Current Literature - May 2002 - ASQ

Current Literature - May 2002


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Panel Discussion
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 & Strong’s 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 Minitab’s 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, Juran’s 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.

Timothy G. (Tim) Clapp, professor, textile engineering, North Carolina State University

Blanton Godfrey and I teach a senior level engineering class called “Six Sigma Quality.” We cover about 80% of the material presented in a typical four-week professional BB Six Sigma program. In addition to a three-hour lecture session, students attend a weekly two-hour laboratory. Students are also required to conduct a project outside the class environment.

Our lecture notes contain a wealth of information, and many of the slides in our PowerPoint presentation have references to source material for further reading, background theory and examples of how the analyses were done. The primary informational resources we use for the class are listed below:

Minitab 13 Reference Set. Go to and click on “Meet Minitab” for a good overview of the software for beginners.

We use the following books as references to supplement the lecture material:
Juran’s Quality Handbook (see Kelly’s recommendation, p. 54).

Statistical Process Control, SPC (Southfield, MI: AIAG, 1995).

Failure Mode Effects Analysis, FMEA, second edition (Southfield, MI: AIAG, 1995).

Measurement Systems Analysis, MSA, second edition (Southfield, MI: AIAG, 1998).

DeVor, Richard E., Tsong-how Chang and John W. Sutherland, Statistical Quality Design and Control: Contem-porary Concepts and Methods (New York: Prentice Hall, 1992). Participants with limited experience with design of experiments (DOE) tend to like this book.

Box, George E. P., William G. Hunter and J. Stuart Hunter, Statistics for Experimenters (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1978). We recommend this book for students who want to learn more about experimental design. Many of the examples we teach in class are based on this book or on notes from a recent series of lectures Hunter gave here last year.

Alexis Goncalves, Master Black Belt and regional manager—service, quality and business innovation—Citibank Latin America

My favorite sources include a mix of Web pages and books. The advantage of using Web pages is that some allow you to access free content and save that information for future use.

General Electric (GE), GE has one of the most successful Six Sigma programs, and the company has posted several documents describing its Six Sigma strategy, methods and results achieved.

Honeywell, Honeywell has developed a new generation of Six Sigma called Six Sigma Plus. This powerful quality strategy was developed through the 1999 merger of the two technology giants AlliedSignal and Honeywell, both longtime leaders in applying modern methodologies to meeting customer needs. Many in business already understand Six Sigma as a measure of excellence, so Honeywell used the merger to combine the best practices of both companies, add capability and take its continuous process improvement methods to a new level of excellence.

iSixSigma, The mission of iSixSigma is to provide a free information resource to help business professionals successfully implement quality within their organizations. iSixSigma focuses on three primary areas: credible information, community and supplemental services. The resources available on this site will help businesses understand and set quality into place and, more importantly, into practice.

Thomas Pyzdek, With dozens of best-selling books and over three decades of professional experience, Pyzdek is regarded as a leading expert on quality and Six Sigma. His Web site has free articles to read and download on Six Sigma.

Pande, Peter S., Robert P. Neuman and Roland R. Cavanagh, The Six Sigma Way: How GE, Motorola and Other Top Companies Are Honing Their Performance (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000). This book provides a comprehensive guide to the real-world application of Six Sigma across all industries. It presents a comprehensive briefing on Six Sigma, showing what’s behind the movement, how it’s paying off and, most importantly, how to implement the system tailored to the individual circumstance.

Eckes, George, The Six Sigma Revolution: How General Electric and Others Turned Process Into Profits (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2000). This book shows managers and implementers how Six Sigma has worked for companies such as GE and Motorola, and how to make it work for any company. It lays out the strategic component of Six Sigma and demonstrates how to create the crucial infrastructure for its successful application in any company.

Welch, Jack, and John A. Byrne, Jack: Straight from the Gut (New York: Warner Books, 2001). This book shows the difficulty in mastering the concept of management. It explains how Welch learned this art form and constantly tried out new ideas such as Six Sigma in an attempt to get the company to run better. Welch’s words are inspiring and motivational.

Naumann, Earl, and Steven H. Hoisington, Customer Centered Six Sigma: Linking Customers, Process Improvement and Financial Results (Milwaukee: ASQ Quality Press, 2000). This book provides readers a fundamental yet comprehensive approach to thoroughly involving customer requirements in all aspects of your organization’s business. The authors present a high level review of basic Six Sigma tools for gathering customer requirements, conducting customer satisfaction surveys and managing organizational processes and opportunities based upon customer input.

I would recommend more literature on DFSS be made available.

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 Kelly’s recommendation, p. 54).

Juran’s Quality Handbook (see Kelly’s 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 don’t think I’d have had a career in applied statistics without my edition of it.

Statistics for Experimenters (see Clapp’s 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 ASQ’s 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 Leavenworth’s book. It is sufficiently dated so I couldn’t recommend spending money on it unless you are a quality historian and student. But if you already own the book, don’t throw it away.

Here are further recommendations from Ronald D. Snee, principal, Perfor-mance Excellence and Tunnell Consulting

Statistics for Experimenters (see Clapp’s 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 Clapp’s recommendation, p. 55).

Statistical Quality Control (see Faltin’s 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 Faltin’s recommendation above).

Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (see Clapp’s recommendation, p. 55).

Measurement Systems Analysis (see Clapp’s recommendation, p. 55).

Wheeler, D.J., and R.W. Lyday, Evaluating the Measurement Process, second edition (Knoxville, TN: SPC Press, 1989).

Six Sigma Bestsellers*

  1. Rath & Strong’s Six Sigma Pocket Guide (Rath & Strong, 2000).
  2. The Six Sigma Way: How GE, Motorola and Other Top Companies Are Honing Their Performance, Peter S. Pande, Roland R. Cavanagh and Robert P. Neuman (McGraw-Hill Professional, 2000).
  3. The Power of Six Sigma, Subir Chowdhury (Dearborn Financial Publishing, 2001).
  4. Six Sigma—The Breakthrough Management Strategy Revolutionizing the World’s Top Corporations, Mikel Harry and Richard Schroeder (Doubleday, 1999).
  5. What Is Six Sigma? Peter S. Pande (McGraw-Hill Professional, 2001).
  6. Six Sigma Project Management: A Pocket Guide, Jeffrey N. Lowenthal (ASQ Quality Press, 2002).
  7. The Six Sigma Revolution: How General Electric and Others Turned Process Into Profits, George Eckes (John Wiley & Sons, 2000).
  8. Implementing Six Sigma: Smarter Solutions Using Statistical Methods, Forrest W. Breyfogle (John Wiley & Sons, 1999).
  9. Customer Centered Six Sigma: Linking Customers, Process Improvement and Financial Results, Earl Naumann and Steven H. Hoisington (ASQ Quality Press, 2000).
  10. Making Six Sigma Last: Managing the Balance Between Cultural and Technical Change, George Eckes and Brent Harder (John Wiley & Sons, 2001).

*Compiled using data from, and ASQ Quality Press.

Editor's Note

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

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