Sunday, April 29, 2012


Years ago, I managed an insurance claims paying office.  It was important not only to pay the claims correctly, but on a timely manner.  The contract has provisions that if they weren’t we were penalize a fee that had to be paid back to the customer.  The company serious with this intent had management participate in a seminar that addressed this issue.  It was called Management by Objectives by Peter F. Drucker.  I remembered learning this in college, then a blur, remembering bits and pieces.  This four day seminar dissected the concepts and introduced practical applications.  Little did I know, this class introduced me to Lean concepts before it was popular and it helped provide the base of what I needed to enter into the realm of Lean.  Those of you who don’t know, Ed Deming learned from Drucker.  Deming was hired by the Japanese to improve their car manufacturing production lines in a company called Toyota.  I didn’t know this till I started taking classes in JIT Toyota Production Systems that it fell into place.  Of course it led me into learning more about Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints, Gerber’s EMyth, and Motorola’s Six Sigma methodology that there rehashed and fortified in my American Production and Inventory Chain Society (APICS) classes.  Without saying, there was a tremendous amount of information that micro-managed every single aspect of running a business, any business.  Some use it in politics, others in dealing with personal life’s issues. 

When this learning was reinforced by my current company not only having me take refresher courses in Lean but implementing these concepts in our daily operations to maintain our ISO Certification, I needed to simplify it into its basic form.  Kind of putting it into a 25 or less word sentence type of thing. 

My thoughts:  Impossible.

So I started taking notes and reading everything I could find.  Of course it got worse instead of better.

When I finally reached a point of exhaustion, I flipped the pages on my screen and found a colored graph that had the acronym DMAIC.  Funny, because in my classes and pages of reading, the term “De –MAY- IK” was said and referred zillions of times.  I even said it, but in my context, it was just saying it to be like others.  It meant nothing because I was dissecting single celled portions of the theories that the heart and soul did not set in. 

Define problem and identify the process
Measure Critical to Quality metrics
Analyze root cause
Improve by implementing solution
Control by sustaining gains.

Biddy-bang-biddy-boom.  There it was.  Took me 30 seconds to say over again and memorize.  I mean,I had Catholic prayers that strung a list of ten times more words. 

And for some reason, when this acronym etched in my brain, things started to fit into play.  I started remembering things like:  5S, fishbone, statistical analysis; DOE, ANOVA, PCE, VA, NVA, VSM, Takt, Time and Motion, C&E, CTQ…list goes on and on.

Now I’m not going to say I’ve all of a sudden turned into a know-it-all, but certain revelations are satisfying and this start has opened my eyes to a world that I lived in but didn’t realize it ramifications. 

Definitely, I’m going to dig deeper. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tim Wood: He’s Costing Your Company Money.

• Written By: Six Sigma Training Assistant
• 5-3-2009
• Categorized in: Six Sigma Implementation

The effectiveness of such things as mnemonic acronyms cannot be underestimated in the delivery of Six Sigma training and office philosophy. Some Six Sigma programs take this too far – most of us can probably speak of a time when we have been sat in a meeting or in a training seminar and the amount of jargon and management-speak became simply too much to deal with. It can cause people to become cynical about the whole process as they feel they are being talked down to.

So when you introduce them to Tim Wood, make sure your workers are ready to see the underlying message.

Who is Tim Wood, you ask?

Let me introduce you.

Transportation.  Waste is something that affects a number of businesses. The amount of time wasted taking documents and information, along with other materials, from floor to floor, office to office, really eats into the time that could be spent doing real work.

Inventory Waste is a problem that affects all businesses. At times, some parts of the business may well be redundant.

Not in the frightening, unemployed sense, but in the sense that they are sitting around waiting for more work. If work is scheduled more effectively, people will always be working towards something important and allowing the work to flow.

Motion Waste is a classic kind of waste that can disrupt the effectiveness of a business. Leaving one’s desk unnecessarily – to ask a question that could either wait or be asked via e-mail, for example – cuts into the effectiveness of working time.

Movement from your desk is not motion waste – it is common sense. Movement from your desk to ask how to spell something is motion waste.

Waiting Waste is something that comes to us all. Wasting time is something which will cause problems in any business. It can stop a project being completed on time, and it can block the commencement or the advance of other work. If things are scheduled and streamlined, it need not happen.

Over production is something that a lot of people view as helping effectiveness rather than hindering it. If you have a surplus, goes the theory, then that means less work later on. But by overproducing you will be making extra work for someone else, so efficiency is harmed.

Over processing is another example of seeming efficiency actually hiding something that hinders the efficiency of a working process. By combining documents and putting them into a larger folder, then taking time out to transfer that folder, a worker uses more time than if the person for whom the documents are intended was a few feet away – where if that were the case, the documents could just be passed as they were processed. 

Defect waste is simply the weight of errors that necessitate correction, increasing cost and time wasting. If the same mistake is being made again and again, stopping that mistake at source will mean less time needs to be devoted to correcting it.

Less time, less expense, greater efficiency.

So, say hello to Six Sigma's Tim Wood.

And now say goodbye.