Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Day 2 – Wrap up of a great conference

Writing this post from Atlanta and posting from home; reminiscing on a great time the past few days.   I talked to a few friends who are repeat attendees and all three said similar things.  The conference has quality content, quality speakers, quality location, at a great time.   I will be interested to see the data from ASQ HQ on the end of conference email survey.   On to the day 2 highlights.

The day started with a keynote address from Gregory North, VP of Process Excellence from Xerox.  His message, we need a Lean Six Sigma version 2.0.  Xerox has been faced with the same complaints the Navy has—projects going on too long or dying, leadership being committed but not engaged, being a Black Belt has lost cache, and people not seeing value in process improvement.  The new version?  Work harder to integrate it into existing systems which takes away the language translation.  Belts are facilitators at the lowest level of the organization. Go for speed, no longer than 90-day projects, and concentrate on changing behavior.  Xerox has revitalized their program using these concepts.

After the morning  keynote I was asked to sit in as a subject matter expert (Six Sigma in Government) for the Six Sigma Forum’s Experts Networking Session.  Besides Six Sigma in Government, the group talked about Cultural issues, statistical tools, and reducing waste and costs. Two points that I brought across:  1) Change the project value proposition from dollars to time.  In the federal government, dollars are leadership choice and really do not add value to the real mission of providing the right resources to the right place at the right time.  For Norfolk Naval Shipyard, schedule performance is the #1 concern.  2) Focus more on sustaining behavior change.  It is not enough to codify changes if we have not analyzed the consequences of the change on performing the work.  Some photos from the session are below.


After lunch, I listened to Dr. Barry Carlin present a talk on how ergonomics impacts improvement and how understanding human-machine interaction can also lead to increased productivity. Barry provided not only visual examples but also handouts on simple exercise regimes to help avoid some of the common pains and strains workers can feel.

I also sat in on Visu Balasubramanian’s presentation on how mandating best practices on a workforce often fail and after researching systems theory, cognitive dissonance theory, Toyota Production System, he applied some old school theory of Frederick Taylor by breaking tasks into smaller pieces. Now, the same best practices finally did what they were supposed to do; same their client a lot of money.

The conference wrapped up with a good presentation by Karen Martin.

All in all, a great conference but with one problem, I ran out of time to do podcasts!  I will have to figure out how to free myself up to get these podcasts done.  A quick save the date:  the 2013 ASQ Lean and Six Sigma conference is back at the same location in Phoenix and scheduled for 5-6 March 2013.

Until next time!
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