on June 16, 2000
Statistical tools and methodologies used by Six Sigma are not new but generally have been reserved for Quality and Engineering functions. My training and experience with Six Sigma crossed paths with employees across all departments - Buyers, Supervisors, floor employees, Human Resources, Finance, as well as Quality and Engineering personnel.
What makes "Implementing Six Sigma" significant is you do not have to be an expert in statistics or even in the Quality field to understand and implement the tools of Six Sigma. Forrest details and further defines the tools in an easy to read format, plenty of exercises and examples, and a thorough appendix. I didn't discover this book until recently and have since replaced over a dozen reference books.
Depending on the problem at hand, tool usage varies and not all are applicable (to one's project) or taught in training. I had excellent Black Belt instructors but Forrest's book would have come in handy during my training and would have been an invaluable resource when facilitating Green Belt training. Recommended for those new, and not so new, to Six Sigma.
on October 18, 1999
At 700+ pages, this is the equivalant of a college level text book on applying Six Sigma methods. I suggest it be used as a reference guide in conjunction with a formal six sigma training program, (The author includes this book in his Six Sigma training seminars) as it is an excellent tools and reference book. The book also gives a good introduction and walk through on how a six sigma program is typically implemented. The appendix contains an excellent glossary of six sigma terms and symbols.
The only criticism I have is that some of the explanations on relatively simple concepts (Cause & Effect diagrams, FMEA, etc.) are a little more verbose than they need to be.
on April 20, 2008
Six sigma is faddish and overhyped. However the use of six sigma ideas along with many other useful statistical methods for development of high quality products has had a positive influence on many manufacturing systems in the US and elsewhere. This falls under the umbrella of Total Quality Management which is a system that encourage engineers to learn and impliment statistical quality control techniques, design of experiments, statistical process control and other things in the black belt training program. Six sigma is an important part of that. This book is a very thick and detailed text on the use of six sigma methods to produce very high quality systems. Although it is a long text, it cuts through the smokescreens and hype to get to heart of the matter. I recommend either edition as a great reference text and learning tool.
I first read this book when it was published (1999) and recently re-read it in combination with Managing Six Sigma which Breyfogle co-authored with Cupello and Meadows. At the outset, I should explain that my experience with the design, launch, and implementation of a Six Sigma program is limited. Usually I am retained to assist in non-technical areas such as internal and external communications. However, having read almost all of what Deming wrote as well as several other books about his work, and then having direct association with countless technicians involved in various stages of a Six Sigma program, I feel semi-qualified to discuss both of Breyfogle's books. In fact, he may well have written them for non-technicians such as I. They are VERY well-organized. Also, at no time throughout the reading of either book did my eyes glaze over because of charts, maps, statistics, jargon, etc. So I commend Breyfogle (as well as the co-authors of Managing Six Sigma) for creating about as much access as is reasonably possible to this immensely complicated and (yes) daunting, albeit intriguing subject.
In the foreword, Frank Shines, Jr. suggests that Breyfogle's Smarter Six Sigma Solutions (let's call it S4) approach can effectively be applied in areas such as these: organizational strategy and vision, communications and education strategy, corporate culture and history, business economics and project prioritization, organizational and individual skills and competencies, and finally, the pace and degree at which the organization can assimilate change. Paul Tobias (in the Foreword) then suggests that "the key to business success is doing the right thing faster and better and more efficiently that your competition." For S4, the focus is always on the practical: "What are the right Goals and how do you go about achieving them?" Two excellent questions which suggest two others: "Are these still the right goals? How do we know?" Tobias provides an incomplete but nonetheless impressive list of what this book also provides: explanations of basic techniques such as Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) and Quality Function Deployment (QFD), and process flowcharting as well as an abundance of powerful statistical techniques and concepts such as exploratory data analysis (graphical techniques), analysis of variance, and measurement capability analysis (gauge studies). Then in another Foreword, Bill Wiggenhorn briefly reviews the evolution of Six Sigma "story" from its origin at Motorola, suggesting that Breyfogle's S4 consolidates not only the traditional Six Sigma process measurements and improvement tools, but also many other useful methodologies into one easy to understand text. [As a hand puppet who appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on television years ago once said, "Easy for you...difficult for me."] The sections entitled "Smarter Six Sigma Solutions Assessments", at the end of many chapters, offer additional insight into the selection of the best approach for a given situation."
Then, in a long-awaited Preface by the author, Breyfogle identifies needs which S4 can fulfill and then explains how his book is organized. He claims that this "guide" has a "keep-it-simple" (KIS) objective to which a hand puppet may refute. To his credit, Breyfogle goes to great length to explain not only his purposes and objectives but also how and serves and achieves them. Finally the text itself. Here are the five Parts:
S4 Deployment Strategy Phase
S4 Measurement Phase
S4 Analysis Phase
S4 Improvement Phase
S4 Control Phase
Then Breyfogle provides four appendices: Equations for Distribution, Descriptive Information, DOE Supplement, and Reference Tables followed by a List of Symbols, Glossary, and References.
I think this book will probably be most helpful to executive-level managers in larger organizations (including non-profits) but I presume to suggest that many (if not most) CEOs of those organizations will have neither the time nor the inclination to absorb and digest all of its contents. (I could be wrong about that.) They and many of their executive-level managers may find Managing Six Sigma more accessible. In addition, I think most owners/CEOs of small-to-midsize companies can also derive substantial benefit from this book if they share Paul Tobias's opinion (quoted earlier) that the key to success in business is "doing the right thing faster and better and more efficiently that your competition." With this book, Breyfogle has created (in effect) for all organizations (regardless of size or nature) an encyclopedia of Six Sigma principles and practices, explained and coordinated within his Smarter Six Sigma Solutions Program®.
The Six Sigma methodology for using statistical methods to drive continuous improvement is fairly simple in concept, but is burdened by the onerous and obscure research necessary to understand the toolkit and know which tool to apply when. At GE, Six Sigma training entails two full weeks of study, two huge binders of reference material, then the completion of at least two projects under the watchful eyes of the Six Sigma Black Belt community. Even after all this, true comprehension remains elusive.
Fortunately, "Implementing Six Sigma" serves as a handy reference work to help guide us through the tangled thickets of Six Sigma. Aside from providing numerous examples of how and when to use each of the tools in the Six Sigma toolkit, the work also frankly discusses why the methodology succeeds or fails (a lot of which has to do with the way it is implemented), and gives a good general overview of the principles behind the methodology.
The one negative about the work is the lack of a comprehensive summary. There is a smorgasbord of tools to use; when on earth is someone going to produce a handy 2-page guide to what to use when? The book is also sadly a bit light on Design for Six Sigma principles; let's face it---quality gurus tend to focus exclusively on product improvement and not on business process improvement, yet the driving force behind hidden factory costs is the inefficiency of business processes themselves. This is a glaring omission in any work which calls itself comprehensive in scope.
Still, this is a reference work which belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in Six Sigma or in the improvement of manufacturing processes. Despite the hefty price tag, it truly is the best single-volume reference to Six Sigma available.
on December 20, 1999
This book is a very good overview of Six Sigma. It contains 43 Chapters of material and has a good set of Appendixes. A word of warning, this book is a cross between reference and text book. If you do not have a small working relation with statistics you could get lost. Also there are examples of computer outputs that are a bit confusing (e.g. in Chapter 12 there is an example of a computer print out of Analysis of Variance(ANOVA), but ANOVA is not covered until Chapter 24). Overall this is a good refernce book but be aware the problems at the end of the chapter do NOT have the answers in the back of the book
on April 30, 2000
I am with the General Electric Company. We at GE have made Six Sigma part of our culture and a way of doing business. I am GE Six Sigma Black Belt Trained, Green Belt certified and am adjunct assistant professor of mathematics at Quinnipiac College (Hamden, CT) teaching probability & statistics. I have found the book "Implementing Six Sigma: Smarter Solutions Using Statistical Methods" to be the best collection in one place that I have ever seen on Six Sigma since my involvement with it over the past four years. It is easy to read/understand, etc., and I recommend businesses, individuals, statistician, college professors, professional groups, etc., get a copy of the book. Also, if you are already a six sigma company or thinking about becoming one and/or any MB, BB, GB, etc., I recommend that you get a copy of this book. It is a winner! winner!
on July 3, 2003
This book is my favorite Six Sigma reference and it should have a wide based appeal. Six Sigma novices who are looking for information on where to begin will appreciate the clear and precise information on what Six Sigma is and how it will help their organization. BB's and MBB's will appreciate it as a well organized, well written reference guide with a terrific road map for project management and program implementation. I have a huge collection of Six Sigma books; but once I got a copy of this book I stopped recommending any others to people who ask me... this is the only book I tell them to go buy. It's the only book I have that covers ALL aspects of becoming Six Sigma. A lot of books are happy to explain what the concept is or what the results of Six Sigma have generated for companies but this is the only one that gives you what you need to begin your own program. What I REALLY like is that it does not limit itself to strictly manufacturing environments. It has a really good treatment of service environments and other places where it might seem difficult to apply Six Sigma principles. If you only buy one book about Six Sigma you'd be crazy not to make this one your choice.
on September 13, 1999
Forrest Breyfogle's new text, "Implementing Six Sigma", provides clear and well-defined examples, case studies and guidelines for the justification, design and "smarter" implementation of Six Sigma methodologies in any organization. The practical examples of "Smarter Solutions Using Statistical Methods" show how organizations can enhance the bottom-line benefits of Six Sigma implementation through the innovative application of proven concepts. Breyfogle's real world experience in assisting clients like IBM, Motorola and Dell is evident on every page.
The unique value of the book is in it's multi-tiered approach to each of these issues. Concepts are introduced, discussed and documented in several levels of detail, each suitable to a different reader, from the non-technical senior executive, through the implementing functional manager, to the working quality engineer.
An excellent glossary and extensive reference tables make this book a valuable addition to any professional reference library. Pragmatic "how to" guidelines make it an easy to follow roadmap for successful Six Sigma implementation.
on February 24, 2000
For those of you that have been in the quality field for some time, you will find nothing new. The nice thing about this book is it summarizes all the tools you will need to use in Six Sigma and normal quality problem solving methodologies. The explanations are well written and to the point. This is the only book I have found that explains the methodology, and then explains the tools you need. I only wish I had this book as a reference when I took my Certified Quality Engineering Exam. This subject is not for the faint at heart, but then again, is anything that's worthwhile?