Six Sigma Training in Education

In a more traditional setting, this situation would be screaming for intervention from even basic six sigma training. We can all recognize the classic signs of a top-heavy, inefficient system that ignores the needs and wisdom of workers on the front line.

Our public schools are the foundation for American community. They teach students the skills necessary to grow and thrive and become a generation of engaged, responsible citizens. These same schools we rely on are also tragically underfunded, top-heavy, over regulated, often under-performing, and all too frequently the recipient of harsh criticism from the public and political perspective.

If public schools were a private business, they would be currently bankrupt because of out dated policies from high level executives, despite the heroic efforts from those workers on the front-line (teachers).

Sound familiar?

In a more traditional setting, this situation would be screaming for intervention from even basic six sigma training. We can all recognize the classic signs of a top-heavy, inefficient system that ignores the needs and wisdom of workers on the front line.

If students, parents, and communities are the customer, how can we meet their diverse and complex demands with Six Sigma?

While many of the necessary changes may be several decades off at the national level, local schools, principals and communities are finding success by implementing new policies within their building.

These successes look like:

Staff meetings structured around teacher input, not administrative agenda.

Data driven reflection. Many teachers today are getting extensive training in how to read the successes and struggles they have with teaching different concepts based on simple, on-going assessments of student learning. These are NOT massive end of year tests, however. The most effective form of data driven growth is small, daily assessments of writing samples, math problems of the day or even ‘exit tickets’ to quickly demonstrate whether a student got it.

Moving away from the baking soda volcano. Although a perennial favorite, the classic school project, this is a strong example of an activity which is often unrelated to a clear outcome. Teachers are being asked today, to consider how each lesson, activity, and even worksheet directly builds towards student understanding of a clearly defined outcome (i.e. a skill for students to master).

Hearing from the customer. Yes, that means listening to student ideas. Many schools give out regular student surveys about teachers and classes to gather feedback directly from the ‘customer’ about how effective the lessons are. Good teachers develop personal relationships with their students to understand their diverse needs. Parents and communities in successful school districts are also regular voices at school board meetings and ‘coffee with the superintendent.’

Although these are only a few examples, there is a clear correlation between the needs of our education system and the skills provided by Six Sigma training.

To find out more unexpected applications of Six Sigma, please contact us.

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Industry Professional Says Six Sigma Training is Crucial for Telecom Innovation

Like many other industries, executive Thomas Rayas says that the industry in which he works — telecommunications — is driven by customer demands for innovation, as well as competition between businesses. However, he believes that the fast pace of technology and the never-ending quest for the next new thing and the best new service makes innovation even more important for telecom. And he believes that Lean Six Sigma is the best kept secret that those in the industry can have.

Network operators can use Lean Six Sigma to measure and improve internal processes such as development and testing, as well as external processes relating to network speed and reliability, Rayas notes. Streamlined operation and business support systems could free up developers for IoT projects that customers are wanting. The efficiencies discovered through telecom Lean Six Sigma projects could even be packaged as “value added services” for consumers, providing the company with another revenue stream at a time when x-as-a-service offerings are growing in demand.

The ability to change is the cornerstone of success, Rayas states. In the world of technology, the market leaders of today can only continue to be the market leaders of tomorrow as long as they continue to innovate. Six Sigma training provides staff with the tools to analyze processes as well as look for and encourage continuous improvement. Mobile operators who adopt the methodology now can ensure their success by providing what consumers want from their carriers: quality, reliability, affordability, and innovation.

Contact us to learn more about how Lean Six Sigma can help your business provide the quality your customers seek.

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News: Hospital Decreases Cesarean Delivery Rate by 13 Percent Through Quality Improvement Initiative

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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Benefits of Six Sigma Adoption in Business

In most industries, various processes require proper management and Six Sigma helps these establishments manage both existing and new processes. Many enterprises adopt Six Sigma because of the numerous benefits it continues to avail, and here is what you will realize as you embrace this method for use within your enterprise.

Motivation of employees

To a larger extent, the success of most enterprises depends on employees’ drive and enthusiasm, and this is a major factor of consideration. Six Sigma has essential problem-solving tools that will ensure continuous enthusiasm of employees across the board. Hence, embracing the tools and techniques it avails, enables creation of a positive working environment.

Customer loyalty improvement

If customers experience satisfaction and confidence in the services or products that a company offers, then, they become loyal clients to that particular enterprise. Customers are an integral pillar in every business, and Six Sigma has tools to help you analyze perception of clients. In turn, you can use the results that these tools avail to improve customer experience to drive satisfaction.

Ability to meet deadlines

Various unforeseen challenges may extend projects beyond the expected time of completion. In some cases, some of these challenges are beyond the control of those working on such projects. Deployment of Six Sigma in such projects leads to engagement of professionals with experience, who examine and pinpoint these eventualities. As a result, the project cycle becomes shorter, and accomplishment of tasks is within acceptable limits. Contact us now for more details on Six Sigma.

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President of Pyzdek Institute LLC to Receive Award

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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Train To Apply Lean Six Sigma To CMMI Process

Getting users and contractors on the same page regarding software requirements can be a major challenge that disconnects the software development process. Scenario: you cannot populate your new database with software data from the software engineers because the data doesn’t exist. The manufacturers (contractors) did not foresee the need to keep the metrics. Do you apply Lean Six Sigma or CMMI first to connect the need to the database?

First Apply CMMI

The Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) has five stages to help you decide the maturity level of your software development. It is important to apply CMMI first because Lean Six Sigma acts as a stabilizing model of improvement. The development process changes depending on what maturity level your project is on.

  • Initial maturity: this is the lowest level where the development process is poor and chaotic.
  • Managed maturity: this is the process level where the development depends on generic/specific goals that satisfy minimum requirements.
  • Defined maturity: this is the organizational level where the generic/specific goals correlate and satisfy all the previous levels proactively.
  • Quantitatively Managed maturity: the process development is controlled; the levels prior are now being managed both quantitatively and qualitatively.
  • Optimizing maturity: the highest level where process development undergoes continuous improvement and is predictable.

Then Apply Lean Six Sigma

Lean Six Sigma is applied to the CMMI to ascertain what goals and objectives are satisfied. The metrics get defined and measured. The outcome is actionable. In the above scenario, the contractors did not feel the need to give up software data to the users even though logic demands that the database will provide crucial metrics that could save millions in manufacturing costs over time. By applying Lean Six Sigma to the more detailed CMMI, your initiative becomes more organizationally based which leads to smoother developmental processes.

Contact us to help get project managers, software engineers and contractors to work together. The need differs for each organization. We can help you hone in on Lean Six Sigma processes and standards that will work for you.

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Meet the 2015 IndustryWeek Best Plants Finalists who use Six Sigma to deliver quality & value

IndustryWeek” has recognized twenty North American manufacturing facilities as finalists in the 2015 IndustryWeek Best Plants competition. They range from Mexico (Batesville, Chihuahua – Chihuahua, Chihuahua) to Canada (New Flyer Industries – Winnipeg, Manitoba) and all across the United States, but despite the geographic variation, one trait they all share is a commitment to Six Sigma best practices. The finalists on this list are dedicated to continuously improving quality by producing products better, faster, and cheaper.

The Six Sigma best practices employed by these companies:

  • Reduce waste & errors
  • Decrease the time required to manufacture high-quality products
  • Build customer loyalty
  • Eliminate non-value added activities

MasterCraft Boat Company in Vonore, Tennessee, is one the finalists recognized by “IndustryWeek.” It offers factory tours as part of its public outreach, and uses the public interest in peeking behind the metaphorical curtain to highlight its organizational commitment to quality. Following its business model of artisanal boat-building, these factory tours showcase value-added features such as custom upholstery and custom-built trailers for each model of boat.

Another finalist from the list is Klein Steel Service of Rochester, New York. This facility demonstrates its commitment to Six Sigma quality improvement by emphasizing that “there is no such thing as good enough at Klein Steel.” Management and factory workers alike live by this motto, and the company takes great pride in producing steel that meets Nuclear Quality Assurance (NQA-1) standards.

If you’d like to see your manufacturing facility highlighted in future “IndustryWeek” publications, first learn to unlock the power of Six Sigma by contacting us today.

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Practical Application of Lean Six Sigma in Reducing Cycle Time


The principles and tools in Lean Six Sigma are the most methodical and fruitful strategy to the challenge of cycle time reduction. However, managers need to understand that success in this strategy requires commitment. Cycle time reduction using Lean Six Sigma is not a quick fix and cannot be effective if only used occasionally. Success in it requires long-term commitment of time and resources, as well as tireless dedication to improvement. You should thus expect change as your business focuses from the product, an inside factor; to the outside goal, which is the customer, with the aim of total customer satisfaction.

One may argue that Walter Shewhart came up with the Six Sigma concept. Undoubtedly, it was him who identified the special and common cause process change and invented the control chart in the 1920s. However, it was Bill Smith and Dr. Mickey Harry, who introduced the term “Six Sigma.” In the mid-1980s, Motorola CEO Bob Galvin supported a quality initiative based on the Six Sigma methodologies. These methods changed the way that Motorola did business. They enhanced quality, improved customer satisfaction, and saved the company hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Six Sigma concept in Motorola began with four basic principles, which included measure, analyze, improve, and control (MAIC). General Electric added the D for “define.” Today, Six Sigma includes six principles and methods that introduce it to the design phase of the process. Early integration of Six Sigma ensures faster time to market and products that meet the customers’ particular requirements. Besides, PCB manufacturers who use both the Six Sigma principles and lean techniques are assured of a reduced cycle time and process variation.

The PCB manufacturing process is a batch process that follows a predetermined sequence developed by the manufacturer to meet specific product design requirements. Not all the products go through the same process, and this lengthens cycle time. For instance, a standard multi-layer board cannot be plasma-etched or laser-drilled unless it has some unique characteristics. Still, HDI products may cycle through drilling, lamination, etching, and plating more than two times before moving to solder mask application. The cycle time reduction for the two products, therefore, requires individual evaluation to come up with a high quality end-product.

Contact us for more information on Lean Six Sigma principles and tools.

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Three ways of improving hospital performance with Lean Six Sigma

The Lean Six Sigma Training developed by Thomas Pyzdek is a comprehensive approach to helping improve your business process. In the health care system, four forces have converged making care delivery more difficult than it has ever been. These include:

Aging baby boomers

In the next two decades, the baby boomers will become the greatest consumers of healthcare, and they have always been demanding and vocal. There is no reason to hope that they will change.

Scarce financing

The United States has been experimenting various programs of health care funding for over ten years, and none of the concepts works for more than a few years.

Staffing shortage

While the physicians may appear to be sufficient, the healthcare sector is suffering from a shortage of other staff members, especially nurses. The current economy and increasing variety of opportunities for women have made the health care field an unattractive place to work.

The above challenges create a compelling case for change, and Lean Six Sigma is the most gripping strategy to address them.

Six Sigma is a methodology for process improvement and focuses on eliminating defects. It allows hospitals to design, manage, and improve performance so that they can perform at the highest possible levels in the following ways:

1. High level of performance

High performance promotes high volume and ensures a few errors and defects, fast turnaround times, and low cost.

2. Reduced staff turnover

The efficient processes increase employee retention by eliminating the leading causes of high turnover such as complex and cumbersome routines and procedures.

3. Overcoming professional disciplines

Lean Six Sigma leverages the effective methods and techniques to overcome the challenge of professional disciplines and reduce medical errors and defects.

For more information on Lean Six Sigma training, contact us.

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Losing the Race in the Last Mile: Why Many Lean/Six Sigma Initiatives Fail (and What to Do About It)


Unidentified marathon athletes legs running on city road

Why do Lean/Six Sigma initiatives fail? What can be done to resurrect them? This was the topic of a recent article by Bill Wilder, published in Industry Week. According to Wilder, a common source of failure with Lean/Six Sigma initiatives is not quite doing enough to make the changes stick.

Old habits die hard, Wilder notes. Your employees have a way of doing their jobs. It’s “the way they’ve always done it.” And changing those ways is certainly a task that must be monitored and consistently reinforced in order to ensure success with the initiative. There are some things that Wilder says will help reinforce those changes. One includes engagement and coaching — keeping the employees involved in the changes that are taking place and giving them someone who is encouraging them and lending them expertise every step of the way.

Another way to avoid a failed Lean/ Six Sigma initiative is to structure and manage the change. It’s a lot easier to implement a change when you not only see the goal that you’re trying to achieve, but also the path in which to achieve that goal. A path, or — more accurately — a process must be developed that clearly shows how this change will take place.

Finally, Wilder says, a successful Lean/ Six Sigma initiative relies on communication that both relates an individual’s behavior to the achievement of the company goal, and also provides a means for individuals to give feedback and reaction to the communications.

Consistent monitoring. Engagement and coaching. A path to follow. Open lines of communication. If you’re wondering what is “enough” when it comes to success with Lean/Six Sigma, these four principles are an important place to start. Want to know more? Contact us.


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