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 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.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Another Healthcare Article Gets it Wrong

This article gets it really wrong: "Lean Six Sigma: Eliminating Wasteful Practices For Improved Efficiency"

It says:
"Lean Management is a style which focuses on “waste” reduction: lowering the incidence of unnecessary spending through ongoing oversight. Meanwhile, Six Sigma works by eliminating defects in processes using disciplined and data-driven techniques."
It's terribly incorrect to say that Lean focuses on reduced spending.

It's also wrong to imply that Six Sigma is the only methodology that focuses on reducing defects.

Lean works to reduce defects. Lean is disciplined and data-driven.

Yet another "Lean Six Sigma" article that really botches it.