Lisa Schlegel – Senior Manager at Allstate Dealer Services

LISA DEFWhen I start a process improvement  project, I typically use a value stream map to get a sense of how efficient the work moves through the process.

Thank you for accepting our interview request Lisa, tell us something more about your background and actual  job.

Currently a Master Black Belt in the health insurance industry. I am responsible for process optimization initiatives in the delivery system-primarily care and network business operations.

How would you define quality?

Quality is producing a product or delivering a service that is defect free that meets the customer specficiations. It’s great to be defect free, but if the product or service is not what the customer had in mind, then you have a perfect product or service that has novalue.

How would you define Lean Management and Six Sigma?

When I introduce Lean and Six Sigma concepts to individuals new to the methodologies, I describe Lean as a methodology to reduce waste and non value added work and Six Sigma as a methodology to reduce defects and rework. 

What are the different kinds of variations used in Six Sigma?

It depends on the problem you’re trying to solve.  If it’s a simpleproblem with a known solution, then a simple “go do” approach works. If it’s a problem with an unknown root cause, then more of the Six Sigma toolset is needed. If the problem is a process no longer capable of performing,  it’s a process redesign using  Design for Six Sigma.  

Can you explain the different methodology for execution and design process in Lean Six Sigma?

When I start a process improvement project, I typically use a value stream map to get a sense of how efficient the work moves through the process. Out of the VSM exercise and any process data that might be avaialable, I then start to look at rework loops,bottlenecks and gaps in the value stream. If cycle time, process efficiency, waste is the primary driver, Lean methods are used; if defects are creating rework loops and process variation,  Six Sigma methods are used. It’s  not unusual  to use both methods.

There are lots of BEST PRACTICE where companies used Lean Six Sigma. Why most of the companies think Lean Six Sigma is only theory? 

I think companies interested in process optimization and process efficiency believe Lean and Six Sigma works but it takes to long to realize the results. I think that assumption of taking  to long makes companies reluctant to integrate Lean, Six Sigma into their business methodology. 

Can you explain in concrete (please use bullet points) a LEAN SIX SIGMA PROJECT you work on? Where did you start and did yo go on?

Reduce volume of customer complaints associated with claims processing–quality and cycle time.

  • Problem statement defined and approved–describe the problem in terms of customer impacts, when did the problem start, how long has the problem been occurring, is there any data, where is the problem occuring, etc.

  • Evaluate problem to determine approach to take if the solution is already known, handle as a “go do” and execute as a rapid improvement/kaizen event. If root cause unknown requires more in depth analysis;

  • Measure phase including Value stream map–determined takt-time, calculated process efficiency, operator productivity, identified bottlenecks, rework loops;
  • Analyze phase to determine primary drivers of process inefficiency and  rework;
  • Improve phase included changes to value stream and system changes to  address defects;
  • Control phase to ensure process changes were stable;
Which advice would you give to a person who wants to study or become a Lean Six Sigma professional? Where should he/she start from?

 Few things to remember:

  • To figure out if being a Six Sigma professional is right for you, get involved in a CI project. Participate in the work being done; observe the CI professional leading the project.   See if this is the kind of work you’d be interested in doing.
  • Less is more -learn  to use the right  tool(s) for the problem being solved.  It’s not necessary  to use every tool for every process improvement project.
  • People in the process have a pretty good idea what the problem is and how to fix it. Listen to what they have to say
  • Practice, practice, practice–you get better with experience.  

 Thank you Lisa and see you on Lean6Sigma4all!

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