Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What is Lean Six Sigma? Why is Newt the only candidate to focus on it?

Six Sigma was first used at Motorola in the middle 1980s. It attempts to increase effectivenss and reduce cost -- essentially become more efficient -- by finding the causes of defects (often using statistical analysis) and trying to make sure that when the correct process is identified that it is replicated every time. The name, in fact, is a rating of the manufacturing process. To be "Six Sigma" means 99.99966% of the output is to be free of defects.

Lean Six Sigma combines the ideas of Six Sigma with those of lean manufacturing, which when boiled down basically attempts to eliminate any use of resources that in the end will not provide value to the customer.

Businesses have long used it to great effectiveness. But starting in 2000, when Fort Wayne, Indiana, adopted it, it has been shown to be the best way of making government more efficient. (Efficiency is the goal as it means effective and low cost; effectiveness on a huge budget is not the ideal.)

The military has used to trim waste while producing greater results for the troops and the country as a whole.

Here are some of the case studies as compiled by Strong America Now.

Strong America Now, headed by Michael George, is a grassroots organization -- with 50,000 members in Iowa alone -- whose main focus is on getting candidates for office to pledge to implement Lean Six Sigma. They believe that the federal government's budget could be trimmed by 25% just by using the practices entailed in it.

Newt was the first candidate for President to sign the group's pledge. (Which I wrote about here when he did so.) And he is the only one running for the White House who is making it a central part of their campaign.

(To anyone who is a supporter of Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, or Gary Johnson: Yes, I know all three have also signed the pledge, but that does not mean they are focusing on it. All it means is that they did the political equivalent of a New Year's Resolution -- and then forgot about it January 3rd.)

What is one reason I can say that with some confidence? Newt is the only 2012 candidate confirmed to be a part of the group's Teleforum tonight. (Update: Pawlenty had a staffer call and Cain himself called in.)

Here is the page to register so you can hear it. (Registration closes at 6:00 PM Central.)

I will be posting a recap of it later tonight.

(Update: Here is the post I wrote after the teleforum.)

(Second update: Here is the audio of the event. Newt's portion starts at 22:25.)

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