Who Should Read This Book
This book was created by Peter S. Pande, Robert P. Neuman, Roland R. Cavanagh.
There are two editions of this book. In this article, we will be reviewing its first edition, which was published in 2000.
This book offers an in-depth discussion of Six Sigma, an extensive framework for quality management whose aim is to help businesses in the manufacturing industry achieve exceptional quality outputs.
This book aims to introduce Six Sigma to a general audience by first explaining what Six Sigma is, next through its success stories, and finally, by supplying the reader with a guide on whether Six Sigma is applicable for their situations. Finally, the remainder of the book is dedicated to explaining the technical details of those practices.
The book is divided into three major parts:
- Part 1: An Executive Overview of Six Sigma
This first part defines Six Sigma as a strategy for achieving sustainable success. It then moves on to discuss three interesting topics.
The first topic revolves around the key concepts of Six Sigma. The second topic provides a thorough comparison of Six Sigma with Total Quality Management (TQM). And lastly, the third topic tries to answer the question of the applicability of Six Sigma in the Services industry.
I thought the portrayal of Six Sigma as an all-encompassing framework, and not just a quality control methodology – which would have been a more realistic definition, was more of a marketing stunt than a real attempt at framing the subject.
Regarding the comparison of Six Sigma with TQM, my view is as follows: the differences as portrayed in the comparison table were not as stark or clear-cut as the authors intended them to be.
Finally, I gave a lot of thought to Six Sigma as a means for improving software development projects and found that it’s not entirely without merit. I just don’t believe it lived up to the expectations of the authors as a framework that can be applied to the Services industry.
- Part 2: Gearing Up and Adapting Six Sigma to Your Organization
In this section, the authors discuss the organization’s readiness for six Sigma projects.
This involved three areas. The first area is the training of staff and the role of the green and black belts.
The second area discusses the preparation of the leadership for taking on and supporting Six Sigma projects.
The third area is about the scope of Six Sigma projects. This is where the authors try to provide some insights on how and when Six Sigma projects can be applied for maximum success.
- Part 3: Implementing Six Sigma: The Roadmap and Tools
There are seven chapters in Part 3 of this book and are titled as follows:
- Chapter 12: Identifying Core Processes and Key Customers (Roadmap Step 1).
- Chapter 13: Defining Customer Requirements (Roadmap Step 2).
- Chapter 14: Measuring Current Performance (Roadmap Step 3).
- Chapter 15: Six Sigma Process Improvement (Roadmap Step 4).
- Chapter 16: Six Sigma Process Improvement (Roadmap Step 4A).
- Chapter 17: Expanding & Integrating the Six Sigma System (Roadmap Step 5).
- Chapter 18: Advanced Six Sigma Tools: An Overview.
These chapters contain the basic framework of the Six Sigma methods. Ignoring the style and rigour of the content for a moment, these chapters discuss the fundamental practices of Six Sigma methods from a technical perspective.
A significant deviation from the remainder of the book can be found in chapters 14, 16, and 18 which are actually quite informative.
Has the Book Achieved Its Aim?
In my view, the book tried, without much success, to present itself as a thorough reference on Six Sigma. I will come back to this topic in the coming sections. If you are looking for a thoroughly better alternative, we recommend The Toyota Way by Jeffrey Liker.
24 x 16 x 4 cm
From the book itself:
Peter Pande is the founder of Pivotal Resources, Inc. which specializes in consultancy on six sigma implementations. He has worked in the organization improvement business for 15 years.
Robert Neuman is a senior consultant in the Six Sigma field.
Roland Cavanagh is a professional engineer who has an extensive background in improving manufacturing and services business processes.