Vocals, lyrics upstage process improvement

By Michael Hughes

Usually, this is where I regale readers with details about our cover story, in this case, "Fitting ISE into the sharing economy."

In this feature, Vignesh Ramanathan, Naren Gursahaney, Paul Funari, James Wilk, Charles R. Schneider and Vittal Prabhu detail the growth of the sharing economy and how its issues – assignment and scheduling problems, vehicle routing questions, standardization of processes, ergonomics, work methods, product mixes and others – could use a healthy dose of ISE expertise.

As planned, the piece capped off a six-month series of cover stories examining why and how the 21st century has changed realms ISEs are comfortable in and created new areas for the profession to play with: Blockchain in May, artificial intelligence in June, augmented reality in July, automation and lean principles in August, data science and manufacturing in September.

So my job there is done.

But sometimes, editors just want to have fun.

In other words, Prabhu and company just got upstaged – literally – as Daniel Mekis and Ben Sobaje entered stage right. Mekis' black belt knowledge paired with Sobaje's home studio expertise birthed "The DMAIC Song." Audiophilic process improvement specialists caught wind of the tune and shared it on social media, including IISE's LinkedIn page.

More than 14,000 YouTube views later, Mekis and Sobaje were inspired to hit the studio again. Their second tune, "The TIMWOOD Song," explained the seven deadly wastes of lean.

Call them the Continuous Improvement Crooners.

Although they fill their song lyrics with serious reminders about structured approaches to solving business problems, the California choristers remind us that life, at some points, should be filled with laughter. To read about their songwriting shenanigans and find the tunes, click here.

So in a world filled with shrinking lead-times and a growing demand for quality goods and services at lower costs, remember: Take a break, watch a video and smile.

More melodies could be coming, as the only resource constraint for the modern day minstrels seems to be creativity, which they have in abundance.

Michael Hughes is managing editor of IISE. Reach him at mhughes@iise.org or (770) 349-1110.

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