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Six Sigma Services at Excalibur

Six Sigma is the "electron microscope" of the process improvement world.

Its "recipe" for process improvement, "DMAIC":


  • Define
  • Measure
  • Analyze
  • Improve
  • Control


is perfectly aligned with the approach used in LEAN Systems and in Process Simulation.


Six Sigma was co-pioneered as a coherent suite of statistical analysis methods by Motorola and General Electric starting in 1985. It was through General Electric’s Medical Systems Group that Six Sigma transitioned to healthcare starting in 1995. Six Sigma as a stand alone process improvement system has achieved great results in healthcare, but as Michael Rona, the former President of Virginia Mason Medical Center once said, “We just weren’t getting traction with this approach”. Six Sigma’s data collection and analysis methods were perceived as a “black box” process that many of the frontline staff did not understand. Also, the project timing from start to actual implementation of an improvement was often on the order of three to six months.


From our perspective at Excalibur, Quality Systems or Six Sigma are not effective as stand alone organizational performance improvement strategies. They are simply "incomplete". With the addition of LEAN Systems and Process Modeling, they become optimally useful. Starting in the year 2001, both the Virginia Mason Medical Center and the National Health System of England adopted LEAN Systems as their primary engine of performance improvement.


One of the many benefits of applying a LEAN Systems approach is that front line staff all could understand and contribute to the improvement process. The reasons for change were no longer the result of a what the front line staff often perceived as a “mysterious” offline process performed by specialists. Several of Excalibur’s Consultants are both “LEAN System Masters” and Six Sigma “Master Black Belts”. We understand perfectly what process improvement tools to use for each situation. We often find that the work we do implementing LEAN Systems simplifies and shortens the timing and data collection that occurs using Six Sigma alone.


Excaliburs partner, Integral Concepts, is one of the premier organizations in the world for Six Sigma education and consulting. We have known and worked with their Principal Consultants for over ten years.


These accolades describe the Client’s experience with Integral Concepts:


CONSULTING: “I worked directly with Dr. W. Edwards Deming from 1984 to 1993. Dr. Wachs is the best instructor of process control, design of experiments, and problem solving tools that I have ever worked with since my friendship with Dr. Deming”.


“You definitely have a gift for facilitating that is enhanced by your OBVIOUS enthusiasm for the subject matter and the vast array of experiences that you share to illustrate points.”


EDUCATION: “Without question, this class was the most beneficial training I have received for my particular job function. I will be able to utilize the information on the job immediately.”


“The only way that I could describe the Design of Experiments I presentation would be as a resounding success. Dr. Wachs style and teaching ability rivals the BEST. Our employees have unanimously requested that she be brought back to teach [the] Advanced Design of Experiments [Course].