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Velocity: Combining Lean, Six Sigma and the Theory of Constraints to Achieve Breakthrough Performance - A Business Novel Hardcover – December 29, 2009

49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cox (The Goal) and consultants Jacob and Bergland collaborate for this unholy marriage of business strategy and fiction. Amy Ceolara is distressed when it's announced that her company, Hi-T Components, is becoming a subsidiary of the competitive corporate monster Winner Inc. For the flimsiest of reasons, Amy is named interim president and is responsible for turning the flailing company around through a mix of three quality management and improvement programs: (1) Six Sigma, which calls for reduction in variation and thus the elimination of errors and defects, (2) Lean, which produces a reduction in waste and (3) the Theory of Constraints, which claims that every system is made up of resources that each have varying limits, and the performance of the total system is constrained by whatever resource is the most limited. Though her team initially struggles, victory is eventually hers. Terrible puns (characters are named Peter Winn and Dr. Viktor) and frequent complimentary reference/product placement of the authors' previous book The Goal team up with dry writing to create a truly stultifying experience. (Jan.)
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"AGI's VELOCITY APPROACH enabled us to get control over the uncertainties of our repair and remanufacturing business, leading to significant improvements in our overall performance. The changes we made to the way we manage our business positioned us to not only survive but to thrive in what could be called the worst recession since the Great Depression." -- Carl Coslow, President, Republic Industries International

"As we transformed the entire Naval Aviation logistics system, our leadership team decided that 'AIRSpeed,' our continuous process improvement program, would combine best business practices -- Lean, Six Sigma, and Theory of Constraints. This strategy not only enabled Naval Aviation to reduce turnaround times 40 percent and work in process nearly 50 percent in areas applied, but enhanced the quality of life of our sailors and marines." -- VADM Walter B. Massenburg, USN (Ret.), former Commander, Naval Air Systems Command; Architect and Chief Operating Officer of Naval Aviation Enterprise

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (December 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439158924
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439158920
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #491,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By K. Newcomer on March 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Velocity is similar to the goal as they write about Theory of Constraints, but become more contemporary by combining lean and six sigma. Albeit, the book is mostly about Theory of Constraints as I don't recommend buying this if you just want to learn about six sigma techniques.

The story was a touch dry, but I still found it interested and wanted to see what the ultimate solution would be for the company Hi-T. The main character Amy is likeable and you end up rooting for her. They of course introduce another character similar to Jonah from The Goal who provides clear thought (in this book Tom Dawson). The other managers are split on how they want to fix the problems and embracing the change that is needed.

The book takes you through at a high level some of these disciplines:

Lean - Creating value for customers by way of products and services with minimum waste at optimal speed in perfect balance with market demand.

Six Sigma - Identifying and eliminating defects, errors, and anything quantifiable that is unwanted by customers.

Value Stream - Laying out the stages of a process or a project. Diagramming the flow and the various branches of input.

Takt Time - Time available to work divided by demand - the time available to make the product divided by the units needed.

Theory of Constraints - Holds that every system - business system or manufacturing system - is made up of resources that each have varying limits. Performance of the total system is constrained by whatever resource is most limited or the bottleneck of the system.

While other concepts are discussed in various detail the book explains throughput well. This is the rate at which inventory is converted into completed sales, or cash.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By HD on December 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a university professor I want students to recognize what is being practiced in industry to learn how to improve. Many of the students have had internships where TOC, Lean, or 6 Sigma are used but never all 3.
Velocity will help people get past the assumption that you have to choose between TOC and Lean and 6 Sigma improvement methodologies. It shows a clear way of integrating them for improved bottom line results. Therefore, I am going to require this business novel as part of the logistics course that I teach.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in business management at any level of an organization.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey on July 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an entertaining book, as are most of the TOC business novels. I was pleased to see Jeff Cox return to the scene (so to speak). BTW, Dee was my instructor at AGI in 1998 for Project Management (where I met Dr. Meeks -- Hi Howard!), and I know her to be an exceptional educator. Susan I have met briefly at various times at TOC events and know her to be passionate about the subject.

So, I was pleased to learn of this effort. I read it in about six hours on my iPod touch (Kindle app) within a span of 24 hours. So, when I say it was a page turner, trust me! One con: all kindle books should sell for $9.99 or less IMNSHO, so if I did not have a free gift card, I would not have bought it yet. Also, the diagrams are not readable on the iPhone/iTouch.

If you are excited about TOC, then this is a must own title. As one reviewer pointed out (Vishal), it really lacks any depth for Six Sigma folks. It offers a lot more for the Lean (TPS) crowd. Which describes me, so I might like it better than the slide rule crowd. Would I give this book to a Lean practitioner? Yes. As a conversation starter. It won't do your job of convincing Lean folks to take you seriously, but you should not expect it to. I love how Dr Lisa promotes the opening of a Mafia Offer, in that you should ask the prospect if this data is relevant to the challenges they are facing (paraphrased, of course).

Same for this book. Ask your Lean friends to look it over, and ask them where they agree and where they disagree. This might be the key to getting them to read "The Goal" if they haven't already. Or "Critical Chain." Or, for those in Supply Chain roles, "Necessary But Not Sufficient" (NBNS). Or "Purple Curve Effect" for folks trying to make a difference "right where they are!" But I digress...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brian on September 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a young project manager who has been lucky enough to set up a few production lines in my career. I loved this book! I only put it down once between starting to read and finishing it. Then I last stayed up all night, literally to 4am simulating the penny game on excel (much to my wife's dismay). Velocity has a lot of great tools and methods, but for me the greatest take-away from this book is not to fall into the trap of being a true believer of any system no matter how great it is or appears to be.

I love how Velecity set lean and six sigma as a tool kit to be used in certain circumstances. I only wish that TOC had been framed in the same sense.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By gacleader1 on January 1, 2011
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Velocity is a must read for anyone practicing Lean Six Sigma. As a newly trained Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, I have been very excited about my new found knowledge, only to find that many people from various organizations are less than thrilled with the Lean Six Sigma approach. After reading this book, I now understand what it is that has caused so many problems for companies which endorse these tools, and how these tools are misused.

Rather than attack Lean Six Sigma, the authors instead have written a novel about the implementation of these tools into a business, speaking about the positive and the negative during the growth process. What the book makes clear is that it is not Lean Six Sigma that causes the problem, rather the attempt of a company to create a culture in which Lean Six Sigma is used in every corner of a business, essentially creating islands of excellence within various workgroups. Through reading, we understand that removing waste and variation within different areas of a company does not necessarily affect throughput in a positive way; we must concentrate our efforts where they are most needed, not arbitrarily to every facet of an organization.

Velocity makes it clear that a perfectly balanced system is not only rare, but also not necessarily in the best interest of throughput. Velocity teaches us the importance of having a constraint within a system, rather than the accepted idea of removing constraints. It also teaches us how to optimize the constraint while still maintaining it, to achieve the best possible flow through the process.
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