Archive for December, 2010

ROI on Operational Excellence – Deja Vu All Over Again!

December 9th, 2010 Comments off

Several years ago I wrote an article for iSixSigma entitled “Ask the Expert: Six Sigma and ROI” on the causes of falling ROI’s of Six Sigma programs. It was at a time when centralized Six Sigma programs were growing dramatically and possibly losing focus.

Recently iSixSigma republished the article on their website.  Let’s use the terms Performance Improvement or Operational Excellence, instead of Six Sigma, to reflect a broader view of improvement activities.  Then consider the focus on ROI is now driven by intense scrutiny of any corporate expenditure rather than declining returns on too much expenditure.  Add the two together and you realize the old ROI article is as applicable today as it was when written.

Download ROI for Six Sigmaour short ROI and Six Sigma executive brief.


If you don’t have time to read the article, let me at least give you a short abstract from it which I believe was the most salient point. It is as follows:


“The success of projects is most dependent on alignment to the company’s initiatives, assuming the initiatives have been correctly aligned to stakeholder concerns. In its simplest form, the initiative could be cost savings. Of course, once again, targeting strategic goals that redefine the company can have a much greater effect on the returns on an initiative.”

But take a look at the whole piece and let me know our thoughts.

What can Lean do for Warehousing Operations and Distribution Centers? More than you might think ….

December 7th, 2010 Comments off

Lean and CI in Warehousing and DistributionCharlie Jacobs, Director of Process Improvement for APL Logistics, recently wrote a short article for titled Lean: The Next Best Thing to ‘Clip-and-Save’In this article, Charlie laid out 3 mini case studies of simple lean projects that yielded extraordinary results.

His point, backed up by his own results, was that it is difficult to justify NOT using Lean or other basic process improvement approaches in warehousing and distribution operations. The 3 successful cases had elements that should make them attractive to any manager:
computer software

  • Each was implemented by the same type of personnel and talent your company probably has working in its supply chain operations. No special skills required.
  • None required so much of any one resource’s time that it interfered with their ongoing job responsibilities. Their day  job did not suffer.
  • And no one misses the waste and inefficiency they ultimately eliminated. It was a win-win across the board.

APL is a long standing Qualtec client, and we feel privileged to have been part of the success Charlie has had with APL’s ACI program. It is a model that a lot of warehousing and distribution centers might be wise to follow.

Contact me if you’d like to discuss Lean for warehousing and distribution operations.

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