The 7 Habits Revisited – Part 1

Author: Russ Aikman
It has been five years since the untimely passing of Stephen R. Covey (1932-2012). Author, teacher, and businessman, Covey is best known for his 1989 book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This extremely popular self-help book has sold more than 25 million copies, and it was the first audiobook to sell more than 1 million copies.
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Kata! Lean Six Sigma!

Author: Pat Boutier
What is a kata? And what does it have to do with Lean Six Sigma? Unlike many Japanese words used in LSS such as muda and kaizen, kata is a relatively new concept. But the idea of kata goes back over 100 years to the origins of martial arts such as judo and karate.
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Risk Management – Part 2: Project Delays

Authors: Alberto Yáñez-Moreno, Ph.D. and Russ Aikman
In Part 2 we discuss risks associated with Time – projects which take too long to complete. We hear more complaints from project sponsors about lengthy projects than any other project management issue. Also, late projects are a form of stress for many BBs and GBs.
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Risk Management – Part 1: Overview

Authors: Alberto Yáñez-Moreno, Ph.D. and Russ Aikman
Successful LSS practitioners must know not only specific tools and methods for solving problems (e.g., control charts, ANOVA, setup reduction, etc.) but also project management. And from a project management standpoint there are three major overarching goals: Quality: Was the solution effective? Time: Was it completed on time? Cost: Was it completed on budget?
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Sustaining Results Using Training Within Industry

Author: Pat Boutier
A major challenge for all LSS practitioners is how to sustain results achieved during their project. Basically, the entire Control Phase is about sustaining results. Fortunately there is an existing body of knowledge which complements Lean Six Sigma and was developed for the express purpose of teaching employees how to do their job correctly: TWI or Training Within Industry.
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Project Delays – And What to Do About Them

Author: Alberto Yáñez-Moreno, Ph.D.
How long should a Lean Six Sigma project take? A common goal is 4 to 6 months. But what are belts reporting? In the fall of 2016, TMAC conducted an informal survey of several firms at our LSS Deployment Champion Symposium. One company with a mature LSS Program reported a median completion time of 5.7 months for Black Belts and 3.5 months for Green Belts. Other customers reported median times of 6 to 8 months for BBs and 3 to 9 months for GBs. To be clear, these are median project times – some take less time and others more time.
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ISO 9000 and Lean Six Sigma – A Synergistic View

Author: Satya Kudapa
First published in 1987, the ISO 9000 Quality Management System (QMS) standard is now widely used around the world with over 1.1 million registered companies. This standard – actually a family of standards – is updated periodically, most recently in 2015 by the International Organization for Standardization. ISO 9000 provides guidance and a framework for organizations to ensure that their products and services meet customer requirements and quality is continually improved. Complying with ISO 9000 requirements helps reassure customers that companies have the necessary processes and controls in place to ensure safe, reliable and quality products or services.
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Engaging Senior Management: Deployment Champion

Author: Russ Aikman
TMAC hosted a LSS Deployment Champion Symposium for our customers on November 16-17, 2016. Champions and senior managers from nine different companies participated in the symposium, representing industries ranging from food & beverage and logistics to jewelry-making, retail, building products, aerospace, energy, and healthcare. Despite the variety – or perhaps because of it – participants freely shared both successes achieved and barriers ahead for their Lean Six Sigma Programs.
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Lean Six Sigma in City Government (Part 2 of 2)

Authors: Diana Martinez, Ph.D. and Alberto Yáñez-Moreno, Ph.D.
Although Lean and Six Sigma originated in manufacturing, LSS has proven successful in a variety of service industries including the city government. LSS practitioners who plan to work in government face many challenges, some of which are unique to their environment. What are the keys to a successful implementation of Lean Six Sigma in government? How do they differ from the private sector?
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Lean Six Sigma in City Government (Part 1 of 2)

Authors: Diana Martinez, Ph.D. and Alberto Yáñez-Moreno, Ph.D.
Although Lean and Six Sigma originated in manufacturing, LSS has proven successful in a variety of service industries including the city government. LSS practitioners who plan to work in government face many challenges, some of which are unique to their environment. What are the keys to a successful implementation of Lean Six Sigma in government? How do they differ from the private sector?
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Coaching New Belts: Why, When and How

Author: Satya Kudapa
A common feedback from our Black Belt and Green Belt students is that at the end of the training (4 weeks for BBs and 2 weeks for GBs) they feel overwhelmed with the amount of information and tools provided to them. Many students feel like they were fed from a fire hose. Retaining that much information provided in such a short period of time can be very challenging. Combine that with the idea of using these tools on their projects for the first time in a real world situation (with many eyes on them as Project leaders) can be very daunting for many freshly trained Belts.
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5S in the Office? Yes, Please!

Authors: Chris Meeks and Russ Aikman
Many LSS companies embrace the principles of 5S in their operations. Increasingly this is true even in non-manufacturing industries such as health care. And many excel at their 5S implementation – in operations. The benefits are obvious to all: Better organization, clearer communications, improved safety, fewer mistakes and better quality. However, all too often the administrative areas and offices of these same firms are left out when it comes to 5S. And that is a shame because the potential for waste in office processes can be as large as – if not larger than – that seen in operations. Why does this happen? When considering a typical 5S project, most LSS practitioners immediately envision their operations. They can see the applicability of 5S in a machining cell, a packaging area, an assembly workstation, a teller at a bank, or an operating room at a hospital. Often the need for 5S is obvious.
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7 Words You Should Never Say in Lean Six Sigma

Author: Russ Aikman
In the 1970s the late comedian George Carlin (1937-2008) perfected a routine in which he listed seven words that could not be used on broadcast television. Carlin was known for his acerbic wit and ability to skewer bureaucrats, politicians, and anyone else that he found to be arrogant, pompous, or just plain ignorant. And he also loved words, and often found humor in how words were used.
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Keys to a Successful LSS Project: Part 3 of 3: Project Support

Author: Alberto Yáñez-Moreno, Ph.D.
Often companies that want to implement a LSS program – and experience the benefits associated with it – think that by sending a couple of staff to Green or Black Belt training they are on their way to success. Nothing can be further from the truth. If belts do not have appropriate structure and support, they often experience a number of problems. At companies which provide poor support, the LSS projects tend to:
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What Payback Can You Expect From Your Lean Six Sigma Project?

Author: Alberto Yáñez-Moreno, Ph.D.
TMAC requires our students to complete one project (for Green Belts) or two projects (for Black Belts) as part of the requirements for certification. All GB and BB candidates must submit their project documentation for review. TMAC staff examine project files for adherence to the DMAIC process, use of appropriate tools, potential technical issues, etc.
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My Experience as a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Student

Author: Jordan Kempler
As the Event Coordinator for TMAC’s Lean Six Sigma program, I would often pass by our classroom and hear our instructors speaking about what sounded to me to be math problems that would stump Albert Einstein! On top of that, the walls always seemed to be covered with charts and formulas that I believed nobody could possibly understand!
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Three Resolutions to Make You a Better Lean Six Sigma Practioner

Author: Russ Aikman
1) Resolve to teach others – There are many benefits to teaching others about Lean Six Sigma. It forces you to know enough about something to make it comprehensible. This is especially true when it is a technical concept or tool. As one of my college professors used to say ‘If you can’t explain it, you don’t really understand it.’ Teaching also improves your communication skills and allows you to perform one of the most fundamental roles of LSS practitioners: Knowledge Transfer. It increases your own retention of what is taught. And it is one of the ideas promoted in the article “Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System” by Spear & Bowen (HBR - SEP 1999) : Rule 4: Any improvement must be made in accordance with the scientific method, under the guidance of a teacher, at the lowest possible level in the organization.
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Applying Lean in a Soup Kitchen? Of Course You Can!

Author: Russ Aikman
A common argument from individuals who are new to Lean principles is ‘We’re different. This Lean stuff doesn’t apply to us. It only works in manufacturing.’ Experienced Lean Six Sigma (LSS) practitioners know Lean practices have been successfully implemented in a wide variety of non-manufacturing industries including health care, finance and banking, retail, insurance, supply chain, government, and the armed forces. At TMAC, we’ve even had individuals attend our Lean Six Sigma training from a casino and a pawn shop.But what about using LSS at a charitable organization? In a New York Times article from 2013 writer Mona Al-Naggar describes how The Food Bank for New York City applied Lean principles to improve different processes. One of those processes was at a soup kitchen in Harlem, where the wait time for dinner was reduced from up to 90 minutes to 18 minutes – an 80% improvement. They received help in this endeavor from the company credited with the development of Lean – Toyota.
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