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Show of Hands

by Liu, Shu

“How many think this process is capable of meeting the specification?” Students sitting in a basic quality class in Asia were asked this question while they looked at a long-term normal process variation curve well within the specification range....


Open Access

Expert Answers: August 2013

by QP Staff

Correction vs. corrective action ... Identifying and eliminating waste...


In the Crosshairs

by Lindquist, Russell

In 2005, Fairbanks Morse Engine discovered that work content analysis can help clearly define product families and can align improvement activities in a leveraged execution....


Open Access

Career Corner: Risky Reputation

by Lindborg, Henry J.

Formerly the work of marketers, an organization's image and reputation are integral to quality and risk-based management systems. They are everyone's business in sustaining corporate integrity, and they deserve the attention of quality professionals....


Improving on Excellence

by Buckman, Jim; Buckman, Mary Beth

With the changing face of healthcare in the 1990s, the Mayo Clinic started to measure more thoroughly the results of its efforts to track quality. So it enlisted the help of the Juran Institute to begin a full-fledged quality improvement program....


Open Access

Up and Away

by Owens, Tracy; Fritz, Caroline

Do you want to quickly test your creativity? Take a sheet of paper and draw a big circle on it. Draw a dot on the paper. This exercise is part of a test given to children entering kindergarten to find out their baseline levels of creativity....


Open Access

Tangled Mess

by Schonberger, Richard J.

Many of the world's factories are designed in ways detrimental or unhealthy to product quality. The typically complex and lengthy flow times multiply process variables, which can obscure and delay the discovery of defects and nonconformities....


Quality Curriculum

by Taylor, James B.; Sinn, John W.; Lightfoot, William S.

Does quality exist as an entity independent of business? Are the business of quality and the quality of business simply two sides of the same coin? No matter—the quality discipline has become inextricably woven into business....


Online (Taylor)

by James B. Taylor, John W. Sinn and William S. Lightfoot

Insights from developing a quality management and continuous improvement curriculum can be applied in an operations management context to teach quality principles to general management....


Perspectives: Wake Up and Smell the Cookies

by Diepstra, G. Keith

MY RECENT TRANSITION from the automotive sector to a company in the food industry held some unusual surprises: • The overall equipment effectiveness, capabilities and yields were shockingly low in the food industry....


The First Step

by Gonnering, Russell S., M.D.

In his penetrating and perturbing 2009 New Yorker article, Atul Gawande explored the huge cost differential between care in McAllen, TX, and care at other spots in the country with similar demographics and medical sophistication. His conclusion was that...


Standards Outlook: Spring Into Action

by West, John E. "Jack"

In a lot of organizations, quality is relegated to the status of a long-forgotten initiative the organization “finished.” In these cases, what should a quality professional do?...


Open Access

Keep It Simple

by Dalal, Adil F.

In his book, My Life and Work, Henry Ford laid out the basics of the lean system. But, if he and others have been able to use elements of lean successfully, why does it seem so many lean and lean Six Sigma initiatives fail?...


Open Access

Perspectives: TPS Troubles

by Leggett, Steven C.

It’s only natural to link the TPS to Toyota’s safety problems. But is the system the problem? And should organizations that employ a version of the TPS be concerned about their systems?...


Open Access

Get the Whole Picture

by Sherman, Peter

Most Americans have experienced our healthcare system directly. For the last three years, I’ve acted as my father’s primary caregiver. In this role, I’ve seen firsthand the shortcomings of our healthcare system in many ways....


Acquiring Assets

by Kirscht, Ron

Manufacturers face a growing threat to quality and productivity. The coming wave of baby boomer retirements, alongwith a projected decline in the number of new recruits, poses the threat of a gap in skilled workers that are critical to success....


Moving Right Along

by Cartia, Robert

Art is knowledge kept in the artist’s mind. Science is knowledge that is documented. The goal of any lean organization is to transfer art to science: tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge. Applying lean to aid in the process of control is vital....


Online Sidebar Creasy

by Creasy, Todd

The evolution to 6TOC includes its predecessors, Six Sigma, lean manufacturing, lean Six Sigma and the theory of constraints...


Pyramid Power

by Creasy, Todd

The next evolutionary step for Six Sigma could be a method called 6TOC (pronounced “six-tock”) that combines principles of lean Six Sigma with the theory of constraints....


A Lean Six Sigma Breakthrough

by Jing, Gary G.

The relationship between lean and Six Sigma may appear to be simple, but in practice it may be more challenging because there are so many ways to piece the two together....


Open Access

Back in Circulation

by Vincent, Chad

As the applications for lean expand, organizations must realize lean’s usefulness goes beyond environmental efforts. But first, we must look at the history of lean and to understand how its future fully complements social responsibility....


3.4 per Million: After the Low-Hanging Fruit

by Mader, Douglas P.

There are four major approaches for organization-wide improvement efforts that fall under the label “lean Six Sigma,” as evidenced by current practices at many industrial organizations, service organizations and consulting firms....


Standards Outlook: Hazardous to Your Health

by Reid, R. Dan

One hospital chain in my area has a snappy ad saying your selection of a hospital could be the most important choice you will ever make. This might be true—going into the hospital these days can be hazardous to your health....


3.4 Per Million: Forget Silver Bullets and Instant Pudding

by Carnell, Mike

 There are no silver bullets or instant pudding waiting to be discovered. There never has been and never will be. This does not mean that there is not some level of benefit to be gained by an organization embracing Six Sigma, the new and improved...


Lean Six Sigma's Evolution

by Mader, Doug

When Motorola rolled out its initial Six Sigma system in 1987, there were no Green Belts, Black Belts, Master Black Belts, Champions or any of the infrastructure or focused training we have come to associate with modern practices in Six Sigma....


Open Access

Lean Lessons: Lean Kaizen in the 21st Century

by Alukal, George

Adapted from a chapter of Lean Kaizen, the author offers key takeaways from the Toyota Production System (TPS). He describes how the kaizen method is the foundation of the The Toyota Way and how it emphasizes efficiency, problem solving and...


Quality Glossary

by Nelsen, Dave

Five years after it published its first glossary of quality terms, ASQ has revised that glossary with updated definitions and new entries, many from the lean glossary published in 2005. This reference of terms, acronyms, and prominent figures in the...


Quantifying Machinery Availability Loss

by Parks, Matthew

Possibly the most misunderstood and abused metric in performance based manufacturing is machine availability. When examining quality, performance, costs, and cycle time improvements, it is assumed that any performance metrics take into account a...


A Second Look at 5S

by Van Patten, James

While Six Sigma has largely replaced 5S (lean), that doesn't mean that 5S doesn't have the potential to deliver benefits beyond cleaning up the shop floor. 5S is an idea that can change the perception of the workplace and provide a foundation for all...


Open Access

Make Healthcare Lean

by Manos, Anthony; Sattler, Mark; Alukal, George

The principles of lean manufacturing are as applicable to healthcare as they are to the automobile industry. However, unlike manufacturing, healthcare management structures are not usually hierarchical, and hospitals generally are not-for-profit. Value...


Open Access

Lean Lessons: All About Lean

by Alukal, George

Lately, lean has been receiving a lot of attention from quality professionals, management and the media. After getting its start in manufacturing, it has now migrated to nonshop floor activities in sales, customer service, accounting, HR......


Lean Thinking for Knowledge Work

by May, Matthew

Productivity in the service sector trails manufacturing by a wide margin. Since the early 1990s, the Toyota Production System (TPS) has been heralded as the standard for manufacturing environments, but early attempts to apply it to nonproduction work...


Lean Glossary

by Rooney, Steven A.; Rooney, James J.

A glossary defines terms commonly associated with lean...


Quality Management's Role in Global Sourcing

by Watkins, David K.

Globalization and the evolution of quality management systems from a focus on controlling product conformity to a much broader focus on overall enterprise capability have resulted in the need to redefine the role of quality management in dealing with...


Make Work Cells Work for You

by Schonberger, Richard J.

The standard practice of dispersing production processes among geographically separate shops creates a potential for quality problems. These problems and their root causes are lost between intra-shop inventories and the number of potential flow...


Open Access

Match the Change Vehicle and Method to the Job

by Harvey, Jean

Processes are at the core of continuous improvement, and improvement happens when a process is changed in one way or another....


Open Access

Translate Know-What Into Know-How

by Chaplin, Edward; Akao, Yoji

Organizational change is a much more difficult challenge than we've been led to believe....


Open Access

Lean and Six Sigma -- A One-Two Punch

by Smith, Bonnie

To keep profits growing in these days of flat revenues, manufacturers are paying more attention to the advice of Poor Richard (a.k.a. Benjamin Franklin): A penny saved is a penny earned....


Open Access

Create a Lean, Mean Machine

by Alukal, George

"Lean" has been defined as a systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste through continuous improvement. Lean focuses on value added flow of resources from the customer’s point of view. To compete in today’s economy a company must...


How To Compare Six Sigma, Lean and the Theory of Constraints

by Nave, Dave

Many process improvement methodologies appear to conflict with each other, making it difficult to decide which best fits an organization's needs and culture. Three improvement methodologies - Six Sigma, Lean thinking, and Theory of constraints - are...


Continuous Process Improvement the Quick Step Way

by Schroer, Bernard J.; Adams, Mel; Stewart, Steve; Componation, Paul J.

Eliminating waste and reducing the time between order receipt and payment receipt characterize the Quick Step method of continuous process improvement. Quick Step principles include: implementation of simple, small projects via quick and creative...


Financial Kaizen: Lowering Hurdles to Long-Term Investments

by Cheser, Raymond

Low capital costs through creative continuous improvement increases a company's competitiveness. The cost of capital is a firm's cost of equity plus the after-tax interest rate on its debt. A capital investment requires a minimum return rate, known as...



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