Improvement Insights Blog
Latest "QI Macros Monthly Newsletters" Posts
I think it was Will Rogers who once said, “A half truth is like a half brick – it carries better.” Being a Freelance Quality Improvement Specialist, I’ve had to overcome more than my share of half truths in my career. An example of one of the most frequent half truths I encounter happened just this month.
While consulting with a plant that produced industrial cardboard, I asked them to send over their data. They submitted the data they were tracking: each tab in the spreadsheet had almost a dozen metrics, and each metric had almost 6,000 data points… some dating back over 4 years ago.
Continue Reading "“Weather” you can have too much data…"
Our state has begun the slow process of reopening industries. This was good for me because the downtime had shown many businesses their many previously hidden process errors. Clients were eager to fix those errors to control costs… and I was eager to pick up new clients.
One such client was named Korben Steel. Korben was a guitar builder, and Steely Guitars was busy when I toured the shop with Korben.
“Recent events really didn’t have much of an effect on us as far as mask-wearing goes,” he explained through his N95. “There’s always so much dust and lacquer fumes in here that masks have been mandatory since the first day we opened.”
Continue Reading "A “Noted” Improvement"
One great thing about the past few months – with in-person socializing limited, that means that you can connect with friends who live far away from you just as easily as those who live a mile away. Because of this, some friends of mine from our Midwestern high school re-started our weekly Euchre game from long ago, but this time via webcams and a forum where the card game can be hosted online.
I was preparing for just such an evening when I got a notification that the first of my friends had logged in to our online meetup space.
Continue Reading "Cards and darts and XmR charts…"
Like a lot of you, I’ve gotten really good at some things I wasn’t very good at a couple of months ago. From a personal perspective, my cooking has gotten much better (thanks to online cooks I found such as Chef John). From a business standpoint, I’ve gone from meeting clients face-to-face to becoming good at conducting most of my business via online video meetings with clients. The online video meeting has its ups and downs, but it sure is nice to be able to meet with someone on the other side of the country without having to spend time traveling.
Continue Reading "The lines on the road…"
I can’t recall a time when I’ve done so many improvement projects in such a short time.
In just three short weeks, I’ve rearranged my kitchen to a more efficient layout that saves steps when I’m preparing a meal (after creating a spaghetti diagram of the food preparation process), I’ve reorganized the spices located on the rack on the counter as well as in the cupboard (moving away from a strict alphabetization plan to a two-tiered system based on usage, where the most-used spices are stored in the rack on the counter and the less-frequently-used spices are stored in the cupboard).
Continue Reading "An improvement project, delivered…"
Well, the unseasonably warm winter weather was bound to end some time. Sure enough, last week Mother Nature shook her head and remembered what she was supposed to be doing during the winter. I found refuge from the cold and the snow at my favorite table at my favorite coffee shop. It’s my favorite coffee shop because Jason, the owner, makes the best café au lait and beignets this side of Café Du Monde in New Orleans. The table against the back wall offers the geographic benefits of both having a great view of the snow out the window and being just the right distance from the pot belly stove that Jason keeps stoked on cold days.
Continue Reading "Café au lait, beignets and u…"
I was running errands one afternoon and I found myself in a small cluster of retail shops near my home. A bout of unseasonably warm January weather had graced us with sunshine and mild temperatures, so I was ambling along the sidewalk gazing into shop windows, killing time before my appointment to get my flu vaccine. A beautifully framed black and white photo of a dilapidated gate in one particular shop caught my eye, so I went in to look around.
I found myself in a framing gallery, surrounded by striking artwork in magnificent frames. The shopkeeper was in the back corner at the counter, deep in conversation with a customer regarding some artwork she wanted to have framed.
Continue Reading "Frames and Frames of Reference"
There are a number of people who make a New Year’s Resolution to eat healthier. Your favorite Fabulous Freelance Quality Improvement Specialist – yours truly – does not happen to be one of those people. As I stood at my favorite hot dog cart downtown on an unseasonably warm January day, Joe the Hot Dog Guy and I talked about those people.
“Yeah, I see it all the time,” Joe said, spooning bright green relish on my Chicago Dog. “They’ll even come by at the end of December and tell me that they ain’t gonna see me no more, on account of how they’re eating healthier in the new year.
Continue Reading "No Ketchup!"