The Cat is Back!


The Cat is back! My blogging pal KT Cat, over at The Scratching Post, has thrown out another hot sports opinion related to his (or her) negative experience with Lean Six Sigma. I must admit I like to read this feline’s stuff as he (or she) says what’s on their mind. I admire that as too many in the world are scared to speak up. Not KT Cat. And, ummm, in case you haven’t noticed I like to share my two cents once in a while as well. Anyhow, the Cat’s recent rant is related to how their company has recently publicized a LSS project that saved $16,900 annually. The Cat’s displeasure is related to the fact that their company has spent millions and all they can offer in return is $16,900 annually.

Now I don’t know the size of the company in question nor do I know if millions invested in their program is accurate or not… perhaps KT Cat was a little emotional after consuming some bad tuna. Who knows.

But let’s say for grins that the person who saved $16,900 annually went to training for 2 weeks where they stayed in a hotel, ate at Chili’s and Saltgrass a few nights and traveled to and from training via airplane. With this in mind I find it hard to believe that $16,900 saved annually would not be a positive ROI in less than one year for the total cost to train this one individual. Sure, saving a few million bucks would be nice but then folks like KT Cat would have likely called BS on the way the savings were calculated.

Now, assuming more than one person was trained KT Cat may have a valid gripe if all the company has to share with all the skeptical Cat’s and Dog’s in the company is a single project that saved $16,900 annually.

But I cannot help but wonder… how much savings has KT and his (or her) posse of felines brought to the bottom line for their company this year? Pray tell.

The thing I love about Lean is how the benefits side of things is often kept a little more in check. In Lean we talk about shipping more stuff (increasing throughput), reducing inventory, etc. These things are much easier for skeptics to see and measure making buy in a little easier.

With Six Sigma we often tackle things like defects and that pesky thing called variation. These things can be much harder to see and measure. It doesn’t make them less important, in fact sometimes they are more important! But the fact is quantifying a benefit can be tricky.

Once again, KT gives us continuous improvement practitioner’s food for thought. If you have any thoughts for my feline friend please do share. But be nice as KT is a cool cat!

Until next time, I wish you all the best on your journey towards continuous improvement.


  1. K T Cat

    March 25, 2007 - 2:25 pm

    You’re a wild man! A continuously improving wild man.


  2. Ron Pereira

    March 26, 2007 - 5:33 am

    Thanks KT. I try.

  3. Jon Miller

    March 26, 2007 - 1:31 pm

    Hi Ron,

    Don’t SSBBs have to return $250k per year in savings through their projects? Or is that just a number consultants throw around to get in the door?

    That would be 14.79 projects at $16,900 per year. Sounds reasonable.

  4. Ron Pereira

    March 26, 2007 - 7:23 pm

    There are some standards out there… $250k is a common one for BB’s. Then again, to some companies $250k is a massive amount of money so it must not be taken as an absolute. In the end if we make things better, and keep making things better we are on our way… sounds like Kaizen to me, eh?

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