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The Sigma-Dem-Toyo method

April 2, 2009
by Pete Rivera
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I recently visited my brother's plastic products manufacturing plant. Nothing like a nice linear product process to revamp images of Dr. Deming, Toyota and Six Sigma. They all kind of blur together after awhile and your left with the core belief about quality, resources and process deviations; All data driven of course. I see why it is such an easy thing to look at these processes and imagine the application to the service industry. We have process inputs and outputs, defects, deviations, training, and resource requirements. One of the machines I saw produced plastic cold medicine bottles at an alarming rate. An electronic eye checked the quality to mico-millimeter standards and auto-rejected the product if it did not meet the requirement. Take that EPIC!

The focus at this plant was the machines. They generated the work product and the product is always the same for each individual machine, 24/7. The staff is there to support the mechanical beasts that are really doing all the work. So you have to ask yourself; Is that really our quality benchmark?

Healthcare is much more fluid than churning out patients with a paid stamp on their forehead. Yet we keep insisting that we can wrap manufacturing around it. Are we (healthcare) not the best benchmark for ourselves? Find out who is really streamlined and "sell" that method. Maybe we can give it a Japanese name to give it credibility. The "Yakisoba" method. It's a bunch of noodles, not always going the same way, sometimes has meat, or just vegetables...but it tastes really good.

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