Lean Enterprise Division
August 2008 Highlights
2 A Smarter Way to Sit
3 Lean in Life (LiL)
5 Face of Lean Profile
6 Note From the Editor
August 2008, Volume 7, Issue 1
Chair’s Message
Dear Lean Enterprise Division members,
It is hard to believe, but after serving as program chair
and chair-elect, I am writing my first message as chair. I
have been in volunteer positions within ASQ for 10 years,
but chair of the LED has to rate at the top. I am privileged
and honored to be in this position and quite fortunate to
have the people we do on our leadership team. It is a great
group of dedicated people. We have a lot going on within the division—here are
some samples of what is to come.
First, the leadership team met in Milwaukee in early April for a weekend strategic
planning session. The session concluded Sunday afternoon with a great amount
accomplished. We decided to focus heavily on networking, education and training,
improved communications, and continuing with our voice of the customer and body
of knowledge teams. The pursuit of a lean certification is still in full swing as well.
We also decided to include some new topics in the newsletter. We will debut the
“Lean in Life” articles this issue. The results of the session were presented at our
annual business meeting during the World Conference on Quality and Improvement
in Houston, TX, in May.
We also defined what the Lean Enterprise Division is and who makes it up. Here is
the result:
“The Lean Enterprise Division is a global network of professionals helping
individuals and organizations apply proven and leading-edge lean principles and
practices to achieve dramatic results for your personal and organizational success.”
Speaking of the conference, I would like to thank everyone who visited our booth,
took the time to talk with us, and supported our sessions. I especially want to thank
all of the great speakers who helped make this conference another success. We
plan to be very active at the World Conference in Minneapolis, MN, in 2009, and
we will be teaming up again with the Six Sigma Forum for the Lean Six Sigma
Conference March 2-3, 2009, in Phoenix, AZ. Please make plans to join us.
I wish you all a very safe, lean summer. “Come lean with us.”
Wayne Paupst
Chair, Lean Enterprise Division
2 Volume 7 Issue 1 August 2008
A Smarter Way to Sit
Drew Bossen, PT, MBA, Atlas Ergonomics, LLC
Sitting. It sounds simple enough. Yet, despite years of training, training, and more training,
the saga goes on. The saga “stars” the seated worker; be it a call center or a manufacturer
performing bench-work, we continue to observe workers seated in semi-flexed, rounded
postures. As physical therapists we know all too well how these faulty postures take their
toll over time. So what is the solution?
Consider the following: In January of 1976, Herman Miller Inc. introduced the first fullyintegrated
ergonomic chair, the Ergon Chair. Its initial deployment took place across
the corporate offices of Texas Instruments in Dallas, TX. Three months into the project,
Herman Miller’s development team visited the Dallas facility to assess the outcome of their
deployment. To the dismay of the development team, countless employees continued to sit
in semi-flexed, rounded postures. The chair had not changed the behavior of the worker.
Interviews of users demonstrated a clear disconnect between this highly adjustable chair
and the ability to use it.1
In response to these findings, the development team created what some consider to be the
first office ergonomic training program known to corporate America.
Now fast-forward 30 years to today . . . what has changed? The same issues remain within
office and manufacturing facilities across the country. The format of our solution has
changed somewhat with the advent of technology. We may use the Web or a computerbased
training format, but the solution remains one-dimensional: training, training, and
more training. In the final analysis we have yet to solve the equation for the end-user.
As the physicist Albert Einstein noted, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing
over and over, expecting a different result.” Hence, the disconnect experienced at Texas
Instruments in 1976 continues today.
It is time to consider an
alternative approach
I think it is safe to say that training as
we traditionally packaged it is not the
answer. Regardless of the user group—
engineers, Ph.D.s, or entry-level call
center trainees—the issues are the same.
We need to quit blaming the individual
workers for the failure to sit in an
upright neutral posture and consider an
alternative solution.
Perhaps we could learn from exploring
the successes of other professions.
Perhaps if we viewed this problem from
an engineering or a lean manufacturing
perspective, an alternative solution
would come forth. For at its essence,
lean manufacturing is an improvement
method that uses data to identify and
eliminate process problems.
Dr. W. Edwards Deming, an American statistician who led the quality movement in Japan
(and later in America), spent much of his time trying to convince people that most quality
problems are “in the process, not in the person.” For most of his more than 60-year career,
he promoted the 85/15 rule, based on his experience that 85 percent of problems were built
into the way work was done (and hence under the control of management). He said only 15
percent of the problems were really the fault of individual employees.2
cont. on p. 3
Lean Enterprise Division
Wayne J. Paupst, chair
TQS Systems
Kiami Rogers, chair-elect
Texas Instruments
Frank K. Murdock, VoC & membership
Kobalt Partners LLC
Robert M. Johnson, past chair
Tyco Fire Surpression & Bldg. Prod.
Robert W. Damelio, BoK & education
The Bottom Line Group
David Behling, programs
Velvac, Inc.
Tammy Lynn Miller, secrectary
Oshkosh Truck Corporation
Chad E. Vincent, treasure
Baxter Healthcare
Wendy Gomez, newsletter editor
Danmer, Inc.
Alan Mendlesshon, discussion board
Resources Global Professionals
Linda Milanowski, staff liaison
American Society for Quality
2004: Pictured is a Midwest call center of a major gas and electric utility
company. Each office has been equipped with a fully-adjustable Herman
Miller Aeron Chair and an electric Steelcase sit/stand workstation. 
Lean in Life (LiL)
by Kam Gupta
We are passionate about lean. That’s
why we joined LED. I like to call it, “Light
Emitting Diodes—shining every step of
the way to productivity and profitability.”
True success of lean comes to those who
are passionately involved in making lean
a reality. Let me define true success: It is
the implementation of lean beliefs in all
aspects of our activities, including work,
life, and play. It is very interesting to see
that here is a technique we swear by for
guaranteed results in our business; and
then quickly shun it from other aspects of
our lives. That’s where LiL comes in.
LiL is “Lean in Life.” Things that we so
successfully apply in our work can also
be very successfully applied in our
lives. Lean addresses processes. Life is
made up of many processes. Some very
complex ones, and hence loaded with
tons of muda, or waste. This includes the
muda of stress, muda of lost time, muda
of lost productivity, and so on. I believe
we do want to practice what we preach.
Choosing not to do so is a different matter.
For example, I am applying lean to my
fitness routine. I am finding it extremely
effective. I have not received these
kinds of results on earlier efforts. Now I
know I will be able to apply lean in my
home office, and then other places. I
do want to warn you that to apply lean
on someone else, like your spouse or
children, without doing it yourself first,
in your area of direct influence, will
most likely meet ‘I told you so’ outcomes
and could prove to be a self-fulfilling
prophecy in finger pointing.
By making LiL a personal mission, each
one of us could enhance our ability to live
a more fulfilled life, every day. Imagine a
life of wonders where you are the boss!
The goal of LiL is exactly that; to make
you the boss, the driver in the driver’s
seat, the rider in the horse’s saddle. Let
us bring to light all the great things lean
folks are doing on a personal level.
cont. on p. 4
Lean Enterprise Division Newsletter 3
In Deming’s view of the world, the failure of the individual to maintain an upright neutral
posture would be considered a quality issue. As with any manufacturing process, the goal is to
have the highest level of quality. Or, said in another way, the elimination of defects is the goal.
Consider a change in your perspective. Consider how you might respond differently if upon
entering a large call center you observed 60 percent of the population seated in faulty sitting
postures. If in that consideration you viewed these faulty sitting postures and their sequela
as the ultimate “defect” of the “process of sitting,” perhaps then we could begin to build
a viable model to solve for the ongoing disconnect between highly-adjustable ergonomic
chairs and the ability to maintain an upright neutral seated posture.
Making improvements that last
When implemented, lean manufacturing techniques can be powerful. One such technique is
a problem-solving method known as DMAIC. DMAIC stands for define, measure, analyze,
improve, and control. DMAIC is described as a structured, data-based problem-solving
process. That means:
•	 Doing specific activities in a specific sequence (that’s the “structured” and
“process” parts)
•	 Gathering data in nearly every phase to help you make decisions (the “databased”
•	 Making sure that the implemented solutions truly eliminate the cause of the
problem you are trying to fix.3
A process approach
Our process approach was born out of this methodology; a simple yet comprehensive
approach to the challenges of the seated worker. The focus is not on the training of the
individual; the focus is on the process of sitting.
A Process
Individual Risk
•	 Step 1: Assess Risk: Workers are asked to complete an online risk assessment
of their work environment, including a survey of their work-related discomfort.
•	 Step 2: Measurement of Risk: The Risk Assessment Tool scores the responses
of the workers based on three criteria:
Ergonomic risk factors
Level of discomfort
Prior medical history
•	 Step 3: Define Solutions: Based on the data, trained healthcare providers define
solutions for the individual users.
•	 Step 4: Fit Furniture: The chair and
workstation are labeled with a patentpending
ground reference labeling system.
This creates a consistent reference point
for all of the major adjustment features
of the chair and workstation. Each user
is then “fitted” relative to the reference
system. The final deliverable is the Fit
Report©, which creates a sustainable
blueprint for upright neutral posture.
cont. on p. 4
A Smarter Way to Sit cont. from p. 2
Lean Enterprise Division Newsletter 4
•	 Step 5: Training: Yes, we do train, but not in the traditional sense. We focus
our training on the use of the Fit Report©. It is the tool that addresses the
process of sitting.
•	 Step 6: Monitor Outcomes: At months one, three, six, nine, and 12 following
implementation we again survey the end-users relative to their level of workrelated
discomfort. Individuals with continued high levels of work-related
discomfort are again paired with trained healthcare providers to assess the
situation. The trained providers in turn make further recommendations for
change as needed.
We have experienced extraordinary outcomes when utilizing this process approach to
sitting. The metrics are routinely monitored and measured across environments to assess the
viability and influence of the program.
•	 Experience of Workplace Discomfort
Reduced [ Range: 45% to 65% ]
•	 Total Discomfort
Reduced [ Range: 50% to 80% ]
•	 Maximum Discomfort
Reduced [ Range: 50% to 70% ]
•	 Productivity Loss
Reduced [ Range 55% to 80% ]
In conclusion
This is truly a story of process improvement. Once you begin to understand the needs of
your customers (in this case seated workers), you can then take the next step of figuring out
a better way to deliver what they want. Few workers are opposed to sitting in an upright
neutral posture; they just don’t understand how to get there. The answer lies in providing
the worker with a process to serve their needs. By providing them a viable, sustainable tool,
we have worked toward the elimination of the “defect”—the faulty sitting posture. As the
sitting postures improved, the level of associated work-related discomfort correspondingly
decreased. Hence, quality, as a measure of the individual worker and the aggregate
organization, has improved.
The process doesn’t stop there. We are in the process of correlating work-related discomfort
to the attributes of these highly-adjustable ergonomic chairs and workstations. Across large
populations we will be able to determine which of these attributes truly deliver on risk
reduction for the end-user. Over time we will be able to track this risk reduction against the
associated cost of work-related injuries. In addition, the data will be useful in identifying gaps
between the needs of users and the current product offerings by manufacturers. In the end, the
data will influence the marketplace to deliver a higher level of quality to the end-user.
1 Sherman Robbins, Development Team of the Herman Miller “Ergon Chair,” 1976; Currently
Executive Vice President for Product Development - Atlas Ergonomics, LLC
2-3 What is Lean Six Sigma?; Mike George, Dave Rowlands, & Bill Kastle; McGraw-Hill, 2004
A Smarter Way to Sit cont. from p. 3 Lean in Life (cont. from p.3)
It is my joy to take personal responsibility
with the blessings of the LED leadership
to spearhead this mission. We invite you,
the lean professionals and practitioners,
to consider lean as an overall living
strategy. The objective is to write in every
issue something of profound impact
relating to LiL that validates the immense
power of lean in everyday life. Let’s
make LiL a BIG thing at LED. Send your
comments, thoughts, suggestions, and
stories to citkam@gmail.com.
Kam Gupta is a Senior
member of ASQ, regional
director for Region 12, and
an outgoing ASQ board
member. He is president of
Continuous Improvement
Technology, Inc., located
in the Chicago area. He
is an executive coach/life
coach and works in the
area of leadership development using value-based
empowerment and energy-driven leadership. Gupta
is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt and ASQ CSSBB,
CQE, and CQA. He provides lean implementation
and training support in manufacturing and service
environments. He also provides coaching to
Six Sigma and lean champions and leaders in
organizational settings. He is an active member of
ASQ’s Lean Enterprise and Human Development &
Leadership divisions.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Save the Dates!
Lean Six Sigma Conference
March 2-3, 2009
Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort
Phoenix, AZ
Learn from proven firsthand applications,
technical applications, and best practices
during concurrent sessions. The 2009
conference will also feature networking
and learning opportunities from sponsors
and exhibitors from a variety of markets
and levels of experience.
Web site: http://www.asq.org/
World Conference on Quality
and Improvement
May 18-20, 2009
Minneapolis Convention Center
Minneapolis, MN
The Culture of Quality:
Serving Customers, Organizations,
and Communities
•	 Quality Basics
The what and why of quality.
•	 Customer Service
What your customers want
and how to make it happen.
•	 Driving Quality Throughout
the Organization
Make quality an
organizational imperative.
•	 Improved Performance
Optimize your processes
and measure success.
•	 21st Century Needs/
Move forward with teamwork,
leadership, competition/
globalization, and social
5 Volume 7 Issue 1 August 2008
Face of Lean Profile
Tammy Miller
Neenah, WI
Bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering
technology from DeVry University in
Addison, IL
Master’s degree in engineering management from Milwaukee School of Engineering,
Milwaukee, WI
ASQ Certified Six Sigma Black Belt
PMI Project Management Professional Certification
Current job:
Oshkosh Corporation, supplier development engineer, Oshkosh, WI
Most recent experience with lean:
As a supplier development engineer I have an opportunity to teach and implement the
principles of lean in a variety of manufacturing and office settings. My experiences have
proved that no matter the industry, the environment, or the current culture, lean can fit
your business with proven sustained results.
Favorite lean experience:
Teaching the principles and application of lean to others and watching them learn,
struggle, apply, reapply, and finally change the culture of their organization.
Other interests/hobbies:
My husband Keith and I enjoy water activities with our 3-year-old and 1-year-old at our
family cottage in Lakewood, WI.
Favorite quote:
“You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.”
—Henry Ford
Leadership Team in Milwaukee
Kiami presenting while
in Milwaukee.
Tammy, Chad, and Robert
with the plan.
U.S. Postage
Milwaukee, WI
Permit No. 5419
Lean Enterprise Division | August 2008 | Volume 7, Issue 1
Note From
the Editor
Hello LED members, I hope all of
you are well. There are several things
I would like to highlight for this
newsletter. I’d like to welcome Wayne
Paupst as our new division chair and
also thank our exiting division chair,
Jobby Johnson, for a job well done. As
the years have gone by, the division has not only grown, but continues
to improve. Also, a warm welcome to the rest our incoming officers.
It is very rewarding to work with such a dedicated team. A new
column is also being introduced called “Lean in Life.” This column
will highlight how lean principles can be applied not only in our
business lives, but our personal lives as well. Our featured article
illustrates how a physical therapist used lean principles to make an
improvement in ergonomics. As always, questions and/or comments
are always welcome.
Best regards,
Wendy Gomez
More of the Leadership Team
in Milwaukee
“Come lean with us.”
Back row (left to right): Tammy Miller, Robert Damelio, Wendy Gomez,
Chad Vincent, Frank Murdock, Linda Milanowski, Don Smith, Pam Gladwell
Front row: Kiami Rogers, Wayne Paupst, Bob Johnson, Tony Manos
Taking the photo: Kam Gupta