Six Features

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: “...
Davis Balestracci's picture
Davis Balestracci
This article is based on some ideas from my respected colleague Mark Hamel. Despite the lean framework, these ideas apply to any improvement approach—all of which come from the same theory, lean...
Mike Micklewright's picture
Mike Micklewright
In October 2014, 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer. In November 2015, footage of the shooting was released and has been viewed all over the world. The...
Davis Balestracci's picture
Davis Balestracci
Marketers are relentless in their efforts to seduce you with fancy tools, acronyms, Japanese terminology—and promises—about their versions of formal improvement structures such as Six Sigma, lean,...
Quality Transformation With David Schwinn's picture
Quality Transformation With David Schwinn
Wherever you stand, be the Soul of that place. —Rumi I was blessed last week to spend two glorious days with my wife, Carole, our daughter, Lisa, and Lisa’s consulting partner, Rox. Those two...
Quality Transformation With David Schwinn's picture
Quality Transformation With David Schwinn
I teach management and leadership. Recently, the topic in one of my classes was change and stress. I asked my students, who are nearly all employed and range in age from 19 to 55, what caused them...
Steve Daum's picture
Steve Daum
In daily conversations, I field questions from plant managers, quality managers, engineers, supervisors, and plant production workers about the challenges of applying statistical process...
William A. Levinson's picture
William A. Levinson
The Shewhart control chart is relatively insensitive to non-normal distributions, and the worst foreseeable consequences of a wrong decision involve searching for an assignable or special cause...
Quality Transformation With David Schwinn's picture
Quality Transformation With David Schwinn
This month’s column results from my wife, Carole, asking me to “watch this.” This was a short video on her computer showing two young children brilliantly and inspirationally singing, “You Raise Me...
Patrick Runkel's picture
Patrick Runkel
Did you ever wonder why statistical analyses and concepts often have such weird, cryptic names? One conspiracy theory points to the workings of a secret committee called the International Committee...
Bill Kalmar's picture
Bill Kalmar
My wife Mary has an obsession—she always checks the expiration and freshness dates on food products that we purchase. Mary also marks purchase dates on products such as ketchup, mustard, and salad...
George Chemers's picture
George Chemers
Although information is readily available about applying team-building techniques to Six Sigma projects, there’s not much about how learning styles affect the success of Six Sigma teams. Knowing...
Matthew Barsalou's picture
Matthew Barsalou
I gave a rather successful talk on communicating design of experiments (DoE) at the recent ENBIS 14 conference in Linz, Austria. Things went mostly well, but it’s also fair to say many attendees...
Barry Johnson's picture
Barry Johnson
The adage “if you aren’t moving forward, you’re falling behind” is true more often than not. Regardless of the type of business, all organizations need to improve to survive. The last words uttered...