Download the Article (PDF, 85 KB)
What literature on the topic of Six Sigma do you find most useful, and what literature is missing or would you recommend be made available?
For this issue editor A. Blanton Godfrey and Ramón León, associate professor in the Department of Statistics at the University of Tennessee, interviewed five leading teachers of Six Sigma and asked the following question: What literature on the topic of Six Sigma do you find most useful, and what literature is missing or would you recommend be made available?
William M. (Mike) Kelly, Master Black Belt and head of validation services for Dailies Contact Lenses, CIBAVision Corp.
When I conduct a Six Sigma training class or use the methodology on projects, I use seven Six Sigma references. These seven pieces of literature have multiple explanations of the common Six Sigma topics. When I need to clarify an uncommon technique or topic, one of these references will be able to explain the challenging topic in detail with examples. My favorite seven sources are:
Hutton, David W., The Change Agents Handbook: A Survival Guide for Quality Improvement Champions (Milwaukee: ASQ Quality Press, 1994). This book illustrates good techniques for overcoming hurdles and roadblocks encountered when an initiative is introduced into an organization. It is great book to help executives, Champions, Master Black Belts (MBBs) and Black Belts (BBs) achieve success during Six Sigma implementation.
Rath & Strongs Six Sigma Pocket Guide (Lexington, MA: Rath & Strong, 2000). This compact book can slip into a back pocket or purse for quick access. It has a good overview of the define-measure-analyze-improve-control process and answers most of the general questions about Six Sigma tools. The book is a must for Green Belts (GBs), BBs and MBBs.
Minitab 13 StatGuide, part of Minitab Software, release 13 (State College, PA: Minitab, 2000). With a click on the help menu and then StatGuide," this program gives great explanations of all Minitabs statistical and Six Sigma tools by using theory, examples and illustrations.
Brassard, Michael, and Diane Ritter, The Memory Jogger II: A Pocket Guide of Tools for Continuous Improvement & Effective Planning (Salem, NH: Goal/QPC, 1994). Another compact book, this one contains brainstorming techniques, simple graphical illustrations and teaming methods. It is an excellent choice for all levels, from executives to operators.
Montgomery, D.C, Design and Analysis of Experiments (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2000). This book is the best one I have read on the explanation of the different types of designed experiments, such as fractional factorial and response surface. MBBs and BBs should own a copy.
Gonick, Larry, and Woollcott Smith, Cartoon Guide for Statistics (New York: HarperCollins, 1994). A simple, well-illustrated book for understanding basic statistics, it is great for BBs and GBs.
Juran, Joseph M., and A. Blanton Godfrey, Jurans Quality Handbook (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999). This book may be big and bulky, but it has explanations and examples of all the Six Sigma tools and any other quality improvement tool. It is the best reference and covers the most categories. Anyone who deals with a process, from transactional to manufacturing, and is concerned with quality and the customer should own this book.
There are two areas of Six Sigma that are not currently well represented in published literature: Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) and process simulation with real world examples. With the possible tremendous savings and defect reduction achieved with DFSS, it is shocking there is not a widely known, industry accepted reference for DFSS.
Frederick W. Faltin, Quantita-tive Management Consulting; American Statistical Association quality and productivity section chair
Although I do not offer general GB and BB training in Six Sigma in my current practice, I do offer higher level (less technical) executive overviews and training and Champion training. As such, specific technical references are generally not a priority.
As someone who has worked at some length with MBBs, BBs and GBs, and has been through the Six Sigma mill myself as a manager at GE, my favorite general (and semi-specialized) Six Sigma references are as follows:
Montgomery, D.C., Statistical Quality Control, third edition (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2001).
Design and Analysis of Experiments (see Kellys recommendation, p. 54).
Jurans Quality Handbook (see Kellys recommendation, p. 54).
Myers, Ray, Response Surface Methodology (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002). As a seminal yet still surprisingly timely work on what I consider the single most valuable technique in applied engineering and manufacturing statistics, Myers book on response surface methodology is tremendously valuable. I dont think Id have had a career in applied statistics without my edition of it.
Statistics for Experimenters (see Clapps recommendation, p. 55).
Draper, Norman R., and Harry Smith, Applied Regression Analysis (New York: Wiley-Interscience, 1998). Many statisticians believe this is the classic text on regression. It is based on a course done for ASQs Chemical Division, and it emphasizes practical applications.
Grant, Lodewick, and Richard S. Leavenworth, Statistical Quality Control (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996). This is in the guilty pleasure category. On occasion, I still pull out my aged copy of Grant and Leavenworths book. It is sufficiently dated so I couldnt recommend spending money on it unless you are a quality historian and student. But if you already own the book, dont throw it away.
Here are further recommendations from Ronald D. Snee, principal, Perfor-mance Excellence and Tunnell Consulting
Statistics for Experimenters (see Clapps recommendation, p. 55).
Hoerl, R.W., and R.D. Snee, Statistical Thinking: Improving Business Performance (San Jose, CA: Duxbury Press/Thomson Learning, 2002).
Statistical Process Control (see Clapps recommendation, p. 55).
Statistical Quality Control (see Faltins recommendation, p. 57).
Montgomery, D.C., E.A. Peck and Geoff Vining, Introduction to Linear Regression Analysis (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2001).
Response Surface Methodology (see Faltins recommendation above).
Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (see Clapps recommendation, p. 55).
Measurement Systems Analysis (see Clapps recommendation, p. 55).
Wheeler, D.J., and R.W. Lyday, Evaluating the Measurement Process, second edition (Knoxville, TN: SPC Press, 1989).
Six Sigma Bestsellers*
*Compiled using data from Amazon.com, BN.com and ASQ Quality Press.
The Current Literature department features information about relevant Six Sigma publications and articles that readers will find useful. Please send your recommendations to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.