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Article Revised: April 26, 2019
These days, when Ellen Burts-Cooper, PhD, goes to work, she uses her Lean Six Sigma toolkit. However, it wasn’t always that way. In a recent op-ed in Cleveland Jewish News, Burts-Cooper — an adjunct professor and a senior managing partner with Improve Consulting and Training Group — discussed learning how to ‘slow down, to speed up’ with Lean Six Sigma.
In 2000, Burts-Cooper was running a global team and didn’t believe that she had time to learn new methodologies that might help her run it better. Then she had a Lean Six Sigma black belt help her to see how the inefficiencies in how she ran the team weren’t saving her time or money, they were costing her. By walking her through the DMAIC methodology — that is: define, measure, analyze, improve, and control — she learned the necessity of slowing down in order to speed up. She was able to continue running operations while forming a smaller team to work on the issues that were causing her company to remove the defects from its process in order to improve the quality received by customers and, ultimately, to improve the company’s bottom line.
Process improvement is a vital component in organizations, Burts-Cooper realized, though a number of factors prevent those organizations from taking advantage of what Lean Six Sigma can offer them. Some of those factors include lack of time, budget, no buy in from leadership, comfort with the status quo, and more. However, wrote Burts-Cooper, it’s interesting that the same companies who don’t equip themselves with the toolkit that can help them remove inefficiencies from their processes somehow find the time to fix problems after they’ve occurred.
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