Keep It Simple

Streamlining for clarity and efficiency

Declutter. Destress. Remove complication. It’s something to strive for, but often easier said than done. Many of us are overscheduled, overburdened and burning the candle at both ends most of the time. And because it’s so commonplace nowadays, there is a whole movement that has sprung up to help people rid their lives of physical things, activities and even people that create "static." To commit to being less "busy."

Essentially, that is the goal of lean and Six Sigma initiatives as they apply to manufacturing, service, healthcare or other industries. This month, we highlight some of those methods and tools to help simplify processes and streamline productivity, removing the noise from the everyday.

In "Come Together" learn about how the pod concept and lean principles help organize employees by process rather than function, allowing organizations (service, in the example provided) to focus more wholly on the customer. The configuration can provide more visibility to processes end-to-end, and provide staff with direct customer feedback. The article explains how to implement pods and their potential pitfalls, then provides a brief case study explaining how pods worked for one service organization.

Healthcare settings are popular venues for implementing Six Sigma for improvement projects. "Subject to Review" provides a case study of a 200-bed Virginia hospital that conducted several Six Sigma projects over a four-year period. Often, projects are considered either successes or failures, and everyone moves on. This hospital instead focused on rigorous analysis to gauge the relative successes or failures of its projects, helping it to determine what was needed to justify future projects.

"Good Shepherds" explains the tragedy of the commons theory and how it can be applied to resource management in scheduling staff and projects. Again, if done effectively, workers receive clearer direction in assignments, allowing them to complete tasks more effectively without becoming overworked. More is not always better.

In this month’s Standards Outlook, you’ll find part two of the series on the automotive standard, IATF 16949:2016. Author R. Dan Reid outlines what quality professionals must know about the changes, and how they should be engaging their organizations’ leadership.

* * *

If you’re going to lose a good team member, it sure lessens the sting if it’s to a good cause. This month, we say goodbye to Assistant Editor Tyler Gaskill, who leaves us for a position in the healthcare industry where he’ll get to build and manage his own quality program. I’m sure all he’s learned during his time with ASQ and QP will give him a great jump-start. Best of luck, Tyler!

Seiche Sanders

Seiche Sanders

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