Authors: RONALD D. SNEE and ROGER W. HOERL
Leading Six Sigma is a hardbound book, comprised of 8 chapters, a question and answer section addressing planning deployment issues, and a supplemental appendix, providing a deployment plan example. It is two-hundred and seventy-nine pages in length.
As the title suggests, this book is designed to initiate the reader, likely to be corporate executives, to the Six Sigma planning process, plan refinement, likely problems, and probable solutions. It is an ideal leadership primer for those interested in replicating “successful” approaches and, therefore, likely to merit review by executives and others seeking guidance on plan implementation, follow-through, and those variables associated with favorable (and unfavorable) results.
The book contains illustrative examples (e.g., General Electric (GE)). GE and other very successful firms have effectively engaged in the application of other novel and, ultimately, profit-maximizing techniques (e.g., total quality management (TQM), balanced scorecard (BSc) and benchmarking, and activity-based costing (ABC)). However, smaller firms (e.g., W.R. Grace) are also highlighted in the case studies presented by the authors.
This is not a detailed or comprehensive reference guide on Six Sigma, but more akin to a broad brush stroke, and recommended for those being introduced to the topic or interested in the considerations and strategic approach to its implementation. With this in mind, the book is self-contained. Those with an undergraduate business degree (or higher) will see similarities between components of the book’s content and their core education (e.g., cost accounting or economics). The same might be said of those with MBAs with non-business undergraduate degrees.
The roles of the Six Sigma team members are clearly defined for project Champions, Black Belts and Master Black Belts (pp. 87-88). Green Belt team members are also discussed. The book contains a very helpful deployment questions and answers section in the last chapter, where the authors have done a fine job of anticipating issues and questions likely to arise from a first reading by the Six Sigma neophyte.
As one might expect, this book is to be read, reread and reread, again. At a retail price of less than $30, the content represents both indoctrination and permanent reference book value. The book is not quantitatively self-contained with respect to specific applications of arithmetic or statistical techniques, and these matters should not be contained in a book characterized as a leadership primer.
The Six Sigma methodology, as is the case in so many contemporary continuous improvement techniques, is non-linear. The method, therefore, represents a paradigm shift that will make many uncomfortable, at least in the short-term. The authors have significant statistics background and it should be noted that statisticians, unlike others in the general public, are trained to learn and think multi-dimensionally. With this in mind, they have done a fine job of organizing the material for painless digestion by the more-linear thinking reader.
The book is targeted for and likely to be particularly useful to those involved in guiding others to successful outcomes and sharing in the long-term benefits enjoyed by firms successfully launching and applying the technique. For those interested in learning (and, eventually, mastering) Six Sigma, I would not hesitate to recommend this as an appropriate selection for the first in a series of books on the topic.
The above review was contributed by: Anthony (A.J.) Cataldo II. Dr. Cataldo holds a PhD from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University , MAc ( University of Arizona) unofficial minor in Marketing , BSBA (University of Arizona). He is a Certified Management Accountant and a Certified Public Accountant
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