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The summer is a great season for lounging around with a good book or a great magazine, and below, a longtime IISE member shares his insights from doing just that with our June issue. 


June issue offers food for patio reading

When ISE magazine arrives, I grab it and retire to my favorite reading room on the patio.

For the June issue's case study, "Kaizen in the Greenhouse," well, a friend owns a family one that is nearing 100 years old. Greenhouses are more labor intensive and more of a hobby than a business. Most in the United States are mom and pop operations.

Still, I am not surprised at the documented savings. Many ISEs think of manufacturing when other areas offer 10 times the number of opportunities. June's Research excerpt "Predicting the failure time of equipment using big sensor data" discussed equipment sensors. I flew jets for 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, including a combat tour in Vietnam. I remember the first stage of engine sensors. It was simply a probe in the engine oil that detected metal filings in the oil. When the filings reached a certain level, a light on the cockpit came on. The pilot should land immediately.

Later on the system became more sophisticated. Maintenance drew oil samples on a scheduled basis and sent them to a lab. Because different metals are used in different parts of the engine, they could determine if the metal was from a specific part of the engine. I never had an engine failure during my flying career.

Richard J. Schonberger's "With Machinery Purchases, Small Can Be Beautiful" was a great article. The large machine cannot adjust to varying demands. You have to run it for one part or 100.

"Can Lean Six Sigma Trump an MBA?" Well, on Six Sigma vs. an MBA, I was on the committee that selected the course content for a university MBA program. It is difficult to achieve the correct mix for a two-year program. There is no one MBA program available that is superior to the rest. Students need to shop for the one that contains the right course mix for their career, paying attention to how the program is presented while making sure it creates minimum debt.

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