Lean Six Sigma Explained

A great video by Dan Munson, I admire him because he makes it real.  And I love his elephant analogy.  It's not like it's the first time I heard it. As a kid, I was told learning was like eating an elephant, one small bite at a time. 

As a trainer, I've been asked to provide a simple explanation of what Lean Six Sigma is.  When I tell people it's a science based statistical backed behavior and processed management system, I get blank looks.

Why Lean Sigma? Because It Works!!!

Lean Sigma has proven to be an effective way in saving companies a lot of money.

If someone told me that he has ideas that could streamline my business, save money, increase profitability and that my customers implemented these ideas in their policies, I'd be interested.

Unfortunately, some don't share my enthusiastic curiosity.

Kaizen in a Lean Dojo

As a martial artist for many years, I was taught dojo kun.  “Hitotsu, jinkaku kansei ni tsutomuru koto” the first of five guiding rules in Shotokan Karate, one of the major martial arts systems originating in Japan, practiced worldwide, and founded by Gichin Funakoshi.  Translated it means:  Each person must strive for the completion of one's character.  When recited in the dojo after each class, it was shortened to “Seek perfection of character.”

Question is:  Can this same principle apply in a Lean Enterprise environment?


How to Determine If You Need Lean Sigma

The big question is, now that you know a little about Lean Sigma, why do you need it when you feel your company is efficient and streamlined with customers happy enough with the quality and service you provide?

The comeback is:  “Are you sure?”

The Value of Processes

Years ago, I worked with the Director of QA/QC and was tasked a Root Cause Failure Analysis (RCFA).  When I heard about this particular issue, I cringed thinking about how we were going to identify the cause and then fix it.  Together, along with a group of others, we spent about an hour on a white board, drawing charts and implementing the Ishikawa Fish Bone Diagram and asked the 5 Whys, affinity diagram, and multi-voting ideas -- basic Lean Six Sigma stuff.

Process Improvement: Stop Bad Processes Killing Your Business

Here's a great article, you've got to read.  I think it pretty much sums up the saying...process...process...process...

See link below:

Process Improvement: Stop Bad Processes Killing Your Business

Note to Self

At my age, I find myself forgetting things, especially when It comes to my “To Do” list.

A lot of us have ways “to do” this.  Typical these days is to use your android or iPhone, tablet, or notebook.  It’s convenient and it keeps records and history for as long as you want. 

I’ve even seen people talking into a handheld recorder.

For me, I found what works best is handwriting these all too important tasks on a piece of paper and carrying it with me where ever I go.  It did the job when I went to college (pre-computer), discovering now, that this old way takes care of business as well as any other means.

It’s not that I’m adverse nor have I not tried these wonderful apps that crowd my cell phone.  For example, I rely upon the calendar app instead of flipping pages in an A5 organizer.

But there’s something to say about that sheet of paper with a note written from you in your own cryptic handwriting.


  • It get’s the job done.
  • It’s convenient.
  • It’s not bulky.
  • You see accomplishments as you check off the task.
  • Each time you open up the sheet, it gives you a snap shot of what you’ve done and still need to do.
  • It helps time manage your tasks.
  • It helps prioritize your tasks.
  • It makes you feel good when you check off everything on your list and justifies that “Miller Time” moment.

This is a simple process that anyone can sink his/her teeth into, a physical act that requires both mind and body to coordinate and integrate as one; kind of like a ‘tai chi” moment.  And there’s nothing wrong with Tai Chi.

I surfed the web and found posts and articles about the benefits of physically handwriting on journals, school notes, meetings and so forth as they prove a stronger method of recollection.  

Check it out.  It’s somewhat revealing.

If you’re like me, handwriting or scribbling that’s marginally legible, you may think it’s counter-productive because of the readability factor, but when you step back and think about it, what matters is that whoever writes the note, can read it and make sense of it. 

From a business perspective, this is one way to relieve yourself from the dreaded multi-tasking monkey mind your find yourself caught into.

Write your list, and stick it in your pocket, referring to it every chance you get.

Try it.  You'll like it!

So if you don’t mind, my “To Do List” says I’ve got to throw the whites into the wash.


Picture courtesy of dreamstime.com

I’ve never created a blog on my cell phone, but I was compelled.  More like pissed.  It happened when I did not get an order I placed online.  At the time, it was in stock and I paid with my credit card.

I asked for a tracking number, and was then told that I’d have to wait several weeks for the manufacture to restock the distributor’s shelves.  

Wow.  Not good.

Rule of Thumbs: Write a Business Plan

On occasion, I’ve been approached by small and medium sized companies. Some are start-ups. Many are established.  Others are handed down from generation-to-generation, modifying practices to accommodate trends, customer satisfaction, and up-to-date processes for profitability.   

So when I asked for copies of their business plans, their standard answer is “it’s all in my head.”   

Then I follow up with “is this where you want your company to be?  In your head? "

The Scientific Method

Lean is a science based discipline that uses facts, data, processes, measures and analysis to manage company operations, , reduce cycle times, and eliminate defects.  Projects, which include corrective action preventive action (CAPA), design and development (DND), and continuous improvement, follow a process or, specifically, the Scientific Method.


First of all, this blog is devoted to the promotion and development of scientific process management, more specifically: Lean and Six Sigma. Tim Wood happens to be one of the nuances of the concept that is used by many companies to remind their staff of ways to curtail waste. Of course, there is so much more to discuss, learn and develop both internally and externally. I've learned that once you've learned something in this field, and thought you almonst know it all, you've discovered how much you need to explore.

As a start, let's look into who and what is Tim Wood.