Book Reviews: Productivity, Quality and Service

Making Sense of Data: SPC for the Service Sector, by Donald J. Wheeler , SPC Press.
This is a very comprehensive and well-organized resource on statistical process control or continual improvement. It shows how techniques for working with data can be applied in the service sector to improve operations. It presents a blend of concepts and techniques. Chapters cover such topics as: visualizing the process; collecting good data; visualizing data; presenting data graphically; visualizing and interpreting process behavior; and the creation and use of charts. While technical, the book makes the subject matter easy to understand. Numerous figures, data and reference tables, and exercises. Highly recommended. 408 pp. 2003.

The Power of Six Sigma: An Inspirational Tale of How Six Sigma Is Transforming the Way We Work, by Subir Chowdhury. Dearborn Trade.
In a storytelling fashion, this short book explains the Six Sigma concept of virtually eliminating mistakes and achieving quality excellence, and presents a very basic description of the process for implementing it. The book is written for everyone, from top management to line workers, with the aim of revealing what the subject is about without any technical jargon. With a breezy style, the book captures the essence of the Six Sigma, is entertaining, and proves informative. Recommended. 124 pp. 2001.

Strategic Six Sigma: Best Practices from the Executive Suite, by Richard Smith, Jerome Blakeslee Jr., and Richard Koonce. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Unlike TQM and business process reegineering which work at an operational level, Strategic Six Sigma is a whole-enterprise strategy of business process management and improvement, capable of generating major leaps in business performance, customer satisfaction, and so on. It is based on a continuous process of: measuring conformance to customer requirements; creating continuous actions to reduce variation in existing business processes; and creating innovative products, services and process to meet market demands. Based on interviews with Six Sigma experts at highly successful organizations, the book explores: how Strategic Six Sigma works to drive high-quality, develop customer loyalty, and provide a competitive edge; how companies are integrating this approach into every aspect of strategic planning; and how to develop leaders with strong Strategic Six Sigma expertise. Provides a rich framework for appreciating Six Sigma. 310 pp. 2002.