “the third world”,where honor and recognition is given only to anybody having “PHD”in what so ever.Iam basically a chemical engineer  (MBA),certified  quality manager with long experience in manufacturing ,production,tqm and change management,trying my best nowaday to enroll in a reasonable SS BB on-line certification program,pleasae give me your wise advice as well.   kind regards.  

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    #105726

    EdG
    Participant

    We are establishing a CI foundation throughout our site with Lean and as time goes on bringing Six Sigma into the fold.  (We have acknowledged that you cannot go anywhere onsite, toss a stone and not find a process that we cannot improve.  Some by just doing something other than what we are currently doing.)
    With that said, we are placing emphasis on classroom training, real-world experience and teaching/mentoring.  I have had a few passionate words with some of our people that feel the instructors for the classroom classes should be “teachers” from our training department.  Over time, some that felt this way have changed their mind after they saw that our “teachers” need experience under their belt besides the academic understanding.  For the others, I am still working on them.
    Every class that I have taught, I emphasis that “now that you have completed this class you need to get out their and get involved.  Through the classroom, all we have done is expose you to these concepts.  It won’t really sink in until you get out there and start applying these tools and concepts.   Only by getting involved in kaizen events will you finally gain an understanding of what we have been talking about these past few days.”
    Right, wrong or indifferent.  We are just now beginning to see some change.  This is after we have taught <5% of our people to a Basic level and ~2% at an Intermediate level.  Over time I am sure that we will see situations where bringing and academic in to teach a very specific concept may be useful, but that is a long ways off right now.

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    #105728

    Darth
    Participant

    Historically, the PhD is a research degree, not a trade school degree.  It is intended for those seeking deeper knowledge in a specific field with the long term intent of research and teaching.  For a true hardcore PhD, teaching is not the primary job, research, publishing and the furthering of their field is their real job.  Therefore, most PhDs don’t have a lot of “practical” knowledge under their belt.  This works great for theoretical physics, math and a lot of the sciences and thank goodness we have those who do research otherwise advances in the sciences and medicine would not have occurred because it wasn’t “practical”.
    In an attempt to add to the revenue stream, many educational institutions turn to Executive Education, Continuing Education and specialized educational programs such as SS as a way to offset the cost of providing increasingly costly education.  While a typical PhD could do a credible job of teaching the technical tools of SS (assuming one could stay awake during the lecture) they would ordinarily be devoid of a lot of the practical application.  Granted many of the academic based PhDs teaching SS have done some outside consulting so they have some war stories, they do have some limitations as Stan pointed out in a previous post.  In some cases, the instructors used in the academic program do come from industry and are working as adjunct faculty rather than the regular staff.  These would have both the technical knowledge as well as the practical experience.
    I agree that eventually, a SS student will have to utilize the tools in their project and better yet in their jobs for them to have any chance of internalizing their knowledge.  Now comes the quandry.  Is SS training intended to teach a body of knowledge or teach a cookbook checklist?  A case can be made that SS training is intended to educate rather than train.  Thus the academic environment can provide education with the limitations mentioned above.  Stan’s comment about their lack of useful application, follow-up and mentoring/coaching seems to be a source of their credibility gap. 
    If one was insistent on or had no other viable choice, the academic SS could provide the education on the body of knowledge with the followup, coaching and mentoring being obtained at one’s own company or an internship with an experienced BB/MBB in another company.  The education component alone will not be sufficient to become a skilled practioner.
    It also appears that many of the posters on this Forum are holders of a PhD yet appear to be involved in the “real world” rather than pure academia.  As a result, the fact that they have the PhD does not diminish them nor detracts from their practical and extensive experience.   It just means that at some point in their life they had an urge and curiousity to pursue deeper knowledge in their field…..or they got into academia and discovered that wasn’t the place they wanted to be.  Attaining the PhD requires sacrifice of time and money and I respect them for their efforts.  But, the degree alone does not confer upon them any special powers.
    Special thanks to Dr. Shewhart, Dr. Deming, Dr. Juran, Dr. Harry (yeah, him too) and all the other PhDs that “started” this business and made it what it is today.

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    #105731

    Annonymous
    Participant

    This was an excellent post. Darth, you presented a very
    balanced and candid perspective. I wish others did the
    same.

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    #105733

    Dog Sxxt
    Participant

    The only new thing for me is belt system which was copied from the oriental martial art grading system.

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    #105734

    Charmed SIX
    Participant

    The secret of SS is summerized in Re-Focusing & Re-Organizing the TQM’s tools in such a  comprehensive-constructive manner:
    Tool 1:Flowcharting (PM)/Tool2: The XY Matrix/Tool 3:Process Capability Index/Tool 4:FMEA/Tool 5:Hypothesis Testing/Tool 6:DOE/Tool 7:MSA/Tool 8:CP/Tool 9:Multivariate Study,and if you want Tool 10:DMAIIC (instead of the TQM’s PDCA-PDSA-).Kind Regards. 

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    #105737

    Charmed SIX
    Participant

    Another two modifications:RDMAIICI (Recognize-DMAIIC-Integrate).The second for training (which is so vital for SS):PTAR(Plan-Train-Apply-Review).regards.

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    #105738

    Charmed SIX
    Participant

    ??????????????????????????

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    #105739

    Bernard Bloch, et al
    Participant

    While I agree fully with Darth’s knowledgeable and well thought out posting, I feel compelled to add a small perspective to what he said.  In answering the question that might have popped up regarding why would someone who went to the trouble of getting a PhD possibly not want to spend eternity ensconced in an ivory tower – beyond the pay thing and the seductive lure to “do” versus “teach”, there is occasionally the “it ain’t what it’s cracked up to be” factor.  So, let me share with you one of my favorite PhD jokes.
     
    A newly graduated linguistics PhD was hit by a bus and tragically killed on the day her dissertation was turned in. Her soul arrived in heaven at the Pearly Gates to meet St. Peter.
     
    “Welcome to the gates of Heaven,” said St. Peter. “But let me just say that we have a bit of a problem here. You see, we’ve never actually had a linguist make it this far — usually they have lived fairly dissolute lives (you wouldn’t believe the things that went on at the 1974 Linguistic Institute), or published things with inaccurate glosses and mismatched brackets or uninterpreted formalisms of one sort or another, and it’s clear enough that they’re not really suitable candidates for the University of Heaven. But you were just starting out. We’re not really sure what to do with you.”
     
    “Well, couldn’t you just let me in?” said the young woman. “I’ve tried to be good.”
    “No, the procedure in these cases, to be scrupulously fair, is to let you experience each and then choose,” said St. Peter. “You’ll spend one day in Hell and one here in Heaven and then you’ll make your decision about eternity.”
     
    And with that St. Peter made the necessary travel arrangements and the young scholar was whisked down to the gates of Hell.
     
    She strolled in, naturally rather nervous, and found herself in a lushly vegetated and well-kept courtyard in which stood an elegant Italian fountain. Off the courtyard was a well-appointed seminar room with superb AV equipment, excellent built-in projectors, high-speed radio Internet connection, whiteboards with markers that actually worked, everything.
     
    Down the hall was a very comfortable lounge with a reference library that despite its compact space had the latest edition of the OED; the luxury leatherbound edition of The Cambridge Grammar; every previous grammar she knew about any language; all of Frege’s works in their first editions; an unexpurgated `director’s cut’ hand-sewn edition of The Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory dated 1954… and a subscription to just about every journal that could possibly be relevant to her field. All on open stacks in mint condition.
     
    She began to meet the other linguists who were strolling the courtyard, chatting in the hall, reading in the library. Otto Jespersen was there, and was very nice to her. Edward Sapir, Leonard Bloomfield, and Bernard Bloch all praised her work warmly. She learned that the man in the loincloth meditating by the fountain out in the courtyard was Panini. Jim McCawley took her to a marvellous Chinese buffet for lunch; the salt and pepper prawns flash-broiled in hell fire were fantastic. Through the afternoon there were fascinating discussions on many different linguistic topics. Dinner in the faculty club was a feast of steak and lobster followed by crepes suzette cooked in flames at the table by a demon. Over coffee and brandy she had a brief chance to meet the Devil, who turned out to be a tall, handsome man with a voice rather like Peter Ladefoged’s. When the time came for her to leave she was really quite reluctant. But it was time to sample Heaven.
     
    Heaven turned out to be a rather sterile experience of standing around on clouds. It was mildly interesting to discover that she could play the harp (innately triggered abilities, she assumed). The cherubim and seraphim were gentle and polite, but their conversation revolved mainly around falling down before Him in adoration and singing praises unto His holy name, and she rapidly tired of it all. When her 24 hours were up and St. Peter came to ask her for her decision, it was not really very difficult.
     
    “I never thought I’d say this,” she said, “I mean, Heaven has been… nice… But I really think I had a better time in Hell. I mean the University of Hell is a better fit for my intellectual interests.”
     
    So St. Peter escorted her back. She arrived once more at the gates of Hell, and strolled back in confidently. But the pleasant courtyard was gone.
     
    She was standing in a desolate, filthy, trash-strewn wasteland. The temperature was ninety and rising, and there was a whiff of brimstone in the air. She thought she heard distant howls of agony. The seminar room was a bare room with plaster falling off the walls in a half-derelict building. The library had some battered introductory texts and a few loose copies of Glossa with non-consecutive dates in the 1970s. She did see some linguists, but they were dressed in rags, and appeared to be picking up dead lizards and pieces of potentially edible garbage and putting it in sacks to make an evening meal. They look at her with sad and bitter eyes, pausing from their gathering activities only to tell her that they thought her research was second-rate at best. One of them mentioned that in her absence she had been appointed to a committee. A tattered schedule on a wall said that her first class was at 7 a.m. the following morning.
     
    When the Devil happened to pass by she cried out to him: “I don’t understand! What happened to the library and the Chinese lunch buffet and the faculty club and… What has happened? All the other linguists look miserable, and they seem to hate me. It’s all… different!”
     Lucifer grinned. He put an arm around her shoulders and laughed a deep, dark laugh. (He really did sound like Peter Ladefoged.) The dark horns high on his forehead, which she had scarcely noticed before, stood out against the glistening scarlet skin, and his arrow-tipped tail waved gently in satisfaction as he explained: “But yesterday we were just interviewing you! Today you’re a junior member of our faculty.”

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    #105740

    Darth
    Participant

    Believe it or not, that one is older than Stan.  Although when I was recruited, the Dean did take me to the student cafeteria and then the swimming pool deck.  Considering it was in S. Florida, I observed vast amounts of young epidermis.  Of course, when I arrived at the College of Engineering on the other side of campus to teach, it was as you described…gotcha was the response.  For me, it wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be although the fantasies were great for that brief moment of time.

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    #105742

    might go back someday
    Participant

    Yep.  Been there.   It was fun for a while but you soon learn that the patches on the tweed jacket’s elbow are there for more than show – it’s the same old jacket year after year.    Plus the grad student’s carrel becomes the Assistant/Associate Professor’s closet office.  

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    #105745

    Markert
    Participant

    Excellent compostition, use of grammer and creativity. Perfect flare and visualization set on a digital medium. Excellent usage of characters the JO Club have never heard of, or could care about. Yet the French and German judge’s score 5.1 out of 6.0.  A travesty!!!
    But it is terriffic nevertheless!!
    “After spending a pleasant first morning in heaven walking through the clouds, the new arrival headed over to the cafeteria for lunch. He was surprised to find an enormous line stretching for blocks from the front door, but he dutifully took a place at the end of the line.
    Fifteen minutes later, a tall old man with a large staff walked to the head of the line and was admitted at the cafeteria door.
    “Who was that?” grumbled the newcomer to the man next in line, “and how come he gets to cut in line?”
    “That was Saint Jerome, the patriarch, you know.”
    Another hour passed, (heaven’s table service is always slow, because they don’t have hell to go back to) and a dark-haired man with stone tablets walked to the front and entered into the caferteria.
    “Who was that?”
    “That was Moses, the lawgiver.”
    Another hour passed, and a short, gray-haired man wearing an old sport coat with patches, badly worn penny-loafers, and smoking a pipe in a non-smoking area made his way to the front of the line and was admitted.
    “And who was that?”
    “That was God,” said the man next in line. “But He thinks He is a PhD.”

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    #105747

    Bernie
    Participant

    Outstanding follow-up.   I save these and will read them as a left-coast great debate warm-up to work the crowd into a fever pitch.   Much like that damn UT Austin, 6th Street, O’Henry Pun-Off, I attended that was won by that egotistical Norwegian post-doc and his hideous Limericks – notice I said Limericks NOT puns, but the audience was a hundred drunken Texans who couldn’t spell “pun” if they had to.   Sorry – that always gets me worked up.  I just meant to raise a clenched fist in salute.

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    #105796

    Bernie again
    Participant

    Dr. Phil – spend some time in the Language Log at U. Penn.  
     
    http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/
     
    There is much said in the manner in which things are said.   Much like a great deal of my own research – I borrow, Dr. Phil, at will and occasionally from Will.  

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    #105801

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Stan,
    I know I am way late on this string but just stumbled into it.
    The culture that is being changed is a function of the people that they turn out of the business schools. If they address it in any other way than as a bunch of tools raised in a petrie dish then they have to turn right arond and get introspective on the dogma that gets spewed out in the management classes. That is for the most part way beyond the self agrandized nature of most of the academitions.
    Point of reference in my first college stsats class I asked the professor “I like this stuff. What can I do with it?” His answer “Nothing.”
    Good luck.

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    #105803

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Finance Jock,
    I am very glad you brought this up because in all the years that this forum has been going and with over 430,000 people (not hits – number of different people) on the site per month you are the first person who has noticed this.
    I am probably going to get myself in trouble here pretty deeply or at least get some emotional response. First your comment about “Quality Experts.” For the most part those two words do not collide in one sentence very often. In a lot of organizations quality is where they put people to get them out of everyone’s way. They become great philosophers and trainers but at the end of the day they add little to no value unless they are Supplier Quality types. They go drive people crazy in organizations other than your own. They are carriers of that disease called “Wall Paper” – SPC charts on variables that don’t do anything but all look nice in their sheet protectors aka SPC Chart Prophylactics. In case their boss asks for definition behind that SQE mantra “I’ve been workin’ with my suppliers.” Can’t produce any results other than wallpaper.
    That in and of itself created a void or an opportunity for someone to create a person who could effectively apply the statistical tools to real problems. The good part was it was done based on results. So now the age of the pontificating tool zombies has slipped away – although they seem to creeping back – and if you take the job you are accountable to produce something that resembles results.
    If you think that the application of tools is so well understood next time someone shows you a t test ask if they tested variances first and when they tell you they did not ask what formula they used and how they decided that. We won’t even embarrass them about normality.
    Better yet present some data to a “quality expert” that is skewed but still passes normality testing and see if they tell you to test it or just go straight to telling you it is not normal. I am betting on the latter. I have watched a guy do a presentation twice where he did a capability study on non- normal data and rightly gets called on it usually by some indignant geek who want their 15 minutes. Then you ask them how they decided it was non-normal (in front of the same crowd they wanted to show off for) and in a matter of seconds they are sucking on their bottom lip.
    The most basic point since in your reading or training you seemed to have walked right by. There is a difference between Control and Breakthrough. You can read about it in Juran’s book “Managerial Breakthrough.” Make sure the book is by Juran – there are titles out there that seem to be intentionally close in title but miles apart in content. Six Sigma is meant to be about breakthrough. I don’t remember anyone making some claim that Six Sigma invented new tools – any reference for that? I have seen a lot of people walking around with all kinds of bits and pieces in some grab bag format that they will gladly “train” you on. Same guy that was sucking on their lip earlier. Ask them for results and they start with the lip thing again.
    Didn’t Stan ask you about what you had used to improve your organization in an earlier post? What was that Ross Perot quote about a giant sucking sound?
    Good luck.
     

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