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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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Quality Beyond Six Sigma
Basu, R. and Wright, J.N. Butterworth-Heinemann2003188 pagesISBN: 0-7506-5561-5£24.99,paperback
The authors of this book, Ron and Nevan, are both associate faculties at Henley Management College, and both have experience in multinational companies. Ron Basu is Director of Performance Excellence Limited and Intec (UK) Ltd., and Nevan is a principal lecturer in management with the Auckland University of Technology. In this introductory book, on Six Sigma, they show how the principles and practices of this method successfully used by large companies can be adapted to fit the needs of any organization. They term their approach "Fit Sigma" to differentiate it from the rest.
The book comprises nine chapters and includes a list of references and a six-page glossary at the end of the book. The first half of the book is devoted to introducing the reader to the related concepts of Six Sigma and lean enterprise and the second half for explaining the methodology and implementation of Fit Sigma™ . In chapter one, the authors briefly explain why this new approach Fit Sigma™ . They trace the evolution of Fit Sigma from the advent of industrial engineering through total quality management (TQM), Six Sigma, Lean Sigma, and Fit Sigma. They emphasize that Fit Sigma, a management philosophy and an improvement tool, helps to sustain the benefits accrued from implementing Six Sigma and Lean Sigma.
A brief history of the quality movement is given in chapter two. W.E. Deming's 14 points of quality are listed and the works of Dr. Joseph M. Juran, Armand V. Feigenbaum and Phil Crosby are briefly mentioned. However, John Oakland's work gets a better treatment. It is surprising to note that the coverage of ISO 9000 is based on the information that is dated, as no reference is made to the 2000 revision.
In chapter three, entitled "The enigma of Six Sigma", they discuss the essence of Six Sigma; what it is and what it is not, why implement Six Sigma, and the challenges faced in implementing it. The basic calculations are explained in simple terms. In chapter four, three brief case studies are provided outlining the organization's background, the programs, key benefits accrued and lessons learnt. The companies involved are General Electric, The Dow Chemical Company and Seagate Technology. In chapter five, the attention is turned to the concept of lean enterprise, its impact on Six Sigma, and the relation between the two. It is shown how the variation control of Six Sigma can be combined with the waste control of lean enterprise to form Lean Sigma.
In chapter six, the authors explain with the aid of examples why Six Sigma efforts have failed to achieve and sustain results expected. Then they show how these efforts can be combined with balanced scorecard measures and quality award checklist to form a holistic approach of self-analysis covering all aspects of the business. In chapter seven, attention is focussed on explaining how it can be applied to service organizations, where the needs of customers can be more diverse than in manufacturing organizations. It is emphasized that it is not enough to satisfy customers but it must be affordable to the organization and it must also be consistent and sustainable. In chapter nine, the authors provide brief guidelines for implementing Fit Sigma™ in nine steps that can be customized to the specific needs of any organization.
The book is a very good introduction to the basics of Six Sigma and gives an overview of practical considerations required to make its introduction work by making it fit for the purpose by taking into account the organization's situation.
K. NarasimhanLearning and Teaching Fellow, Bolton Institute, UK
Rath and Strong's Six Sigma Leadership
Bertels, T. (Ed.) John Wiley2003566 pagesISBN: 0-471-25124-0£59.50,hardback Handbook
In pursuit of achieving the twin objectives of improving customer satisfaction and increasing process efficiency, a number of organizations have turned to implementing Six Sigma methodology. Single authors wrote some of the books reviewed recently on this subject, in this journal. This book is different in that 30 authors (24 from AON Management Consulting and six other specialists) have contributed to this book, which comprises 25 chapters and three appendices. Though the chapters are not grouped into parts, the reviewer has grouped them together in the following paragraphs based on the structure followed by the editor in the introduction to the book.
In the first two chapters of this book the historical context, and the why of Six Sigma (SS) are briefly covered. How SS is used in different manufacturing and service industries are discussed in chapter three, and in the following chapter Thomas Bertels, the editor of this book, outlines the various elements of the infrastructure required and defines the various roles needed for getting SS started and organized.
Chapter five is aimed at the chief executives and senior managers who are necessary to make SS work; and deals with non-delegable issues connected with defining the focus and determining the extent of change desired. In chapter six, it is shown how a combination of lean, a proven method to eliminate waste, and SS can be more effective than either one of them. Chapter seven deals with the topic of bringing together large numbers of people (termed Work-Out by General Electric of America) to improve business performance and to capture collective ideas, energy and wisdoms creatively and translate them into action rapidly. In chapter eight, it is emphasized that SS has to be tailored to each organization and a brief explanation of cultural assumptions of SS are provided. A tool (AON's organization print) for assessing the readiness for change of an organization is mentioned, but no details are given. In chapter nine, tools (including the Kano model of quality) for developing an understanding of customer needs and wants (even hidden ones) and conducting customer loyalty analysis are very briefly covered.
In the next four chapters is provided an overview of the tools, methods, approaches, benefits and risks associated with various elements of SS. The rigorous five-phased data-driven method of DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, and control) is briefly explained in chapter ten. Design for SS is the topic of chapter 11 in which the conceptual and practical underpinnings are discussed briefly and then the five step process – define, measure, analyze, design, and validate – are described. Why and how to create process management, an essential mechanism for linking organizational goals specific process capabilities, is explained in the following chapter. Chapter 13 introduces the concept of balanced scorecard and business dashboard that provides a visual display of process performance and helps identify performance gaps. An overview of typical concerns and guidelines to overcome them are presented in a self-explanatory table.
The next six chapters deal with issues involved in preparing for and launching SS. In chapter 14, enrolling the leadership, establishing minimum requirements and selecting the right external consultant, without whose help it is difficult to launch the SS, are dealt with. Decisions required prior to launching and ways of showing visible commitment to SS are briefly covered in the following chapter. Chapter 16 very briefly covers cross-cultural aspects that need to be taken into account to ensure a successful launch. Stabilizing, extending, and integrating SS effort to ensure its continuity and not lose its luster after a few months of launching is covered in the following chapter. Chapter 18 is a very short one in which some metrics are listed for measuring the effectiveness of SS deployment. The key aspect of change management, the soft side of SS, the six principles that the consultants have found to be useful, and six common communication pitfalls are covered in some depth in chapter 19.
The next five chapters cover issues involved in executing projects: selecting black belts and projects that matter; conducting reviews to ensure effective and timely completion of projects; extending the knowledge gained to other projects; and developing a financial model to capture both hard and soft savings.
How SS can help develop leadership talent forms the topic of the concluding chapter.
The basic SS concepts of variability, data types, and SS quality are very briefly covered in appendix A (nine pages), In appendix B, it is shown how Textured Jersey, UK, a small company with a turnover of £18 million, has benefited from the application of SS. In appendix C (32 pages) an abridged case study is included to give a feel of the rigor involved in a design for Six Sigma (which was covered in chapter 11) project. In this case study two new concepts and techniques (TRIZ analysis and Pugh matrix for short-listing concepts for review) not covered earlier are also briefly covered. TRIZ is a Russian acronym for theory of inventive problem solving.
There are 14 interviews with business leaders including CEOs, such as Robert W. Galvin of Motorola, who have implemented SS in their organizations. These interviews give an idea how some companies have used SS to profitably satisfy their customers.
K. NarasimhanLearning and Teaching Fellow, Bolton Institute, UK
The profit zone: how strategic business designs will lead you to tomorrow's profits
Slywotzky, A.J., Morrison, D.J. and Andelman, B.Times Business1999ISBN: 0812929004$25.00Book
Analyses successful companies' business designs and draws general conclusions about profitability. Makes a compelling and cogent argument that managers should design profitability models, and shows how this can be done. Targets chief executives and general managers at all levels, including brand managers, who are concerned with the profitability of the assets in their care. Suggests new ways to manage brands, both singly and in portfolios. Shows what is wrong with traditional approaches to profit: market share, cost cutting, operational efficiency and product orientation. Substitutes "customer-centric thinking" that orients a firm around the needs of its customers (and potential customers). Furnishes 12 case studies describing companies and how they achieve superior profits. Prompts the reader to analyze his or her own business and develop a new profit model along the lines suggested. Contains plenty of tables and exhibits documenting the profitability of the chosen companies, while an index helps readers to find specific topics.
The ultimate book of business thinking: harnessing the power of the world's greatest business ideas
Dearlove, D. Capstone2001ISBN: 184112060X£12.99Book
Forms a surprisingly useful book offering a good introduction to a range of ideas and concepts that all claim to offer some lasting business benefit. Starts with action learning and moves through to the virtual organization. Provides an overview and assesses credibility in terms of practical application.