My guest for Episode #274 of the podcast is Jay Arthur, author of Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals: Improving Patient Safety, Patient Flow and the Bottom Line, Second Edition.
Jay is owner and founder of his company KnowWare International, based on Denver. Before founding that company in 1995, Jay was in a number of quality roles at US West / Qwest from 1973 to 1995. He has a BS in Systems Engineering from the University of Arizona.
Lean and Quality and Six Sigma
To me, “Lean Sigma” is often a controversial topic… not because anything is wrong with Six Sigma. Six Sigma methods can be very compatible with a Lean culture. But, “Lean Sigma” books and trainers (including Jay), paint a picture that says Lean is only about speed or efficiency and that Six Sigma is the method to improve quality.
He says pretty directly in his book that Lean helps fix all of the types of waste… except for the waste of defects. He says Six Sigma is used to address defects. That's silly.
The Podcast Discussion
I challenge Jay a bit about this in the podcast, and I'd like to remind the listeners that Lean and the Toyota Production System are about flow AND quality. Lean and quality go hand in hand. Lean methods, like error proofing, and mindsets, like not blaming people, can very directly improve quality.
So, I disagree with him on that point, but there are many good points in his book about not overcomplicating Lean or Six Sigma — that the goal is results (and I'd add “developing people”). I'm also glad that the phrase “Patient Safety” is in the subtitle of his book, as it is in mine.
Streaming Player (Run Time 50:22)
If you want to listen to some of the debate about the role of Lean in improving quality, here is a short excerpt:
For a link to this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/274.
Topics and Links for this Episode:
- Jay's website
- Follow Jay on Twitter as @Knowwareman
- Find Jay on LinkedIn
- Please introduce yourself for the listeners… how did you get involved in process improvement and quality?
- When and how did you get involved in healthcare?
- What led to the writing of your book Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals?
- You make some good points in the book about not going overboard with Six Sigma… what are some examples of that? Why does that happen? What do you recommend?
- One thing I take issue with is the general Lean Sigma framework that says, “Lean is for speed and Six Sigma is for quality.” In your book you say “Lean will reduce wastes 1 through 6 and Six Sigma will help you to reduce number 7 (defects).” Why do you say or imply that Lean doesn't address defects when that's a core part of Lean and TPS?
- You say any “project” should generate a $50,000 savings… but what about cases involving quality and safety that are harder to quantify? Should every improvement be a “project?”
- How should Lean and Six Sigma be combined effectively in healthcare?
- What's new in the 2nd edition?
- Any last thoughts or advice for the listeners?
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