Lean Six Sigma Applies Not Only to Manufacturing

I am happy to report that I can now call myself a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.  While I consider this a worthwhile achievement, some friends and colleagues have questioned why I was spending time, effort and money on “just getting a piece of paper” that doesn’t mean much in the world of sales […]

Volcanoes, Airplanes and Quantifying Risk

On April 19th, 2010, IATA, the chief trade group representing airlines, issued a press release which states in part: “IATA criticized Europe’s unique methodology of closing airspace based on theoretical modeling of the ash cloud. ‘This means that governments have not taken their responsibility to make clear decisions based on facts …’ said [Giovanni] Bisignani […]

How to Avoid Misleading Conclusions: Explore Your Data

Often we have to work with data without knowing all the details of how it was collected and processed.  In those situations we first need to determine what information the data contains and what it can and cannot tell us.   We need to ask questions of the data and determine whether it makes sense, […]

Decision Making During Turmoil: How Well Are We Prepared?

In order to make profitable decisions, we need good information.  Whether we base our decisions on sales, customer perceptions or the number of widgets we shipped last month, our information comes from some system that collects and measures relevant data for us.

In my Six Sigma Black Belt class we recently discussed the challenges of developing […]

Toyota: Did Six Sigma Fail or Did People Fail?

One can reasonably argue that processes don’t produce results, people do.  In and of itself a process does nothing.  It takes people to engage in a process – for better or for worse – to produce something.  On the other hand are quality pioneers like Edwards Deming who says: “Eighty-five percent of the reasons […]

The Significance of Sigma: Toyota’s Lessons in Corporate Decision Making

With the massive recall due to sudden acceleration problems, Toyota’s reputation for superior quality has suffered a black eye – if not more.  The future will tell how serious this injury is and whether it represents the tip of an ominous iceberg.  Sprinkled amongst the news coverage are hints that Toyota has known about accelerator […]