Tool Hire

There are lots of tools out there I don’t mean that in a derogatory way.  I mean process improvement tools: 5S, control charts, swim lanes… those sort of tools. There are also lots of people who know how to use those tools. It is easy to recruit staff who can bring a toolbox stuffed with approaches […]

The World’s Most Dangerous Job?

Jobs you really wouldn’t want… A crew member of a World War II bomber (I don’t suppose it matters which side). You shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet, but according to some of the more reliable sources, during World War II: Over 12,000 Bomber Command aircraft were shot down 55,500 aircrew died. The life […]

Books Won’t Make You Clever

Correlation does not imply causation There is an apocryphal tale about an inner city education department in the American Mid West. In their efforts to increase children’s performance they commissioned an extensive study of the socioeconomic environment their students were raised in, to see what impact it had on a child’s educational prospects.  The study delivered […]

Mistakes on Death Row

Yesterday I read about a man who had been falsely convicted of murder.  Damon Thibodeaux walked free after spending 15 years on death row in Louisiana State Penitentiary. Now he is going to spend his time “concentrating on putting my life back together and moving forward”.  Can you imagine? Damon is the 18th person to be released from […]

What is the Kano Model and Why Should You Care?

Customers are selfish people. They want everything, they usually want it now, and worse still, what they say they want and what they really want are not necessarily the same thing.  Customers aren’t known for being clear. This is a bit of a problem. Fortunately in the 1980’s a very smart Japanese gentleman called Professor […]

How to Be as Good as You Can Be

Here is an analytical question, where can you see variation?  It sounds like a dumb question, you are probably looking at the screen wondering what on earth I am smoking.  Let me ask it another way: When you are shopping and try on two pairs of jeans, identically sized, do they fit exactly the same […]

How to Use Logic Trees and The Power of Leverage

The long list Whatever you do for a living there are lots of ways you could improve things.  If you were to sit down with a pen and paper for five minutes and start to write a list I have no doubt that it would be a long list, a long, long list. Getting to […]

Fish Bone Diagrams – Helpful or Not?

I was late for work.  I am always late for work (ask my boss, he will confirm this) One of the guys I work with told me I need to work out why I am late all the time and fix it before I get the sack.  He suggested I do some Fish-bone analysis and a […]

Dangerous Steps and Statistical Process Control

I wrote about process noise and variation, about the way random noise in a system can make it look as if results have changed, when the truth is that the system hasn’t altered at all. This is all very clever, it is interesting to know that the system hasn’t changed but it doesn’t answer the […]

Obvious With Hindsight

A rather unhelpful phrase It implies that you are pointing out the obvious But sometimes the obvious is really worth pointing out Sometimes the obvious is only obvious once it has been pointed out Here is an example for you… The graph shows the number of Google searches for the term “bread” A dip in […]