A communicator’s primer on Six Sigma

Understanding what it is and how—and when—to best promote it.

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More often than not, I’ll come across limp root vegetables, herbs well past their prime, citrus in the first bloom of decay, and a produce manager who looks as though he could not give two shiitakes.

On one occasion, I led him to the scene of the slime and pointed out bags of moldy onions. He informed me he’d sort through them, remove the rotting ones and reseal the bags. When I asked him if he felt those onions would be good enough to serve to his own family, I received a glare in response. This from a store chain that guarantees freshness.

Now, if that supermarket’s management had subscribed to Six Sigma, my experiences there would be fundamentally different. I would find only prime stock, so I’d have no need to confront a grouchy green grocer. Six Sigma would have helped management identify the root causes of why suspect produce was on display.

Was the problem external, internal or a bit of both? Were deliveries coming in on time? What was the condition of the loads coming off the trucks? Was existing stock being rotated with the new? Or was stock simply not being put out quickly enough?

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