There are now many excellent books on Six Sigma. Many of these emphasize the deployment issues of Six Sigma, providing valuable insight into the big-picture issues required for successful implementation of Six Sigma at an organizational level. These issues, including management responsibility, resource allocation, and customer focus, are summarized in Chapter 1. Successful Six Sigma deployment involves continual success of projects, each incrementally moving the organization closer to its strategic goals of shareholder return, employee growth, and customer satisfaction. Each project, in turn, progresses from its initial definition through the define, measure, analyze, improve, and control (DMAIC) cycle to the maturity of financial reward. This project evolution requires much attention to detail by the project team, including its black belt, green belts, and sponsor. Unfortunately, many Six Sigma books fail to develop the detail of the tools necessary for practical use, or they cover only a small handful of the tools required for an organization's projects. Readers are not provided clear benefits for the tools or may wonder if the tools may be applied to their specific processes and projects.
I am often asked by clients, "How does Six Sigma apply to us?" Each industry tends to approach problems as if no other market segment has experienced the same problems, now or ever. Even if the problems were the same, the solutions certainly can't apply across industries. Some books provide far too much statistical background for the tools. Readers are forced to endure academic derivations of formulas or statistical tests that have limited use in today's computerized world. This tends to force the focus away from the practical use and limitations of the tools.
Six Sigma Demystifiedis written to address these needs. This Second Edition has taken the input of the many thousands of readers of the First Edition to further refine specific topics, as well as to provide further detail on using Minitab and Excel to solve common problems found in both service and industrial settings, as well as certification exams.
How to Use this Book
The book's presentation is based on the implementation strategy for Six Sigma. Part 1 addresses the management responsibilities for developing a coherent infrastructure to support successful Six Sigma projects. Part 2 addresses the details of deploying Six Sigma projects using the Six Sigma define, measure, analyze, improve, and control (DMAIC) problem-solving methodology. Each chapter in Parts 1 and 2 concludes with exercises to test the subject matter expertise of the reader. Section exams are also provided for Parts 1 and 2, in addition to a final exam addressing the entire scope of the text. Solutions to the questions are provided at the end of the book.
Part 3 of the book serves as a reference guide to detail the statistical, lean, and problemsolving tools used most often in the DMAIC project deployment. It includes a variety of tools useful to Six Sigma teams, each presented within the context of an objective for a particular stage of DMAIC. Since many tools have applications within multiple stages of DMAIC, each tool description includes a "When to Use" section relating to the DMAIC methodology and its objectives. Detailed interpretation of each tool is also provided, with reference to other tools that should be used in conjunction with that tool for full effectiveness. Calculations and assumptions are provided as needed, as are detailed examples of their use in popular software such as MS Excel, Minitab, and Green Belt XL. To attract interest from the widest audience, many examples are provided for service processes. This book may be used for training groups of black belts and green belts or for self-study to master the tools and methodology of Six Sigma.