Real Numbers

Jean E. Cunningham and Orest J. Fiume, with Emily Adams, Managing Times Press, 2003, 180 pp., $27.50 (book).

Real Numbers: Management Ac-counting in a Lean Organization is useful for overcoming the unnecessary complexity of management accounting practices. Cunningham and Fiume propose that lean thinking principles, which work so well in manufacturing, can also be applied to accounting practices, making the numbers more understandable and therefore more useful.

The authors draw on experience with their own companies, and the book is stronger for the examples they offer. The subject is understandable to nonaccountants because of the plain language and clear tables and figures.

“Streamlining the Process” is a useful chapter about applying process improvement to accounting: eliminate waste, perform steps in parallel, invest time to save time. Kaizen is used throughout, but plan-do-check-act is absent. The chapter is faithful to process oriented thinking, cautioning against management by objective.

The most important chapter is “The Road Ahead,” which describes the CFO’s responsibilities for communicating with the organization’s stakeholders about the benefits of the lean transformation.

One disappointment is Real Num-bers does not fully cover activity based costing and management by means, two important topics found in works by H. Thomas Johnson and Anders Brom. But Real Numbers can stand alone as a quality practitioner’s introduction to management accounting.

I recommend this book to CFOs who want to improve their processes and need a place to start. Quality professionals looking for more opportunities should dive into what is probably a new area for most of us. This book and other works like it should give us courage to knock on some new doors.

Steven Byers

Olympia, Washington


Lean Strategies
For Product Development

Clifford Fiore, ASQ Quality Press, 2003,
96 pp., $18 member, $22 list (book).

Lean Strategies for Product Devel-opment: Achieving Breakthrough Performance in Bringing Products to Market is a short book that takes the approach of telling a story between two friends, much like The Goal.

One is an engineer for a supplier of gasoline engines and the other a program manager for a lawnmower manufacturer—a supplier and a customer. The engine manufacturer is on a lean journey unbeknownst to the customer, who is about to go to a new supplier for the new product line.

The book is easy reading and attempts to outline lean and design for Six Sigma through conversation. The discussions address three product design approaches—modular, platform and custom—and outline the critical aspects of each. They touch on the concepts of leveraging knowledge and data management to promote reusing and reducing suppliers, thus reducing complexity.

The book is intended for a novice who has not been involved in lean enterprise concepts. I would recommend it as a good book to read on an airplane flight. If it piques your interest, go for a more in-depth treatment.

Bill Baker




JMP Version 5: Statistical Discovery Software

SAS Institute, 2003, $995 (software).

JMP Version 5 (release 5.0.1) is called the statistical discovery software for good reason. It is highly intuitive in its user interface and its wide range of applications, from basic statistics through sophisticated multivariate models.

While JMP could easily be used in a beginning statistics course, it also has an extensive reliability analysis menu and covers all quality tools, including Pareto charts, capability and Ishikawa plots, operations characteristics curves, and control and variability charts. There is more than enough here for teaching quality and reliability or for using JMP as your primary analysis tool on the job.

Benchmarking JMP against SAS Analyst shows JMP is more interactive and has an easier point and click ability. JMP’s input is also slightly easier. Its output is as comprehensive as SAS Analyst’s, is arranged in an understandable way for novice statisticians and is easily exportable to Word documents or PowerPoint presentations.

JMP also has user friendly data and file manipulation tools. Its menu is full of diagrams, showing the user what to expect when merging, sorting, splitting, stacking and transposing. This is a clear benefit over other software packages.

JMP does not appear to have an interface with Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) but does import and export most other datafile types. Its results were accurate and identical to SAS, SPSS and Minitab for identical model fitting and analyses.

Overall, this is highly sophisticated statistical software with a smooth user interface, making it equally usable by statistical researchers and introductory statistics students.

I. Elaine Allen

Babson College

Wellesley, MA


Stepping up
To ISO 9004:2000

Russell T. Westcott, Paton Press, 2003,
184 pp., $34.95 (book).

“Opportunity knocks; just open the door and come on in,” invites Westcott in this readable text, showing how ISO 9004:2000 can be used to build or improve a robust quality management system (QMS) that easily satisfies ISO 9001:2000 requirements.

Westcott draws on his consulting experience, which focuses on ISO 9000, benchmarking and lean manufacturing to go beyond the ISO 9001:2000 requirements. One section addresses risk assessment and another benchmarking. Benchmarking doesn’t get much emphasis in ISO 9001:2000, but it does in ISO 9004:2000. Westcott suggests this might be because benchmarking isn’t actually necessary for a baseline system, but it is a core process for continual improvement.

Westcott’s language is user friendly, his diagrams are clear, and he includes check sheets for people to adapt for use in their own organizations.

There were only two areas of concern. The first is that Westcott emphasizes the importance of total quality management (TQM) as a valuable tool. While I agree with him that TQM works when done right, I still think where it’s done wrong, it weakens employees’ motivation and trust in quality.

Also, although Westcott has a great deal of experience in lean manufacturing, he does not mention much about Six Sigma, which I found surprising.

These could be minor quibbles when faced with the value of this smoothly written book, and I’m certainly not letting them get in the way of using the check sheets to improve the QMS in my own organization. Of course, this book won’t turn an organization around overnight, but, as the title suggests, it does provide an exceptionally good starting point.

Jenny Glover

Fell Services

Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Leading Six Sigma

Ronald D. Snee and Roger W. Hoerl, Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2003, 304 pp., $29.95 (book).

Leading Six Sigma: A Step-by-Step Guide Based on Experience With GE and Other Six Sigma Companies is about a system of profound knowledge, the way W. Edwards Deming described it. Quoting Deming, “The layout of profound knowledge appears in four parts, all related to each other: appreciation for a system, knowledge about variation, theory of knowledge, psychology.”

Leading Six Sigma includes all four parts presented as a deployment roadmap, building on the combined experience of two experts in performance improvement.

Snee and Hoerl’s cumulative knowledge is probably one of the most extensive currently available. Their book encapsulates this knowledge and can be of great value to all Six Sigma experts and practitioners.

The book includes eight chapters and an appendix mixing theoretical foundations, practical considerations, checklists and examples. Topics include launching a Six Sigma initiative, managing the effort and sustaining momentum. Snee and Hoerl also include four case studies.

The authors present, in a unique way, what works and what does not work in a comprehensive treatment of common Six Sigma issues. Six Sigma experts and practitioners will find insights, positive reinforcements and benchmark data in this must-have book.

Ron S. Kenett

KPA Ltd.

Raanana, Israel

Implementing Six Sigma

Forrest W. Breyfogle III, John Wiley and Sons, 2003, 1,232 pp., $100 (book).

The second edition of Implementing Six Sigma: Smarter Solutions Using Statistical Methods attempts to cover virtually all aspects of a successful Six Sigma program. The author presents an expansive collection of topics ranging from Six Sigma strategies to the many statistical tools used.

At the core of all the material is the author’s Smarter Six Sigma Solutions/ Integrated Enterprise Excellence approach. This approach, as stated by the author, goes beyond the traditional methodology used in Six Sigma efforts. It attempts to integrate total quality management, ISO 9000, Malcolm Baldrige assessments and the Shingo prize into a Six Sigma program.

The eight sections and 55 chapters are arranged to follow the traditional define, measure, analyze, improve, control Six Sigma strategy. The sections and topics are well written and present only the needed information to implement a specific tool or idea. Much of the supporting detail for statistical tools is included in the five appendices along with an extensive 27-page glossary and a long list of references.

Considering the amount of material covered by the author, many quality professionals not connected to a Six Sigma program would find this book a useful reference, but for a professional working within a program, this book should be a required reference.

Gene Placzkowski

SC Johnson Wax

Racine, WI


Statistical Methods
For Six Sigma in R&D
And Manufacturing

Anand M. Joglekar, John Wiley and Sons, 2003, 321 pp., $89.95 (book).

This is a solid review of basic statistical concepts such as descriptive statistics, statistical distributions, confidence intervals and sample size.

I was glad to see the author emphasize the importance of sample size determination prior to experimentation and its resulting impact on parameter estimation.

The Six Sigma practitioner will find the sections on planning for improvement with respect to process capability and quality planning with respect to variance component analysis insightful and beneficial. Joglekar provides good examples to facilitate application. For a humbling experience, Black Belts and Master Black Belts should take the test in chapter 10 to discover “What Color Is Your Belt?”

Joglekar tackles some topics not typically covered, such as sample size determination for sigma, variance components analysis and charts for non-normal distributions. While I was pleased he covered charts for non-normal distributions, I was disappointed he only devoted three pages to them.

Joglekar states in the preface this book is written for technical professionals and does not presume prior knowledge of statistics. However, he does occasionally presume prior knowledge of high level mathematics such as integration and derivatives, which can make reading laborious and understanding difficult. This was most noticeable in the sections on accelerated stability tests, quadratic loss function and variance transmission analysis. The serious practitioner will most likely invest the extra effort to bridge any gaps in understanding, but others may disregard the topic treatment as uninformative.

Overall, this book is a decent treatment of numerous topics of concern to the Six Sigma practitioner.

Kunita R. Gear

St. Louis


Solving ODEs With MATLAB, L.F. Shampine, I. Gladwell and S. Thompson, Cambridge University Press, 2003,
263 pp., $35 (book).

Nan: A Six Sigma Mystery, Robert Barry, ASQ Quality Press, 2004, 278 pp., $20 member, $25 list (book).

ISO 9001:2000: Achieving Com-pliance and Continuous Im-provement in Software Devel-
opment Companies,
Vivek (Vic) Nanda, ASQ Quality Press, 2003, 271 pp., $36 member, $42 list (book with CD-ROM).

Lean Lexicon: A Graphical Glossary for Lean Thinkers, Compiled by the Lean Enterprise Institute, 2003, 106 pp., $25 (book).



96 I APRIL 2004 I www.asq.org

If you’ve always wanted to write an article for Quality Progress, some of our upcoming cover themes might interest you. Please don’t be limited by these themes—any topical articles that will be useful to quality professionals will be considered.


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