Lean Blog Interviews — 274: Jay Arthur, “Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals”

My guest for Episode #274 of the podcast is Jay Arthur, author of Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals: Improving Patient Safety, Patient Flow and the Bottom Line, Second Edition. To me, “Lean Sigma” is often a controversial topic… not because anything is wrong with Six Sigma. Six Sigma methods can be very compatible with a Lean culture. But, “Lean Sigma” books and trainers (including Jay), paint a picture that says Lean is only about speed or efficiency and that Six Sigma is the method to improve quality. He says pretty directly in his book that Lean helps fix all of the types of waste… except for the waste of defects. He says Six Sigma is used to address defects. That’s silly. I challenge Jay a bit about this in the podcast, and I’d like to remind the listeners that Lean and the Toyota Production System are about flow AND quality. Lean and quality go hand in hand. Lean methods and mindsets can very directly improve quality. So, I disagree with him on that point, but there are many good points in his book about not overcomplicating Lean or Six Sigma — that the goal is results (and I’d add “developing people”). You can read more about Jay and his bio here.