5S for Service Organizations and Offices

Debashis Sarkar, ASQ Quality Press, 2006, 144 pp., $27 member, $45 list (book).

5S for Service Organizations and Offices: A Lean Look at Improvement is a detailed look at using the 5S methodology to transform a company. Sarkar contends that combining the philosophies of workplace management with 5S will result in a quality practice that can stand on its own.

The book’s six chapters are presented as a roadmap. The first and second chapters address what 5S is, the benefits of implementing it in a service organization and the prerequisites for deployment. Chapter three provides detailed information for establishing each of the five steps.

In chapter four, the author discusses the framework of enablers that must be put into place to sustain 5S. For large organizations with multiple locations, the author suggests leveraging the concept of certification. The final chapter addresses deployment challenges and root cause analysis of the workplace.

Each chapter is a short read, and most of them include a “5S Tactic” or “5S Learning” boxes. These boxes provide information on specific techniques and subtle aspects of the 5S methodology. The book also has an accompanying CD-ROM, which in-cludes templates presented in its appendixes. I found these of minimal usefulness given the Adobe Acrobat view only PDF file format.

Overall, this book serves as an introduction to 5S and an implementation guide for the 5S novice.

Kunita R. Gear
St. Louis, MO

Six Sigma for the Next Millennium

Kim Pries, ASQ Quality Press, 2006, 408 pp., $48 member, $80 list (book).

The stated purpose of Six Sigma for the Next Millennium: A CSSBB Guidebook is to serve as an ASQ certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB) exam tutorial reference book for Black Belts.

What makes this book unique is it is organized according to the ASQ CSSBB body of knowledge (BoK). It covers all sections of the CSSBB BoK in enough detail it can be used as a quick reference guide during the exam. The book also gives examples of how computer programs, such as Minitab, can be used to perform statistical analyses.

While the book covers some topics in depth, such as performing analysis of variance or hypothesis testing, it glosses over other areas such as quality function deployment and design of experiments. Also, the fact that the book covers the BoK topics at a mid-level of detail makes it inadequate as a complete and thorough reference.

This book competes with Rath and Strong’s pocket guidebooks and the Indiana Quality Council’s CSSBB primer for use as the main CSSBB exam reference book and study guide. The Indiana Quality Council’s CSSBB primer—which also is organized according the ASQ CSSBB BoK—is the superior exam study book in terms of the amount of detail it provides. It includes study questions for the test taker.

I also found some errors in the book. One glaring example is in the definition of “rolled throughput yield.” The book defines it as the sum of the individual process step yields when it should be the product of the individual process step yields.

All in all, it is a good book to have when taking the CSSBB exam, but it is of limited use as a reference or as the main CSSBB exam preparation book.

Brian Cocolicchio
Pearl River, NY


Chris Denove and James D. Power IV, Port-folio Hardcover, 2006, 288 pp., $25.95 (book).

Denove and Power ask the inevitable question: If the link between satisfaction and profitability is so clear, why do so many companies act as if they are indifferent to their customers’ needs? From time to time, we all ponder this same question.

In Satisfaction: How Every Great Company Listens to the Voice of the Customer, there are several examples of companies that understand their customers and customer loyalty at various levels. The book provides in-depth explanations of root causes or the reasoning that drives bottom-line results.

Overall, I found this book easy and enjoyable to read. It offers plenty of examples of performance data for many companies.

I recommend every quality professional read this book to learn how to handle and understand customer complaint data to improve customer satisfaction.

Rajesh Sharma
Procter & Gamble
Cincinnati, OH

Beyond Six Sigma

Gary Plaster and Jerry Alderman, John Wiley & Sons, 2006, 320 pp., $60 (book).

Beyond Six Sigma: Profitable Growth Through Customer Value Creation is just as the title states. It is not about Six Sigma but more about where to look for value so a company can grow.

Traditional Six Sigma approaches, which look from the inside-out for any opportunities for profit improvement, include process improvement and the learning of processes. Plaster and Alderman argue this approach might not be the best way to look for growth opportunities. Instead, they propose looking for growth opportunities from the outside-in. They turn the analysis of supply chains into the analysis of demand chains.

This book provides valuable out of the box thinking from a traditional Six Sigma point of view. Nonetheless, the rigor of the approach and data are all Six Sigma.

The application of the approaches in the book is, by no means, easy. The book is thought provoking, but it is up to the individual company to carry out the detailed analyses discussed.

Shin Ta Liu
Lynx Systems
San Diego, CA

Stimulating Innovation In Products and Services

J. Jerry Kaufman and Roy Woodhead, John Wiley & Sons, 2006, 235 pp, $84.95 (book).

Stimulating Innovation in Products and Services: Function Analysis and Mapping provides a step-by-step methodology to drive innovation. The systematic approach—at its core—is function analysis systems technique (FAST). FAST is a mapping function technique that can be used for products, services or projects.

This is not a book to flip through. It offers comprehensive case studies and actually shows the development of FAST models from start to finish. Chapter by chapter it leads the reader from the concepts of innovation, through the nuts and bolts of defining problems and seeking solutions by conducting FAST and using it to drive innovation, the foucs is on efficiency and effectiveness.

Kaufman and Woodhead also discuss the relationship of value engineering, failure modes and effects analysis, and TRIZ (a Russian acronym for the theory of inventive problem solving), underlining the integration of each of these to innovate and deal with challenging situations.

A section of frequently asked questions not only provides a summary of key information but also creates a template of key discussion points when introducing or training on FAST.

The book is written for those who want to implement methodologies in a hands-on manner.

Denis Leonard
Veridian Homes
Madison, WI


  • Actionable Performance Measurement: A Key to Success, Marvin T. Howell, ASQ Quality Press, 2006, 266 pp., $39 member, $65 list (book and CD-ROM).
  • 5S for the Office: Organizing the Workplace to Eliminate Waste, Thomas A. Fabrizio and Don Tapping, Productivity Press, 2006, 224 pp., $40 (book and CD-ROM). 
  • Implementing Design for Six Sigma: A Leader’s Guide, Georgette Belair and John O’Neill, ASQ Quality Press, 2007, 242 pp., $42 member, $70 list (book).

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