Alex Lapickis – Lean Six Sigma Consultant (Cork University Hospital)
“When a problem is chosen, then I look how the process works from A to Z.”
Thank you for accepting our interview request Alex, tell us something more about your background and actual job.
I am a highly motivated professional with a strong sense of responsibility and a background in IT (both software and hardware skills). I am also keen to work in a fast-peaced environment, realiable and trustworhty with excellent time-keeping. I have been working as a Lean Six Sigma Consultant at the Cork University Hospital Histopathology Group.
How would you define quality?
It is triple satisfaction – company/employee/customer.
For instance, if you try so hard to get for customer products as best as possible, first you have to know VOC, does a customer really needs it? Are employees able with current system produce with desired demands?
Doesn’t it harm a company, maybe it is too expensive? When all three are in harmony, then you can be sure, then your product has the exact level of quality what is necessary for “the day”.
How would you define Lean Management and Six Sigma?
It is a group of people who increases performance of the company. Lean “fights wastes”; Six Sigma “fights errors”.
There are lots of BEST PRACTICE where companies used Lean Six Sigma. Why most of the companies thinks Lean Six Sigma is only theory?
I disagree that most of companies think that LSS is only a theory. The real problem is that the majority have not heard of LSS. If management of a company still thinks that LSS is not applicable or them, then they just do not have enough information of LSS and don’t really understand how it works. They require further education in it.
Lean Six Sigma is a very important tool for American companies. In U.S. you started working with Lean Six Sigma more than 30 years ago. Why do you think European companies do not believe in this powerful Management tool?
The same answer as for question above. Two problems, first: they haven’t heard of LSS, second: they haven’t enough information on how it works.
Can you explain in concrete a LEAN SIX SIGMA PROJECT you work on? Where did you start and did yo go on?
I follow DMAIC path:
- I have to find a problem,in parallel I’m building a team for it.Usually there are a lot of problems to solve, so I pick up that one which has the most pain for the company. (If company have just started to introduce LSS, then usually it is “5S”, because properly implemented “5S” solves a lot of problems automatically, and extracts further problems to solve.);
- When a problem is chosen, then I look how the process works from “A to Z” (I gather statistical information, make Value Stream Mapping, draw flow charts);
When I have all the information about the process, I present it to personnel, or my team, if it is built already, and we analyse it;
Then I finish “building my team”. I take together people who are interested in changes, we sit together, and we start to look for a solution;
- When a decision is made we do a trial period of the solution. During the trial period we gather information. Then we analyse it and we make a decision, is it going to stay or we should try something else?;
- If we decide to keep current changes, I present it to all involved personnel;
- My team decides how to control new process;
And (It is important!) I tell people, that no change is for ever, there is no limit for an improvement. Anyone is welcome to come up with better solution.
Which advice would you give to a person who wants to study or become a Lean Six Sigma professional?
Do it! It is simple. Yes, you will find statistics and they might frighten you, however “those complicated formulas” you might never use. 90% of changes don’t require complicated calculations.
Your aim is to make people happy and satisfied (people-I mean customers, employees, management all around you.
Sometimes it might be to repaint walls in your restaurant from dark black colour into shiny and warm colours.
Where should he/she start from?
Nowadays most of necessary information is available online. As I recommended to my sister, try to do some “5S” in your own house. The best way to learn is when you do. Do not be afraid to make one step back, you will make two steps forward if you will not give up.
When there are people involved, never do changes without talking to them!
So, when you decide to learn LSS, go online, practice some at home, if you will feel that it is really cool and powerful tool to ease you’re, and people around you, life then you might search for some courses to increase your knowledge.