Ernie's blog

Smart Problem Definition and Measurement Prevents Stupid ‘AIC’s and Pains


The Six Sigma Black Belt approaches problems using disciplined problem solving methodologies. One such approach called DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) focuses on reducing process variation and defects. Regardless of what approach is used, the problem Definition and Measurement phases are most critical to avoid foolish effort in Analysis, Improvement and Control resulting in much pain by fixing the wrong problem.

DMAIC Refresher

For those who are not familiar or need a refresher, here is a summary of the DMAIC process steps.

Using 5-Whys Will Make you Wiser

5 Whys Notebook


By following a structured and disciplined methodology you can achieve a deeper understanding of the root causes of any problem. The “5-Whys” Root-Cause-Analysis (RCA) methodology was invented by the founder of Toyota, used in their manufacturing process, and continues as one of the tools in the modern lean methodologies tool kit.

Keep Your Eye on Your Business Triangle

Fire Triangle


We all learned in elementary general science class about the Fire Triangle.  A fire requires Heat, Oxygen and Fuel.  Without sufficient Heat or Oxygen a fire cannot start or continue to burn.  Without Fuel there is nothing to burn and the fire will extinguish itself.

Your business also requires certain elements to start and to continue.

FMEA Improves Your System Reliability

Wheels off the car


  • Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) improves the reliability of your system and helps avoid unexpected costs.
  • Can be performed anytime but ideally should be performed during initial design.
  • FMEA is a rigorous structured approach to identify potential system failures.

Phased SIPOCs Help To Manage Multiple Complex Projects



  • Managing complex system development projects can be difficult, especially when there are both committed and shared resources.
  • A SIPOC diagram is an effective tool for identifying all elements required for a process, but does not provide a useful tool to manage the process execution.
  • By breaking a SIPOC into project phases, the SIPOC can be an effective project management tool.
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