Latest "Service" Posts

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 Lean, QI Macros, Service.

Mistake-Proofing Checkout

My wife and I were on a cruise recently. The day before checkout the cruise director recommended that we put one of our shoes we planned to wear to the airport inside the lockbox in our room. Obviously too many people leave valuables behind.

What are you doing to mistake-proof your customer’s experience?

Posted by Jay Arthur in Lean, Service, 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.

Lean Water Work?

Denver Water sent us a letter back in October about upcoming road closures, then delayed it a month.

They moved in a bunch of equipment one week. Then over a week later they jumped into action to install part of a new pipeline  just before a big snow storm.

Then it was cold for a week. Then they did another day’s work. Not working today.

Not exactly one-piece flow.

There are two dump trucks and three backhoes and bulldozers sitting around while all this is going on. Couldn’t this equipment be useful somewhere? Seems like a lot of inventory sitting idle.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Lean, 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.

How is a Hospital Like a Car Dealership?

I got a call from a QI Macros customer who works at  a luxury car dealership. Customers were upset because their cars were spending too long in the shop. The dealership tracked the length of stay of every car, the symptoms and barriers to getting the car done when expected.

I was struck by the similarities between what he was describing and a hospital. Patients come in, get diagnosed, treated, admitted and eventually discharged. This is the same problem as the maintenance shop.

I asked if the maintenance department had information about the type of problem, missing parts, age of the car and so on.

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

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.