Jay Arthur Blog

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Quality Is Not a Department

A recent report from NAHQ (National Association of Healthcare Quality) found that three-quarters of hospitals had a quality department. But to achieve hassle-free healthcare and zero harm, it will take more than a department to achieve the results desired.


“The National Association for Healthcare Quality just released a report on Quality professionals in health care, and it turns out that in a lot of the situations, about three-quarters of the people responding reported that in their hospital or wherever, that Quality was a department, and in about a quarter [of the responses] Quality was individuals working on stuff.

“Let me be clear about this: Quality is not a department.

Posted by Jay Arthur in healthcare, Improvement Insights, Jay Arthur Blog.

When are bar charts dangerous?

Answer: Almost always.

  • When everything is presented in a bar chart, everything looks the same. And before long, everyone forgets what they’re looking at. Dan Roam

Bar charts always remind me of a Jack-O-Lantern with bad teeth.

Bar charts are one of the most misused charts. The most common mistake is using bar charts for time-series data (i.e., dates):

Bar charts are best used for categories—types of defects, objects, or whatever. Even so, the bars are often in a random order which makes distinguishing the important from the unimportant pretty difficult. Simply sorting the bars into a descending order makes them easier to analyze.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Jay Arthur Blog.

No Design Survives Contact with the End User

No matter how well you design something using DFSS, users will find ways to use it or break it in ways you can’t imagine!

“In Six Sigma we have all these tools for designing for Six Sigma, so we have Quality Function Deployment and Failure Modes and Effects Analysis and all this other stuff; PPAP forms in automotive to help you design an entire sub-assembly or whatever it is… but what are these things designed to do?

“Well, they’re designed to help you come up with something that’ll come out at least a four signal level, maybe a four and a half signal level, but one of the things I’ve learned from software is “No design survives contact with the end user.” Somehow, they find ways to break stuff that you hadn’t even thought of, right?

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

I Love Improvers

I love people who fight the good fight of quality improvement. Problem solving isn’t sexy, but it’s vital to corporate health. Hugs!

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur. If you’ve been watching my Improvement Insight videos, you’re probably going, “Gee, Jay, you’re sharing all this stuff… What’s that all about?”

“Well, it turns out if you don’t know it by now… I love people who do Quality Improvement. They’re out chasing the big ugly things that are causing too much hassle in America and trying to eliminate them and eliminate waste and eliminate all the stuff that goes into landfills and into sewers and all kinds of stuff like this.

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

10/15/19 QI Macros Webinar

More than 50 people signed up for this webinar, with Jay Arthur demonstrating how to use some of the useful features of QI Macros, as well as some of the new features introduced in recent releases of the software. Some attendees were familiar with the software and already use it, some had only begun to use it; all were interested in learning new ways that QI Macros can help them with their Agile Lean Six Sigma and Quality Improvement efforts. (You can hear him answering questions and comments typed in by webinar attendees.)  

If you saw a feature demonstrated in the webinar that might have been added to QI Macros after the version you’re using (for instance, the “Find Tool” search feature or the automated Process Change Wizard), you may need to purchase an upgrade to bring your QI Macros to the current version.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Jay Arthur Blog.

Not Everyone Likes Quality Improvement

There are a number of fears that make people hesitant to share data and or let you make improvements. Here’s why.


“Not everybody is in love with this whole idea of improvement. There are people who, when you come to them and say, “I need your data about such-and-such,” they don’t want you looking at their data because they don’t want to look stupid. If they’re the manager of that organization and they’ve had all this data and they can’t find what I call the “invisible low-hanging fruit,” they think that they’re stupid or something. No, they just don’t know how to analyze the data.

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

Flood-Proofing in Holland

While some European cities were devastated by fire, Holland has had to deal with flooding. What have they done to mistake-proof flooding since 1953?

“Hi, this is Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals” and the QI Macros [software]. “I recently had an Improvement Insight video about how they were burning down the capitals of Scandinavia repeatedly until the king said “Thou shalt build thy buildings out of stone” and so that stopped the fire problem. I discovered there was a 60 Minutes article on a recent Sunday, and they were talking about Holland.

Back in the 50s there was a massive flood and it tore down a lot of barriers because a lot of Holland is below sea level.

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

Fireproof Your Business

Spending too much time fighting fires in your business? Maybe it’s time to fireproof your business. Here’s how:

“Hi, this is Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals” and the QI Macros [software].

“My wife and I recently cruised Scandinavia, and in almost every city where the tour guides took us around they told us the same story: “So Oslo (Stockholm, Copenhagen, St. Petersburg) back in the 1700s, the city had built up but they were all built out of wood, and of course they heated everything with wood or coal or something, and…” You know: Boom.

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

How Six Sigma SPC Software Design Can Slash the Learning Curve

How you design software can slash the learning curve. Did you design it for college students studying statistics or a business man or woman who just wants to achieve a result with minimal time, effort and training?

“Hi, Jay Arthur with the QI Macros [software]. I wanted to talk to you today about Six Sigma SPC software.

“Now, there’s some big dogs out there, and if you look at them real closely, you’ll see they were designed by professors in the statistical department who wanted to create software to train students in statistics. It has every nook and cranny and option and tweak and everything that you can possibly do to teach people statistics, and fill up curriculums that’ll last an entire semester to focus on different things that you could do to tweak all these little statistics.

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

It’s Not My Fault!

I was on a cruise and almost everyone had an explanation for why things weren’t going as planned. Almost everyone said or implied: “It’s not my fault!” Isn’t it time to take responsibility for reporting all faults whether it’s yours or not?

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

“I was on this Cruise in Scandinavia and we were in Oslo and we had to take a train over to Bergen to get to the cruise ship, and they said, “Well, unfortunately they’re working on the tracks and so we have to take a two hour bus ride to get to the remaining four hours of train ride.” And they said kind of like, “Well, it’s not our fault,” and then they said “Well, we can’t leave yet because the catering truck hasn’t arrived from Oslo with the food for the train.” Again, they say “Well, it’s not our fault.”

“They said that phrase over and over again.

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