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I’ve been assigned a project to help minimize the number of damaged products that leave the warehouse and get sent for delivery (eventually to be returned). What is your suggestion on how I should strategize and communicate to my manager?

I am a new Green Belt student who started in April 2017. I am enjoying the Introduction selection on the training. I currently work for a manufacturing company in the warehouse as a dock coordinator and I’m hoping to become a supervisor very soon. I mentioned to my supervisor that I have started the Lean Six Sigma training course and he shared this with the warehouse manager. Just last week he asked me to help him with ideas on how to get a process under control that’s been spiraling out of control from the time I got hired. I have come to a conclusion – but have not mention it to him or my supervisor yet – that I notice the moral is down in the place and no one listen to the supervisors anymore because they give everyone the “I do not care attitude” and they are quick to write up an employee if they feel they should. Now the problem that the manager asked me to help with has to do with product damage prior to leaving the warehouse and those products that slip by and end up on the delivery trucks are returned. This has been going on now for the four years that I have been there. What is your suggestion on what I should try to do or say to my supervisor or manager?

Thanks so much for sharing your situation and reaching out for some advice. By your description there’s a lot going on in the work place that concerns you and you’re dealing with some cultural norms that might inhibit problem solving. That said, you seem to have a perfect opportunity to apply your Lean Six Sigma training to a critical work problem and you have leadership support. That’s great news!

Here are some tips to help you on your way:

Stay in touch and let us know how it goes. Good luck!

Elisabeth Swan

Elisabeth is a Managing Partner at, the co-author of The Problem-Solver’s Toolkit and co-host of the Just-in-Time Cafe. For over 25 years, she's helped leading organizations like Amazon, Charles Schwab and Starwood Hotels & Resorts build problem-solving muscles with Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.