Lean and Six Sigma Blogs Round-up

Posted by: meikah | 28 February 2007 | 2:31 am

Today, we’ll make the rounds of Lean, Six Sigma, or any quality blogs.

Mike Wroblewski of Got Boondoggle? has two interesting posts inspired by the book, My Life and Work by Henry Ford. Mike shared some interesting points about Ford and the Ford Hospital as the first “Lean” Hospital. I also like this quote: “It is not good management to take profits out of the workers or the buyers; make management produce the profits. Don’t cheapen the product; don’t cheapen the wage; don’t overcharge the public. Put brains into the method, and more brains, and still more brains-do things better than ever before; and by this means all parties to business are served and benefited.” Many management delay rewards and recognition till bottomline is stable.

Ron Pereira of Lean Six Sigma Academy talks about hypothesis testing, which you can use to test if two samples of variable data represent different populations. Six Sigma because it is data driven involves statistics, and it’s good to arm yourself with such tools. Read more…

Over at Quality Hero, Rob Thompson shares a non-believer of the successful marriage of Lean and Six Sigma. Like Rob, I also believe that the two can really be merged and can make a difference in an organization. Those who think otherwise may not be aware of it, but they’re actually working on the concept of Lean and Six Sigma. Only that they have given it another name. Possible, right? :)

Filed under: Benefits and Savings, Deployment, Lean Six Sigma, Statistics, Tools/Toolkits


Six Sigma Reference Feature: ASQ

Posted by: meikah | 27 February 2007 | 3:18 am

The American Society of Quality, or ASQ, is the world’s leading membership organization devoted to quality.

This website is like a one-stop shop for all your quality needs: education, government, healthcare, manufacturing, service, and more!

It stands by its slogan, Make Good Great®. If you are a member you will have access to the latest in technologies, concepts, tools, and trainings for quality professionals, quality practitioners, and everyday consumers.

Also, you will find networking opportunities, careers, and recommended books and publications that you can use in your field.

Check out the site and find out about the wonderful world of quality. :)

Filed under: Certification, Data, Deployment, Finance, Healthcare, Information Mapping, Lean Six Sigma, Processes, Public Sector, Six Sigma References, Tools/Toolkits, Training

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Time Value Map and Six Sigma

Posted by: meikah | 26 February 2007 | 1:19 am

In everything that we do, there is a process. Things get done through a process. A system works well with processes. Most importantly, any process works better with a time value map.

Over at Business Knowledge Source, an article discusses how a time value map can be used in Six Sigma to improve processes. It starts with a definition of a Time Value Map:

A tool used in Lean and Six Sigma methodology that tracks a work item through its process and tracks where it spends its time. It follows the product from raw material to output into the customer’s hands to determine where it spends valuable time and where waste time can be eliminated.

Based on the definition alone, time value map is really important to Lean and Six Sigma. It can point out at which areas in the value chain or processes a product or service is spending value-adding or non-value—therefore waste—time. As a result, you will know which process to improve or to eliminate altogether.

It is important to note also that both value-adding time and non-value adding time are determined by the customers. The former being that the customer sees the product and it adds value to them, while the latter, refers to the work or tasks that the customers they didn’t pay for.

Business Knowledge Source, “What is a time value map and how is it used in Six Sigma?” with link provided by Six Sigma Zone

Filed under: Deployment, Processes, Tools/Toolkits

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Innovation of the Week: Big Bang of Innovation at CERN

Posted by: meikah | 23 February 2007 | 2:27 am

The word CERN may sound familiar to you. It is where the World Wide Web was invented, whose original purpose was to solve the problem of connecting large amounts of information and making it accessible to physicists worldwide.Thus it is only fitting that our Innovation of the Week story comes from there. Today, at CERN physicists are recreating the Big Bang, and studying anew the interaction of the building blocks of matter.

While subatomic particles such as electrons and protons are very small, the devices used to study them are rather large. Consider ATLAS: the particle detector, still mid-construction, is about 45 meters long, more than 25 meters high, and weights about 7,000 tons. It was first imagined in 1994, and some 2,000 scientists and engineers from three dozen countries have been building it since January, 2003. Starting this November, ATLAS will observe and measure the collisions of minuscule beams of protons traveling at nearly the speed of light inside a new particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The collider is under construction at CERN, the largest particle-physics lab in the world, located near Geneva, Switzerland.

Continue reading…

The work of scientists is really interesting! They either invent or discover new things, debunk a theory and offer an alternative, or recreate major theories such as Big Bang.

BusinessWeek.com, “A Big Bang… of Innovation”

Filed under: Innovation Update, Physics

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Using Six Sigma for Customer Winback

Posted by: meikah | 21 February 2007 | 11:35 pm

You gain a customer, lose him, win him back or lose him completely. That is the business cycle, and that is the why for your customer relations system. In that cycle, it has been proven that winning back customers is far easier than gaining one.

However, your business focus shouldn’t be this alone. Rather, your business should devise a system that will tell you what your customers really need and want. Yet, you can’t do away with customers who go astray. There are many obvious reasons for that.

Let’s just say that you’re now on the task of winning back your customers. An article on iSixSigma says that you can use Six Sigma’s DMAIC for customer winback. Six Sigma being data driven and doing work by data gathering data, it can help you with the root-cause analysis of losing customers, in the first place. A root cause analysis starts with investigation. The Six Sigma methodology provides the structure as to how to understand the data gathered during investigation.

Based on the book Customer Winback: How to Recapture Lost Customers – and Keep Them Loyal by Jill Griffin and Michael W. Lowenstein, four steps have been identified as to how to go about the investigation. The article points where each step is in the DMAIC methodology. Here’s how it goes:

  • Prepare: Determine what the organization knows and what is missing. (Six Sigma covers this within its Define phase.)
  • Assemble: Identify unmet requirements, unheard complaints, priorities and areas of importance, and clearer insights. (Six Sigma addresses this portion in its Measure phase.)
  • Comprehend: Having collected the information, determine with data models, regression, and statistical significance, areas that call for action and correction. (Six Sigma adds value during the Analyze phase.)
  • Employ: Apply the conclusions to correct problems and improve quality and training. Expand support and resources, and establish recognitions and rewards to encourage member loyalty. (Six Sigma specifically targets this in the Improve and Control phases.)

Continue reading…

iSixSigma, “Customer Winback Concept Begs for Use of Six Sigma,” with link provided by Promax Consulting.

Filed under: Benefits and Savings, Marketing, Sales, Services, Tools/Toolkits

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Six Sigma News Round-up

Posted by: meikah | 20 February 2007 | 11:52 pm

Here’s your round-up of Six Sigma news this week.

At Six Sigma Zone, Jim Hogg has been named hotel manager of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. With Hogg’s experience working in the company and his Six Sigma background, he will surely contribute a lot of wonders to Disney.

The InterContinental Hotel Group bounces back after the tourism downturn due to 9-11. The group is working with Xerox Global Services to implement a range of managed services to cut down on IT spending on helpdesk, deskside, and server support. The methodologies are Six Sigma and eventually to Lean Six Sigma.

Over at iSixSigma, Montgomery Alger, a certified Six Sigma master black belt, is now the vice president and chief technology officer of Air Products. Alger had extensive training at GE and at Air Products he will help execute the company’s growth strategy. Exciting things are indeed coming up at Air Products.

Heritage Valley launches its fully automated clinical laboratory, a first in the health system in the tri-state area. This laboratory will help reduce variation in the laboratory process. And according to officials this is in line with Heritage Valley’s Lean and Six Sigma initiatives. Read also about how Heritage improves its customer service.

Six Sigma Zone

Filed under: Entertainment, Events/Announcements, Healthcare, Lean Six Sigma, Manufacturing, Services, Software/Technology, Travel

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Lean and Six Sigma Conferences @ GoingToMeet.com

Posted by: meikah | 19 February 2007 | 9:42 pm

Six Sigma projects couldn’t start without training. Training accounts for the most part of the Six Sigma initiatives. You train your people for Black Belts, Champions, or Green Belts.

Apart from these trainings, Six Sigma practitioners should also continue learning, and Six Sigma projects should also be regularly recognized. That is why IQPC or ISSSP and other Six Sigma training or consultancy groups hold workshops and conferences.

Below are Six Sigma conferences in the coming months.

Event Title

Event Date


Lean and Six Sigma for Government 2007 Feb 26, 2007 -
Feb 28, 2007
Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, Alexandria, Virginia United States
3rd Lean Six Sigma For Pharmaceutical And Biotech Manufacturing Excellence Feb 27, 2007 -
Feb 28, 2007
The Hub CityView, Philadelphia, United States
IQPC Design for Six Sigma Conference Apr 03, 2007 -
Apr 04, 2007
Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro, Illinois United States
8th Annual Six Sigma Summit 2007 (UK) Apr 17, 2007 -
Apr 20, 2007
Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London, United Kingdom
3rd Annual Lean Six Sigma Summit Apr 25, 2007 -
Apr 29, 2007
The Westin Chicago North Shore, 601 North Milwaulkee Avenue, Chicago, United States
ISSSP 8th Annual Six Sigma Leadership Conference May 07, 2007 -
May 10, 2007
Hyatt Regency at Gainey Ranch, Scottsdale, Arizona United States
8th Annual Asian Six Sigma Summit 2007 May 22, 2007 -
May 23, 2007
Raffles The Plaza, Singapore, Singapore

For more conferences, check out GoingToMeet.com. Or if you have upcoming conferences, trade exhibits, or forums, visit GoingToMeet.com, and add your events there.

Update: You can also read this post on Article-Hangout.com.

Filed under: Events/Announcements, Finance, Healthcare, Lean Six Sigma, Manufacturing, Marketing, Sales, Services, Six Sigma References, Training

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Lean Six Sigma @ 3M

Posted by: meikah | 18 February 2007 | 9:43 pm

3M began its Six Sigma journey in 2001. Since then, the company has been reaping benefits and savings.

Featured on Industry Trends at ARC Advisory Group, Paul Husby, 3M VP Supply Chain Services and Operations, shared the following 3M’s Six Sigma journey through these years:

  • company now has a common language and methodology for continuous improvement
  • its culture has become cross-functional, and data driven decision-making
  • its operating margins improved by 5 percentage points from 18% to 23%, which translates into $1 billion in margin gain

In 2005, 3M incorporated Lean Manufactuing to its Six Sigma initiatives. This is what’s happening now at 3M.

Now, their Six Sigma and Lean programs are fully integrated together. Lean has a broader view by examining the value steam. Six Sigma offers focused problem-solving tools for specific operational issues. Positioning when to use the Six Sigma tools and Lean methods was worked out with the program managers. The use of Value Stream Mapping () has helped identify many new projects that where overlooked when only Six Sigma was in use.

Now, 3M usually starts with VSM. The typical 3M plant has 3 to 8 value streams. If Lean methods solve the issue, then just do it. When the issue needs a lot of statistical analysis, a black belt is assigned. Other-wise, a Green belt engages.

ARC Advisory Group Industry Trends, “Lean Six Sigmat at 3M” with link provided by Six Sigma Zone.

Related stories:
3M Finding its Way to Six Sigma
3M Brazil

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

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Innovation of the Week: “Computer writes its own fairytale”

Posted by: meikah | 16 February 2007 | 12:42 am

Our innovation feature today is quite interesting. It combines literary and technology skills.

Pérez y Pérez, a computer scientist at the Autonomous Metropolitan University in Mexico City, developed a program called MEXICA. The program generates original stories by assigning computerised representations to emotions and tensions between characters. Not only that the program can even edit the story and rewrite it if the system “thinks” the storyline is not plausible. Whoa! :-D
This is how it works:

A story may begin with something as basic as, “The enemy wounded the knight. The princess cured the knight. The knight killed the enemy. The knight rewarded the princess. The end.”

At this point, the computer analyses the story for coherence and ‘interestingness’. The program views a story as interesting when tension levels increase and fall throughout the piece.

If the program finds that the story is boring or incoherent in places, it will replace or insert atoms until a version is deemed satisfactory.

The program reads characters as variables and assigns a numerical value, between -3 and +3, to emotional connections that are defined as either amorous or non-amorous.

The numerical value is equivalent to the degree of emotion, with -3 being intense hate and +3 being intense love.

The program also understands story tension, such as linking the word ‘wounded’ with tension. This too is assigned a numerical value.

Once these clusters of emotional links and tensions are established, the program begins an ‘engagement-reflection cycle’.

Basically this involves searching a database of story actions and other happenings, called ‘atoms’, and determines the best match for the characters’ contexts for that moment.

The process repeats itself again and again until the system can no longer make any matches.

At this point, the computer analyses the story for coherence and ‘interestingness’. The program views a story as interesting when tension levels increase and fall throughout the piece.

If the program finds that the story is boring or incoherent in places, it will replace or insert atoms until a version is deemed satisfactory.

Continue reading…

I would be interested to see a complete story written by this program. Is this the answer to literary writers who are in a stump? What about those literary student writers? Professors better watch out! :-D

ABC Online, Innovation & Technology Section, “Computer writes its own fairytale”

Filed under: Communication, Innovation Update

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Lean/Six Sigma Putting Efficiency in Manufacturing

Posted by: meikah | 14 February 2007 | 11:26 pm

More and more manufacturing companies are realizing the value of combining Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma. Who doesn’t want a strategy that eliminates waste, simplifies procedures and speeds up production combined with quality-assurance principles?

Reliable Plant features an Oracle whitepaper on combining Lean and Six Sigma. The paper listed the following chief benefits:

  • Cost efficiency: Many companies initially look to lean methods as a means to reduce manufacturing costs. But focusing too much on reducing cost could leave the company with unsustainable improvements. A healthier approach is to treat lean as a stimulus to growth.
  • Inventory reduction: Carrying inventory costs a company in warehouse space, constrained capital and potential handling damage. However, inventory management is crucial when a manufacturing company imports raw materials. There is really a need to make careful forecasts that anticipate market demand rather than relying solely on real customer orders.
  • Shorter cycle times: This eliminates waiting in lengthy queues, and the company can attend to customer orders in a timely manner.
  • Greater flexibility: Be real-time enterprises with enhanced agility — the ability to respond almost immediately to customer demands.

Read more…

Reliable Plant, “Lean/Six Sigma: The quest for efficiency in manufacturing,” with link provided by iSixSigma.

*Photo credit: MorgueFile.com

Filed under: Benefits and Savings, Deployment, Inventory, Lean Six Sigma, Manufacturing