Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Sometimes, Professors are Wrong Too

Just because you're an "adjunct professor at Georgia Institute of Technology’s Scheller School of Business" doesn't mean you can't be wrong about Lean.

The professor, who has a deep background in Six Sigma, maybe shouldn't be teaching about Lean. I'm not qualified to teach about Six Sigma, so I don't try telling people what Six Sigma is about.

I do know Lean pretty well.

As other posts on this blog point out, a statement like this is very incorrect... factually incorrect...

As written here:

"Six Sigma uses the DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve and control) method to reduce defects. Lean, derived mostly from the Toyota Production System, focuses on cycle time reduction by eliminating non-value-added steps."

The implication is that Lean doesn't help reduce defects. The implication is that Six Sigma is the only way to reduce defects. That's all untrue.

See the Toyota Production System page that explains how Lean is about improving flow AND quality. Improving flow leads to better quality. And, Lean has methods (tools like error proofing and management mindsets) that very directly improve quality.

I wish Six Sigma people would stick to teaching about Six Sigma.

Would you let a physics professor teach biology? Would you "merge" the departments into something called "Physology" or "Physics Biology?"

That's my problem with Lean Sigma... the incorrect things that get said about Lean.

I'm not against Six Sigma. I agree that Lean and Six Sigma can be complementary. But not if you think Lean doesn't address defects. Visit a Toyota plant and see...
"Six Sigma uses the DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve and control) method to reduce defects. Lean, derived mostly from the Toyota Production System, focuses on cycle time reduction by eliminating non-value-added steps."

The implication is that Lean doesn't help reduce defects. The implication is that Six Sigma is the only way to reduce defects. That's all untrue.

See the Toyota Production System page that explains how Lean is about improving flow AND quality. Improving flow leads to better quality. And, Lean has methods (tools like error proofing and management mindsets) that very directly improve quality.

http://www.toyota-global.com/company/vision_philosophy/toyota_production_system/
"Six Sigma uses the DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve and control) method to reduce defects. Lean, derived mostly from the Toyota Production System, focuses on cycle time reduction by eliminating non-value-added steps."

The implication is that Lean doesn't help reduce defects. The implication is that Six Sigma is the only way to reduce defects. That's all untrue.

See the Toyota Production System page that explains how Lean is about improving flow AND quality. Improving flow leads to better quality. And, Lean has methods (tools like error proofing and management mindsets) that very directly improve quality.

http://www.toyota-global.com/company/vision_philosophy/toyota_production_system/

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Lean Doesn't "Sacrifice Quality"

Ah, the irony of an article that seeks to dispel "myths" about Lean Sigma then going and spreading an unfortunate myth about Lean.

See this article from Quality Mag:

10 Reasons Organizations Do Not Use Lean Six Sigma

They bust a few myths, but then they say this, unfortunately:
"By only doing Lean [and not Six Sigma] you sacrifice the benefits of quality." 
No no no no no no.

This is just factually incorrect.

Again, I'll point you to the Toyota web page for the Toyota Production System.

TPS is about flow AND quality. They go hand in hand. Better flow leads to better quality, and vice versa.

Lean and TPS have so many methods and mindsets that improve quality in very direct ways, such as:

  • Error proofing
  • Andon cords (stop the line)
  • A culture of not blaming individuals for systemic problems
Stop saying Lean alone would hurt quality. Somebody who doesn't understand Lean might go "implement Lean tools" in a way that hurts quality, but that's their fault (yes, I'll blame somebody) and not the fault of Lean.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Nope, ThedaCare & VMMC Still Don't Do Six Sigma or "Lean Sigma"

Back in 2013, I wrote about a publication that described that Virginia Mason Medical Center does as "Lean Sigma."

As Dwight Schrute would say on "The Office":


I've very directly asked Virginia Mason's CEO Dr. Gary Kaplan if they do anything with Six Sigma and he says no. 

They use Lean, as in the Toyota Production System. No belts. No formal Six Sigma.

The same is the case at ThedaCare. I know because I've asked them. They don't do Six Sigma.

So, if an organization doesn't do Lean and Six Sigma, you can't call what they do "Lean Sigma."

It's just Lean.

There's a book on the market about Lean Six Sigma for hospitals that makes the same sloppy or misinformed error:

Does it matter? Yes, it matters. Wrongly giving credit to Six Sigma encourages people to sink time and resources into an approach that might not be necessary. If you want to use Six Sigma, then great. If you want to combine Lean and Six Sigma, go for it. 

Just don't call refer to Lean as "Lean Sigma."

Thursday, June 11, 2015

This Diagram is Wrong - Lean DOES Help Reduce Defects

I see diagrams like this lot, in the context of Lean Sigma. Click on it for a larger view.

The flaw in this flow chart and thought process is that it implies that Lean is only helpful for cycle time reduction and that Six Sigma is the only methodology that can reduce defects.


As I've said repeatedly on this blog, Lean and the Toyota Production System are designed around improving BOTH flow and quality.

The methods (such as mistake proofing / error proofing / poka yoke) and the management mindsets (allow people to pull the andon cord when they see a problem) all contribute to reducing defects in a very practical way.

Diagrams like this don't help people understand the differences between Lean and Six Sigma or the complementary nature of the two. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sh*t Said on LinkedIn About #Lean, or "Professors Aren't Always Right"

Maybe I need to start a site called ShitLinkedInSays.com. There's a lot of misinformation spread around by people in LinkedIn groups about Lean and Six Sigma. It's really frustrating.

Here's one of the recently laughable things I read in a discussion that started with the false "Lean = Speed" and "Six Sigma = Accuracy" dichotomy that I mentioned before.



That ugly PowerPoint slide is wrong. Factually incorrect, as I've said before - just look at Toyota's own Toyota Production System website and you'll see that Lean is about flow AND quality at the source.

Here's the comment.... from a professor... that really kills me:


Six Sigma is a tool used to implement Lean? That's a new one...

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Misinformation Floating Around on LinkedIn

No matter how many times you repeat or share something like this, it's still a false dichotomy. From LinkedIn:


My comment:

A diagram like this is factually incorrect. It's incorrect to imply that Lean is not focused on reducing variation or improving quality. Look at Toyota's own web page on the Toyota Production System (aka Lean) to see how it's about BOTH flow and quality. You can improve quality without Six Sigma. I'm not saying Six Sigma doesn't help, but don't diminish or misrepresent Lean. 



Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Lean Sigma Book Says You Need Six Sigma to Address Defects

A book on Lean Six Sigma for healthcare talks about the eight types of waste. So far, so good.

Until the author talks about the "waste of defects" and claims that Lean addresses everything BUT defects and that you need Six Sigma to address defects.

That's hogwash.

From the book.


He talks about right sizing machines and reducing changeovers... those are core Lean concepts.