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Lean Six Sigma for Service : How to Use Lean Speed and Six Sigma Quality to Improve Services and Transactions Hardcover – July 15, 2003

ISBN-13: 063-9785382980 ISBN-10: 9780071418218 Edition: 1st
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Lean Six Sigma for Service : How to Use Lean Speed and Six Sigma Quality to Improve Services and Transactions + The Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook: A Quick Reference Guide to 100 Tools for Improving Quality and Speed + Statistics for Six Sigma Made Easy! Revised and Expanded Second Edition
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"How do I apply Lean Six Sigma in my service organization?"

This is a question many executives and managers are asking. With all the emphasis on using Lean Six Sigma in manufacturing environments, the need for a clear methodology for implementing these major quality improvement initiatives in service functions has been mainly overlooked--until now.

Lean Six Sigma for Service provides a service-based approach, explaining how companies of all types can cost-effectively translate manufacturing-oriented Lean Six Sigma tools into the service delivery process. Six Sigma expert Michael George reveals how easy it is to apply relatively simple statistical and Lean tools that will reduce costs and achieve greater speed in service processes.

It's no secret that service functions have a harder time applying Lean and Six Sigma principles. The manufacturing roots of these initiatives have made it unclear how to apply these tools to services; this book effortlessly makes that translation. Here, for the first time, you'll read about how classic Lean tools such as "Pull systems" and "setup reduction" are being used in procurement, call centers, surgical suites, government offices, R&D, and much more. You'll see why services are full of waste--and ripe for the benefits of Lean Six Sigma.

This book provides real-world examples from situations where the critical determinants of quality and speed are the flow of information and the interaction between people. The numerous case studies demonstrate how Lean Six Sigma can be used in service organizations just as effectively as in manufacturing--and with even faster results. You'll discover how to:

  • Integrate Lean and Six Sigma and apply them side by side
  • Become a customer-centered organization
  • Gain control over process complexity
  • Improve response time on signature services
  • Apply value-based management to project selection
  • Clean up your workspace
  • Develop supplier relationships

For guidance in deploying Lean Six Sigma in service organizations, reducing lead times, streamlining processes, and holding down costs, Lean Six Sigma for Services is the most complete, authoritative guide you can own.

"Lockheed Martin recognized that our business support processes have as much opportunity for improvement as our design and build areas. By applying Lean process speed and Six Sigma quality tools to marketing, legal, contract administration, procurement, etc. we have created a competitive advantage... The lessons learned and practical case studies contained in Lean Six Sigma for Service provide a road map which can create great value for customers, employees and shareholders."--Mike Joyce, Vice President, Lockheed Martin Operational Excellence

Deploy Lean Six Sigma in your service organization

Would you like to:

  • Reduce your company's service costs by 30 to 60 percent?
  • Improve service delivery time by 50 percent?
  • Expand capacity by 20 percent--without adding staff?

If you answered yes--and who wouldn't--then this is the book for you. Lean Six Sigma for Services reveals how to bring the miracle of Lean Six Sigma improvement out of manufacturing and into service functions. Michael George describes the basic elements of successful deployment, including insights from corporate leaders who have already "walked the talk" to accelerate your own journey.

Filled with case studies detailing dramatic service improvements in organizations from Lockheed Martin to Stanford University Hospital, this bottom-line book provides executives and managers with the knowledge necessary to blend Lean and Six Sigma to optimize services. You'll see how Lean Six Sigma can cut costs by reducing complexity; how to utilize its tools to provide better quality service; and how you can use shareholder value to drive project selection--without needing an MBA.

About the Author

Michael L. George is founder and President of The George Group, the largest Lean Six Sigma consulting practice in the United States. He wrote the successful and influential Lean Six Sigma, also published by McGraw-Hill.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (July 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780071418218
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071418218
  • ASIN: 0071418210
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

150 of 156 people found the following review helpful By M. Mello on May 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Together with K.Yang's Design for Six Sigma for Services, George's book form a pair of well-meant, but utterly ineffective efforts to translate the six sigma know-how into applicable tools for designing and improving service products and processes.

Both books suffer from exactly the same problem: a very strong manufacturing background, which refuses to stay out of the way, while the authors try to explain 6S concepts and techniques under a services business light.

Examples after examples are taken from pure manufacturing processes - the sort with names like "etching" and "plating".

This is not a matter of bad didactics. It is not a question of learning through manufacturing examples and then easily applying the same concepts and techniques in the services environment. As both authors promptly address at their introductory "why this book" paragraphs, service processes are inherently different from manufacturing processes. Most of them do not even have any physical output. Their tasks or "repetitive units of work" have usually to be described in such high-level, generic ways that render them useless - think of the tasks of a senior associate in a large law firm. That is precisely why the services industry needs so badly a body of knowledge about quality management. George's and Yang's books, unfortunately fall far behind, on this task.
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64 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Leo E. Walsh on September 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have heard Six-Sigma discussed often, but truly thought it was something that applied to manufacturing only. Same with Lean: Kanban, Toyota, JIT. I am a manager in a professional services industry. So, outside of memorizing the theory for exams during B-School, I thought little more of Six-Sigma.

Michael George has opened my eyes. He points out (in a non-technical way) both the differences in Lean and Six Sigma, and how they complement each other. He does this through some description of the Lean and Six-Sigma techniques, and follows up with some revealing case studies, how Lean and Six-Sigma tools can apply to services.

Six-Sigma brings an awful lot to the table. Six-Sigma was the backbone of Jack Welch's eye-popping success at GE, shaving hundreds of millions off of the company's cost structure. A proscribed series of steps, Six-Sigma's customer focused methodology (DMAIC) allows the practitioner, generally referred to as Green or Black Belts, to rationally Define a problem, Measure it, Analyze the causes, make adjustments to Improve the problem, and ultimately Control the corrected process. In each of these steps, Six-Sigma deploys standard tools that help the practitioner ensure that processes are producing standardized outputs well within specs. The result, if implemented correctly, is higher quality output. Increased quality= less quality costs (scrap, customer returns) =increased margins.

Lean is largely managing processes to increase the velocity of them. Increased velocity means less work in process (WIP). Lean means determining which activities are value added, and which are not. Then, you get rid of the bathwater and keep the baby.
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54 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The last time I checked, Amazon and its online partner Borders offer more than 600 different books on the subject of Six Sigma. Presumably hundreds of millions of dollars are spent each year on consulting services, training programs and materials, workshops, seminars, etc. in what continues to be a remarkably active area of business initiative. That said, it should be added that a substantial percentage of Six Sigma or comparable process improvement initiatives fail, many within 60-90 days after launch. (Percentage estimates vary.) By now I have become convinced that the most valuable business books are written in response to especially important questions. For example, Jim Collins' two books: "How to build an organization that will last?" and "How can a good or even mediocre company become great?" Here is the question posed by Michael George: "How to conquer complexity and achieve major cost reductions by using Lean speed and Six Sigma quality to improve services and transactions?"

In essence, Lean Six Sigma for services is a business improvement methodology that maximizes shareholder value by achieving the fastest possible rate of improvement in customer satisfaction, cost, quality, process speed, and invested capital. Presumably George agrees that it would be a fool's errand to read his book (or any other), then charge ahead with implementing all of the recommendations it makes. With all due respect to what can be learned from organizations such as Lockheed Martin, Bank One's National Enterprise Operations group, Stanford Hospital Clinics, the City of Fort Worth, and Caterpillar, Inc.
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