1st Edition

The Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Handbook Tools and Methods for Process Acceleration

    622 Pages 219 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    Although Lean and Six Sigma appear to be quite different, when used together they have shown to deliver unprecedented improvements to quality and profitability. The Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Handbook: Tools and Methods for Process Acceleration explains how to integrate these seemingly dissimilar approaches to increase production speed while decreasing variations and costs in your organization.

    Presenting problem-solving tools you can use to immediately determine the sources of the problems in your organization, the book is based on a recent survey that analyzed Six Sigma tools to determine which are the most beneficial. Although it focuses on the most commonly used tools, it also includes coverage of those used a minimum of two times on every five Six Sigma projects.

    Filled with diagrams of the tools you’ll need, the book supplies a comprehensive framework to help you for organize and process the vast amount of information currently available about Lean, quality management, and continuous improvement process applications. It begins with an overview of Six Sigma, followed by little-known tips for using Lean Six Sigma (LSS) effectively. It examines the LSS quality system, its supporting organization, and the different roles involved.

    Identifying the theories required to support a contemporary Lean system, the book describes the new skills and technologies that you need to master to be certified at the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt (LSSBB) level. It also covers the advanced non-statistical and statistical tools that are new to the LSSBB body of knowledge.

    Presenting time-tested insights of a distinguished group of authors, the book provides the understanding required to select the solutions that best fit your organization's aim and culture. It also includes exercises, worksheets, and templates you can easily customize to create your own handbook for continuous process improvement.

    Designed to make the methodologies you choose easy to follow, the book will help Black Belts and Senseis better engage their employees, as well as provide an integrated and visual process management structure for reporting and sustaining continuous improvement breakthroughs and initiatives.


    Introduction to Lean Six Sigma Methodology
    In a Nutshell
         The Notion of Standing upon the Shoulders of Giants
         LSS Cultural Building Blocks
         Connecting the Tools with Engineering Goals
    What Came First—Six Sigma or Lean?
    Technical Competency Levels
    LSS Belt Levels
         Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt (LSSMBB)
         Lean Six Sigma Black Belt (LSSBB)
         Lean Six Sigma Green Belt (LSSGB)
         Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt (LSSYB)
         Lean Six Sigma Blue Belt
    Five Phases of an LSS Improvement Project

    Process Improvement and Lean Six Sigma
    In a Nutshell
    AN LSS Quality Focus on the Business Process
    Some Basic Definitions
    Objectives of Process Improvement
    Cross-Functional Focus
    Critical Success Factors
    Nature of LSS Process Improvement
         Advantages of LSS Process Improvement
    Determining Process Ownership
         The Nature of Business Processes
         Management’s Traditional Focus
         Cross-Functional Focus
    Process Ownership
         The Process Owner
         The Process Management Committee
         The Process Quality Team
    Selection, Responsibilities, and Authority of the Process Owner
         Selection of the Process Owner
         Responsibilities of the Process Owner
         Authority of the Process Owner
    Process Definition and the Process Model
         Definition of Process Mission and Scope


    Waste Identification
    In a Nutshell
    What Is Variation?
         How Do We Chart Variation?
         Why Is Understanding and Controlling Variation So Important?
    What Is Waste?
         Defining the Value-Added Work Components
    How Does Waste Creep into a Process?
    The Power of Observation
    Seeing with New Eyes
         Waste 1: Overproduction
              What Causes Overproduction?
              How to Identify Overproduction
         Waste 2: Excess Inventories
              What Causes Excess Inventory?
              How to Identify Excess Inventory
         Waste 3: Defects
              What Causes Defects?
              How to Identify Defects
         Waste 4: Extra Processing
              What Causes Processing Waste?
              How to Identify Processing Waste
         Waste 5: Waiting
              What Causes Waiting Waste?
              How to Identify Waiting Waste
         Waste 6: Motion
              What Causes Motion Waste?
              How to Identify Motion Waste
         Waste 7: Transportation
              What Causes Transportation Waste?
              How to Identify Transportation Waste
         Waste 8: Underutilized Employees
              What Causes Underutilized Employees Waste?
              How to Identify Underutilized Employee Waste
         Waste 9: Behavior
              How to Identify Behavior Waste

    Lean Concepts, Tools, and Methods
    Traditional Organization Operational Philosophy
    Lean Operational Philosophy
    Lean Management Concepts
         Value-Added Activities
         No-Value-Added Activities
         Business-Value-Added Activities
         Waste Identification
         Waste Elimination
         Value Stream
         Value Stream Management
         Continuous Flow
         Pull Systems
         Point of Use Storage
         Quality at the Source
         5M’s—Materials, Machines, Manpower, Method, and Measurements
         Key Process Input Variables (KPIVs)
         Key Process Output Variables (KPOVs)
    Lean Tools
         5S Workplace Organization and Standardization
              Just the Facts
              5S Means Action
              Common Omissions When Implementing 5S
         Overall Equipment Effectiveness
              Just the Facts
              How to Use OEE
              Applying OEE in Nonmanufacturing Environments 
         Mistake Proofing
              Just the Facts
              How to Use Mistake Proofing
         Cellular Manufacturing
              Just the Facts
              How to Create Manufacturing Cells
              Just the Facts
              How to Use Kanban
         Value Stream Mapping
              Just the Facts
              Managing with Maps
         Visual Controls
              Just the Facts
              How to Use Visual Controls
    The Power of Lean Concepts and Lean Tools
              Composite U-Cell Case Study
                   Lean Six Sigma Concepts and Tools Used

    Three Faces of Change—Kaizen, Kaikaku, and Kakushin
    In a Nutshell
         Resistance to Change
         Fear of the Unknown
         Measurement Systems
    Overcoming Resistance to Change
         Leaving Old Beliefs Behind
         Considering New Possibilities
         Emergence of LSS
    Three Faces of Change
         Kaizen—Continuous Improvement
         Kaizen and You Method
         Kaizen for Process Troubleshooting
              Step 1: Go to Gemba
              Step 2: Conduct Gembutsu
              Step 3: Take Temporary Countermeasures "on the Spot"
              Step 4: Find Root Causes
              Step 5: Standardize to Prevent Recurrence
         Kaizen Teams
         Possible Target Areas for Kaizen Teams
         Preparing for Kaizen
         Team Member Roles in Kaizen
         Overcoming Obstacles during Kaizen
    Kaikaku—Transformation of Mind
         How Do We Recognize Kaikaku (Transformation of Mind)?
         Kaikaku in Cell Design
         Kaikaku in Facility Layouts
    Kakushin (Innovation)
         The 20-20 Innovation Process


    On Integrating LSS and DMAIC with DMADV
    In a Nutshell
    Goals of Lean DMADV
         Lean Design
    Goals of DMAIC/DMADV
         Overview of How DMAIC Works
         Overview of How DMADV Works
    Comparing DMAIC and DMADV
    Integrating Lean with DMAIC/DMADV
         Root Cause Analysis and Lean
         Groups of Root Cause Analysis Tools


    Black Belt Nonstatistical Tools (A through M)
         Just the Facts
         Additional Reading
    Benchmarking of Processes
         Just the Facts
         What Will Benchmarking Do for You?
         History of Benchmarking
         Types of Benchmarking
              Internal Benchmarking
              External Benchmarking
         Guidelines and Tips
         What Are the Primary Reasons for Using Process Benchmarking?
              The What
              The How
         The Five Phases of Internal and External Combined Benchmarking Process
         Additional Reading
    Bureaucracy Elimination Methods
         Just the Facts
         Process-Focused Approach
         Incident-Focused Approach
              Example 1
              Example 2
              Example 3
         Additional Reading
    Conflict Resolution
         Just the Facts
         Additional Reading
    Critical to Quality
         Just the Facts
         Critical to Quality (CTQ) Characteristics
         Additional Reading
    Cycle Time Analysis and Reduction
         Just the Facts
              Applications of Cycle Time Analysis and Reduction
              Cycle Time Analysis and Reduction Process
         Additional Reading
    Fast-Action Solution Technique (FAST)
         Just the Facts
         Additional Reading
    Foundation of Six Sigma (Minimizing Variation)
         Just the Facts 
         What Does "Good Enough" Mean?
         Additional Reading
    Just-in-Time (JIT)
         Just the Facts
         Additional Reading
    Matrix Diagram/Decision Matrix
         Just the Facts
              L-Shaped Matrix
              T-Shaped Matrix
              Guidelines and Tips
         Additional Reading
         Just the Facts
         Principles of Good Measure
              Quality Measurement
         Additional Reading

    Black Belt Nonstatistical Tools (O Through Q)
    Organizational Change Management (OCM)
         Just the Facts
         Seven Phases of OCM
              Phase I: Defining Current State Pain
              Phase II: Establishing a Clear Vision of the Future State Solution
              Phase III: Defining Change Roles
              Phase IV: Mapping Change Roles
              Phase V: Defining the Degree of Change Required
              Phase VI: Developing the Organizational Change Management Plan
              Phase VII: Implementing the Change Management Plan
         Additional Reading
    Pareto Diagrams
         Just the Facts
              The Pareto Principle (80/20 Rule)
              Uses of Pareto Diagrams
              Classifications of Data
              Constructing a Pareto Diagram
    Prioritization Matrix
         Just the Facts
         Additional Reading
    Project Management (PM)
         Just the Facts
         Project Management Knowledge Areas
              Project Integration Management
              Project Scope Management
              Project Time Management
              Project Cost Management
              Project Quality Management
              Project Human Resource Management
              Project Communications Management
              Project Risk Management
              Project Procurement Management
         How OCM Can Help
              Estimate Task Effort and Duration
              Develop the Schedule
         Project Management Software
              Project Management Software Selection
              PMBOK Tools and Techniques
         Additional Reading
    Quality Function Deployment (QFD)
         Just the Facts
         Using QFD
         Voice of the Customer
         Part Deployment Phase
         The Process Plan and Quality Plan Matrices
         The Roof of the House of Quality
         Operating Instructions
         Additional Reading

    Black Belt Nonstatistical Tools (R through Z)
    Reliability Management System
    Just the Facts
         Phase I: Defining Reliability Requirements
         Phase II: Designing Reliability into the Item
         Phase III: Defining Component Reliability
         Phase IV: Calculating the Item’s Reliability
         Phase V: Minimizing Manufacturing Degradation
         Phase VI: Qualifying the Item
         Phase VII: Measuring Customer/Consumer Reliability
         Phase VIII: Corrective Action and Database Updating
         Additional Reading
    Root Cause Analysis
         Just the Facts
         How to Do a Root Cause Analysis in Six Steps
    Scatter Diagrams
         Just the Facts
              Steps to Prepare a Scatter Diagram
         Guidelines and Tips
         Additional Reading
    Selection Matrix (Decision Matrix)
         Just the Facts
         Additional Reading
    SIPOC Diagram
         Just the Facts
         The SIPOC Approach Expanded
         Building a SIPOC Diagram
         Example: Mama Mia Case Study
              Mama Mia’s SIPOC—Food Storage Process
              Mama Mia’s SIPOC—Food Preparation and Order Delivery
    SWOT—Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats
         Just the Facts
         The SWOT Matrix
         Additional Reading
    Takt Time
         Just the Facts
         Additional Reading
    Theory of Constraints (TOC)
         Just the Facts
              Types of (Internal) Constraints
         Additional Reading
    Tree Diagrams
         Just the Facts
         Additional Reading
    Value Stream Mapping
         Just the Facts
         Additional Reading


    Advanced Statistical Tools
    Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)—One-Way
         Just the Facts
    Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)—Two-Way
         Just the Facts
         Major Considerations
    Box Plots
         Just the Facts
    Confidence Intervals
         Just the Facts
              Confidence Interval for the Mean
              Confidence Interval for the Standard Deviation
              Confidence Interval for the Proportion Defective
    Data Transformations
         Just the Facts
         Data Transformation Types
              Standard Transformation Functions
              Application Cookbook
    Design of Experiments
         Just the Facts
         Steps in Designing an Experiment
         Principles of an Experimental Design
         Setting up the Appropriate Experiment
         Analysis (of Means and Variance) Methodologies
              Analysis of Means
              Paired Comparison
              Analysis of Variance Methodology
         One-Way and Two-Way ANOVA
              One-Way ANOVA
              Example Experiment 1
              Example Experiment 2
              Two-Way ANOVA
         Types of Experimental Designs
         Applications of DoE
         DoE Steps
         Experimental Objectives
         Select and Scale the Process Variables
         Design Guidelines
         A Typical DoE Checklist
         The Iterative Approach to DoE
         Experimental Assumptions
              Is the Measurement System Capable?
              Is the Process Stable?
              Are the Residuals Well Behaved?
         Categories of Experimental Designs
              Three-Factor, Three-Level Experiment
              Randomized Block Plans
              Latin Square Designs
              Graeco-Latin Designs
              Plackett-Burman Designs
              Taguchi Designs
              Mixture Designs
              Simplex-Lattice Designs
              Steepest Ascent/Descent
              Response Surfaces
              EVOP Evolutionary Operations
         When to Use Which Design
         Project Strategies
              Data Analysis
              Experimental Designs
              Response Surface Designs
         Project Strategy Decision Table
         Background References
    Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA)
         Just the Facts
              Approaches to Attribute MSA
    Method of Least Squares
         Just the Facts
    Multivari Charts
         Just the Facts
    Nonparametric Statistical Tests
         Just the Facts
              Sign Test for the Median
              One-Sided Wilcoxon Test
              Two-Sample Mann-Whitney
              Mood’s Median Test
              Friedman Test for a Randomized Block Design
    Populations and Samples
         Just the Facts
              Uncertainty in the Mean—Conclusions
              Data Defined
              Summary of Data Types
              Process Measurements Summary
    Regression Analysis
         Just the Facts
              Simple Linear Regression
              Multiple Linear Regression
              Curvilinear Regression
              Other Linear Regression Models
    Rolled-Throughput Yield
         Just the Facts
              Calculating Process Sigma
    Taguchi Method
         Just the Facts
         Taguchi Quality Definitions
              Ideal Quality
              Robust Design
              Quality Loss Function Fundamental Concepts
              Traditional View of the Loss Function
              Taguchi Approach
              Specify a Target
              The Quadratic Loss Function (QFL)
              Understanding the Quality Characteristic
              Observing the Slope
              Determining Customer Impact
              The Cost of Not Being on Target
         Just the Facts
              The Failure Modalities
         Some Risk Assessment Tools
         Guidelines and Tips
    Appendix A
    Appendix B
    Appendix C: Six Sigma Green Belt Tools


    Frank Voehl serves as the director of process improvement for Nova Southeastern University, as chairman and president of Strategy Associates, Inc., and as a senior consultant and chancellor for the Harrington Institute. He is also chairman of the board for a number of businesses and is a Grand Master Black Belt instructor and technology advisor at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is recognized as one of the world leaders in applying quality measurement and Lean Six Sigma methodologies to business processes.

    Voehl has extensive knowledge of NRC, FDA, GMP, and NASA quality system requirements. He is an expert in ISO 9000, QS 9000/14000/18000, and integrated Lean Six Sigma quality system standards and processes. He has degrees from St. John’s University and advanced studies at New York University, as well as an honorary doctor of divinity degree. Since 1986, he has been responsible for overseeing the implementation of quality management systems with organizations in such diverse industries as telecommunications and utilities, federal, state, and local government agencies, public administration and safety, pharmaceuticals, insurance/banking, manufacturing, and institutes of higher learning. In 2002, he joined the Harrington Group as the chief operating officer and executive vice president. He has held executive management positions with Florida Power and Light and FPL Group, where he was the founding general manager and COO of QualTec Quality Services for seven years. He has written and published/co-published over 35 books and hundreds of technical papers on business management, quality improvement, change management, knowledge management, logistics, and team building, and has received numerous awards for community leadership, service to the third world countries, and student mentoring.

    The Bahamas National Quality Award was developed in 1991 by Voehl to recognize the many contributions of companies in the Caribbean region, and he is an honorary member of its Board of Judges. In 1980, the city of Yonkers, New York, declared March 7 Frank Voehl Day, honoring him for his many contributions on behalf of thousands of youth in the city where he lived, performed volunteer work, and served as athletic director and coach of the Yonkers-Pelton Basketball Association. In 1985 he was named Father of the Year in Broward County, Florida. He also serves as president of the Miami Archdiocesan Council of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, whose mission is to serve the poor and needy throughout South Florida and the world.

    Frank’s contributions to quality improvement around the world have brought him many honors and awards, including ASQ’s Distinguished Service Medal, the Caribbean Center for Excellence Founders Award, the Community Quality Distinguished Service Award, the Czech Republic Outstanding Service Award on behalf of its business community leaders, FPL’s Pioneer Lead Facilitator Award, the Florida SFMA Partners in Productivity Award, and many others. He was appointed the honorary advisor to the Bahamas Quality Control Association, and he was elected to the Eastern Europe Quality Hall of Fame. He was also named honorary director of the Association Venezuela de Control de Calidad by Banco Consolidado.

    Dr. H. James Harrington:
    In the book Tech Trending, Dr. Harrington was referred to as "the quintessential tech trender." The New York Times noted his "knack for synthesis and an open mind about packaging his knowledge and experience in new ways—characteristics that may matter more as prerequisites for new economy success than technical wizardry." The author Tom Peters stated, "I fervently hope that Harrington’s readers will not only benefit from the thoroughness of his effort but will also ‘smell’ the fundamental nature of the challenge for change that he mounts." William Clinton, past president of the United States, appointed Dr. Harrington to serve as an Ambassador of Good Will. It has been said about him, "He writes the books that other consultants use."

    Harrington Institute was featured on a half-hour TV program, Heartbeat of America, which focuses on outstanding small businesses that make America strong. The host, William Shatner, stated: "You [Dr. Harrington] manage an entrepreneurial company that moves America forward. You are obviously successful."

    Harrington serves as the chief executive officer for the Harrington Institute and Harrington Middle East. He is also chairman of the board for a number of businesses. Dr. Harrington is recognized as one of the world leaders in applying performance improvement methodologies to business processes. He has an excellent record of coming into an organization, working as its CEO or COO, resulting in a major improvement in its financial and quality performance.

    In February 2002 Dr. Harrington retired as the COO of Systemcorp A.L.G., the leading supplier of knowledge management and project management software solutions, when Systemcorp was purchased by IBM. Prior to this, he served as a principal and one of the leaders in the Process Innovation Group at Ernst & Young; he retired from Ernst & Young when it was purchased by Cap Gemini. Dr. Harrington joined Ernst & Young when Ernst & Young purchased Harrington, Hurd & Rieker, a consulting firm that Dr. Harrington started. Before that Dr. Harrington was with IBM for over 40 years as a senior engineer and project manager.

    Dr. Harrington is past chairman and past president of the prestigious International Academy for Quality and of the American Society for Quality Control. He is also an active member of the Global Knowledge Economics Council.

    Harrington was elected to the honorary level of the International Academy for Quality, which is the highest level of recognition in the quality profession. Harrington is a government-registered quality engineer, a Certified Quality and Reliability Engineer by the American Society for Quality Control, and a Permanent Certified Professional Manager by the Institute of Certified Professional Managers. He is a certified Master Six Sigma Black Belt and received the title of Six Sigma Grand Master. He has an MBA and PhD in engineering management and a BS in electrical engineering.

    Dr. Harrington’s contributions to performance improvement around the world have brought him many honors. He was appointed the honorary advisor to the China Quality Control Association, and was elected to the Singapore Productivity Hall of Fame in 1990. He has been named lifetime honorary president of the Asia-Pacific Quality Control Organization and honorary director of the Association Chilean de Control de Calidad. In 2006 Dr. Harrington accepted the honorary chairman position of Quality Technology Park of Iran.

    Harrington has been elected a fellow of the British Quality Control Organization and the American Society for Quality Control. In 2008 he was elected to be an honorary fellow of the Iran Quality Association and Azerbaijan Quality Association. He was also elected an honorary member of the quality societies in Taiwan, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Singapore. He is also listed in the "Who’sWho Worldwide" and "Men of Distinction Worldwide." He has presented hundreds of papers on performance improvement and organizational management structure at the local, state, national, and international levels.


    • The Harrington/Ishikawa Medal, presented yearly by the Asian Pacific Quality Organization, was named after H. James Harrington to recognize his many contributions to the region.
    • The Harrington/Neron Medal was named after H. James Harrington in 1997 for his many contributions to the quality movement in Canada.
    • Harrington Best TQM Thesis Award was established in 2004 and named after H. James Harrington by the European Universities Network and e-TQM College.
    • Harrington Chair in Performance Excellence was established in 2005 at the Sudan University.
    • Harrington Excellence Medal was established in 2007 to recognize an individual who uses the quality tools in a superior manner.
    • H. James Harrington Scholarship was established in 2011 by the ASQ Inspection Division.

    Harrington has received many awards, among them the Benjamin L. Lubelsky Award, the John Delbert Award, the Administrative Applications Division Silver Anniversary Award, and the Inspection Division Gold Medal Award. In 1996, he received the ASQC’s Lancaster Award in recognition of his international activities. In 2001 he received the Magnolia Award in recognition for the many contributions he has made in improving quality in China. In 2002 Harrington was selected by the European Literati Club to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Literati Award for Excellence ceremony in London. The award was given to honor his excellent literature contributions to the advancement of quality and organizational performance. Also, in 2002 Harrington was awarded the International Academy of Quality President’s Award in recognition for outstanding global leadership in quality and competitiveness, and contributions to IAQ as Nominations Committee chair, vice president, and chairman. In 2003 Harrington received the Edwards Medal from the American Society for Quality (ASQ). The Edwards Medal is presented to the individual who has demonstrated the most outstanding leadership in the application of modern quality control methods, especially through the organization and administration of such work.

    In 2004 he received the Distinguished Service Award, which is ASQ’s highest award for service granted by the society. In 2008 Dr. Harrington was awarded the Sheikh Khalifa Excellence Award (UAE) in recognition of his superior performance as an original Quality and Excellence Guru who helped shape modern quality thinking. In 2009 Harrington was selected as the Professional of the Year. Also in 2009 he received the Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University Medal. In 2010 the Asian Pacific Quality Association (APQO) awarded Harrington the APQO President’s Award for his "exemplary leadership." The Australian Organization of Quality NSW’s Board recognized Harrington as "the Global Leader in Performance Improvement Initiatives" in 2010. In 2011 he was honored to receive the Shanghai Magnolia Special Contributions Award from the Shanghai Association for Quality in recognition of his 25 years of contributing to the advancement of quality in China. This was the first time that this award was given out. In 2012 Harrington received the ASQ Ishikawa Medal for his many contributions in promoting the understanding of process improvement and employee involvement on the human aspects of quality at the local, national, and international levels. Also in 2012 he was awarded the Jack Grayson Award. This award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the application of quality philosophy, methods and tools in education, health care, public service, and not-for-profit organizations. Harrington also received the A.C. Rosander Award in 2012. This is ASQ Service Quality Division’s highest honor. It is given in recognition of outstanding long-term service and leadership resulting in substantial progress toward the fulfillment of the division’s programs and goals. Additionally, in 2012 Harrington was honored by the Asia Pacific Quality Organization by being awarded the Armand V. Feigenbaum Lifetime Achievement Medal. This award is given annually to an individual whose relentless pursuit of performance improvement over a minimum of 25 years has distinguished himself or herself for the candidate’s work in promoting the use of quality methodologies and principles within and outside of the organization he or she is part of.

    Charles "Chuck" Mignosa
    has over 30 years of diversified experience in high technology, biomedical devices, telecommunications, and food processing industries and 25 years of experience in IBM holding patents in solid lubricants. He was a second-level manager in charge of implementing quality systems in five manufacturing areas. He is a certified course developer and has developed courses including Total Quality Management, Continuous Flow Manufacturing, Customer-Driven Quality, Statistical Design and Analysis of Experiments, Team Building, Six Sigma, Conflict Resolution, and Communication Skills. After leaving IBM he worked as an independent consultant doing all of the TQM training for Spectrian telecommunications and facilitating its conversion from a DOD to public sector company and attaining its ISO registration.

    Mignosa has consulted for and done training with such companies as Siemens Automotive, General Mills, Gatorade, Zea Corporation, Connors Peripherals, HP, IBM, ADAC Labs, Cholestech, Heinz USA, and many more. He has held positions as director of quality for P-com, a telecommunication company, and Cholestech Corporation, a medical device company. Mignosa is currently president of Business Systems Architects (BSA), a Silicon Valley consulting, training, and documentation company specializing in the design and implementation of business and quality management systems and, with Upward Performance, of which he is also president, implementing Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing programs. In addition to a BS in chemistry, Mr. Mignosa has graduate degrees in statistics, systems research, and management training with IBM and is a senior member of ASQ.

    Rich Charron is the founder and president of the Lean Manufacturing Group, Inc., a South Florida company that provides a number of "handson" employee learning and Lean implementation programs focused on waste elimination, productivity improvement, and profitability enhancement. He is a Certified Master Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma Excellence from the Harrington Institute. He has trained and coached over 100 teams in Lean Manufacturing, Lean Six Sigma, and Kaizen events, generating savings over $25 million. In conjunction with Strategy Associates he completed a three-part DVD series on Lean concepts for the University of Central Florida. His expertise is in process performance excellence, Lean Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, design for manufacturability, problem solving, product and process failure analysis, products development, and performance testing.

    Mr. Charron holds BS and MS degrees in plastics engineering from the University of Massachusetts. His MS thesis, "Product Liability in the Plastics Industry," is a survey of our legal system and the impacts of unsafe products and legal uncertainties. He is the author of over a dozen technical publications on product quality, products performance testing, and products failure analysis.