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By Carey Wilson

In autumn 2006, customer demand was exceeding production capacity at Singer Sewing Machine facilities. To meet the capacity constraints, Don Fletcher, CEO of Singer’s parent company, SVP Worldwide, headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda, decided to launch lean Six Sigma into all facilities around the world.

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By Quality Digest

Why, Why, Why, Why, Why

I agree with Craig Cochran that complex problems are difficult to solve or tackle using the 5 Whys method (“Don’t Fail Your Customers With the Five Whys,” February 2009). Companies and consultants have a tendency to want to use the 5 Whys method as a pill for all illnesses.

Another problem with the 5 Whys method is that by the time you get to the fifth why, the root cause of a problem inevitably ends up being something along the lines of “the employee causing the error is not motivated.”

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By Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest

You might notice that the copy of Quality Digest you’re holding in your hand is a little light. You’ve been telling us for years that we had too many advertising pages, so we delivered with fewer pesky ads to interrupt your reading pleasure. Is that customer service or what? Of course, we didn’t plan it that way.

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By Quality Digest

Error-Proofing Oil-Cap Assembly

Two vision sensors are used at the station where caps are pressed onto the O-ring loaded on the assembly dial.

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By Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest

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By Mike Richman

I woke up yesterday morning at 6 a.m., downed a glass of juice, showered, got dressed, grabbed my briefcase, and ran out the door. I arrived at the office at 7 a.m. Waiting for me were nearly 50 e-mails; a couple of them were junk, but most were from actual humans to actual, little ol’ me. When did I get so popular? Soon thereafter the phone started ringing--advertisers, subscribers, contributors, vendors, trade partners, etc., etc., etc. By 7:30, I was already way behind.

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By Quality Digest

Better Than 5 Whys

I liked the way Craig Cochran discounted or lessened the credibility of the 5 Whys (“Don’t Fail Your Customers With the 5 Whys,” February 2009). He provided excellent rationale for its limitations. His alternatives were good; however, I do not believe they can replace Ishikawa’s use of the fishbone technique. While with IBM, I had a class in defect prevention using the fishbone technique followed by action teams to remedy candidate causes with a resolution to each of the viable candidate causes.

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By Mike Richman

As Dirk Dusharme mentioned recently in this space (“A Bold Step Forward,” June 2008), we at Quality Digest have been working like mad these last few months to launch a major redesign of our web site, conveniently located at www.qualitydigest.com. The primary upgrade involves the addition of streaming video, most of which we script, shoot, and edit ourselves.

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By Quality Digest

Six Sigma and the Brain Trust