Improvement Insights – Lean Six Sigma Moneybelt

Improvement Insights Blog

Latest "Improvement Insights" Posts

Automating Decision Trees to Collapse The Control Chart Learning Curve

Words like “variable” and “attribute” confuse new students of quality improvement. But they need to know that to choose the right control chart using a decision tree don’t they? Not if you automate chart selection for them. Here’s how I did it:



“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and QI Macros [software].

“I don’t know about the rest of you, but I got started back in 1990, and that’s when I learned about control charts. Then I started trying to teach people about control charts… guess what? You start talking about ‘variable’ and ‘attribute’ and ‘sample sizes’ and you can watch everybody’s eyes slowly glaze over; it’s just fascinating to watch.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, Lean, QI Macros, Six Sigma.

Stomp Out Fires When You See Them

Ever seen a puff of smoke rising from some debris? What did you do about it? The same is true in businesses; a small error in production can be put out quickly at the beginning. Become a volunteer firefighter in your company. Here’s how:



“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and QI Macros [software].

“A few years back I was at the American Society for Quality Audit Conference down in Memphis, Tennessee. We were staying at the Peabody Hotel where they have the famous duck walk at night, where the ducks come out and get into the pond.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, Lean, Six Sigma.

Surprising My First Employee

Some people think working long hours and putting in a lot of overtime is the red badge of courage. They are wrong. Here’s why:



“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and QI Macros [software].

“When I first hired my first employee Adrienne she’d been working for Arthur Andersen, which was a big accounting firm, and she was used to working long hours like that was the “red badge of courage.” She said, “If you need me to work nights or weekends, I can do whatever that is. I can do whatever it takes.”

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, Lean.

Reengineering Doesn’t Work – Use SSOI

Any time you get the urge to completely demolish your existing systems and try to create a new one from scratch, hit the pause button. Here’s why:



“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma For Hospitals” and QI Macros [software].

“Many years ago, they had a whole push towards “re-engineering.” I remember it was about 1990, Michael Hammer was doing all the re-engineering stuff and it was sort of like, “If you just blew stuff up and started over again, you would end up with a much better something-or-other.” Let me tell you, over three quarters of those re-engineering efforts failed miserably, and some of them killed companies.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Agile Lean Six Sigma, Improvement Insights.

Learn To Use Google To Look Stuff Up

The answer to almost any question about Lean Six Sigma methods and tools can be found on the internet. When you learn how to use Google or Bing search, you can cut the time to do almost anything. Here’s why:



“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma For Hospitals” and QI Macros [software].

“One of the things I think everybody should do is learn how to use Google to look stuff up. It may take you a little time to start to learn how to string words and phrases together; if you just start typing in your menu bar, Google will start feeding you things that you might want to choose that are things other people have already asked for, so you don’t have to know everything to do anything anymore, right?

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights.

SSOI – Simplify, Streamline, Optimize and Innovate

The best approach I’ve found to ongoing improvement and innovation. Use SSOI-the Agile Process Innovation methodology.



“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Agile Process Innovation: Hacking Lean And Six Sigma For Maximum Results.”

“Now in here I describe my process and I’ll call it “soy”: S.S.O.I. which stands for “Simplify, Streamline, Optimize and Innovate.”

“Now to Simplify, what do we use: 5S. Go clean all the debris and stuff that’s collected over the years and get all that junk out of the way.

“After we Simplify, we Streamline, so we use Value Stream Maps and Spaghetti Diagrams to figure out how to simplify flows, connect them better so we get rid of all the delays that are slowing us down and slowing down customers and making them unhappy, right?

Posted by Jay Arthur in Agile Lean Six Sigma, Improvement Insights.

The Jack Welch Effect

Jack Welch made Six Sigma big. Now it’s fading. How can we bring the sparkle back to Six Sigma?



“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and QI Macros [software].

“When I got started in my business back in the late 90s, Jack Welch was the CEO to copy. When he got dipped in Six Sigma, guess what? Every other CEO wanted to get dipped in Six Sigma too. This is what I call the Jack Welch Effect.

“Since then, Jack retired and [CEO] went over to [Jeff] Immelt and some other people, and now GE has fallen into some disarray, (not necessarily because of Six Sigma, I think because they let go of some of that), but other forces in the world were pushing them.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, Six Sigma.

You Don’t Need to Know Statistics to Do Statistical Process Control (SPC)

People think you have to know statistics to do Statistical Process Control (SPC). Not true, here’s why.



“I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma For Hospitals” and QI Macros [software].

“I’ve noticed that whenever I say the phrase “Statistical Process Control,” people start to freak out. It’s unnecessary because guess what? You don’t need to know statistics to do Statistical Process Control.

“Shewhart was a statistician, he figured out how to calculate the variances and… how to calculate the upper and lower control limits and what that all means. Then Nelson expanded all of that stuff, so the statisticians did the statistical part.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, QI Macros.

Unemployment Rate Lessons for Six Sigma

The nightly news reports unemployment statistics, not employment statistics. There’s a lesson here for Six Sigma.



“Have you ever noticed that when the nightly news comes on they always report unemployment rates, not employment rates? “The unemployment rate is five or six percent,” they don’t say “94 or 95 percent of America is employed.” No, they focus on the problem: the problem is the unemployment rate.

“Well, this holds true also in all things Quality related. Once when I was first being trained they said, “Once you get above 80 percent compliance, what you want to do is focus on the 20 percent non-compliance,” so you want to focus on the defects, the mistakes, the errors, the waste, the rework.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, Six Sigma.

Be A Process Doctor

Medical doctors (M.D.) help people heal. In Lean Six Sigma, we help companies heal. Be a Process Doctor(P.D.).



“Medical doctors diagnose and then treat patients. I think of myself as a Process Doctor: a P.D.; not an M.D., a P.D. I work with companies and I try and figure out why their systems are not working the way they ought to and remove blockages to speed things up. You know, get the electrical systems working better. It’s the same idea. So I think you and I are all Process Doctors.

“Now, I think the metaphor about this is great because we’re in the helping profession and we help things get better and stay better; stay healthy, just like a medical doctor.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, Lean, QI Macros, Six Sigma, Statistics.