Six Sigma Blog by Jay Arthur
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Learn Data Analysis for Problem Solving

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Learn the data analysis skills for problem solving (a.k.a. Lean Six Sigma). Do it now. It’s Free!

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

“I don’t know about you, but right now, I’m staying home because of the directives around COVID-19. I know there’s a lot of people out there who have been displaced and are out of work, and now might be a good time to learn a new skill. I can tell you: being able to do some data analysis that results in problem solving is a skill that every, every, every business wants.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Agile Lean Six Sigma, Data Mining, healthcare, Improvement Insights, Lean, Manufacturing, QI Macros, Service, Six Sigma.

Snowthrower Delivery Debacle

Ordered a snowthrower as a wedding gift for two day delivery. Eight days later it was delivered to someone’s home (not mine). How can we mistake-proof these kinds of problems?

“One of the guys in my office is getting married this June and so I got him an early wedding gift: a snow thrower. So I ordered it from Amazon. I ordered it on Monday, it was supposed to arrive on Wednesday; two days shipping on Prime.

“Then on Wednesday I get this notice that said, “Well, it’s sort of delayed.” So then it said maybe Friday, but of course on Friday it wasn’t here, and they tried to deliver it on Saturday, of course, which is when we’re closed.

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

Reducing Blood Sample Over-Collection

At the ASQ Lean Six Sigma Conference in Phoenix this week, Katie Castree with Accumen presented an excellent improvement story about reducing over-collection of blood tubes in a hospital. Here’s the story:

Baseline: 317 extra tubes of blood collected every day (115,705/year)

93% of tubes were not used (clinicians thought it was much higher and resisted changing)

Most of the unused tubes were collected in the Emergency Department (focus on the ED, not the entire hospital).

After the countermeasure (not collecting tubes unnecessarily), extra tubes dropped from 317 per day to 118 per day saving $12,335/year and 0.27 FTEs. Over time, extra tubes dropped to only 84 per day, a 74% reduction.

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

Nobody Wants to Look Bad

Nobody wants to look bad, which can make it impossible to make improvements. Here’s why:

“One of the things I’ve learned in all these years working in Quality Improvement is nobody, but nobody, wants to look bad. With the recent coronavirus [outbreak], the doctor who found that and [leaked news] out to the world, the Chinese government tried to shut him down, tried to keep that bit of information inside because they didn’t want to look bad.

“Well, this isn’t just a Chinese or Asian thing – saving face. In any business you walk into, somebody is in charge of how things are working and they’re in charge of trying to make it better, faster, cheaper.

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

4/8/20 Healthcare Webinar: How to Achieve the IHI’s $500 Billion Goal

I’ll be hosting the 3nd webinar in this series on Wednesday, April 8th at 1:00PM MDT

We’ll go into more specifics how your organization can find what’s causing you the most problems, how to determine who should be on the improvement team, and how to ensure that the countermeasures you enacted are both reducing waste and errors and that the improvement doesn’t slide back down. 

What:  FREE Webinar 2 of 3: How to Achieve the IHI’s $500 Billion Goal.

When: Wednesday, April 8th, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. MDT

Where:  Join online from wherever you are.

How:  Register for the webinar HERE.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Agile Lean Six Sigma, healthcare, Improvement Insights, Lean, QI Macros, Six Sigma, Webinar.

Agile Hacks for Making Lean Six Sigma Sticky

Some companies are discovering Agile methods for implementing Lean Six Sigma. Over 50 years of research into how cultures adapt, adopt and reject change can explain why Agile works and why it accelerates Lean Six Sigma adoption.

“I recently did a video about how Christus Health and Novartis and Underwriters Laboratories were all using Agile methods to implement Lean and Six Sigma with one day (sometimes two day) training classes that created Yellow Belts focused on making improvement. I got to thinking about that a little bit, and it turns out that there’s over 50 years of research into how cultures adopt, adapt and reject change.

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

Management By Control Chart

My career was dipped in various management methods such as MBO and MBWA. Recently I read a new term: Management by Spreadsheet (MBS). Maybe there’s a better way.



“When I was working at the phone company we had a variety of management fads. I think first there was MBO, or “Management By Objectives.” Of course, that assumed that you know what your objectives were. We had MBWA, “Management By Wandering Around,” so the management team was wandering around all the time and just getting in our way. Recently I saw a different phraseology and I kind of liked it: MBS, which stands for “Management By Spreadsheet.”

“You know, if you think about it, there’s very few people who can actually read a spreadsheet and get intelligence out of it.

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

2020 New Year’s Resolution Part 2 – Improve

Many people take Six Sigma classes but only do one project. “One and Done” as it’s known in the trade. Make a resolution to start making improvements every month! Here are my suggestions.

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur. It’s 2020, and last week I suggested that you go out and learn one new tool in the QI Macros every month. Now I’m also going to suggest that you set a New Year’s Resolution to make one improvement a month as well.

“Set a goal to do one improvement every month and by the end of the year, you’ll have made 12 improvements and dramatically reduced the amount of waste and rework and lost time and overtime and everything else that is involved in your world, right?

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

2020 New Years Resolution Part 1 – Learn One Tool Per Month

Many people tell us that they have QI Macros, but they don’t know how to use it. Make a resolution to learn how! Here are my suggestions.



“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur and… it’s 2020. How did that happen? A new year; a new decade. Seems like just yesterday everybody was worried about Y2K. Somebody out there is thinking, “What’s Y2K?” That was a thing that happened back in the year 2000… you probably forgot all about it, but I’ve been at this for over twenty years now in the software field around Quality Improvement, so I’ve seen a lot of things.

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

Agile Process Innovation Case Studies

What do Christus Health, Novartis and Underwriters Laboratories have in common? In the last few years they’ve rediscovered the essence of Agile Lean Six Sigma. Here’s How:



“Every year we go out to these conferences and trade shows and exhibit the QI Macros, and I get a chance to go see some of the presentations that people are doing. About two years ago I started to notice an interesting trend, and so I got some observations out of this whole thing.

“So about two years ago, I was at the Lean Six Sigma conference in Phoenix and Christus Health was presenting about their quality journey.

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