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So You Want To Hire A Black Belt?

We frequently receive inquiries from headhunters and organizations looking for Six Sigma Black Belts, Lean Leaders, Operational Excellence Managers, etc. There is no shortage of organizations actively trying to hire external “process experts” to help improve their performance. And it’s no wonder! Many publications sight figures similar to the following: “Each Black Belt should be able to complete four projects a year, each worth about $250,000, and therefore save you $1,000,000 per year.” Consequently, many CEO’s and CFO’s immediately pull out the “old school” playbook, reverse calculate the number of continuous improvement (CI) resources to hire by dividing savings desired by $1M, and instruct HR to “start hiring”. [Read more…]

Quickly Assess Your Organization’s Operational Performance

We are frequently called upon to assess organizations’ overall operational performance and provide recommendations for improvement. There are an infinite number of items that can be assessed – on time delivery, defects by department, cleanliness, inventory turns, over-time, rework, visual management, etc. Determining which factors are most important and how each should be weighed is difficult. Many organizations and consultants have detailed assessment methodologies that require many weeks of data collection, interviews, and assimilation to produce a “score”, which usually only provides an indication of which areas need focus. Rarely are specific improvement actions are provided. 

Save your time and money and forget about the complex assessments. There are four basic elements that can be quickly assessed and fixed if broken. [Read more…]

3 Guaranteed Ways To Make Your Continuous Improvement Efforts More Successful

I was recently reviewing a list of potential projects with a team of corporate continuous improvement professionals. I quickly identified a few projects as having a low probability of success. My skepticism was soon met with criticism from the team, “How can you make that assessment with so little information?” I quickly pointed to my lack of hair and the flat spot on my forehead I received from my learning experiences leading continuous improvement efforts in corporate America. No matter whether you call it a Six Sigma project, rapid process improvement, a kaizen event, or whatever language your organization uses, there are some key factors which strongly influence your probability of success; I’ll give you my top 3: [Read more…]