Process Improvement Isn’t Rocket Science!

Posted by on Jun 27, 2013 in Continuous Improvement, Lean Six Sigma | 0 comments

A pet peeve of mine is how the consulting industry has made continuous improvement a skill for only a select few.  By that I mean it takes an engineer, math major, or someone with a master degree or PhD to understand what many are teaching in Lean Six Sigma courses.  Many consultants believe that Green Belts and Black Belts need to understand and be able to derive every formula.  Students eyes glaze over and instead of torturing data, the student gets tortured.

Continuous improvement should be simple so that anyone can make improvements to the process they work in.  A person shouldn’t have to go through 80 hours of Green Belt training and another 160 hours of Black Belt training to make simple process improvements.  How many different ways do you need to analyze data?  (Has anyone ever heard of analysis-paralysis?)  Not only is there a lot of time spent training these folks, but the cost of training can exceed $10 K per person.  This is a time commitment and expense that many companies can’t afford.

My approach has evolved over the years and now I concentrate on helping companies understand the different sources of process variation and how to identify and eliminate waste in their processes.  Within a matter of days, employees are able to make huge improvements in their processes and impact the bottom line.  Everyone in the organization is able to understand how Man, Machine, Material, Method, Measurement, and Mother Nature affect a process and what they can do to reduce it.  How to identify the different forms of waste (TIMWOOD) and use some simple techniques to eliminate it are easy to understand.

It’s time we stop trying to make process improvement “rocket science” and get down to helping companies make quick and simple improvements using basic tools and strategies that everyone can use and understand.

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