Latest "Manufacturing" Posts

Quality 4.0

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 Manufacturing, Six Sigma.

Insights from ASQ Phoenix – 2018

Here are my takeaways from the ASQ conference in Phoenix.


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

All You Need Is Lean

QI Macros exhibited at the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) conference in Boston. Some attendees thought that “All You Need Is Lean.” Others thought you need Lean and Six Sigma.

Lean will help you simplify and streamline your operations, and then you’ll need Six Sigma to optimize the process.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Lean, Manufacturing, QI Macros, Six Sigma.

Are We Teaching Students the Unnecessary Things?

I’m here at the IISE (Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers) conference in Pittsburgh.

One professor had been teaching students how to use Excel to create control charts, but he was beginning to feel like that was a waste of classroom time (duh!).

I beat him up a little for teaching DIY Excel stuff to students. If the professor does it, they think that’s how it’s done. With QI Macros he can get them right into analysis.

I feel the same way at ASA (American Statistical Association) when they use “R” to do statistics. Sure it’s free, but should statisticians be programming in “R” or just using software to achieve the same result.

Posted by Jay Arthur in healthcare, Lean, Manufacturing, Service, Six Sigma, Statistics.

Top Leaders Deliver Reliably

May-June 2017 HBR discusses the results of a 10-year study of what makes CEOs great.

Of the four traits, number 4, Delivering Reliably, was found to be the most powerful of the four essential behaviors. Reliable CEOs were 15 times more likely to succeed.

I have found that one of the most effective ways to deliver reliably is to use Lean Six Sigma to simplify, streamline and optimize performance.

Posted by Jay Arthur in healthcare, Lean, Manufacturing, Service, Six Sigma.

Lean Insights from “The Founder” Movie

Early in the movie, the McDonald’s brothers describe how they came up with the concept for speedy service. It’s Lean.

They had too many menu items, so they decide to simplify down to burgers, fries and soft drinks. (Think Lean inventory.)

They go to a tennis court and use chalk to lay out a possible floor plan to deliver service fast. One brother stands on a ladder watching while the employees pantomime cooking burgers, fries and soft drinks.

They go through several iterations to converge on their final design. (Think value stream mapping and spaghetti diagramming.)
I think they might have done it faster with cardboard boxes, but I wasn’t there.

Posted by Jay Arthur in healthcare, Lean, Manufacturing, Service.

The Great Training Robbery

October 2016 HBR article, Why Leadership Training Fails-and What to Do About It, calls the $160 Billion spent on training in the U.S. the Great Training Robbery. The authors say: “Learning doesn’t lead to better organizational performance, because people soon revert to their old ways of doing things.”

Unfortunately, this is true of most Six Sigma training courses. If you don’t apply what you’ve learned immediately to reducing delay, defects and deviation, the learning is lost in 72 hours.

That’s why my Lean Six Sigma workshops focus on solving real problems using existing data. Once people connect the methods and tools to results, it’s hard to go backward.

Posted by Jay Arthur in healthcare, Lean, Manufacturing, Service, Six Sigma.

Why Six Sigma Fails

Over the last 25 years, I’ve gotten to see Six Sigma failures and successes. But in spite of all of the belts trained and investments made, why isn’t product and service quality any better? Why is there so much hassle? Why aren’t more customer experiences hassle-free? I’ve developed a mental list of the most common types of failures. Here’s my fishbone diagram for Six Sigma failures. I’d encourage you to develop your own.


80% of the businesses in the U.S. are service businesses, yet Six Sigma training is extensively focused on the manufacturing factory floor. It takes too long to teach people everything they might need to know to solve all of the problems they might ever encounter.

Posted by Jay Arthur in healthcare, Manufacturing, QI Macros, Service, Six Sigma.

Cp Cpk Formulas and the Mistakes in Homemade Templates

Creating homemade Cp and Cpk templates often results in incorrect values. There are many, many mistakes you might make without realizing. Here are a few examples.

A customer sent me their home grown template for calculating Cp and Cpk and wondered why the QI Macros got such radically different values. It was easy to see from their data that they were using standard deviation, not Sigma estimator (Rbar/d2) to calculate Cp and Cpk. Use Stdev to calculate Pp and Ppk, not Cp and Cpk:


They had run the QI Macros histogram on two columns of data, one measured at 0 degrees and one measured at 90 degrees.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Manufacturing, QI Macros, Six Sigma, Statistics.

Most Valuable Career Skills

This month’s issue of Money Magazine discusses the 21 Most Valuable Career Skills. At the top of the list, statistical analysis increasing pay by 6.1%. Right behind statistical analysis is Data Mining at 5.1%. It’s incredibly easy to learn these two skills using QI Macros and Six Sigma.

Also on the list, Customer Service Metrics (4.3%). I have found that the written comments in customer service systems can be easily analyzed using the QI Macros Word Count tool to identify the most common type of call or complaint. Then simple root cause analysis can reduce or eliminate those calls.

Business analysis (3.8%) is easy with QI Macros Control Chart Dashboards.

Posted by Jay Arthur in healthcare, Lean, Manufacturing, QI Macros, Service, Six Sigma.