Who Is On Your Team? 2

Who Is On Your Team?
Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe… As a project team leader, you already know the skills you want on your project team.  Sure, you want a process expert.  And “outside eyes” (someone who knows nothing about the process) is a great person to have as well.  You also want a representative from each major function involved in ...

The Constraint Is Not Where You Think.

The Constraint Is Not Where You Think.
This Time, it’s the People! Traditional lean thinking tells us that the problem isn’t the person; rather, it’s the process.  But sometimes the process is designed to make the person the problem. In a heavily automated process all of the machine components are usually subordinated to the slowest machine in the line.  This is part ...

Value Added Learning 1

Value Added Learning
Replace the wasted time in your daily tasks with Value Added Learning by following these 3 simple tips. We never have enough time for the important things in life.  But most of us aren’t effectively using the time we have available.  Follow these three tricks to capture wasted time and get your productivity back on ...

Are You Leaner than a 3rd-Grader?

Are You Leaner than a 3rd-Grader?
Implementation of a new CPI initiative involves interrelated parts moving fluidly through (and beyond) the entire organization.  One method of implementation focuses on using an audit checklist to drive the desired results.  This is related to the concept of “beginning with the end in mind”, and can be an essential part of driving the right ...

Customer Disservice (or, “How to Break a Process”) 3

Customer Disservice (or,
Have you ever gotten really crappy service from a broken process? My wife and I recently completed a trip from Richmond, Virginia to Reno, Nevada (through Dallas/Fort Worth) on an airline I won’t mention (although I’ll say that it is the most patriotic of airlines if you happen to be American).  Their passenger check-in process ...

Book Review: The Six Sigma Way Team Fieldbook

Book Review: The Six Sigma Way Team Fieldbook
Occasionally I run across a new resource that makes process improvement easy. I recently discovered a “new” (to me, anyway) book from 2002 (“The Six Sigma Way Team Fieldbook”, written by Pande, Neuman, and Cavanagh) that I want to share with you because it presents Six Sigma tools and methods in a refreshingly useful way. ...

Staying Afloat in a Sea of Data 1

Staying Afloat in a Sea of Data
During the Six Sigma Measure phase of your project you will probably be collecting a great deal of data. If you aren’t careful, you’ll end up collecting a lot more than you need (either by chasing too much data initially, or by having to go back during the Analyze phase to capture the data you ...

Hearing Voice of the Customer at Alamo

Hearing Voice of the Customer at Alamo
My wife and I are on vacation and after a long flight from our home base of Reno to Richmond, Virginia, we wandered up to the rental car garage at the airport; we were tired and it showed.  We were warmly greeted by Tyisha, who was about to become our best friend and the expert ...

What Disney Can Teach Us About Lean Methodology 2

What Disney Can Teach Us About Lean Methodology
Do you remember the Dodo in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland (1951)?  You know…  The bird who’s standing on a pillar of dry land, exhorting everyone around him to engage in a “caucus race” in order to stay dry?  If you’ve seen it, then the image below should refresh your memory.  And if you haven’t seen ...

Accounting, O-rings, and the Dangers of Extrapolation

Accounting, O-rings, and the Dangers of Extrapolation
I’m currently “knees-deep” (“elbows-deep”?) in a Managerial Accounting course that is part of University of Nevada’s outstanding Executive MBA program, and my cohort is studying Cost Behavior.  Part of the discussion focuses on what is called “Relevant Range”, which is defined as “the range of activity over which we expect our assumptions about cost behavior ...