Cover art for podcast Lean Six Sigma Bursts

Lean Six Sigma Bursts

72 EpisodesProduced by Brion HurleyWebsite

Brion Hurley from Business Performance Improvement shares his takes and thoughts on a variety of topics related to process improvement (specifically Lean and Six Sigma methods), Bursts are rapid improvement activities, so this sounded like a good word to use for these short audio clips. We'll try to… read more

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E71: New book release, Lean Six Sigma for Good (Volume 2)

January 28th, 2023


In this episode, I discuss a project I'm really excited about, the 2nd book release in the Lean Six Sigma for Good book series.

This is the 2nd …

E70: Use ECRS or SPACER to help brainstorm improvement solutions

January 14th, 2023


In this episode, I discuss two acronyms to help you remember ideas on how you can improve a process.

ECRS stands for Eliminate, Combine, Rearrange, and Simplify.

SPACER stands for Standardize, Parallel processing, …

E69: Use Action Priority in your next FMEA instead of only using RPN

December 15th, 2022


In this episode, I discuss Action Priority (AP), a newer method for determining which risks from an FMEA should be addressed. Traditionally, the …

E68: Lean Six Sigma Virtual Coaching and Certification Program Starting in 2023

December 6th, 2022


In this episode, I explain a new virtual coaching program I'm launching in January of 2023. 

If you or your team would be interested in completing …

E67: Why Single-stall Production Systems are more efficient than Assembly Lines

October 15th, 2022


In this episode, I explain what a "single-stall production system" means, and why it is superior to the traditional single piece flow assembly line.

Single-stall is a method of work where one highly skilled worker is …

E66: 16 Surprising But Powerful Concepts I've Learned About Lean

October 11th, 2022


In this episode, I read off an article I just wrote, based on my 20+ years of teaching Lean concepts and principles. These are the topics that get …

E65: Lean Case Studies Across Different Industries - Manufacturing, Government and Healthcare

September 23rd, 2022


In this episode, I share the audio from a recent video I created. The short video highlights four different industry case studies applying Lean …

E64: Applying Lean Thinking and Process Improvement to Nonprofits and NGOs Case Studies

September 17th, 2022


In this episode, I share the audio from a recent video I created. The short video highlights four different examples of nonprofits and NGOs applying Lean principles and concepts to social challenges in the local …

E63: Six Sigma in Real Life - Analyzing Iowa Football Turnover Data for Improvement

September 11th, 2022


In this episode, I read off a recent article I wrote, breaking down the turnover data from the University of Iowa 2021 football season. I explain how …

E62: 5S and the KonMari method

June 18th, 2022


In this episode, I read off an article I wrote back a few years, about how the 5S workplace organization methods compare to the popular home …

E61: Lean in Real Life - Defining Key Metrics for a Project

May 8th, 2022


In this episode, I discuss how I helped someone select a key metric for their Six Sigma project, based on the opportunity to measure and …

E60: Lean in Real Life - Selecting a Lean Six Sigma Project Within an Existing Project

April 24th, 2022


In this episode, I discuss a way to help identify a potential Lean Six Sigma project out of a larger improvement project taking place. Selecting a project is one of the hardest things to complete for those pursuing a …

E59: Lean in Real Life - Improving Bottlenecks Using Theory of Constraints

April 13th, 2022


In this episode, I discuss how I applied the Theory of Constraints (TOC) to come up with additional improvement ideas for a bottleneck process at a client I am working with. Before we invest in more people or equipment …

E58: Combining my passion for the Iowa Hawkeyes with statistical analysis

April 3rd, 2022


In this episode, I discuss ways in which I've combined current event topics from the Iowa Hawkeyes sports teams with my data analysis and process improvement background. I explain a summary of 4 articles I have written, …

E57: Using Takt Time to Successfully Hire Enough Job Applicants

March 30th, 2022


In this episode, I discuss a situation I encountered related to hiring new employees within a set period of time. Thinking about the problem in terms …

E56: "Lean at Home" FINAL Course Module #7 - Making Mouthwash Project Example

March 26th, 2022


In this episode, I share the 7th and final module of the free "Lean at home" course, giving you a full example of a home improvement project. …

E55: "Lean at Home" Course Module #6 - Error Proofing and Documenting Your New Process

March 25th, 2022


In this episode, I share the 6th module of the free "Lean at home" course, giving you ideas about how to error proof your home from mistakes, and …

E54: "Lean at Home" Course Module #5 - 5S Method for Home Organization

March 23rd, 2022


In this episode, I share the 5th module of the free "Lean at home" course, helping you understand how to organize your home using the 5s method. I …

E53: "Lean at Home" Course Module #4 - How to See the 8 Wastes

March 20th, 2022


In this episode, I share the 4th module of the free "Lean at home" course, helping you learn about the 8 forms of waste, and how you can spot these …

E52: "Lean at Home" Course Module #3 - Collecting Data and Mapping the Process

March 18th, 2022


In this episode, I share the 3rd module of the free "Lean at home" course, giving you ideas about what data to collect, and how to better understand …

E51: "Lean at Home" Course Module #2 - Selecting a Home Process to Improve

March 6th, 2022


In this episode, I share the 2nd module of the free "Lean at home" course, giving you ideas about which process at home you could select for your …

E50: "Lean at Home" Course - Introduction

March 3rd, 2022


In this episode, I share the introductory module of the free "Lean at home" course, explaining why I made this course, and why it's a great starting …

E49: Cross-Training Matrix for Identifying Skills Gaps in your Team

February 10th, 2022


In this episode, I talk about a useful matrix that helps you identify cross-training and skill development opportunities with your team or in your …

E48: Training is not sufficient for a successful improvement program

December 24th, 2021


In this episode, I rant about the lack of effort some organizations put into their process improvement programs, and then are surprised that it …

E47: Book Review - The Lean Dentist

December 21st, 2021


In this episode, I read the book review I wrote about the book, "The Lean Dentist." It is based on the lean journey of Dr. Sami Bahri, DDS, who is an experienced dentist in Jacksonville, Florida. He has been an avid …

E46: Gather data before defining a problem

December 11th, 2021


In this episode, I talk about the importance of collecting data in the very beginning before you start an improvement project or initiative. The …

E45: The waste of not being proactive

November 15th, 2021


In this episode, I talk about some other ways to identify waste and opportunity in your process and workday, specifically the tasks that you are not …

E44: The waste of physical books that go unread

September 30th, 2021


In this episode, I go on a little rant about books, and how I estimate there are a lot of unread books in people's homes and offices. I'm considering a challenge to get people to read some of their unread books, or get …

E43: 10 questions to find opportunities to apply Lean Six Sigma to your organization

August 7th, 2021


I was asked a question about how to get started applying Lean and Six Sigma to a non-manufacturing business. I thought about some key questions I …

E42: Quick Summary of SPC and Control Charts

July 3rd, 2021


During a recent coaching call with a client, we discussed applicability of statistical process control (SPC) and control charts (also called process …

E41: Q&A to discuss management's role in leading and encouraging improvements

June 25th, 2021


After conducting a Lean 101 webinar for Lean Portland, we had some excellent questions from the attendees, so I thought I share my answers. The first question was looking for advice on how management can support their …

E40: Q&A to discuss streamlining forms and psychological safety

June 17th, 2021


After conducting a Lean 101 webinar for Lean Portland, we had some excellent questions from the attendees, so I thought I share my answers. The first question was looking for advice on how to make their forms easier and …

E39: Q&A to discuss batching and classical vs lean management

June 14th, 2021


After conducting a Lean 101 webinar for Lean Portland, we had some excellent questions from the attendees, so I thought I share my answers. The first question was looking for more explanation about batching vs one piece …

E38: Confusion about Project Charters and Proposed Solutions

June 7th, 2021


Project charters for improvement projects do not have solutions listed. Instead, they should explain the problem, the management support for this …

E37: What is the Taguchi Loss Function?

May 31st, 2021


Developed by Genichi Taguchi, the Taguchi Loss Function is a graphical representation of how an increase in variation away from the target value (even within specification limits( leads to an exponential increase in …

E36: Two main types of kaizen or kaikaku events

May 19th, 2021


When describing the methodology of a kaizen or kaikaku event, I often break it up into two main types:

  • Working session - traditional approach where …

E35: What to do if management doesn't support Lean or Six Sigma?

May 15th, 2021


A common question I hear is "what if my company doesn't support process improvement?"

I share 4 main approaches you can take to deal with this …

E34: Analyzing my COVID-19 vaccine experience

April 26th, 2021


I share my experience getting my first COVID-19 vaccine shot, and how I analyzed that process from a lean perspective. I found that there was only one second of value, compared to a process that took me over an hour to …

E33: What is the history of PDCA vs PDSA?

April 19th, 2021


I was recently asked about the difference between PDCA and PDSA. I had heard some new information from another podcast, and dug into one of the references to learn more about it. In this episode, I read through a paper …

E32: How Lean Events Accomplish More Than Process Improvement

April 9th, 2021


A recent Value Stream Mapping event was held virtually, and we received some positive feedback from the event attendees. I wanted to share some of the comments to show how process improvement helps much more than just …

E31: Why a Structured Problem Solving Approach is Important

April 5th, 2021


Does your organization use a structured problem solving process, like DMAIC, 8D, or PDSA? If no, why not? I share my views on what challenges are …

E30: Using a Prioritization Matrix to Select the Best Projects

March 24th, 2021


Are you trying to decide how to select the best projects to work on, but have many stakeholders and customer needs to consider, and too many project …

E29: How to decide on the right number of people for your lean event?

March 22nd, 2021


I received a question today that I thought would be helpful to everyone: “Imagine you are getting ready to kick-off the value stream workshop and you …

E28: Don't combine financial data together, separate into these 3 buckets

March 17th, 2021


When making improvements to a process, cost savings and avoidance is a common outcome that is estimated and reported. A common error is to combine …

E27: Calculate cost of nonconformance to get management's attention for Lean

March 13th, 2021


One of the most impactful quality initiatives I was involved with was the creation and deployment of the Cost of Nonconformance (CoNC) report. It was …

E26: Common Data Types for your Process

March 10th, 2021


In process improvement, there is a strong focus of data. But in order to analyze data for an improvement project, you need to know what type of data you have or need, so you can perform the correct analysis. I share the …

E25: Why do we need 30 data samples?

March 6th, 2021


I saw a recent question in a forum, asking about the origin of the sample size of 30 data points. I decided to read you the response I gave, and make …

E24: Top 3 things to validate before removing test or inspection steps

March 3rd, 2021


I share an article I wrote back in Dec 2013 about reducing or eliminating test or inspection steps using Six Sigma analysis methods of capability and …

E23: What is the Lean Communicators network?

February 21st, 2021


I share an interview I did with Mark Graban about why I created this podcast. He included me in a new networking group called Lean Communicators. We are a group of podcasters that talk about Lean, and we meet about once …

E22: Why calculating Median can be better than a Mean or Average

February 20th, 2021


Most people calculate the average when summarizing data, but what about the median? The median is not as sensitive to outliers and skewed data, and …

E21: What is the Hawthorne Effect and does it explain temporary improvements?

February 16th, 2021


Do you see problems recur later after all the attention has gone away? That could be the Hawthorne Effect at work, which can create confusion on …

E20: Why I like using the Ideal State Mapping approach

February 5th, 2021


When I facilitate mapping events, after completing the current state map and before we create the future state map, I like to first walk the team through an ideal state discussion. I categorized these concepts and share …

E19: Typical Ground Rules for Your Next Lean Kaizen Blitz or Kaikaku Event

January 24th, 2021


Ground rules are an important element of running a successful process improvement event (called Kaizen Blitz or Kaikaku events). In this podcast, I …

E18: Does Jon Taffer of "Bar Rescue" Practice Lean?

January 6th, 2021


During some recent travel, my wife and I ended up watching multiple episodes of "Bar Rescue." 

I've watched the show for many years, so I re-watched …

E17: Writing a Book in Small Batches with LeanPub

November 25th, 2020


I discuss the Lean approach to writing a book, which is how I published my first 2.5 books. allows you to write and publish your book for free and release similar to software, instead of one large batch like …

E16: Unique Internal Lean Six Sigma Certification Program

November 9th, 2020


I discuss the internal Lean Six Sigma certification program I helped develop and implement at Rockwell Collins (now Collins Aerospace), and why I …

E15: Lean and Six Sigma Improvement Project Ideas by Industry

November 5th, 2020


If you've struggled to decide what improvement project to work on at work or for a certification project, check out this list of project or event …

E14: How many wastes are there? And what are the 3 M's?

October 16th, 2020


I try to simplify some confusion about the 7 types of waste (or are there 14 types?), the 3 M's, and explain simpler ways to think about …

E13: Need to Implement Continuous Improvement for certification? Start with Lean!

October 13th, 2020


I finished writing an article about two sustainability certification programs that require continuous improvement, but don't give guidance on how to do that. I explain why I think Lean is the best method to adopt for …

E12: First SDCA before PDCA

October 6th, 2020


I had a call this week helping out with a Black Belt project, and I was reminded about the Standardize-Do-Check-Act model that should be implemented …

E11: Two Questions from Episode 1 about Cost Savings

October 2nd, 2020


I received two questions from Mark Graban about my first episode. He is a well-known Lean consultant with expertise in the healthcare industry, and …

E10: Explaining Lean and Six Sigma to Natural Problem Solvers

September 28th, 2020


During Lean and Six Sigma classes, I meet a lot of people who are good problem solvers already, and they mention that the topics are similar to how …

E9: Access historic PRODUCTIVITY newsletters from Norman Bodek (1980-1993)

September 15th, 2020


I share exciting news that we have digital access to Norman Bodek's past PRODUCTIVITY newsletters from 1980-1993. He lived in Vancouver, Washington (near Portland), but was moving to Japan permanently, and we have …

E8: Safety, Quality, Delivery and Customer - How SQDC charts can drive daily management

September 5th, 2020


I discuss the simple visual management templates called SQDC (also called QDIP). These visuals help simplify the daily management for a process area, to quickly bring attention to areas that need help. A video of the …

E7: Applying Lean at Home - Contest with Prizes Ends Sept 30th

September 1st, 2020


I discuss the Lean at Home contest being run by Lean Portland. We are giving away $200 in prizes to those who submit an improvement project at home that was completed in the last 6 months. We also have a free online …

E6: What are Pareto charts and why should you display them horizontally?

August 30th, 2020


I explain what Pareto charts are, and why they should be used more often than they are. I also summarize an older article I wrote about changing the …

E5: What are hypothesis tests and why do we need them?

August 28th, 2020


I explain how and when hypothesis tests can be used, based on a recent article I wrote, which looked at the racial inequities brought up by football players at the University of Iowa and the data that can support these …

E4: What is the DMAIC Improvement model?

August 23rd, 2020


I created a video that accompanies this quick explanation of DMAIC, which stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control. DMAIC is the core …

E3: What is the Influencer model and how it applies to wearing masks?

August 23rd, 2020


In this episode, I discuss the Influencer behavior change model, and how it applies to getting people to wear their masks to prevent the spread of …

E2: What is the difference between hard and soft financial savings?

August 23rd, 2020


In this episode, I answer a question I often receive about how to categorize financial cost savings from improvement, either hard or soft, and what …

E1: Why are Six Sigma Black Belts paid so much?

August 23rd, 2020


In this first episode, I answer a question I received about salaries for Six Sigma Black Belts, and why I think they make good money.


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