Lean Six Sigma was initially developed to reduce waste and improve quality in the manufacturing world, but the methodology has now been successfully applied across a wide variety of industries, including healthcare, the service sector, and now the federal government. The Army executes Lean Six Sigma through its Office of Business of Transformation and that culture of continuous improvement has recently spread to the United States Military Academy, West Point.
In early February, West Point hosted a day-long Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification course. The session resulted in 33 new Yellow Belt practitioners from 10 organizations across the academy. A similar training day in September 2016 resulted in 34 trainees, so West Point now boasts 67 Yellow Belt holders.
Bolstered by the support of local military and civilian leaders who support Lean Six Sigma training, West Point is eager to continue to train cadets, faculty, and staff in an effort to do more with less. Col. Doug McInvale, Math Professor and Master Black Belt, reflected on the recent training session, noting, “We’re just building on years of success by local operations researchers and responding to positive feedback from our recent events.” He also reported that dozens more people are on waiting lists for future training events!
The Army has been reporting cost savings and improved quality for several years as a result of Lean Six Sigma implementation, and West Point hopes to build on that success. The goal is to select a number of the new Yellow Belt holders to continue their training and become Green and Black Belt certified so more advanced problem solving principles can be introduced across the organization. In fact, plans are underway to hold a two-week Green Belt training program on campus during Summer 2017.
McInvale is optimistic about the future of Lean Six Sigma training at West Point. He explained, “Lean Six Sigma is not magic, but the philosophy and tools promote quality across many areas.” He is particularly excited about benefiting the community as a whole by connecting quality people with quality improvement achievements using local processes.
Lean Six Sigma is making a difference in the Army and at West Point and it can dramatically impact your company, too. Interested in bringing Lean Six Sigma Training to your business? Contact us today to learn more about the Lean Six Sigma method and find a training program that fits your needs!
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Perhaps you’ve heard of Six Sigma before. Perhaps you’ve come here looking for ideas on how to improve your company’s bottom line. Guess what? You’re in the right place, because that’s exactly what Six Sigma training from Pyzdek Institute, LLC can provide!
According to a recent report from Business 2 Community, one of the main benefits of Six Sigma training is that it teaches you to analyze your current operations and find ways to increase the quality of the services and products you offer.
The results of thoughtful analysis aren’t just relegated to finding and fixing defects in your process to improve quality. They also include expanding innovation: finding new ways to do your work better, faster, and with less money. They include encouraging your employees to see their work as more than “just a job,” but as a way to personally participate in projects that will have a positive impact both on the company and the people it serves. They include reducing costs and reducing waste: Wasted time, wasted money.
Consider the facts offered by this report:
- After implementing Six Sigma, Akron Children’s Hospital was able to reduce MRI wait times by 90 percent and decrease the amount of time it took to locate airway supplies in its ER by 63 percent, improving the quality of care provided to its patients.
- After implementing Six Sigma, GE was able to increase its revenue by $300 million in one year.
- After implementing Six Sigma, the U.S. Army saw a savings of $2 billion in one year through projects that streamlined processes, recycled fuel, and managed tasks in a more efficient manner.
- 46 percent of companies who implement Six Sigma see increased innovation, as employees learn to focus on solutions instead of limitations.
- 56 percent of companies who implement Six Sigma see improvements in employee working conditions and safety, as consistency and protocol become the focus of operations.
These are just a few of the benefits that Six Sigma training can provide. Want to know more? Contact us.
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Recently, Maj. Amanda Harrah, of the Army’s 28th Infantry Division, explained why she fell in love with Lean Six Sigma and what every Green Belt should know. “Lean Six Sigma gets us to work as a team,” Harrah wrote, adding that it “gives us the impact of our lost time on our performance and ultimately our Combat Mission Effectiveness.”
As for what Green Belts should know, Harrah stated, “you’ll work smarter, not harder.” She stated that leading a Lean Six Sigma project was generally a part time undertaking. Additionally, she noted that not everyone on the team would necessarily be excited right away about the changes that will come through the Six Sigma process. However, she encouraged Green Belts to develop a solid communication plan right from the start, to ensure that the right information about the project is provided by all the stakeholders, and to remember that their leadership is critical to shaping the project’s outcomes. Buy-in from others could be achieved by including them in the process, and helping them to look for data-driven solutions, she noted.
At the Pyzdek Institute, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification involves 100 hours of coursework, a comprehensive written exam, and the presentation of a real world project to one of the institute’s Certified Master Black Belts. Once certified, Green Belts possess the knowledge of D-M-A-I-C, and can apply that knowledge in a supporting or leadership position on a Six Sigma team. There is no minimum education requirement for those seeking Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification, and the Green Belt training is not a prerequisite for Black Belt training.
Would you like to receive training that will teach you the principles needed to lead your company towards data-driven efficiency and cost savings? If so, contact us.
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A Boston hospital has decreased its cesarean delivery rate by 13 percent through a quality improvement initiative.
A Boston hospital has decreased its cesarean delivery rate by 13 percent through a quality improvement initiative. According to a press release from The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, a clinical instructor at Harvard School of Medicine teamed up with a maternal fetal medicine doctor from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for a seven year study that produced five factors that may impact the cesarean delivery rate in women who are carrying one fetus, presenting in the head down position.
Women in this category are at lower risk for a cesarean than those carrying multiple fetuses or a fetus in the breach position, the release stated. The factors that cause cesareans in single, head-down presentations include the interpretation of fetal heart rate findings; the provider’s tolerance for labor, the induction of labor, the provider’s awareness of the cesarean rate for this category of patients; and environmental stress. After identifying these factors, the team spent seven years — from 2008-2015 — developing a multi-strategy approach that involved provider education as well as new policy that would reduce the number of cesarean deliveries.
Data was then collected regarding fetal, maternal, and neonatal outcomes from the births that were impacted by this new approach. Analysis was considered on more than 20,000 deliveries during the initiative, and the cesarean delivery rate for women in this category was reduced from 34.8 to 21.2 percent of the births. The total cesarean delivery rate for women at the hospital was reduced from 40 to 29.1 percent.
The study stressed the need for a cultural change in maternity units across the country to mitigate the recent rise in cesarean deliveries. It’s a change, the press release noted, that requires commitment and the willingness of hospitals to use multiple approaches in their quality improvement projects.
Six Sigma provides the skills to look at quality improvement from a number of angles in order to produce the best outcome. Want to know more about how Six Sigma can help you improve the way your business operates? Contact us.
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Are you interested in Six Sigma training for yourself or your staff, and wondering about the benefits?
Are you interested in Six Sigma training for yourself or your staff, and wondering about the benefits? According to a report from Lehigh Valley Business, three manufacturing leaders recently met to discuss their own experiences with Six Sigma. Here is a bit of what they shared.
Donna Warman, production manager for Sussex Wire: Warman and her project team set out to improve the original equipment manufacturing on seven machines. As one of their short term action items, they revised the machine site, using more vertical space in order to ramp up productivity. This simple solution provided an increase in production — they now produce 2.5 million parts a week — without the need to buy additional, expensive equipment.
One of the best parts of the Six Sigma project, Warman stated, is that she never felt alone or overwhelmed in the process as she was working with a team. Employee buy-in took a bit of time, she noted, but once they were able to be involved and to see the importance, they were enthusiastic about the project as well. She found a benefit in including on the team both people who worked with production as well as those outside it.
Lauren Migliore, process improvement engineer, Crayola: Crayola was able to save about 36,000 pounds of paint and 918 labor hours each year through a Six Sigma project on its watercolor line. Some of the actions involved in the project included control checks and daily checks by team managers, as well as saving money on shipping the paint and creating other efficiencies.
John Lanford, engineering manager at Computer Designs: After implementing an on-site Green Belt training program and gaining support of staff members, a team put together a project to eliminate land scanners and create real-time monitoring of critical systems outputs. This monitoring would feature warnings and alarms. Additionally, a team worked on a new way to inspect raw material and capture data. The projects took a while to complete, but the employees understood the benefits, and the company was able to enjoy the value that the efficiencies created.
Six Sigma is about team work and value. Are you ready to learn? Contact us.
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Imagine a company where 95 percent of the executive staff has Six Sigma training. According to a recent article from Mirror Business, that is the reality of United Tractor & Equipment (UTE), Sri Lanka’s only authorized dealer for Caterpillar, Inc.
Caterpillar USA turned to Six Sigma in 2001, the article stated. UTE opted to embrace and deploy the methodology as well, which has helped to provide a competitive edge that increases the value of its products and services. UTE’s Caterpillar USA Master Black Belt stated that Six Sigma goes beyond simply using statistical tools to implement improvements. It is more about continuous improvements and purposeful change.
Nearly all of the senior staff, including managers and executives, are Six Sigma Green Belt trained or higher. Recently, the company began offering Green Belt certification to some of its customers, so that other local businesses could also take advantage of the skills and the benefits. Students were shown the DMAIC improvement cycle — the core tool of Six Sigma. DMAIC is an acronym which stands for:
- Define the goals of an improvement activity;
- Measure the existing system;
- Analyze the system to determine where it is currently in relationship to the defined goal;
- Improve the system;
- Control the new system.
The number of corporations and organizations worldwide who are embracing Six Sigma methods and encouraging training for their staff is growing all the time. Would you like to learn more about how Six Sigma training can help your business to do things better, faster, and at a greater value? If so, contact us.
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Advisor, Chunka Mui — in his recent column for Forbes — described innovation as an “imperative” for businesses and organizations. He cited studies in which senior executives and board members stated that the rapid pace of technological change was the biggest challenge facing their organization, and that disruptive innovation was the biggest risk.
However, Mui asserts, innovation is also the biggest opportunity to grow your business. In the ABCs of organizational improvements, Mui quotes engineer and innovator Douglas Englebart, who once stated that the ability to get better and get better at improving one’s self is the key to long term viability.
When it comes to those ABCs, the column explains, “A” is your core activities: developing products, manufacturing them, marketing them, distributing them. “B” is the process by which you improve your “A”. This can include implementing a continuous improvement methodology such as Six Sigma in order to accomplish your core activities faster, better, cheaper, and for more profit. “C” is the part of the equation where you continuously improve your improvement processes. Where you think big. Where you innovate. This is the part of the process, Mui notes, that led to the invention of laser printers and networked computing. It’s the part that brought such things as iPhones and driverless cars.
Not having a “C” process can result in failure, the column warns. Kodak, operating without a “C” process, failed to fully embrace digital photography. Instead, it relegated that invention to an extension of its “A” process — which was products such as film, paper, and chemicals.
Pyzdek Institute LLC can give you the tools to implement a culture of continuous improvement through Six Sigma training. This can help in the “B” process of improving how you do your business. It can also help in the “C” process of always looking at ways to make your improvements stand out. Contact us to get started.
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ASQ Quality Progress recently published the results of its 30th annual salary survey for quality professionals. Here are the details:
- The survey included responses from more than 7,000 quality professionals from various industries and market sectors. 92.5 percent of the respondents work full-time. Other respondents included self-employed consultants, part time employees, unemployed, retired, and laid off workers.
- Average salaries in the U.S. increased slightly in 2016 to $91,659 for full-time professionals. It was somewhat smaller than the 2.78 percent increase seen in 2015 — which was the largest increase since 2007.
- 2016’s highest paid quality professional by job title was vice president/ executive, with an average annual salary of $169,350. This was followed by statisticians and directors, who earned an average of $132,468 and $130,902 respectively.
- Respondents of the survey expressed the greatest satisfaction with their jobs when their employers paid for quality training, such as Six Sigma training. They stated that this showed the value that their organization places on professionals holding certifications, and that top management places an importance on quality.
- Respondents holding at least one ASQ quality training certification earn more than $3,800 a year more than those without a certification. Those with two certifications earn $6,200 more than those with just one certification, the survey revealed.
- The average salary for those quality professionals receiving Six Sigma training increased from $83,004 to $100,361.
- Completing higher levels of Six Sigma training offered the biggest bump in salaries for quality professionals in 2016, the survey found. Master Black Belts earned an average of $130,878. The average salary for Black Belts was $104,974.
If you’re ready to take your salary to the next level, Six Sigma training is a proven way to go. Contact us for more information.
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On February 27, 2017, the president of Pyzdek Institute LLC — Thomas Pyzdek — will be presented with the first ASQ Six Sigma Award for the Advancement of Six Sigma. The award will be presented in Phoenix, at the annual ASQ Lean Six Sigma conference.
The ASQ award recognizes the achievements, efforts and contributions of Quality Professionals in furthering the knowledge of the methodology of Six Sigma. Winners of the award must have a minimum of five years experience as a Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Certified Six Sigma Black Belt, or other training as a Six Sigma Executive/Champion or Belt. They must have documented leadership expertise and have demonstrated that leadership through significant deployment of or application of the Six Sigma body of knowledge. The recipient of the award must also have made contributions to conferences, publications, or events, and special weight is given to book publications.
Pyzdek is the author of the best selling Six Sigma Handbook and other publications. He became a quality technician at a can factory at just 18 years of age and fell in love with the concepts of quality control and improvement. He has held jobs as quality inspector, quality engineering technician, quality and reliability engineer, and quality management. In 1983, having already gained publication in industry magazines and taught classes on statistical process control, he left a secure job to become a consultant. His drive was to help the American industry regain a position of quality leadership in the world. Some of his clients have included Ford Motor Company, McDonald’s, Intuit, Avon Products and many more. Currently, Pyzdek is the president of Pyzdek Institute LLC, which continues to marry his two passions: quality control and helping others to learn more about it.
Would you like to know more about Six Sigma and how it can help your business or benefit you as a professional? Contact us.
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Agile manufacturing is poised for a big comeback. Fully 50% of the 2014 Industry Week Best Plants class reported “significant” implementations of agile manufacturing across their operations, which represents a sharp uptick after a three-year decline:
- 2010 = 47%
- 2011 = 44%
- 2012 = 41%
- 2013 = 31%
- 2014 = 50%
This rebound undoubtedly reflects the need for many organizations to pivot in response to growing market volatility, but it also suggests that agile manufacturing will play a greater role in how the next generation of manufacturers define their metrics for success. Whereas Lean Manufacturing drives profitability through reduced costs, agile manufacturing drives profitability through increased sales opportunities. It would seem that organizations aiming to stay ahead of the curve need to learn not only to be more efficient, but also more nimble in their operations.
The whole idea behind agile manufacturing is to be prepared to respond as quickly as possible to sudden shifts in consumer demand and to capitalize on narrow windows of opportunity. In practical terms, this often takes the form of:
- Modular product architecture – designing products in such a way that they are comprised of standardized “building blocks” that can easily be arranged and rearranged in a variety of ways to form new products from existing ones.
- Pervasive implementation of information technology – relying upon the automation of IT to expedite production cycles and enable rapid response times.
- Virtual supply chain partnerships – forming strategic alliances with key vendors and distributors to reduce time-to-market delays for new products.
- Knowledge culture – aggressively training employees in the mining of information assets and incentivizing innovation while simultaneously placing decision-making processes closer to the “front line” of production to reduce bureaucratic delays in bringing new designs to fruition.
Organizations that structure their operations around these principles are not only better able than their competitors to deliver the novel things their customers desire. They can also more rapidly phase out under-performing products and reallocate their resources to new, more promising frontiers–which establishes them as industry leaders rather than “me too” manufacturers. Such things make a big difference in markets with fickle customers who demand instant gratification.
Agility can’t be achieved in an inefficient work environment, though. A thorough appreciation of the principles of lean manufacturing–things like production in small batches, fast changeovers, and a commitment to continuous process improvement–can help pave the way for a successful implementation of agile manufacturing. If you’re considering such a move, we can help you get off on the right foot. Contact us today to learn how our training resources can prepare you to take your organization to the next level.
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