Profitability With No Boundaries: Optimizing TOC and Lean-Six Sigma

Reza (Russ) Piratesh and Robert Fox, ASQ Quality Press, 2011, 384 pp., $45 member, $75 list (book).

This book presents a new method of integrating theory of constraints (TOC), lean and Six Sigma into one improvement process. The acronym for this new process is TLS. Piratesh and Fox suggest that companies first use TOC to determine where to focus improvement efforts. Then, based on these priorities, use lean to identify and eliminate the causes of these wastes. Finally, to stabilize the processes and achieve desired statistical control for sustainability, use Six Sigma tools.

Combining these three powerful improvement philosophies, tools and techniques into one effective system can produce four times more benefits per project, with less effort, according to the authors.

The book is divided into two parts. The first is geared to senior decision makers or those who decide if their company should adopt the TLS approach. The second addresses the implementation of TLS.

The main strength of this handbook is it gives clear and well-organized insights on how to combine several continuous improvement methods. The book’s main weakness is that the different parts of the books are repetitive, making it seem like two different but similar books. Therefore, it could be written shorter.

I recommend this book for managers and practitioners involved in continuous improvement methods. However, do not spend considerable time touting your approach; rather, use this book to determine if and how the combination provides a more superior system.

Martín Tanco
Tecnun (University of Navarra)
San Sebastian, Spain

Principles of Supply Chain Management

Richard E. Crandall, William R. Crandall and Charlie C. Chen, CRC Press, 2010, 645 pp., $92.95 (book).

This book serves as an introduction to the field of supply chain management. The text is divided into six sections starting with an overview of supply chain management. Sections two and three give customer and supplier perspectives on supply chain management.

Section four serves to integrate the customer and supplier sides of the supply chain function, while sections five and six cover the financial aspects of supply chain management and its future.

The book’s main strengths are its comprehensiveness and the use of a systems perspective to explain supply chain concepts. In its desire to be comprehensive, however, the book does not go into detail on how to perform activities such as capacity planning calculations.

Overall, this book provides a good introduction to supply chain management and is suitable as an introductory class textbook.

Brian Cocolicchio
New City, NY

Toyota Kaizen Methods: Six Steps to Improvement

Isao Kato and Art Smalley, CRC Press, 2011, 156 pp., $49.95 (book).

A core element to Toyota’s success is its employees’ training, implementation and knowledge of kaizen. This book is about the topic of kaizen and focuses on the skills, methods and analysis techniques practiced inside Toyota to develop employee skill level with regard to this critical topic. The book is based on nearly 40 years of Toyota’s employee training.

This book discusses the basic six-step kaizen improvement skills pattern taught inside Toyota:

  1. Discover improvement potential.
  2. Analyze the current methods.
  3. Generate original ideas.
  4. Develop an implementation plan.
  5. Implement the plan.
  6. Evaluate the new method.

Every team member is challenged to conduct waste observations and ongoing mini kaizen events every day, then update the standard from kaizen, and use the new improved method going forward.

This book will be useful to kaizen practitioners looking to improve their own skill level and confidence by simplifying concepts and removing any mystery in the process. Written by two of Toyota’s most revered and experienced trainers, the book is easy to read, well-structured, and includes many illustrations and practical examples. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to understand Toyota’s way of working with kaizen.

Bengt Klefsjö
Luleå University of Technology

Competitive Advantage: Linked Management Systems

Sandford Liebesman, Paton Professional, 2011, 232 pp., $39.95 (book).

Liebesman has crafted this guide to understand why an organization should consider managing multiple management systems under one umbrella.

This book is meticulously researched and presents a viable case for managing an organization’s major management systems in a linked manner.

The author takes the reader through an exploration of why and how an organization can effectively link its quality, environmental, IT and financial management systems, including the benefits of these systems working together.

The book is easy to understand and logically presented. An uninformed reader can grasp the intent of myriad standards and attain knowledge of terminology. Explanations are given in text, countless comparative tables, other diagrammatic means, numerous examples and case studies.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), as it is supported by the quality management and environmental management systems, introduces the reader to the finance linkage and lingo as well as the internal controls required. Risk management, risk assessment and the processes and tools for application are extensively discussed. The chapter on risk management alone is worth the price of the book.

More than 20 pages are devoted to understanding modern IT as it affects virtually all business operations. Also, Six Sigma’s link to management systems and IT is discussed and many useful tools are included.

The book dedicates 32 pages to describing the method for linking management systems, internal controls, risk-based controls and a linked auditing system. Quality management auditors will benefit from reading the auditing discussion.

Appendixes present an index of the SOX sections, which include definitions and the meanings of numerous associated acronyms. A brief, but useful, bibliography of pertinent references is provided. Also, frequent lists of critical questions to ask are inserted in the text.

Executives will see value in the insights and more than 30 years of experience and knowledge the author shares throughout this impressive volume. This book is a must read for all quality practitioners.

Russell T. Westcott
R.T. Westcott & Associates
Old Saybrook, CT

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