Unemployment Rate Lessons for Six Sigma

Improvement Insights Blog

Unemployment Rate Lessons for Six Sigma

The nightly news reports unemployment statistics, not employment statistics. There’s a lesson here for Six Sigma.

“Have you ever noticed that when the nightly news comes on they always report unemployment rates, not employment rates? “The unemployment rate is five or six percent,” they don’t say “94 or 95 percent of America is employed.” No, they focus on the problem: the problem is the unemployment rate.

“Well, this holds true also in all things Quality related. Once when I was first being trained they said, “Once you get above 80 percent compliance, what you want to do is focus on the 20 percent non-compliance,” so you want to focus on the defects, the mistakes, the errors, the waste, the rework. Six Sigma is a problem-solving process.

“So, the next time you’re looking at a number: “Patient satisfaction is 95 percent.” Well it’s five percent unhappy. If you want to make improvements, go look at the five percent; do not be happy with the 95 that are happy, right? What are we looking for? We’re looking for ways to simplify, streamline, optimize everything in operations so we get to a hassle-free America, hassle-free health care.

“I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and QI Macros [software]. That’s my Improvement Insight for this week. Let’s go out and improve something this week.”