The Six Sigma Way: How GE, Motorola, and Other Top Companies are Honing Their Performance

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This title is an implementation blueprint for Six Sigma! ""The Six Sigma Way" demystifies Six Sigma with a real-world 'how-to 'guide. A good investment for any business planning to launch Six Sigma." - John Biedry, VP Q...
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This title is an implementation blueprint for Six Sigma! ""The Six Sigma Way" demystifies Six Sigma with a real-world 'how-to 'guide. A good investment for any business planning to launch Six Sigma." - John Biedry, VP Quality and Compliance, Sears Home Services. Cost reduction ...productivity improvement ...customer retention ...these are the promises of the Six Sigma quality management system. "The Six Sigma Way" reveals how GE, Motorola, and numerous other companies are successfully using Six Sigma to fine-tune products and processes, improve performance, and increase profits. Now you can read the roadmap for implementing Six Sigma in your manufacturing or service organization.The authors - who have worked with some of the most visible Six Sigma companies including GE - provide step-by-step guidance and practical implementation guidelines. Whether your goal is to fix a process problem or implement Six Sigma company-wide, "The Six Sigma Way" will help you develop an approach customized for your company's needs and the challenges of the twenty-first century business environment. "The Six Sigma Way": addresses the challenges and politics of launching, leading, and training people for Six Sigma; focuses on implementing the major steps and quality improvement tools in the Six Sigma system; and features insights, comments, and examples from business leaders and managers using Six Sigma in their organizations.


Product Details

Hardcover: 448 pages


    Editorial Reviews Review

    Six Sigma is a data-driven management system with near-perfect-performance objectives that has been employed to acclaim at leading corporations like General Electric. Its name is derived from the eye-catching statistical target of operating with no more than 3.4 defects per one million chances, but Peter Pande, Robert Neuman, and Roland Cavanagh--associates in a firm providing Six Sigma implementation, training, and management services--contend its principles can be applied in businesses of all types to routinely reduce costs, improve productivity, increase market share, and achieve other positive results. The Six Sigma Way is their comprehensive self-help guide to adapting and using the system under various conditions. Its first two parts cover fundamentals and provide specific suggestions for aligning the process with individual needs and goals. (These include sections on balancing potential costs and benefits, clarifying objectives, and defining time frames.) The final part, which accounts for more than half the book, focuses on implementation through a detailed yet flexible five-step "road map" tied to a company's core processes, key customers, current performance, "high-potential improvement opportunities," and future practices. While the procedure is quite complex, diligent managers should be able to bring at least basic components to their organization with the tools and techniques provided. --Howard Rothman


    The Six Sigma Way is the second book this year looking at the hot new quality initiative. (Toronto Globe & Mail 2000-07-06)

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    191 of 197 people found the following review helpfulBy Amazon Customer on August 9, 2000
    Format: Hardcover
    I am a former GE Capital Black Belt and now Master Black Belt with experience at various companies in the process of implementing Six-Sigma Quality initiatives. I can tell you that I consider "The Six Sigma Way" by Pande et al as required reading for anyone who is even considering implementing or participating in a Quality program of this type. Whether you are an aspiring Black Belt or a seasoned member of the Senior Leadership Team, you'll find a lot of good ideas and advice on proactive Quality in this book.
    "The Six Sigma Way" introduces these state-of-the-art tools and concepts in plain...and often entertaining...English (for the rest of us), as opposed to the other books I've read that are dry and full of high-level concepts and statistical formulas that are far too advanced for most initial Six Sigma efforts anyway. The book provides an easy-to-follow roadmap for setting the proper foundation of a Six Sigma program and for obtaining buy-in and support from co-workers and business leaders. You can pick and choose whichever higher-level tools and techniques your business needs once you have established this critical (and often neglected) foundation.
    The book also promotes one of the more important aspects of the Six Sigma methodology that others seem to miss...that there is no single way of doing it! The authors recognize that every business environment is not the same, and that different aspects and techniques will appeal to different business cultures. One of this book's best features is that it very clearly spells out the principles involved with Six Sigma and then offers some practical ideas on how they can be successfully applied to a strategy for your specific business.
    The authors also provide clear examples of what works and what doesn't. They include "case study" examples that are actually entertaining to read and that are likely to be encountered in today's business environment. At the same time, they have carefully contrasted the successes of Six Sigma to the TQM movement that preceded it. Instead of simply saying "TQM, bad...Six Sigma, good," as others have, the authors eloquently point out why certain aspects of TQM didn't work consistently. They go on to explain exactly what it is that Six Sigma does differently so that gains can be maintained for the long-term.
    Finally, I have to mention something about how the book addresses the use of statistics in Six Sigma type initiatives. All too often, business managers operating in a high-paced environment hear the words "statistical process control" and they are immediately turned-off...believing that a statistical approach to business management is too time consuming, unresponsive, and probably beyond their math capabilities anyway. "The Six Sigma Way" helps lay this ambiguity and fear of statistics to rest by explaining the key concepts in ways that don't require a degree in math. They focus on the basic measurement and analysis techniques that can actually be used and understood by managers at all levels, and the authors communicate this in a way that can be followed by anyone who can balance a checkbook.
    "The Six Sigma Way" is a wonderful guide to understanding proactive Quality programs; to designing and implementing a program for your specific business; and to maintaining that program over time. I am certain that you will find this book on every successful manager's reading list.
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    112 of 122 people found the following review helpfulBy Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 4, 2001
    Format: Hardcover
    Over the years, I have worked with dozens of small-to-midsize companies, all of which were in dire need of improving one or more of the following: cost reduction, culture change, customer retention, cycle-time reduction, defect reduction, market-share growth, productivity improvement, and product-service development. You can thus understand why I was curious to know to what extent (if any) Six Sigma could be helpful to small-to-midsize companies.
    By now we have become well aware of the success of Six Sigma initiatives at major international corporations such as ABB, Allied Signal/Honeywell, Black & Decker, Dow Chemical, Dupont, Federal Express, General Electric, Johnson and Johnson, Kodak, Motorola, SONY, and Toshiba. Once having read this book, I am convinced that -- with certain modifications -- Six Sigma could perhaps be even more valuable to small-to-midsize companies which, obviously, have fewer resources. What exactly is Six Sigma? The authors provide this definition: "A comprehensive and flexible system for achieving, sustaining, and maximizing business success. Six Sigma is uniquely driven by close understanding of consumer needs, disciplined use of facts, data, and statistical analysis, and diligent attention to managing, improving, and reinventing business processes."
    The authors identify what they call "hidden truths" about Six Sigma:
    1. You can apply Six Sigma to many different business activities and challenges -- from strategic planning to operations to customer service -- and maximize the impact of your efforts.
    2. The benefits of Six Sigma will be accessible whether you lead an entire organization or a department. Moreover, you'll be able to scale your efforts, from tackling specific problems to renewing the entire business.
    3. You'll be prepared to achieve breakthroughs in these untapped gold mines of opportunity -- and to broaden Six Sigma beyond the realm of the engineering community.
    4. You'll gain insights into how to strike the balance between push and pull -- accommodating people and demanding performance. That balance is where real sustained improvement is found. On either side -- being "too nice" or forcing people beyond their understanding and readiness -- lie merely short-term goals or no results at all.
    5. The good news is, Six Sigma is a lot more fun than root canal. Seriously, the significant financial gains from Six Sigma may be exceeded in value by the intangible benefits. In fact, the changes in attitude and enthusiasm that come from improved processes and better-informed people are often easier to observe, and more emotionally rewarding than dollar savings.
    The authors organize their material as follows: Part One: An Executive Summary of Six Sigma; Part Two: Gearing Up and Adapting Six Sigma to Your Organization; Part Three: Implementing Six Sigma -- The Roadmap and Tools; and finally, The Appendices: Practical Support. According to Jack Welch, "The best Six Sigma projects begin not inside the business but outside it, focused on answering the question -- how can we make the customer more competitive? What is critical to the customer's success?...One thing we have discovered with certainty is that anything we do that makes the customer more successful inevitably results in a financial return for us."
    If anything, it is even more important for small-to-midsize companies (than it is for the GEs of the world) to answer these two questions correctly and then track and compare their performance in terms of what their customers require. The well-publicized objective of Six Sigma is to achieve practically-perfect quality of performance (ie 3.4 defects for every million activities or "opportunities") and this is indeed an ambitious objective. Collins and Porras, authors of Built to Last, would probably view it as the biggest of Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs). In that book, they assert that the most successful and admired companies have the ability -- and willingness -- to simultaneously adopt two seemingly contrary objectives at the same time. Stability and renewal, Big Picture and minute detail, creativity and rational analysis -- these forces, working together,, make organizations great. This "we can do it all" approach they call the "Genius of the And."
    Pande, Neuman, and Cavanagh suggest that all manner of specific benefits can result from following "the Six Sigma way." For example, Six Sigma generates sustained success, sets a performance goal for everyone, enhances value to customers, accelerates the rate of improvement, promotes learning and "cross-pollination", and executes strategic change. All organizations (regardless of their size or nature) need to avoid or escape what the authors refer to as the "Tyranny of Or." Here in a single volume is about all they need to seek "practically-perfect quality of performance." Whether or not they ultimately reach that destination, their journey en route is certain to achieve improvement which would otherwise not be possible.
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    44 of 46 people found the following review helpfulBy Robin W. Gates on December 10, 2000
    Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
    I found the book to be clearly written and even fun in places. It provides a solid and practical overview of the principles of Six Sigma. It explains Six Sigma as a flexible system to help manage processes in companies. It addressed all the questions I had in trying to decide whether Six Sigma is appropriate for my company. It provides much practical and non-dogmatic advice about how to implement. I bought the book to prepare my self to fight against the six sigma way. After reading it, I am very enthusiatic and am planning to propose this approach for my company. I highly recommend the book for anyone needing an overview of the topic from a management perspective.


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