Category Archives: continuous improvement

Draining the swamp

Draining the swamp is a common expression in continuous improvement. Problems remain hidden underwater in a swamp. Once it’s drained, the real landscape comes to light. In this analogy,  a few problems may be sticking up above the water. But …

Posted in continuous improvement | Leave a comment

Seven signs a supplier is not effective at continuous improvement

A supplier may claim to do continuous improvement. The supplier may sincerely think they are improving, when often they are just continually fixing problems and not addressing root causes, and are just running in place (if not losing ground). Most …

Posted in continuous improvement, Supply Management | Leave a comment

Process improvement: no room for idealogues

There seems to be a continuing argument about the best approach to improving the performance of organizations and companies. Consultants in particular are always arguing about whether continuous improvement, lean, Six Sigma, operational excellence, you name it, is the most …

Posted in continuous improvement | Leave a comment

6 Reasons Why Suppliers Resist Continuous Improvement

I have often emphasized that a key purpose of supplier evaluation is to drive supplier performance improvement. Although it sounds logical in theory, why is it often so hard to do in practice? Here are 6 reasons why suppliers do …

Posted in continuous improvement, supplier development, supplier performance | Leave a comment

7 Ways to Make Continuous Improvement Successful

Years ago, when I was Director of TQM for a commercial distribution company, the president called me into his office and said that he thought I should stop getting all the employees to do my job and make the improvements …

Posted in continuous improvement | Leave a comment

Corporate fun: what's wrong with brainstorming?

I read John Lehrer’s New Yorker article, Groupthink, and then heard him discuss his new book Imagine on the radio. I found his assertion that brainstorming doesn’t work very interesting — and true. In my own experience leading continuous …

Posted in continuous improvement | Tagged | 1 Comment

Desert islands of excellence

Several years ago I penned a rant for Spend Matters about tool heads. What are tool heads? I define them as those people who focus on the tools of continuous improvement such as lean tools and Six Sigma tools …

Posted in continuous improvement, Lean | 2 Comments

Purchasing Mousketeers

I once worked in quality improvement capacity as Director of TQM for a distribution company for whom the term supply management was a new concept. Purchasing in particular felt that it had no clout or influence over suppliers. The rest …

Posted in continuous improvement | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Six Sigma Black Belts Aren't All Created Equal

Thousands of people have gone through Six Sigma training and many call themselves Six Sigma Black Belts. While they may have gone through black belt training and possess the technical know-how, many may not adequately fulfill the role and create …

Posted in continuous improvement | Tagged | Leave a comment