Have you ever wondered what IS Lean Six Sigma? How is it beneficial to me or my company? Does it actually work? If so, then we have an opportunity you don’t want to miss! Join us for a webinar on Thursday, August 15th at 11:00am and learn more about the basics of Lean Six Sigma.

After this presentation, you will…

  • Understand the basics of Lean and Six Sigma
  • Be able to identify eight different types of waste
  • Understand the importance of standardization
  • Know about management styles and the mechanics of change

Click here to register and reserve your webinar seat.

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Event Consultant: Zack Guthrie

Event Description: Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED) Train The Trainer Event

Event Location: Fort Worth, Texas


Problem Statement:

  • The Make-Ready time for ABC was above average. The target is to reduce the average M/R time by 20%.

Event Objectives:

  • Improve Safety
  • Reduce Make-Ready Time.
  • Identify all external make-ready activities.
  • Streamline all internal make-ready activities.
  • Clearly define simultaneous internal make-ready activities responsibilities and timing.
  • Organize and define 5S activities as it relates to Make-Ready.
  • Replicate to other Presses
  • Create Make-Ready Standard Work and targets.

Improvements Implemented:

  • 18 safety hazards were corrected, including replacing cracked electrical outlets, repairing stair gaps, and implementing the use of a dolly to decrease the risk of injury when moving large objects.
  • Using 5s practices we reduced waiting and waste of motion by creating a shadow board for tools, a Make-Ready portable kit with needed supplies, a staging area for “Next Job” material, as well as dedicated areas for completed jobs and other material.   
  • Created standard work for multiple processes to reduce variation and provide training documentation. Also created a Gantt chart for Make-Ready standard work with visual components for a medium complexity change-over.  
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On May 22, 2018, Zack had the pleasure of meeting the famous Jim Womack at one of our Lean Events. 

Jim is best known for 

    • Research director, MIT motor vehicle programs, 1979-1992
    • Founder, CEO and now Senior Advisor, Lean Enterprise Institute > 1997
    • Author: Machine That Changed the World, Lean Thinking, Lean Solutions, Gemba Walks, etc.
    • Gemba walker since the early 1970s


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On October 24th, Zack was honored to speak at the 2017 NCBA Management Team Conference in Greensboro.

This conference provided opportunity for industry leaders to connect and be informed about the latest banking issues. This information provided is current and marked the path to the future of financial institutions and its leaders.

Zack’s presentation entitled Applying Lean Six Sigma in the Banking Industry, spoke on how LifeStore bank mapped their current state process, made improvements using LSS, created and implemented standard work, and reduced their lead time to close a mortgage by greater than 50%. These tools can be used to make improvements with customers that make every process step easier, faster, safer, better, and cheaper.


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PaperWorks Celebrated 19 Green Belt Recipients 

These employees worked diligently during the last year to complete two concentrations for their Green Belt certification. They celebrated everyone’s completed progress on Wednesday, September 27, 2017. Completing these two concentrations included:

  • Projects
  • Book Reports
  • Online Course Work
  • In-class Training

In addition, there were four participants who completed their Green Belts last year and leveled-up this year by completing more concentrations.




View some of the images from the ceremony






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Event Consultant: Arnold George

Event Description: MGB Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED) Kaizen

Event Location: Baldwinsville, NY

Purpose for Week’s Activities:

  • Review videos from Week 1 changeovers
  • Determine what internal changeover elements can be moved to external
  • Identify opportunities to eliminate and reduce non-value added and business value-added tasks
  • Identify opportunities to modify the equipment to make it more conducive to SMED principles of safe, faster and mistake proof
  • Create Standard Work for all crews to follow
  • Create training plan to implement changes across all shifts
  • Reduce average change over time

Largest Categories of Waste – Motion, Rework, Over Processing (adjustments)

Reduce Motion –

  • Sequenced work steps
  • Each step was identified as VA or NVA
  • If possible, NVA steps were eliminated by using templates and quick change tools
  • Activities were organized so the operator and feeder worked in tandem rather than separately
  • Reduced tasks
  • The number of trips to check and reset fixtures was reduced

Over Processing –

  • Work steps were redesigned to take advantage of quick change hardware and incorporate tools into the machine
  • X locations were located on the machine where tool-less quick release fixtures were installed (Y other locations identified for expansion)
  • Identified Z opportunities to remove non-value added tasks

Things Implemented This Week

  • Quick change hardware
  • Hardware standardization
  • Machine modifications
  • Exposed all 3 shifts to the new process
  • Buy into the process
  • Detailed Standard Work steps were tested on two changeovers

Overall Observations This Week

  • The team remained diligent through the SMED training and were intent on identifying and eliminating waste throughout the process.
  • One team member did not originally think we could achieve our goal of an X minute changeover, but after the exercise believed a sub-hour make ready is possible.
  • The _____ crew was very diligent about their work during these changeovers and desired to improve their last performance and get to the running stage quickly.
  • We observed several mechanical delays that were unexpected. These are true opportunities to investigate and drive out the root causes.
  • The crew was very helpful in validating these elements during the week. One operator led the team on his first changeover and was able to beat the previous standard.

Next Steps

  • Finalize training plan to include four shifts of changeover training and roll out by end of month.
  • Issue the current version of Standard Work and review with users for opportunities to streamline and improve.
  • Continue to develop tools to reduce adjustment and set up times.
  • Continue working with maintenance to identify better ways of setting up, and eliminate the need for adjustments.
  • Incorporate tools into hardware so no tools are required.
  • Continue to monitor changeover results and perform root cause analysis to reduce time from last good part to first good part.


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Event Consultant: Lynn Clark

Event Description: Inserter DOE Week 2

Event Location: Baldwinsville, NY

Preliminary Questions (from last report):

  • What is the relationship between the quality control measures Baldwinsville takes and the defects observed at another plant?
  • Is the sampling frequency appropriate to keep bad product out of customer’s process?
  • How well does BVL perform those measures?
  • How well do the quality control measures meet the customer specs (Capability)?

This Week’s Key Actions:

  • Conducted capability analysis of __________ hourly quality measurements.
  • Compared ___________ hourly quality measurements with customer defects.
  • Prepared samples for Measurement System Analysis (MSA) evaluation.
  • Conducted operator measurements.
  • Performed MSAs.
  • Prepared conclusions and recommendations based upon MSA findings.
  • Reviewed and updated action registry.

Capability Analysis:

  • Many parameters are measured hourly and entered into _________.
  • Data for Feb., March, and April was evaluated.
  • Each parameter was checked for normality and stability before performing capability analysis.

MSA Sample Preparation:

  • Off spec item was used for this test so no additional scrap was generated.
  • The operator manipulated the _______ to induce variation consistent with that observed in the historical data.
  • Ten samples were pre-selected by CI team for each of the three parameters.
  • Four operators who routinely perform these test participated.
  • The samples were randomized before presentation to the operators.

MSA Analysis:

  • Each operator evaluated each sample twice
  • Two operators indicated they could not measure skew considering the way the samples were prepared,
  • Good measurement systems have <10% Tolerance and Process.
  • %Tol and % Process must be <30% for acceptance.

MSA Conclusions and Recommendations:

  • Current process measurements can’t tell good from bad, or if the process is getting better or worse.
  • No standard work for X exists.
  • Standard work for alignment and width were not present.

Use of black light at measurement station appears to aid in reduction of measurement error.            







Path Forward:

  • Develop/Revise standard work for all measurements
  • Trial use of black lights at measurement stations
  • Train all operators who perform the measurements
  • Re-run MSA to determine if %Tol is <30%.
  • Modify leader standard work to include spot checks of measurement system.


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The American Mortgage Conference brings together leading experts in the financial services industry, mortgage practitioners of every kind, policy makers and investors to discuss important issues in the mortgage field and to analyze what progress is being made in Washington.

This year, Zack was one of the speakers at the conference and spoke on Applying Lean Six Sigma in the Mortgage Industry.

“You and your team can do it. If you want to reduce your overall lead time in your mortgage process by 50% I’m here to tell you it’s within your grasp. With clean mapping techniques, rapid PDCA learning cycles, and a cross-functional team, it’s clearly doable regardless of the size of your company. And by the way – about the time you and your team are spending in email… that’s got to change.”



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Event Consultant: Lynn Clark

Event Description: Inserter DOE Prep

Event Location: Baldwinsville, NY


Problem Statement:

Since the _____, the 227 Inserter has a FPY of XXX. This has resulted in ________ at a cost of $_________.

Week 1 Actions:

Charter preparation

  • Scope the project
  • Team
  • Goals

Develop project plan – “Modified Affinity” method

Prepare SIPOC

Conduct preliminary C&E matrix

Start development of questions and hypothesis

Project Scope: 

Analysis conducted during scoping showed that the 227 line has about X% of the overall ________ for all of the inserters. Of the X different ______ defect codes, X% are related to a partially ________ liner.



Project Plan: 

A high level project plan was prepared listing the tasks and an estimated timeline with the projected completion date set for September 2017. There are a number of conditions which may be encountered that may impact the overall timeline. Critical tasks include:

  • Timely capture of Y data (defects per day)
  • MSA
  • Time lag between making adjustment to inputs like temperature and response

C&E Matrix: 

A quick C&E matrix was conducted. Two criteria were used: _____ defects at X; internal _____ related scrap. During the preparation of the C&E it was recognized that both criteria had nearly the same relationship, so only the defects at X were evaluated. 

Next Steps:

Plan FMEA, select team members, reserve the date, start data collection of Y data, and collect and analyze Q1 measurement data.


Many of initial deliverables started or completed. Charter, paretos, SIPOC, C&E, project plan, initial hypothesis statements

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Event Consultant: Lynn Clark

Event Description: Zig Zag Downtime

Event Location: Greensboro, NC


Problem Statement:

One of the Gluers has been running at ABC cartons per hour since it was relocated to Greensboro. When it was at the other plant, it was running at over DEF / hr and has an OEM nameplate capacity of XYZ / hr.

TeamDavid, Tracy, and Gill


Machine performance is tracked

Ideal performance is calculated based upon the blank Y + 0.75″ and belt speed

Performance data is provided to the management team daily

There was a previous RCFA Kaizen on the same finishers

Centerlines, Work Instructors, Leader Std. Work, CoF, and machine condition were ID’ed as key causal factors during the previous event


24 different sources of variation were identified which impact performance.


The 24 sources of variation were consolidated into 4 improvement concepts: Operator Standard work/training (#1), WIP quality (#2), waiting on WIP (low occurrence), additional staffing (not considered).

The data supports that some operators perform better than others (based upon average Performance). It also shows that each operator has considerable variation job to job. Another issue stated by the team is that crews were following Centerlines but also said that some personnel changed the settings. Finally, everyone believes there is a direct relationship between the skill of the feeder and frequency of jams. The Feeder is a critical position due to the speed of the machine. It is recommended that new feeders start on slower machines until they gain competency.

The leadership team was not aware of the existing Work Instructions for the other gluers which resulted in Work Instructions being modified. There was no record of the operators being trained, particularly for the feeder position. Therefore, a training plan was drafted. All operators will be trained on the feeder position before the end of February. Because operators modify the machines’ adjustments outside of the Centerlines, leader standard work will include periodic verification of Centerlines and feeder conformance to work instructions.

WIP Quality

Feeders are slowed down if the pallets are not stacked in proper orientation. Feeders are slowed down if the stacks are not flush on all sides. The press catchers were coached on the importance of building the pallets properly.


What is the Training Plan?

New feeders will receive initial training during orientation. This training will consist of watching the video and reading the Work Instructions. The on-floor training will be conducted one-on-one during operations, starting with the work instructions where the trainer will show how to feed, explain the main steps and key points, and provide reasons through several loading cycles. Then, the trainees will show how to do the work and to explain the main steps, key points, and reasons through several loading cycles.

Estimated Benefit

The two lines are currently running at about 70% performance

The improvements are projected to result in both Gluers running at 80% performance

  She’s the Finishing Queen!

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Define your Problem Statement.

The first step towards breaking your organizational log jams is identifying and verbalizing the challenge you're facing. What are you trying to solve? This simple Problem Statement exercise can have profound implications for your team. It helps you define the issue and gives TGG some sense of where the soft spots could be in your Order to Cash process. We invite you to take a few moments to fill out this form. A TGG consultant will contact you shortly to discuss your Problem Statement and provide some insight on how we may be able to help.

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