I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends - ASQ

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends


A. Blanton Godfrey

There are a number of people critical to any journal’s success—namely, the Editorial Review Board (ERB). That is especially true of a new journal. These people receive little notice by the average reader, and sometimes the recognition they get is negative. One of the most important tasks of an ERB member is reviewing articles submitted for publication. These articles’ authors do not always appreciate the reviewers’ comments or their suggestions for improvement, especially if it means a major rewrite. Authors usually do not like hearing their articles are not suitable for publication in their current forms.

Six Sigma Forum Magazine’s ERB (p. 4) goes beyond reviewing papers. Since our reviewers are all leaders in Six Sigma development and practice, we have asked many of them and their colleagues to contribute papers. These papers have provided a firm foundation for this journal’s launch. ERB members have also contributed to the “Current Literature” and “Your Opinion” departments. In addition, we ask the ERB to participate in conference calls to openly critique the magazine, suggest new directions and provide ideas for new articles.

A recent conference call generated many new ideas. Following the ERB’s suggestions, we plan to expand the topics to include more nonmanufacturing examples of Six Sigma applications. We will add more articles on top line growth and international applications as well as the traditional articles focused on cutting costs and time cycles. We will also survey our readers to better understand their backgrounds and interests. We will find out not just who is subscribing to the magazine, but also who is reading it. How are the issues and articles shared within companies? What ideas introduced in the magazine are being put into practice? What impact are we actually having?

In this issue we start implementing some of the ERB’s suggestions. The article by Brian Swayne and Brent Harder (p. 22) provides a fascinating study of Six Sigma in 13 companies. Some of the findings do not surprise us, but other results provide much food for thought. For instance, why haven’t the Six Sigma methods moved more quickly into design for Six Sigma or sales growth? Even in companies with strong results in reducing manufacturing costs, we see a lag in expanding the methods into other areas.

Mike Carnell addresses another critical question: How do we manage the project pipeline (p. 28)? In most companies, early successes stimulate many suggestions for future projects.

Continuing the theme introduced in the last issue of how companies are integrating Six Sigma into their management systems, IBM’s George Byrne and Bob Norris describe how to use Six Sigma to drive Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award performance (p. 13).

This issue’s “Current Literature” and “Your Opinion” both address the topic of Master Black Belts (MBBs). We asked some of the leading MBBs in the country to comment on the critical roles MBBs play in organizations, how they were trained, their needs, and what articles and texts they have found most useful in their jobs. The response was incredible—we have so much material we will probably extend coverage of this topic to the next issue.

Lastly, I would like to thank you readers for comments, encouragement, suggestions for articles and your formal contributions. Please continue to send us your comments and ideas—and especially your papers. We welcome both formal letters to the editor for publication and informal notes with suggestions for topics, criticisms and ideas for continuous improvement—or maybe even some ideas of a Six Sigma breakthrough.

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