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I had a great time at this year’s WCQ&I in Pittsburgh (although it seemed to rain the whole time – that didn’t really matter since I was inside). Here is my recap of ASQ’s leading conference.

Arriving on Sunday, I was able to take part of the Lean Enterprise Division’s annual board meeting. It was nice to see that it was well attended and productive. Many projects from the year were updated and there was an excellent discussion on how ASQ headquarters and the LED can work together to promote the premier Lean Certification that is hosted by ASQ, SME, AME and the Shingo Prize.

Monday morning’s keynote speaker Admiral (ret.) Thad Allen was an engaging speaker. I liked that he didn’t have any PowerPoint presentation and just spoke form the heart. In my mind he was in charge three of the toughest assignments anyone could have had: relief after hurricane Katrina, earthquake relief in Haiti, and the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He talked about his experiences during these times. For more information on this and other happenings during the conference you can check out my tweets at www.twitter.com/5Ssupply or search using hash tag #WCQI11.

Monday afternoon I did a deep-dive presentation on using Hoshin Kanri’s X-matrix. This was an expansion of my article “Hoshin Promotion” in ASQ’s Six Sigma Forum Magazine last August. I wanted to show people how to work with one of the tools during Hoshin planning and how to take it to the next level.

I enjoyed my time seeing old friends and meeting new ones. I attended some great sessions on Lean related topics. One of my favorite parts was being at LED’s booth on the conference floor. It was wonderful to see all the people stop by, talking shop and passing out Lean Certification packets.

Another keynote that I attended was Barbara Corcoran (from the television show Shark Tank) who talked about lessons she learned throughout her life. She turned a $1,000 investment into a multi-million dollar real estate business. Her combination of humor and heart-felt stores engaged the audience. Check out her new book “Shark Tales”.

Once again if you want more information about the conference you can check out my tweets at www.twitter.com/5Ssupply or search Twitter using hash tag #WCQI11. I also put up some pictures on our flickr account http://www.flickr.com/photos/5ssupply.

I can’t wait to attend next year at Anaheim. Hope to see you there! – Tony

Lean and Six Sigma

February 1, 2011



5S Supply is pleased to announce that we are now carrying Lean Six Sigma products. This is a natural extension of our current Lean offerings. Through our real-world experience we recognize the power of combining Lean and Six Sigma and wanted to be a resource for those companies pursuing both.

What is Lean Six Sigma?

Lean Six SigmaLean Six Sigma is combining the best of both methodologies to provide sustainable improvements in the workplace. Many people explain the concept as Lean to increase velocity and Six Sigma to reduce variation. I want to add that many companies are extremely successful using Lean (i.e., Toyota) or focusing on Six Sigma (i.e., GE). There is no requirement that you do both.

I was asked to be a on a conference panel many years ago with a Lean expert, a Master Black Belt and myself as the Lean/Six Sigma presenter. It was a lot of fun fielding questions straight from the audience and having to think on your feet. Before we went out on stage my friend J.R. , the MBB said to me “Tony, you need to do Lean before Six Sigma.” I was a little shocked that this statement would come from a Master Black Belt but I played his game and asked “Why?” He said “Because if you don’t, you’re just perfecting waste!” I’m sure many of you have heard a story similar to that.

Six Sigma had a huge increase in popularity during the 1990’s with help from people like Jack Welch and GE. It was one of the hottest things going. Many people became Black Belts and Green Belts saving their companies hundreds of thousands of dollars per year per project. Some companies recognized the need to add Lean as part of their management approach. This was a perfect marriage of having SSBB’s that already knew about improvement and converting them into Lean experts. This still continues today.

By combining Lean and Six Sigma techniques many organizations are reaping the benefits from Six Sigma type projects at the speed of Lean and kaizen.

Upcoming Events

We want to help spread the word.

  • With the spirit of continually bringing our customers the best that Lean has to give, we are offering a free webinar this month “Lean and Six Sigma Simplified” by expert Tom Dunn, MBB. Those who sign up and attend will receive a free copy of Hawkeye Process Improvement Management System software by D-bar Innovations.
  •  The American Society for Quality (ASQ) is holding their annual Lean and Six Sigma Conference February 28 – March 1, 2011 in Phoenix, AZ. Attend a workshop or hear some of the best Lean and Six Sigma practitioners in one place.
  •  There is another conference that will showcase Lean and Six Sigma The International Lean & Six Sigma Conference in San Antonio, TX March 15-17, 2011

Check out our website www.5Ssupply.com often as we continually add new products and services to fulfill our mission of “Helping organizations on their Lean journey.” Thanks – Tony