Editor’s note: The following letter was submitted via the Quality Progress group on LinkedIn. You can join the group by visiting its LinkedIn page, and you can also find QP on Facebook and Twitter.

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I was reading the May issue of QP and realized once again how fast we are moving into cyberspace. We better jump on the wagon, or we will be left behind—not only by our colleagues, but by our kids, too.

Sonia Pomalaza
Business quality manager
Johnson Controls
Coral Springs, FL

Lean misconceptions

I read the May 2009 article by Gary Jing ("A Lean Six Sigma Breakthrough") with great interest. While I agree with many of his points, I think he is missing some of the primary fundamentals of lean, and thus his integration of lean and Six Sigma tools and methods is not necessarily accurate. Or, said another way, the integration from his perspective may be different than that experienced by other practitioners.

From my perspective, lean is not necessarily focused only on flow and waste. It also deals with process capability as determined by the customer and balanced across cost, service or quality.

Six Sigma practitioners and industrial engineers—actually, all engineering approaches to implementing continuous improvement—view lean from a tools perspective, which is a primary reason why results in most companies are very limited. The strength in lean is from a cultural perspective as driven by leader standard work and standard work processes. Also, data collection is a fundamental aspect of lean process improvement—maybe not to the degree of Six Sigma, but it is nonetheless important.

The bottom line is not to criticize Jing but rather to point out there are other views of lean’s role that are often overlooked and misunderstood from an analytical or engineering perspective.

Ken Wrobel
Lean engineer
Deluxe Corp.
Stillwater, MN

See both sides

The published letters regarding the stimulus package (Inbox, May 2009) declared that history proves economic stimulus is "irrelevant" and has a "poor track record," which is subjective.

The letters also stated that no root cause analysis has been performed by economic policymakers (totally unsubstantiated), that Keynesian economics is "problematic" (laissez-faire or Chicago Friedman economics have their own issues), that logic was not applied in policy, and that "change in Washington is ruining this country" (in as little as the first 100 days).

I speak once a year at my local ASQ Section 0810 meetings. This year, it was a two-hour presentation I concluded by saying the most hostile impediment to my success in quality is other quality professionals. Mind-sets such as those expressed in the letters reflect my professional experiences.

Gordon MacDowell
Quality director
Kent, OH

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