The SixSig Roundup

Posted by: meikah | 11 July 2011 | 2:26 am

SixSig Roundup

Almost a year after my last roundup, I’m bringing back again the link-loving and see what other blogs are saying about Six Sigma, Lean, Lean Six Sigma and other quality improvement processes.

Let’s start with Mark Graban of Lean Blog, who compiled Dilbert’s strips that touch on Six Sigma or Lean. The strips are amusing and at the same they make you think hard about quality strategies. Check out A Collection of Dilbert Cartoons on #Lean and/or #SixSigma!

Over at Huntington Post, Aaron Hurst shares an interview with Ellen Lambert. the Executive Vice President of the Merck Company Foundation. Ms. Lambert talked about how they are using Six Sigma at Merck to make their processes more efficient and effective. Check out The Positive Side of Negative Space: An Interview With Merck’s Ellen Lambert!

Motley Fool reports that 3M used to lead in the area of innovation. In the recent years, however, 3M appears to have lost its innovation magic when it launched Six Sigma. Perhaps, many of you will disagree but this observation seems to be valid. Check out The Innovation Magic is Gone at 3M!

At PharmaExecBlog, there is an article there that is a good follow up on the case of 3M. Kevin Duffin, senior fellow, translational sciences at Eli Lilly – and a Six Sigma practitioner was asked during the Drug Information Association panel if Six Sigma indeed stifles innovation. Some believe so, others don’t. Weight it out for yourself by checking out DIA: Does Six Sigma Stifle R&D Innovation?

An article on Vision Systems Design, even automated systems to improve inspection processes need Six Sigma. How? Find out at how software seeks to minimize false positives in machine-vision inspection systems.

Filed under: 3M, Lean, Lean Six Sigma, Pharmaceuticals, Quality, Six Sigma, Six Sigma News, Software/Technology

No Comments » |

Findng the Green in Lean Six Sigma Programs

Posted by: meikah | 7 June 2009 | 9:00 pm

Chris Green mentions two companies and their lean environmental program. First is GE, and second is 3M.

With GE, the lean environmental program involves promising to maintain its 2004, if not reduce, greenhouse gases (GHG) emission. The company did this by engine balancing.

With 3M’s program, the company launched the Environmental, Health and Safety Operations (EHS). EHS Lean Six Sigma projects have focused on topics ranging from compliance or due diligence activities to data collection and management to communications.

The initiatives of the two companies will surely inspire all the others. They also show that Lean Six Sigma can help in green initiatives.

Read the article HERE.

Filed under: 3M, GE, Lean Six Sigma, Six Sigma, Six Sigma Organizations

No Comments » |

Should There Be an Age Limit to Six Sigma Practitioners?

Posted by: meikah | 10 May 2009 | 7:54 pm

I am not sure if the allegations were true, but if they were, I’d be sad. For one, I am a fan of 3M, for another I believe that age shouldn’t be an issue when it comes to being trained in Six Sigma.

The story, over at, says:

Current and former employees of 3M Co. allege in a federal lawsuit filed in California that the company discriminated against them in promotion and employment decisions based on their age, saying that the company’s use of the Six Sigma quality improvement program favored younger workers. Read on…

The plaintiffs are seeking a class-action status.

3M or any other company can put criteria for people who go into Six Sigma training or who can be a member of the Six Sigma team, but age shouldn’t be one of them.

What do you think?

Filed under: 3M, Six Sigma, Training

No Comments » |

The Latest on Six Sigma at 3M

Posted by: meikah | 12 March 2009 | 7:36 pm

Six Sigma at 3M

3M is known for its innovation efforts and products such as Post-its and Scotch brands. However, this is not the only business that 3M is into. The company is also into healthcare, display and graphics, and the industrial and transportation sectors. So you can just imagine the extent of its workforce.With 34,000 traditional employees and several thousand temporary workers, 3M has to know each of them. By and by the workforce planning squad, a part of 3M’s human resources group, get down to action.

This is how the team rolled out the program.

  • put together an HR-led team representing departments such as sourcing, finance and IT
  • take questions from various quarters and provide answers
  • interview 3M’s staff to identify their issues with contingent workers
  • survey the information technology, manufacturing, engineering and marketing groups using a Six Sigma methodology called Voice of Customer.

Continue reading…

3M has always been a Six Sigma advocate, although at one point they thought that innovation and Six Sigma don’t mix. Still, I’m just happy that through the years, the company has not changed course. Rather it is continuously moving forward by using Six Sigma.

*Photo credit

Filed under: 3M, Deployment, Innovation, Six Sigma, Six Sigma Organizations

No Comments » |

Six Sigma Not the Be-all and End-all at 3M

Posted by: meikah | 19 November 2007 | 12:31 am

A few months back, there was some controversy over innovation and Six Sigma, and that some say never the twain shall meet. Some quarters say, Six Sigma stifle creativity or innovation, others say Six Sigma improves innovation.

six sigma and innovation at 3MPerhaps the company that is most associated with innovation and creativity is 3M. For years, too, we know that 3M has been an advocate of Six Sigma, until a new leadership says otherwise.

In my previoous post, I even hinted that 3M should not abandon Six Sigma at all in favor of innovation. Now, an article on Design News says that 3M will not be using Six Sigma on its R&D efforts, and probably for good measure.

The new chief at 3M, George Buckley is not an anti-Six Sigma guy. In fact, he’s a strong proponent of lean Six Sigma in manufacturing and supply chain. However, for 3M, he believes that Six Sigma will find better use for transactional activities rather than for research and development.

Further, 3M will still be using Six Sigma DOE routinely in basic research and 3M researchers still use elements of DMAIC toolset. In fact, 58,000 projects at 3M have used some element of DMAIC and more than 55,000 3M employees have achieved the minimum level “Green Belt” training since the year 2000.

Click here for the features and podcasts that tell the story of 3M’s journey with innovation and Six Sigma.

Design News, a Six Sigma Zone featured link

*Photo from Stock.Xchng

Filed under: 3M, DMAIC, Innovation, Lean Six Sigma, Manufacturing, R&D, Six Sigma Organizations


3M Knoxville Preserves the Environment Through Six Sigma

Posted by: meikah | 15 October 2007 | 12:53 am

3M Knoxville was recognized by National Environmental Performance Track Program for its 3P program, or Pollution Prevention Pays. The recognition is given to companies that go above and beyond government requirements for environmental preservation compliance.

The 30-year-old 3P program aims to help conserve the environment and energy, and has saved more than $1 billion in first-year aggregated savings to the company. At Knoxville, particularly, the 3P has resulted in the prevention of approximately 1,000 tons of air pollution per year and the prevention of 2,500 tons of solid waste per year.

3M Knoxville uses the Six Sigma process to fight deficiencies at the plant. According to its Web site, Six Sigma is a measure of quality that strives near perfection. It is a “disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects in any process.”

In Knoxville, waste has been reduced by throwing out as little as possible. Material that may not be used in a first round of production is recycled for a second. Uses are found for the waste from that round, including the use of it as a fuel.

Read more…

With the increasing awareness and global focus on environmental preservation, companies should realize soon the use and value of Six Sigma.

Journal Express, an iSixSigma featured link

Filed under: 3M, Benefits and Savings, Deployment, Manufacturing, Six Sigma Organizations, Sustainable Business

1 Comment |

Six Sigma and Innovation

Posted by: meikah | 15 July 2007 | 8:00 pm

There’s still much controversy about Six Sigma and innovation. Many companies, 3M being the most vocal and probably popular, are saying that Six Sigma and innovation counters each other out.

3M, which has been the most innovative company for years, allegedly stopped innovating when it adopted Six Sigma. I still could not fathom the reason for not being able to mix successfully Six Sigma and innovation.

Perhaps, those companies that have successfully implemented Six Sigma and and pursued innovation should speak up to end this debate once and for all.

The best venue for this kind of forum is IQPC‘s Process for Innovation event on August 21-22, 2007 in The Gleacher Center, Chicago. The event will tackle this question and offers a structure for Innovation. This exclusive forum has been designed for leading Six Sigma and Innovation experts to discuss the practicalities of implementing Innovation across an organization alongside Six Sigma.

Check out the event and share with us what you have learned.

Related story:
How Six Sigma Improves Innovation

Filed under: 3M, Events/Announcements, Innovation, Innovation Update, Lean Six Sigma

No Comments » |

How Six Sigma Improves Innovation

Posted by: meikah | 6 June 2007 | 7:24 pm

A couple of months ago, The Corporate Innovation Blog gave a shoutout for a webinar, titled “Unleashing the Power of Strategic Six Sigma for Innovation and Growth.” The speaker was Bob Carter, a senior consultant at Raytheon USA. The goal of the webinar is to give people an idea on how to combine Six Sigma quality initiatives with the creativity of innovation.

Although the webinar happened last month, May 10, I believe the theme is still relevant today, especially after 3M’s controversial shot at Six Sigma for not driving innovation in their company.

If you missed the webinar, don’t fret. You can still download it from PureInsight.

Filed under: 3M, Bob Carter, Innovation

1 Comment |

Six Sigma Over Innovation

Posted by: meikah | 4 June 2007 | 8:29 pm

BusinessWeek Online has an interesting article about 3M, particularly about Six Sigma’s stifling effect on the company’s creativity or innovative nature.

It is one insightful article as it narrates the time when 3M realized probably its highest potential with James McNerney, the author of Six Sigma at 3M to today when 3M, which used to be the most innovative company fell to number 7.

Among the arguments raised were: the work of creativity cannot be scheduled, noone can come up with the right idea the first time, and creative work involves many missteps, or in Six Sigma parlance, wastes, before a feasible idea surfaces.

So now the new CEO of 3M, George Buckley, is said to be giving more space to creative work and thus loosening Six Sigma processes in this area.

I think this is a classic example of not seeing the forest for the trees. When people are so concerned about procedures or processes, and failing to understand the whole concept of Six Sigma and what it is for, then this is what happens.

My understanding is that companies who get rid of wastes see the light of day and become more innovative and so they continuously improve their processes. Six Sigma eliminates wasteful processes to give way to some breakthrough innovation.

It’s true that innovation is “a numbers game. You have to go through 5,000 to 6,000 raw ideas to find one successful business,” said Art Fry, the inventor of Post-it notes. But I believe that in this case, those 5,000 raw ideas are not waste at all if it will result in a sound business idea.

In any case, this again validates the claim that Six Sigma is not a silver bullet, that cuts through all barriers.

Source: Six Sigma Zone News Links

*Photo from StockXchng

Filed under: 3M, Innovation, Processes


Six Sigma and Hand Hygiene Practice

Posted by: meikah | 2 May 2007 | 10:38 pm

Perhaps by its very nature, hospitals are places we know that produce a lot of waste each day yet we expect them to be clean, or at least disinfected, at all times. They have to be clean!

Well, HealthEast Care System in St. Paul, Minnesota launched a Six Sigma project to ensure cleanliness. The project is named, “Improving Hand hygiene Practice with Six Sigma.” Below are the details:

Aim: to increase compliance with hand hygiene practice to 80 percent or a statistically significant improvement from baseline.


  • Number of hand hygiene actions taken per 100 hand hygiene opportunities encountered (%)
  • Volume of hand sanitizer used per 1,000 patient days

In partnership with 3M Health Care, we initiated a Six Sigma hand hygiene improvement project in a 20-bed medical-surgical intensive care unit and improved practice compliance from 36 percent to 70 percent (p< .001) with corresponding statistically significant increase in volume of hand sanitizer used. This was accomplished through the implementation of a comprehensive program that focused on changing the unit culture by addressing staff awareness/knowledge, staff decision making, supply convenience/availability, and empowering staff as well as patients and families to remind health care personnel about the hygiene procedures.

Read more about the changes and results.

Filed under: 3M, Healthcare

No Comments » |