Lean Six Sigma techniques have proven successful in the business arena. What about improving quality of life? Quality professional Bill Howell decided to implement his Lean Six Sigma training to effectively manage his type II diabetes. Consider how he used the five DMAIC steps to control his condition and avoid medication dependence.

  1. Define. As he would in his business life, Howell first defined the problem and drafted a goal statement that included his target blood glucose level, as well as a diet and exercise plan.
  2. Measure. Next, Howell made sure he was getting an accurate reading from his glucose meter. Then, he recorded daily readings, good intake and activity levels.
  3. Analyze. Howell charted his data and analyzed it for needed improvements. He looked at his daily goals and limits, tracking calorie, carbohydrate and fat intake. Additionally, he analyzed his habits against other goals, such as lowering his blood pressure and loosing weight.
  4. Improve. Howell definitely saw improvement. He was able to get his blood glucose levels under 125 mg/dL after just two months. At his initial testing, Howell’s blood glucose level was over 600 mg/dL, so high the meter could not give an exact reading.
  5. Control. Howell is now able to control his condition simply through proper diet and exercise. He is no longer on medication. He was also able to loose 45 pounds.

Does the credit really go to Lean Six Sigma? Howell thinks so. “I’m a big believer in using data to make informed decisions in everything I do,” he said. Statistical analysis helps individuals gain control and eliminate defects, both professionally and personally. Howell went on to publish a book about his experience entitled, “I Took Control: Effective Actions for a Diabetes Diagnosis.”

Lean Six Sigma’s successful five step process is an effective method of streamlining and reducing waste. It provides managers with the data to make fact-based decisions, as opposed to simply relying on various business model theories.

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