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Educating, Training and Skills: The Difference Between Knowing How to Think and Making Improvements

Often we think of education and training interchangeably and this is a big mistake.  Education focuses on broadening an individual’s knowledge base and expanding thinking processes.  It helps employees understand concepts and accept increased job responsibilities, and prepares them for future jobs and leadership roles.  In other words, education helps individuals learn how to...

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Use A Charter To Define Your Project

The charter is one of the most critical documents in conducting a lean six sigma project or kaizen event. It serves as a blueprint and forces you to think about what you want and how you want to do it. A clear and concise charter increases the likelihood of reaching the goals and ensures that the team knows what to do. It will also allow you and the team to determine whether the plan has been...

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Histograms Help Visualize and Summarize Variable Data

A histogram is a bar graph that summarizes the frequency of information occurring over time. They visually display summarized data showing the information’s frequency, shape, and central tendency. The first action I take when dealing with variable or continuous data is constructing a histogram to see how the information looks. It helps me answer questions such as, “What does the...

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Fishbone Diagram Helps Us Understand Variation In Our Outputs

The fishbone diagram, or more formally called the Cause-and-Effect Diagram, was first developed by Dr. Kaouru Ishikawa in 1943.  It can help you relate the causes, or x’s, to the effect Y.  The effect or output (Y) is what we’re trying to improve, and the reasons (x’S) are the sources of variation in our process that need to be decreased.  Our goal is to determine the sources of...

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Executive Leadership Role In Lean Six Sigma

Leaders contemplating starting a Lean Six Sigma program may ask, “What level of participation and involvement do we need from our executive leadership in deploying our initiative? and “What should their training consist of?” First, executive leadership should create a vision for their organization for three years, five years, and ten years. They need to determine a strong rationale for why...

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