Improvement Insights – Lean Six Sigma Moneybelt

Improvement Insights Blog

Latest "Improvement Insights" Posts

ASQ Is Missing Out on a Huge Market for Quality

ASQ Membership is mainly manufacturing which is only 13% of US employment. How can we start helping the underserved?



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“I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and QI Macros [software].

“I was looking at one of ASQ’s media kit things and I was kind of surprised (but not really) when I looked at it and noticed that about 80 percent of the membership is manufacturing but only 13 percent was healthcare or other service-related things.

“The funny thing about that is that’s not how America is employed, right? 80% of America works in service industries and only 13 percent work in manufacturing.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Agile Lean Six Sigma, Improvement Insights, Lean, Manufacturing, Six Sigma.

An Easy Way to Tell if Data is Variable or Attribute

Six Sigma students are often confused by terminology. Variable and attribute data are often confusing. Calling it measured or counted doesn’t help that much. Here’s a way to explain it that almost everyone can understand quickly.



“Early on when I was teaching Quality Improvement, people kind of struggled with the whole idea of variable and attribute data, and telling them that it was measured and counted didn’t seem to help a lot.

“As a programmer, the way I think about it is: If it has a decimal point, it has to be measured, right? If it’s an integer, it’s most likely counted, right?

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, QI Macros, Statistics.

Start Using XmR Charts for All of Your KPIs

Do you spend too much time chasing why one number is too high or another is too low? Are these kinds of wild goose chases wasting time while the real problems go wanting? The XmR chart is the answer to your dreams.



“Dr. Donald Wheeler calls the XmR chart (or Individuals and Moving Range chart) “the Swiss Army knife of control charts.” You can use it for all kinds of things.

“I believe if every company in America started using XmR charts to track all of their key process indicators, I don’t care if it’s financial results or defects or patient length of stay or I don’t care what it is.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, QI Macros, Statistics.

Belting Out A Lean Pull System

Here’s the craziest Lean Pull System explanation I’ve ever seen, but it stuck with me:



“A long time ago I was introduced to Lean. We asked the consultants that were helping us with it, “What’s Lean, and what’s a Pull System” and they surprised us all because they started undoing their belts like this.

“They pulled [the belts] out and they said, “If you have a system and you try and push product through it, guess what? You get slack in the middle.” Does this make sense? You get all this work in process and everything else piling up. If you make one end faster the other ends aren’t keeping up.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights.

Are You Doing Black Belt Work or No Belt Work?

My childhood doctor did it all. Now I almost never see a doctor. Are You Doing Black or Green Belt work, or “No Belt” work?



“When I was growing up as a kid, our family doctor, Dr. Pierce (and what an unfortunate name)… anyway, Dr. Pierce was actually a MASH 4077 kind of a doctor, right? He was he was in Korea [where] they were doing meatball surgery. But back in the 50s, he’d come in and take your temperature, check your pulse, and he would give you the shots and anything else that was there: write the prescriptions out long hand and rip them off a pad and hand them to you.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, Jay Arthur Blog.

Are You Sewing Your Own Six Sigma Toolkit?

Mom used to sew all of her own clothes, just like many people in Six Sigma are creating their own chart templates or code. Mom figured out a better way. You can too.



“Growing up in the 50s, my mom made all of her own clothes. She would go to the fabric store and pick out fabrics and pick out patterns. She’d come home and on this big cardboard thing she’d lay out the pattern on the thing and cut out all the pieces. Then she’d have bought thread, and then she’d sit there at the sewing machine and she would sew blouses and skirts and dresses.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, Lean, Six Sigma.

Arthur’s 4-50 Rule – The Secret to Breakthrough Improvement

We’re all familiar with Pareto’s rule: 20% of causes produce 80% of the results. But are you familiar with Arthur’s 4-50 rule? Typically, 4% of any process – one step out of 35 – is the cause of more than 50% of waste, rework and lost profit.



“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals” and QI Macros [software].

“Now I’ve probably talked to you about this before, but we’re all familiar with Pareto’s rule that 20% of what you do produces 80% of the mistakes, errors, waste, rework, lost profit. 20% of your customers produce 80% of your revenue.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, Lean, QI Macros, Six Sigma, Statistics.

2021 New Year’s Resolutions for Quality

Here’s three New Year’s Resolutions to accelerate your quality improvements: 1) Raw Data Diet, 2) Quality Tools and 3) Worst First. Here’s why these will change your future and your company’s:



“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur. It is the New Year and so it’s time for some New Year’s resolutions. Here’s some resolutions I’d like you to consider.

“First, go on a raw data diet. That means you need to know everything about each individual defect, mistake and error, and then you can summarize that. If you start from summarized data you don’t know where the raw data is, and so most of the time you can’t actually figure out what to fix without the raw data.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, Lean, Six Sigma.

Six Sigma Dogma

When I started in quality improvement, everyone preached Total Quality Management (TQM). Before that it was quality circles. I’d like you to consider that the gospel of Six Sigma is holding back progress. Here’s why:



“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and the QI Macros [software].

“The other day I was [presenting] a webinar for one of the ASQ sections; I’ve been doing Agile Lean Six Sigma webinars for the Agile sections that want something to do during this pandemic. One of the guys said, “Well, you’re sort of telling me that that we don’t need Green Belts and Black Belts to do a project.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Agile Lean Six Sigma, Improvement Insights, Lean, Six Sigma.

Riding the Storm Out – Lessons from the Last Century

My parents and grandparents lived through the early part of the last century – two world wars, Spanish flu, and the Great Depression. My wife’s grandmother caught the Spanish Flu and all of her hair fell out. Maybe we haven’t had the adversity to prepare us for this pandemic, but maybe we can learn from parents and grandparents how to cope.



Riding the Storm Out – REO Speedwagon

“Hi, this is Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and the QI Macros [software].

“On December 7th, 1941, my 17 year old mother was driving back from Knoxville, Tennessee back to Dayton, Ohio.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights.