October 29, 2004
News & Opinion: Six Sigma for All
I am a big fan of Six Sigma. When I worked at GE, I spent three years working in the quality program. So, understand that I am going to be a little partial to books on Six Sigma. The most recent title to cross my desk is Six Sigma Beyond the Factory Floor: Deployment Strategies for Financial Services, Health Care, and the Rest of the the Economy by Ronald Snee and Roger Hoerl. The book is meant for managers and leaders in non-manufacturing companies. The authors lay out their case for why Six Sigma can be used by anyone. You will find definitions, process explanations, and plenty of case studies. The book is meant to convince you that you can do it too. I think they do a pretty good job of it. Hardcore Six Sigma folks might be left disappointed, because most of it your already know. There is a section at the end of the book that does discuss some of the challenges in the non-manufacturing environment. These include the heavily reliance on discrete data and difficulty of verify your measurement systems. This book is the third in a series for the authors. Their other books include Statistical Thinking: Improving Business Performance and Leading Six Sigma: A Step by Step Guide Based on Experience With GE and Other Six Sigma Companies.