Jay Arthur Blog

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Posted by Jay Arthur in Jay Arthur Blog, QI Macros.

Shift from Manufacturing to Supply Chain

The July-August, 2018 Inc. magazine has an article (pg. 22) about manufacturing vs supply chain service jobs. From 1999-2015:

  • Manufacturing jobs declined from 12.5 million to 8.2. Supply chain jobs increased from 13.4 million to 20.0.
  • Manufacturing salaries climbed only slightly from $54,800 to 59,800 while supply chain jobs rose from $72,600 to $85,200.

With increasing manufacturing automation, more jobs are being created around supporting production than actual production. Something to think about.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Jay Arthur Blog, Lean, Manufacturing.

Team Communication Costs

People often ask me, how big should an improvement team be? My answer: as small as possible.

In Fred Brooks’ Mythical Man Month, he points out that communication pathways increase in a nonlinear fashion. The formula is simple:


Where n is the number of people on a team.

  • 2 people = 1 connection (4-2)/2
  • 3 people = 3 connections (9-3)/2
  • 4 people = 6 connections (16-4)/2
  • 5 people = 10 connections (25-5)/2
  • 6 people = 15 connections (36-6)/2
  • 7 people = 21 connections (49-7)/2

The bigger the team, the more time is spent on discussion and communication, not progress.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Jay Arthur Blog, Lean, Six Sigma.

Forgetting The Control Phase?

Are you making one of the most common mistakes in Six Sigma? Are you forgetting the control phase?

If you do forget to implement a control plan and control charts to monitor and corrective actions, you might just as well have not wasted everyone’s time.

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

Lean Graduation Ceremonies

Last week, our grandson graduated from Colorado College and our granddaughter graduated from Rock Canyon High School.

Jake’s graduating class of 500 went single file to the podium to receive their diploma.

Rachel’s graduating class of 500 came from four directions simultaneously. Four name callers, four people handing out diplomas.

Which one do you think went faster?

Posted by Jay Arthur in Jay Arthur Blog, Lean, QI Macros, Service.

Quality 4.0 – Blog entry regarding the current trend of automation and data exchange

ASQ World 2018, there were a lot of sessions about “Industry 4.0” and the transformation required by quality improvement professionals (Quality 4.0).

Wikipedia describes Industry 4.0 as:  “the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies.”

If I can read the writing on the wall, this means that more manufacturing jobs will be automated out of existence, including quality improvement.  In the next few years, AI will embody the quality improvement disciplines, and automate detection and autocorrection of performance problems. No human required.

But manufacturing is only 11% of U.S. employment. 80% is service industries. While quality in manufacturing is still important, the rise of service quality improvement is desperately needed in everything from healthcare to fast food.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Jay Arthur Blog, Manufacturing, Service, Six Sigma.

ASQ World 2018 – Team Case Studies

Here’s a Pareto chart of case studies by country at ASQ World 2018. Notice any trends?


asq team case studies 2018

Posted by Jay Arthur in Jay Arthur Blog, QI Macros, Six Sigma.

DevOps and QualOps

At ASQ LSS Conference in Phoenix, I heard an interesting presentation on digital transformation. Ben Lavoie of Anheuser-Busch asked:

How can LSS Stay relevant in a Digitally Transformed world that thrives on real-time changes?

Bad news: Need for real-time will disrupt DMAIC – leadership teams have no patience for delayed analysis and decision making

Good news: Still need people

Great news: Digital tools need LSS to solve the right problems


I think this speaks to the need for Agile Lean Six Sigma.

Ben also mentioned DevOps, how companies are integrating IT with operations in a continuous feedback loop:

devops tool chain image

I think if we substitute PDCA for the left loop and link it to operations feedback, we can get the same real-time results with Six Sigma.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Jay Arthur Blog.

Testimonial from ASQ Phoenix

At the ASQ Conference in Phoenix, and got some wonderful comments from one of the attendees who uses QI Macros:

Posted by Jay Arthur in Jay Arthur Blog.

Reducing Patient Falls – A Case Study

The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety (Feb 2018) has an article entitled “Temporal Trends in Fall Rates with the Implementation of a Multifaceted Fall Prevention Program.” Ouch!

I believe the story could have been told easily with quality improvement tools, so here’s how I’d go about it. First, there are a number of tables (i.e., spreadsheets of performance data) like the one below.

jcaqo falls rates data

The first year, 2003, had only 200 falls because they started measuring in July. The first full year of measurement was 2004.

It would be easy to turn these into control charts, but the authors chose a boxplot with a trend line of predicted falls.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Healthcare, Jay Arthur Blog, QI Macros, Six Sigma.