A Successful CI Program Depends on Strong Project Management Fundamentals

Posted by on Dec 26, 2014 in Continuous Improvement, Lean, Lean Six Sigma, Problem Solving, Process Improvement, Six Sigma | 0 comments

I’ve seen it happen more than once where a company starts down the path of Lean, Six Sigma, or Problem Solving to only change course in mid-stream.  It happens for many reasons – lack of resources, underestimating the time required to complete projects, allowing scope creep, project champions and sponsors that don’t ask the right questions, not putting the correct controls in place to prevent the problem from returning, lack of follow-up, and poorly trained project leaders, etc.  Any and all of these can cause an...

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Mapping Business Processes Isn’t That Difficult

Posted by on May 1, 2014 in Continuous Improvement, Efficiency, Lean, Process Improvement | 1 comment

  Process mapping is a very useful tool that not only helps you document your current process but can also serve as a framework for making processes more consistent and efficient. Just last week, I had the opportunity to lead a group of 23 HR professionals and develop a process map for their on-boarding for new hires.  All were from the same company, but represented about eight locations spread across the country.  During the morning session we reviewed basic lean concepts, the seven forms of waste, and process mapping fundamentals.  I...

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Eight Reasons Why Six Sigma Works

Posted by on Apr 23, 2014 in Six Sigma | 0 comments

As I was getting ready for an upcoming training class, I came across the following reasons why Six Sigma has been so successful for many years and thought I’d share it with you.  It is taken from the Sept. 1999 issue of Quality Progress, “Why Should Statisticians Pay Attention to Six Sigma?” by R.D. Snee. Bottom line results Upper management involvement Disciplined approach (DMAIC) Short project completions (typically 3 – 6 months) Clearly defined measures of success Infrastructure of trained individuals (black belts...

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How Good Are You As An Organization? How Good Do You Want To Be?

Posted by on Apr 23, 2014 in Continuous Improvement, Lean, Lean Six Sigma, Process Improvement | 0 comments

Over the years, much has been written about the pros and cons of lean and Six Sigma.  People often complain about the training costs, the infrastructure required, the teams of green and black belts, and so on, but in my 40+ years of experience nothing has proven to be more successful at getting things improved than a combination of lean and Six Sigma.  I’m not talking about ten, twenty, or thirty percent improvement, but substantial improvement of sixty to seventy percent or greater!  It doesn’t matter what the process is!  It...

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Five Green Belt Projects Rock with a Combined Yearly Savings of $743,000!

Posted by on Mar 19, 2014 in Continuous Improvement, Efficiency, Lean, Lean Six Sigma, Process Improvement | 0 comments

Last fall I had the opportunity to conduct a Lean Six Sigma training class at Kent State University, Trumbull Branch.  The training concentrates on teaching the participants how to identify and eliminate waste using the various lean techniques and how to reduce process variation by concentrating on the 6M’s (Man, Machine, Material, Method, Measurement, and Mother Nature).  Participants are then required to identify a project at their work place and use the tools and techniques to make improvements in order to become certified.  All...

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New Ideas, Experimentation and Faster Change Must Be The New Norm

Posted by on Feb 21, 2014 in Continuous Improvement, Efficiency, Process Improvement | 0 comments

We’ve all heard the adage, “If you’re not changing, you’re standing still and falling behind!” many times in the last 15 years.  But I think it is even more appropriate today in the fast paced world we live in.  Look around and you’ll see companies that were thriving a few short years ago are now struggling just to keep the doors open.  Why is that? I think part of it is that organizations fall into the trap that the status quo is fine, it’s working, and if it’s not broke, leave it alone....

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Make Something Happen – Establish Accountability!

Posted by on Jan 31, 2014 in Continuous Improvement, Organizational Goals, Problem Solving, Process Improvement | 0 comments

Yesterday I met with a potential client that is looking for problem solving training for his employees.  We discussed the logistics of the training, topics to include, and a variety of other training issues.  He told me his organization would be very quick to say they know the reasons for many of their problems, based on past experience and opinion.  Very few of their problems are addressed by collecting data and good root cause analysis.  They keep applying one band-aid after another. He then made a statement that made me cringe.  He...

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A Little Workplace Organization Can Make A Tremendous Difference!

Posted by on Jan 8, 2014 in Continuous Improvement, Lean, Lean Six Sigma | 0 comments

Ever watch employees in your company perform their jobs?  It can be a real eye opener when you observe employees running around looking for tools and equipment to do their job.  With just a little effort and organization, large gains can be made in making a company more efficient and productive.  Here are just some of the benefits of becoming more organized: Less downtime Better efficiency Increased production Improved morale Here is one example of how you could organize your work areas better: Figure 1 shows a work table in disarray....

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Understanding the Difference Between the Mean and Median

Posted by on Jan 6, 2014 in Process Improvement | 0 comments

The other day I was listening to a reporter on CNN talk about the median price of an apartment in New York city.  The price was a staggering $820,000.  During the discussion that followed he said something that made me cringe.  He stated that very high priced apartments, those over $2 million dollars, were causing the median to be higher than it should be.  What he failed to realize is the median is the middle value in a set of data and not the mean of the data. Here is an example I use that demonstrates the difference (I call it the Bill...

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Don’t Let Operator Issues Be An Excuse Not To Do Your Job!

Posted by on Dec 18, 2013 in Continuous Improvement, Customer Satisfaction, Problem Solving, Process Improvement | 0 comments

I recently visited a client that is experiencing a number of quality issues both internally and externally with their customers.  A large portion of their manufacturing process relies on operators doing their job properly.  In reviewing their process, it was evident that operators were not handling material properly, not using process fixtures, and not following the methods they were taught.  The comments I heard were “We really have a lot of people problems in our plant!”  As we toured the plant no one stopped and corrected...

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