Customer Centered Six Sigma: Linking Customers, Process Improvement and Financial Results

Earl Naumann and Steven H. Hoisington, ASQ Quality Press, 600 N. Plankinton Ave., PO Box 3005, Milwaukee, WI 53203-3005, 2000, 400 pp., member $44, list $55 (book).

Customer Centered Six Sigma covers one of the most important aspects of any business improvement system, the customer, in more detail than is usually found in this genre. Naumann and Hoisington document the Six Sigma process as it is used by Johnson Controls. The authors focus on customer satisfaction and alignment of bottom-line results with customer needs, and the book is full of useful examples.

Unlike much of the literature on Six Sigma, this is a practical working guide for the practitioner. It does not get stuck in the realm of statistical theory but takes the reader through the process of measuring, analyzing, improving and controlling the results of process improvement.

There are case studies to verify the appropriateness and effectiveness of the methodologies described in each chapter. The appendixes document customer satisfaction metrics and the surveys from which references were taken.

This book is most useful for companies new to Six Sigma but will be valuable to any practitioner, whether Black Belt, Master Black Belt or Champion. It can be used as a teaching tool for improvement teams, management teams, or customers and suppliers involved in the improvement process.

John Zavacki
ITT Industries
New Lexington, OH

Quality Management Systems: A Practical Guide

Howard S. Gitlow, CRC Press LLC, 2000 N.W. Corporate Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33431, 2001, 282 pp., $39.95 (book).

This book describes a step by step way for taking the theory of quality management and using it to drive a cultural change in a company to produce a successfully implemented quality system. The process involves:

  • Generating management's commitment to the transformation.
  • Educating management on what quality management means.
  • Managing the daily work of the organization.
  • Creating cross functional teams to gain process and quality breakthroughs.
  • Institutionalizing the quality system through company quality policies.
  • Listening to the voice of the customer to identify future opportunities for improvement.

Each chapter includes a description of the theories involved, outlines the activities to address them and offers case studies to illustrate the application of the tools and strategies.

Quality Management Systems will be useful to the person in a small company or a small division of a large company who is undertaking a new assignment as a quality professional and needs a working model that is easy to understand. As the quality professional matures along with the quality system, he or she will be able to build on the foundation this book provides.

Jeff Stevens
CCL Custom Manufacturing
Cumberland, RI

Excellent: A Guide for the Implementation of the EFQM Excellence Model

George Broux, Luc Crets, Wim De Cleyn, Jan Legrand, Guy Majoor, Yves Van Nuland and Gaston Vleminckx, Comatech, Vlierbreekstraat 8, B-3052, Blanden, Belgium, 1999, 447 pp., $37.60 (Euro) (book).

The European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) model is the European equivalent of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria, although it is also used in other places, such as Australia. The EFQM criteria are very limited, which can be confusing for businesses.

This book aims to improve this situation by giving detailed explanations of the nine criteria (leadership, policy and strategy, people, partnerships and resources, processes, customer results, people results, society results and key performance results).

A questionnaire spread throughout the book allows an organization to roughly score itself against the award criteria. Additional chapters discuss scoring.

The dilemma of all models, especially detailed interpretations in books such as this, is to avoid being so prescriptive in the detail that the advice, while applicable in some cases, may be inappropriate for other readers. The book clearly attempts to avoid such traps and, to a fair extent, succeeds. This neutrality may also be a frustration to readers seeking the secrets of success with the model.

Overall, this is a specialized book that will be of great value to people using the EFQM model, those consulting on it or students of such models.

David Straker
Agilent Technologies

Manual on Test Sieving Methods

Lawrence R. Pope and Charles W. Ward, American Society for Testing and Materials, 100 Bar Harbor Dr., West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959, 1998, 43 pp., $26 (book).

This manual is the fourth edition of a compilation of the common methods for determining the particle size distribution of granular materials. It includes approaches for reducing large quantities of material into smaller, accurate samples for further sieving evaluation. It provides descriptions for both hand and mechanical processes. There is also a glossary of terms.

The book is well-organized and provides clear explanations of the sieving process. It also contains a section of appendixes on referencing sieve sizes, bulk densities and appropriate American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards for sieve analysis of common materials.

This manual would be useful to people, such as laboratory managers and technicians, who are involved with analyses of granular materials. It would also be appropriate for use as a college textbook.

While the book would be a valuable addition to the laboratory bookshelf or technician's workbench, the illustrations appear rather dated, and the example report forms are rather small and difficult to read. However, even an organization that lacks prior experience in sieving processes will agree this manual provides excellent guidance for developing sieve analysis capability.

Wade Reynolds
Los Osos, CA

PM Basics

International Institute for Learning, 110 E. 59th St., New York, NY 10022-1380, 2000, $495 per single user (software).

As both a quality certified engineer and project management professional, I was happy to undertake a review of a promising CD-ROM that would allow me to earn recertification units in both professions. My impressions of PM Basics are positive, and the CD-ROM format provides an ample amount of material in a stimulating format.

When the program first comes up, the user sees a well-designed screen showing both a main menu and menus for specific topics. The main menu introduces the program, provides an overall tour, shows auxiliary information and supplies a detailed cross reference section for the Project Management Institute's Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). The topic menus directly correlate with the PMBOK and cover the five process groups of project management: initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing.

Sample questions, case studies and tests are professionally presented and geared toward helping the user learn a subject in depth. A glossary, frequently asked questions, a bibliography, recommendations about implementation, a PMBOK cross reference section and a technical support line are also provided to assist the user with this software.

Program installation is easy but requires the use of Apple's QuickTime player.

In short, PM Basics is a handy tool for a broad range of users.

Frank Pokrop
Abbott Laboratories
Abbott Park, IL

The Mahalanobis-Taguchi System

Genichi Taguchi, Subir Chowdhury and Yuin Wu, McGraw-Hill, Two Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10121-2298, 2001, 190 pp., $49.95 (book).

This book describes a new methodology for pattern recognition and forecasting as developed by Genichi Taguchi. It gives a brief introduction to the Mahalanobis-Taguchi system (MTS) through an introductory chapter and detailed case study.

The MTS system combines a statistical tool called Mahalanobis Distance with Taguchi methods of signal-to-noise (SN) ratio. The MTS method is used to recognize a pattern from multidimensional data, then evaluate accuracy and optimize key factors using the SN ratio.

The statistical methods and analysis provided are complex and would require a strong background in statistics to understand and apply. The case studies present a broad spectrum of application. They provide basic information but are not detailed enough that results could be reproduced easily.

The authors say this is the first book in any language that introduces the MTS methodology. Therefore, any detailed information on application or best practices would have to come from this book or from the authors themselves.

As an introductory text to the MTS system, the book accomplishes its purpose. I would recommend it to anyone interested in improving results in the areas of pattern recognition and forecasting.

Bryan Ruggles
Sanden International (USA) Inc.
Allen, TX



Handbook of QS-9000: Tooling and Equipment Certification, George Mouradian, Society of Automotive Engineers Inc., 400 Commonwealth Dr., Warrendale, PA 15096-0001, 2000, 241 pp., $29 (book).

PMI Project Management Salary Survey 2000 Edition, Project Management Institute, Four Campus Blvd., Newton Square, PA 19073-3299, 2000, 248 pp., $199.95 (book).

Seven Power Strategies for Building Customer Loyalty, Paul R. Timm, AMACOM, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019, 2001, 224 pp., $24.95 (book).

Team Troubleshooter: How To Find and Fix Team Problems, Robert W. Barner, Davies-Black Publishing, 3803 E. Bayshore Rd., Palo Alto, CA 94303, 2000, 326 pp., $32.95 (book).

Ten Tasks of Change: Demystifying Changing Organizations, Jeff Evans and Chuck Schaefer, Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, Wiley Company, 350 Sansome St., 5th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94104-1342, 2000, 270 pp., $29.95 (book).

The Best on Quality: Book Series of the International Academy for Quality, Volume 12, Madhav N. Sinha, ed., ASQ Quality Press, 600 N. Plankinton Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203, 2001, 500 pp., $68 member, $85 list (book).

Thermochemical Processes: Principles and Models, C.B. Alcock, Butterworth-Heinemann, 225 Wildwood Ave., Woburn, MA 01801-2041, 2001, 386 pp., $95 (book).

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