West Point Introduces Lean Six Sigma Training

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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‘Lean Six Sigma’ Comes to the VA: Collins Cheers


Field of American FlagsProblems at the VA

The Veteran’s Administration healthcare system has been in the news for decades. The system is routinely condemned, at best as inferior and, at worse, even nefarious. There has been one account after another of operations performed on the wrong organ or limb, the reuse of disposable medical supplies like needles, and even the amputation of wrong limbs. Even worse, the VA has been guilty of employing “medical professionals” that weren’t even trained in medicine. In more than one incident “doctors” working for the VA were found to be working under fraudulent certifications. Then, of course, there is the problem of trying to see a doctor in the first place. The waiting list for even the simplest of procedures or needs is often months long.

What is Lean Six Sigma?

Fortunately, intervention in the VA’s problems is now underway. Just last year, Veterans Secretary Robert A. McDonald, proposed that Lean Six Sigma, an innovative program that commonly used to define the extent of problems, measure that extent and its impact, analyze the issues, and suggest improvements to get them in hand, go into effect. Ironically, McDonald’s proposal is essentially the same that was previously proposed by then Erie County Executive Chris Collins way back in 2007. Unfortunately, the country has waited almost a decade for a promising move to combat the many atrocities that have been reported in the VA.

Promising Future

So, ‘Lean Six Sigma’ comes to the VA and Collins cheers. The rest of us are left wondering, however, just how Lean Six Sigma will help the VA and if, in fact, it will help this most disgraceful offer of health care to those that have served the US, to those that have lost much doing so. Reassuringly, Lean Sigma Six has been used in the business world for over a decade. Furthermore, the program is now being picked up by the Army’s Global Combat Support System as well as numerous other entities both in the business world, in the government, and in the military. If you would like more information about Lean Six Sigma, contact us.

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Marines Embrace Six Sigma Training

Six Sigma TrainingIt’s no secret that both civilian and government organizations benefit from Six Sigma training. However, according to a recent article in the Quantico Sentry, one branch in particular is embracing the Lean Six Sigma methodology in full force.

Both the Navy and the Marines began implementing Lean Six Sigma around 2006, the article states. Since then, Marines and civilian Marines at Quantico have bought into the organizational tool so completely that its benefits in providing quality products faster and for less money can be found in nearly segment of operations. This is largely due to the implementation of Lean Six Sigma in the Regional Contracting Office (RCO). Sion Weaver, a Lean Six Sigma specialist for the Marine’s Business Performance Office, stated that “everyone depends on the RCO” for help in procuring mission needs. Thanks to Lean Six Sigma, the office has instituted improvement efforts that make the files that its customers need more accessible.

The Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation Activity (MCOTEA) office has also used the methodology to improve its capabilities. Other commands who have sent personnel to receive training in Lean Six Sigma include the Installation Personnel Administration Center and Safety Division, Weapons Training Battalion, and the Headquarters and Service Battalion. Weaver’s office, the BPO, provides this training at the base in order to improve performance and make operations more effective.

By 2009, Weaver explained, 82 percent of Fortune 100 companies were also using Lean Six Sigma, showing it to be a versatile tool in taming the costs and increasing the quality for both the public and private sectors. If you would like more information about Lean Six Sigma and how it can benefit your organization, contact us.

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US Military Turns to Six Sigma Training for Effectiveness & Efficiency

Six Sigma TrainingMost businesses are familiar with Six Sigma as a quality management method designed to reduce manufacturing defects by identifying and minimizing sources of error in manufacturing and business processes. Few know that the US military has turned to Lean Six Sigma as a way of becoming more effective and efficient.

According to the Quantico Sentry, the Marines’ Business Performance Office has begun to offer Lean Six Sigma to divisions within the Marine Corps Base at Quantico.

According to the Sentry, the Navy and Marine Corps have been using Six Sigma since 2006. In particular, Lean Six Sigma has been heavily adopted by the Regional Contracting Office. Other commands, including the Headquarters and Service Battalion and Weapons Training Battalion regularly send Marines and civilians for training in Six Sigma techniques.

The US Marine Corps is already known as one of the most effective and efficient organizations in the world. Their decision to use Six Sigma in achieving their goals underlines the excellent reputation that Six Sigma has earned worldwide.

Six Sigma’s use has grown far beyond its origins at Motorola and its expansion from manufacturing to business processes at General Electric. Today, the strategy is used by over 80% of Fortune 500 companies, as well as by government agencies at all levels. As Six Sigma has grown, so has its reputation as the world’s premier method of driving efficiency.

Six Sigma training is an excellent way of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your organization. If you want to obtain training for yourself or your employees, please contact us.

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Buffalo News Report: ‘Lean Six Sigma’ comes to the VA; Collins Cheers

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert A. McDonald is relying in part on Lean Six Sigma to reorganize the embattled VA healthcare system. As reported in The Buffalo News article ‘Lean Six Sigma’ comes to the VA; Collins Cheers, this gives Chris Collins reason to celebrate. Collins, a current Republican Congressman from Clarence, NY, championed Lean Six Sigma as a method to streamline county government when he served as Erie County Executive beginning in 2007. Although he lost a re-election bid in 2011, McDonald’s plans to use the system provides some vindication for Collins, who credits the method for some of his fiscal and policy successes in Erie.‘Lean Six Sigma’ comes to the VA; Collins cheers

McDonald, in a speech on November 6th, explained how the system, combined with another management tool called Human Centered Design, can help the VA:

Great customer service companies use Human Centered Design to understand what customers want and need, and then design customer experiences to meet those needs. Lean Six Sigma makes these processes effective, efficient and repeatable.

For those unfamiliar with the process, Lean Six Sigma focuses on eliminating waste in business operations while at the same time reducing variability in production to maximize efficiency. McDonald believes these methods can help even in a human-services oriented setting like the VA. Wait times for appointments have already been significantly reduced for veterans, and the agency is in the process of decreasing the time it takes to process claims.

McDonald, a retired chairman of Proctor & Gamble, has responded to criticism that the tool is meant for manufacturing corporations and not a large health care network by saying: “People want to have a purpose. That’s belief No. 1.” In other words, using Lean Six Sigma will help bring focus back to the clients and involve both patients and providers in the process of improvement.

Meanwhile, Congressman Collins is hopeful that effective change will finally come to the agency. Some of the problems at the Buffalo VA included reuse of contaminated needles and poor management of patient records. “I have great hopes that this will make for a profound, positive change,” he said.

To learn more about how Lean Six Sigma can help your business, please contact us or visit our online store.

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Ten Army Organizations Earn Lean Six Sigma Excellence Awards

In recent years, the Army has adopted lean business practices in an effort to save money, eliminate waste, and improve efficiency. The Lean Six Sigma Excellence Awards Program, known as LEAP, was developed seven years ago to recognize groups within the Army that have successfully implemented results-driven process improvement projects.

Army organizations earn 10 Lean Six Sigma Excellence AwardsIn recent years, the Army has adopted lean business practices in an effort to save money, eliminate waste, and improve efficiency.  The Lean Six Sigma Excellence Awards Program, known as LEAP, was developed seven years ago to recognize groups within the Army that have successfully implemented results-driven process improvement projects.

The 2014 LEAP winners were recently honored at a ceremony at the Pentagon.  Ten Army organizations received awards for excellence in Lean Six Sigma project execution.  The awards were presented by Eric Fanning, Acting Undersecretary of the Army, and Robert Swan, deputy director, Army Office of Business Transformation.

Fanning was full of praise for the award recipients, lauding the value of their contributions.  “It’s not just the cost-savings and avoidance that you realize… you actually introduce real efficiencies for our soldiers, for their families and our civilians.  You make a difference in people’s lives every single day. You make their lives easier.”

The following groups won organizational deployment awards:

  • Winner of the Lean Six Sigma HQDA Principal Staff in the Organizational Deployment Award: Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs/G-1
  • Winner of the Lean Six Sigma AR 10-87 Organizational Deployment Award: U.S. Army Medical Command
  • Winner of the Lean Six Sigma Subordinate Organizational Deployment Award: 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe

Additionally, seven groups earned project team awards:

  • U.S. Army Dental Command, U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, U.S. Army Medical Command, or MEDCOM, for a project that resulted in a 57% decrease in the time between the arrival of a dental professional on station and a release to treat patients.
  • Logistics and Readiness Center, U.S. Army Materiel Command for their project, “Streamlining the Acquisition Requirements Package Process.” The project reduced lead time by 65% and generated a considerable financial benefit of cost avoidance.
  • Europe Regional Medical Command for a project that transformed the disability evaluation system and reassignment process.
  • 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe for a project that sought to improve the 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion Chapter Initiation Process. This project resulted in a 67 percent reduction in the cycle time and a 38 percent reduction in the average cost per chapter.
  • U.S Army Public Health Command for a project entitled, “Reduce Process Cycle Time of the Ergo Course Planning and Execution Process.” This project applied distance learning practices, eliminated all travel temporary duty assignment from the training delivery, and achieved the removal of 97 percent of recurring labor hours and reduced process cycle time from 124 days to five days.
  • Program Manager Apache, Program Executive Office Aviation, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology) for a project focused on contract negotiations.  The team improved effectiveness and achieved a cost avoidance of 7%.
  • 1109th Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group, Connecticut National Guard, National Guard Bureau for a project focused on cost, rework and lead time processing for UH-60 blade cuff restorations. The team achieved a 50 percent decrease in average blade cuff repair time and a reported a stable increase in monthly production.

Lean Six Sigma training is saving the Army time and money.  To learn more about lean six sigma training and the difference it can make for your business, contact us today!

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City of Phoenix creates Lean Six Sigma ‘Lean Team’

More organizations continue to recognize the value of Lean Six Sigma training for their employees, and it’s not just in the private sector. All types of organizations can benefit from this methodology. Phoenix, Arizona is one of the newer government entities to adopt this comprehensive process improvement strategy.

iStock_000006187283XSmallMore organizations continue to recognize the value of Lean Six Sigma training for their employees, and it’s not just in the private sector.    All types of organizations can benefit from this methodology. Phoenix, Arizona is one of the newer government entities to adopt this comprehensive process improvement strategy.  The city’s Finance, Efficiency, Economy and Sustainability subcommittee recently voted unanimously to create a team of Lean Six Sigma experts to help make their city run more efficiently.

According to Mario Paniagua, deputy city manager, between 20 and 25 employees would be trained in the Lean Six Sigma strategies to create a “Lean Team”. This new Lean Team would help improve city processes and efficiency in different departments of the government by going out and helping them streamline their processes.  Cost estimates for developing this team are between $50,000 and $60,000.

Lean Six Sigma combines the business improvement methodologies of Lean with Six Sigma. Toyota originally developed Lean in the 1970’s with a focus on waste-elimination and the flow of value. Motorola originated Six Sigma in the 1980’s as a comprehensive approach to process improvement.  Both of these proven methodologies are combined in Lean Six Sigma to provide even more problem-solving techniques and tools.

Paniagua explained “Lean Six Sigma is actually a combination of processes. It’s about process improvement and making the city better for our citizens.”

The city looked at the successes of other cities and government organizations when choosing to implement Lean Six Sigma.  Melissa Sweinhagen, deputy public transit director, cited the successes of Lane County in Oregon, Fort Wayne, Indiana, the Washington Department of Licensing, and Hartford, Connecticut.

With any type of change, employees are sometimes concerned about losing their jobs.  District 3 Councilman and committee chair, Bill Gates, said “It’s not about reducing positions at all.  It’s about making the processes better, and we have a lot of processes in this organization as the sixth largest city.”

If you are looking for training, certification, and consulting programs to help you or your organization learn the tools of Lean Six Sigma please. contact us at The Pyzdek Institute.

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Camp Pendleton Personnel Train in Lean Six Sigma

Lean Six Sigma training has been an important tool for the Corps, teaching Marines to analyze job processes and make changes as needed.

Camp PendletonThe Marine Corps has a new mission: do more with less.

Faced with limited resources and manpower, the Marines have decided to focus on continuous improvement methods to increase efficiency and boost performance.  Lean Six Sigma training has been an important tool for the Corps, teaching Marines to analyze job processes and make changes as needed.  Camp Pendleton, the major west coast base for the United States Marine Corps, is now offering monthly and quarterly Lean Six Sigma courses for civilian Marines and service members.

The Lean portion of the training focuses on reducing waste to increase the quality, speed, and efficiency of a process.  The complementary Six Sigma component teaches Marines to use statistics to minimize defects in processes and reduce the variation in process outputs.

Michael Bostrom, Continuous Process Improvement Coordinator with Marine Corps Installations-West, is full of praise for the Lean Six Sigma training program.  He explained, “At any level of leadership, it gives people a new awareness on how to look at their job processes.”  He believes the training will help Marines develop their observation and analysis skills, ultimately enabling them to accomplish their missions more efficiently.

Bostrom also believes that Lean Six Sigma training will be valuable to Marines transitioning to civilian life, providing them with the tools needed to step into a variety of management positions.  He noted, “Simply showing that you are green belt trained goes a long way when you’re applying for companies which look for that experience in their applicants.”

If you want to learn how your company can do more with less, contact us today to discuss Lean Six Sigma training.  This valuable tool can really make a difference!

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Six Sigma Training Gives Vital Tools to Boost Morale Among VA Emplo

McDonald says training the employees of the Veterans Administration in Lean Six Sigma will give them the tools necessary to change the system.

According to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs secretary Robert McDonald, a visit to 125 VA sites across the nation revealed that one of the medical system’s biggest problems may be a low morale among employees. The employees feel like they’re trapped in a system that won’t change, McDonald was recently quoted as saying in an article from the Salina Post. So what can be done about it? Six Sigma training, McDonald said.

McDonald says training the employees of the Veterans Administration in Lean Six Sigma will give them the tools necessary to change the system. Additionally, he hopes to change the culture of the department to one that is more transparent and open.

Currently, the VA faces critical staffing shortages at places such as the Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center, in Topeka, where the emergency room was closed because there were not enough physicians to staff it. VA centers across the nation face long patient waiting lists and budget constraints. In addition to Six Sigma training for staff, the department is seeking a 7.5 percent budget increase in order to hire even more employees to meet the needs of veterans returning from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. McDonald stated that if staff is not built up now, the future care of these veterans as they grow older could be compromised.

Lean Six Sigma improves employee morale by enabling trained staff to participate on teams that can bring about change in the organization through the elimination of wasteful steps in processes. These changes usually result in the saving of time and money, as well as the improvement of services.

Get your team on board with Lean Six Sigma. Contact us today for more information.

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Government-Funded Six Sigma Training Boosts Workforce Numbers

A number of Pyzdek Institute students have obtained funding for their training under the Workforce Investment Act.

You could say that Helvi Kramer, of Cromwell, CT, was down on her luck. According to a report from the Hartford Courant, she lost her job as a project manager at a bank in 2013. A new job was hard to find… until the government invested $6,000 in order for her to obtain Six Sigma training. 51-year-old Kramer says it was that training that led to her being able to find a job through a contracting firm at The Hartford. After all, nothing else on her resume had changed.

Recently, another department made her a job offer and it led to The Hartford offering her an even better job — one with benefits. A job was what 25-year-old Samuel Janik found after he was provided with Six Sigma, as well. After being laid off from his fuel cell engineering job in 2014, he faced months of job applications and phone calls that were never returned. After he obtained his Six Sigma training? An job at an engineering firm and the offer of a slot in the company’s management training program, the article stated.

These are just two of the stories to be told of Connecticut’s comeback from the recession. The state added 4,000 jobs in March. They’ve added more than 27,000 jobs in the past year. They need roughly 26,300 more in order to reach pre-recession employment levels. Compensation levels are slower to bounce back, the article stated, and both of the cases mentioned above reflect that. However, higher pay is beginning to be seen — both for Kramer and Janik and for others finding jobs, as well.

Are you struggling to find a job after spending years building your work experience? If so, Six Sigma training could make all the difference for you. Six Sigma leads to better employment, and higher paying opportunities. If this is something you need, contact us for more information.  A number of Pyzdek Institute students have obtained funding for their training under the Workforce Investment Act. You need to contact the WIA officer in your own state for details and have them contact the Pyzdek Institute if they need additional information.

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