Six Features

Quality Transformation With David Schwinn's picture
Quality Transformation With David Schwinn
It’s hard these days to miss the passion of people who support Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders, the steadfastness of the Tea Party, the outrage of the Occupy Wall Street group, and the frustration...
Peter J. Sherman's picture
Peter J. Sherman
As organizations become successful and grow, uncertainty is generally the enemy. Thriving organizations seek to eliminate variation and increase efficiency. They identify best practices and...
Greg Fox's picture
Greg Fox
My recent beach vacation began with the kind of unfortunate incident that we all dread: killing a distant relative. It was about 3 a.m. Me, my two sons, and our dog had been on the road since...
Afaq Ahmed's picture
Afaq Ahmed
New technologies have empowered customers to seek out the best products and services at the lowest cost and shortest delivery times. Customers can compare price and delivery information as well as...
Harish Jose's picture
Harish Jose
There is a concept in lean known as a “monument.” It refers to a large machine, piece of equipment, or something similar that can’t be changed right away, and so you have to plan your processes...
Davis Balestracci's picture
Davis Balestracci
Today I want to concentrate on the foundation of what is most commonly taught as design of experiments (DOE)—factorial designs. Elsewhere I’ve mentioned three of C.M. Hendrix’s “ways to mess up an...
Ken Levine's picture
Ken Levine
How do you determine the “worst case” scenario for a process? Is it by assuming the worst case for each process task or step? No. The reason is that the probability of every step having its worst...
Harish Jose's picture
Harish Jose
In this article I want to look at the concept of equifinality in relation to the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle. In systems theory, equifinality is defined as reaching the same end, no matter what...
Bruce Hamilton's picture
Bruce Hamilton
Twice in the last month I’ve heard the phrase “traditional lean” used in public presentations. In neither case did the presenter explain the expression, but one displayed a slide with a Venn...
Quality Transformation With David Schwinn's picture
Quality Transformation With David Schwinn
The map is not the territory. —Alfred Korzybski This column is a tribute primarily to Jamshid Gharajedaghi, a long-time teacher, mentor, colleague, and friend. My wife Carole and I recently visited...
Jim Benson's picture
Jim Benson
We are all cursed with “surprises” at work. We come in, sit down, get ready for the day. We select a task to start on, and about halfway through, it explodes on us. The seemingly simple task now...
Fred Schenkelberg's picture
Fred Schenkelberg
What if all failures occurred truly randomly? Well, for one thing the math would be easier. The exponential distribution would be the only time to failure distribution—we wouldn’t need Weibull or...
Bruno Scibilia's picture
Bruno Scibilia
In yesterday’s column, I discussed how a DOE was chosen to optimize a chemical-mechanical polishing process in the microelectronics industry. This important process improved the plant’s final...
Ken Levine's picture
Ken Levine
One poorly understood concept in lean Six Sigma is how much to “stretch” when setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. These letters are defined as S—specific; M—measureable; A—assignable, attainable, or...
Kimberly Watson-Hemphill's picture
Kimberly Watson-Hemphill
Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from the new book, Innovating Lean Six Sigma, by Kimberly Watson-Hemphill and Kristine Nissen Bradley. Like every company, healthcare businesses do their work...
Davis Balestracci's picture
Davis Balestracci
April Fool’s Day (today) and the opening of baseball season (this Sunday) are upon us. To mark the first event, I’ll let my distinguished colleague Donald Wheeler make some eloquent and crucial...
Matthew Barsalou's picture
Matthew Barsalou
The start of a failure investigation may involve brainstorming, but empirical methods will be required to actually identify a problem's cause. Implementing an improvement action without a confirmed...
Eston Martz's picture
Eston Martz
There’s plenty of noisy disagreement about the state of healthcare, but when you look beyond the controversies, a great deal of common ground exists. Many agree that the way we’ve been doing...
John Flaig's picture
John Flaig
Sometimes when authors try to make a technical concept more understandable, it’s simplified but unfortunately, less accurate. For example, when the developers of Six Sigma wanted to explain...
Beth Savage's picture
Beth Savage
Out-of-control gas prices reported in the news have our attention. Nearly every media outlet, from the small-town daily news to The Wall Street Journal, has a gas price story on a weekly basis: “...