Improvement Insights Blog
Garage Door Insight
When I bought my first house, it didn’t have a garage door opener. I thought I couldn’t afford one. I was wrong. Here’s how that applies to quality improvement:
“Back in 1978, I bought my first house; it was a three bedroom, one and three quarter bath ranch with a two car attached garage. I’d spent most of my money on the down payment, but then I had a few more dollars so I got a refrigerator and a washer and dryer. Unfortunately, my garage did not have a garage door opener [and] I didn’t have the money to go get one, so I just started coming in.
“In the morning, I’d unlock the garage door, raise it manually back out, get out of my car, go back, close the garage door manually, and lock the garage door. Then when I came home I’d repeat the process and park, but then sometimes in Colorado you know that’s a blizzard: it’s snow, it’s rain, or in summer it’s crazy hot. I had to get out of my car, go up and unlock the garage door, raise it, drive in, lower it manually and then do this other thing. Well, you know… I don’t know why, but I got in that habit, right?
“Seven or eight years later I thought maybe I ought to get a garage door opener. I investigated; I think it was like 300 bucks to have somebody come out and install a garage door opener so that when I drove in I could click a button and the garage door would come up. I could drive in and then close the garage door and, gee, I never got wet or cold or miserable. I wondered why I hadn’t done it long ago for 300 bucks.
“Now I know some of you grew up in quality when it was all manual and you’re still trying to do manual things. You’re still trying to teach people 20th century quality techniques where you’re trying to teach them how to manually calculate formulas for control charts and stuff like that. No! All right, for a little over three hundred dollars you can get QI Macros, right? Or buy somebody else’s [software]. If you don’t have somebody else’s [software], you’ve got to have somebody to automate this so that you just click a button, you get a chart; you click a button, you get stats; you click a button, you get a whole improvement project built ‘automagically,’ right?
“So it’s time to stop doing things manually. Let’s start automating everything. That’s what I’m trying to do with QI Macros: automate all the stuff that traditionally we taught manually and we should stop doing that.
“I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified,” “Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals” and the QI Macros [software]. It’s time to start automating that quality stuff. Let’s go out and improve something this week.”