Monday, June 4, 2007

Design for Six Sigma Crispy Crust

Just before I left work I was involved in a project that I really liked. It involved doing a lot of thoughtful preparation and then using a statistical tool to set up and analyze a series of experiments. But the best thing of all was that after taking the training and then completing your first project you were awarded a "green belt" certification. A rare dash of obscurity, borrowing martial arts promotions for an engineering skill. But since I left before completing the project, I didn't get that green belt.

Flash forward to now and I have dragged out our bread machine, an impulse purchase from the late 90's when these were all the rage. We were out of bread and I didn't feel like going to the store, and thought I would try this thing out. Well I pull out the instruction manual (I always read instruction manuals, I just do) and lo and behold I think that they have done a DFSS project to develop the bread recipe. I just know it. Look:

The manual even makes references such as "When developing these bread machine recipes, hundreds of loaves of bread were baked..." and "Usually there are several ways to improve baking results. We recommend you make adjustments one at a time and keep track to know what changes were made to create your perfect loaf."

I can exactly envision what the House of Quality and P-Diagram would look like. (Please excuse the jargon, but I got excited)

Then, in a perfect example of all things coming together, I get a comment on my Cardamom for Life posting from Danielle (who just might be part Scandinavian) suggesting that I use cardamom in making bread. So I ran a few experiments from the matrix and have come up with a honey-wheat-cardamom bread that I think is quite good.

Mmm! Fresh homemade bread. You know you want some. So now I have another one of my great ideas. Since you want bread and I want to know who is reading my blog, I am going to have a CONTEST. I was going to have it be prediction of the signal to response curve, but since I don't want to bake that many loaves of bread, I'll simplify. I will mail (or possibly deliver) a delicious fresh-out-of-the-machine loaf of Cardamom Honey Wheat bread to a lucky winner randomly chosen from whoever leaves a comment on this posting. It could be you! Your comment can say anything, such as breadmaking tips, your opinion of the blog, or whether you think I should go back to work. If you want to be anonymous (such as if you are at work) just make up a fake name (Lynn and Alisa you could resurrect your old "bar" names) and email me with your true identity in case you win.

A couple technical notes on leaving a comment: if you are not already signed in to blogger, make sure you click on the button next to anonymous before you hit the "publish" bar. Otherwise it erases what you wrote. Also, if there are posts newer than this one, you can still put a comment here. I'll pick the winner in about a week.


Tangles said...

Well I must say you have a good topic to write about, I mean everyone has a bread maker, ours is in the shed somewhere.
I just started a blog this morning on how we can slow those tele marketers down. Well I am just getting used to blogging, you have to start somewhere.....
How long did you have to bake your loaf for..... atlaest I get exercise when I work to the shop to get bread.

Anonymous said...

Hey - I'm a Green Belt (well, at least I've been TECHNICALLY certified as a Green Belt, but the process we were working on to improve got lost in the "restructuring", a.k.a. outsourcing, so, I never REALLY got my Green Belt, because we didn't acutally complete our process improvement project. But you better believe it says on my resume that I've been technically certified. (You know I read your post! I comment all the time!)


Anonymous said...

PS- I can't say that six sigma tools excite me like they do you. It was kind of a mandatory training thin. Uhhh - since I commented twice, do I get two entries into the contest?


Anonymous said...

Hi Mindy~
I read all the time!! I am going to try to leave a comment again!
The bread sounds YUMMY !!

Anonymous said...

YAY ! It worked !


Anonymous said...

Hi Mindy,
I love your blog! I read it almost daily, but this is the first time I have left a comment.
Maybe I should dig my bread maker out of the appliance graveyard and try making some bread.


P.S. I am a certified Green Belt - it's not all that exciting.

Anonymous said...

I too have that Breadmaker in a cabinet, rarely if ever it so my au pairs could make "good bread". You have inspired me to pull it out...and being a self-proclaimed Black Belt(ha-ha), I will develop my own Six Sigma project, I think together we can formulate for the perfect loaf.

I also think that somethings in our industry never depart and it just in incorporated into our daily life outside of the "work environment".

I vote "No" for you to return to work. You obviously keep your brain active thinking up this stuff.

Thanks for filling me in on how to leave messages. Of course my access for your "blog" comes up in now I have to manipulate the correct buttons to it Veroffentlichen or Vorschau...humm, I'll push one and go from there.

Anonymous said...

That last one was from Lynn by the way...can't even sign my name anonymously....


MomForThree said...

Please no bar names!!!
They had bar names, why didn't I get one...
Oh yeah because I didn't go to the bar with them (for good reason!) I have a memory of Pam in a closet.
Anyway, going back to work does not necessarily mean going back to the same job or company you left. Perhaps you are destined for greater things like creating some product we didn't know we needed.

Aunt Kathy said...

I haven't gotten into breadmaking but my friend Brenda makes an OUTSTANDING pizza crust, using her breadmaker. Keep up the experiments, Mindy. And do plan to pass on your recipes!

Anonymous said...

Three words (re: contest)
"Payback for cookies" Aunt Chris

Anonymous said...

I am also "six sigma green belt certified." I never got a belt, just a piece of paper. I'd rather have a new green belt which would be more useful to me than that training. In even more impressive corporate jargon I'm married to a "six sigma master black belt!" I think I should win the loaf of bread because I am the mother of your neice and nephew that love you very much and who have never eaten home made bread. Please don't go back to work as your homemade bread deprived niece and nephew also want to come over a lot this summer. Mary Beth

Anonymous said...

As the husband of the Breadmaker, I realize that I'm exempt from winning the contest, but I wanted to post that the Cardamom Honey Wheat bread is very good. So keep posting - and the more bribing/guilt inducing comments you include should increase your chances of winning, I would think.


kidcurry said...

When you've moved pass the bread machine . . .and you will, invite me over to teach you the best biscuit recipe on the planet. The bread machine is just a stepping stone. Much bigger and better things are to come.


Anonymous said...

I must admit that it is a co-worker who keeps me posted on your blog. I like the pink background, but it shouts "non-work-related" surfing! The recipe with cardamom that I made is also a wheat bread. I'm hungry thinking of that beautiful photograph of your loaf of bread!

Anonymous said...

Now I know why you asked what my bar name was!!!!

And this time all the dates came down in a scroll for some reason! I'm glad you got Jeffrey's party off.....thinking of you hopefully not in the rain as it came across that day. HAPPY B'DAY JEFFREY!!

When is that adult tiki party???


Anonymous said...

I don't have a bread maker; I usually resort to beer bread. I do have a karaoke bar name, though. Anyway, I'm just commenting because if I win, we can finally get together.

Amy M.

(Since the last time I did this, Jonathon apparently set up his own Blogger name. I turned into my mom; I know nothing about how to do this stuff but of course, my kid does!)