Monday, December 28, 2009

Lean Six Sigma Books that are Critical to Your Success

The website, powered by, offers the recommended lean six sigma books. These books will help you in your quest to uncover the mystery behind six sigma. It will hasten your learning process so that you can right away implement the concepts of six sigma.

These books are valuable, especially if you want to get certified. The six sigma books recommended at are listed for the 6 sigma green belt in mind.

If you want to get the edge in learning six sigma, you can click here..

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Toyota Production System

I regularly search at online bookstores for books that I use for my work. These can be six sigma books, lean manufacturing books, leadership books and some self-help books. I am happy I was able to purchase recently: Taiichi Ohno’s book on TPS and that of Henry Ford’s.

I am interested to know what is contained in Henry Ford’s book—as it is openly discussed that Ohno was actually first inspired by Henry Ford’s system. Also, they say that Ford actually started the lean production system. So hang in there, I will share my learnings of the 2 books.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Six Sigma Belt 101: Getting Certified

Six Sigma Belt in the Art of Continuous Improvement

Companies trying to improve themselves will be trying on quality programs. There are many options they can go about this: lean manufacturing, six sigma, re-engineering and many more. The most popular now, are lean manufacturing and six sigma. There are even sectors now going into lean six sigma -- a perfect marriage waiting to happen.

Let us, for this post, tackle on some aspects of six sigma, specifically six sigma belt.

In this quality program, a six sigma belt is awarded to specific individuals who have shown certain qualifications: includes passing an exam, completing a 6 sigma training course, practical knowledge of the tools, show of leadership, support to projects and of course, completion of one's initiated 6 sigma projects.

Among the 4 belts (yellow, green, black, master black belt), let us concentrate on the six sigma belt: green and black. (Note: refer to for more about belt certifications.)

Green six sigma belt :

Usually, the individual will undergo a training course for the basics of six sigma and its tools. What is emphasize more here is the DMAIC approach. Statistical concepts will be slightly covered, and will be bettered covered by separate modules. Self-study will also be necessary since there are a lot to learn about statistics. The concept of variation though and SPC will be critical here.

Black six sigma belt :

Same with the green belt, a training course will have to be taken. In-depth concepts are covered here, and more of the advanced statistical concepts. Black belts will often guide green belts: and they are expected to remove roadblocks along the way, so they are considered to be a level higher than the green belts. They are usually seen as well, to provide the answers of certain statistical concepts on issue.

What six sigma belt are you?

Or perhaps, what belt are your aiming for? Each belt signifies a certain level of experience, and expertise if you will. So at each level, one should do a certain amount of personal effort to study and practice the tools when doing the six sigma projects.

Book recommendations for individuals with six sigma belt or aiming to get one:

1. Six Sigma Execution by George Eckes
2. Six Sigma for Green Belts and Champions by Howard Gitlow and David Levine
3. The Toyota Way by J. Liker and other lean mfg books
4. Understanding Variation by Donald Wheeler

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Six Sigma Green Belt

Are you ready to become a six sigma green belt ? Do you think you have what it takes to pursue your dream of becoming a six sigma green belt? Are you committed in continuous learning and improvement?

Wanting to be a Six Sigma Green Belt

If it is indeed your dream to become a six sigma green belt - you must have the passion and commitment for it. You must seek to become a six sigma green belt for the right reasons. If you are only after the prestige of having a six sigma green belt certification - you have it all wrong to start with.

Passion for Learning

One must have the passion for learning - the goal to improve himself and eventually use these new capabilities in the course of work. Becoming a six sigma green belt requires continuous learning - as you must equip yourself with knowledge on problem solving tools, statistical techniques, leading teams, project management and many more.

Without the true passion for learning - you may just end up frustrated. But if you are truly interested, you will ride the waves of difficulty that arises - and you will respond by learning more of your weak points. With this, you have to read a lot - and learn to apply this.

Six Sigma Green Belt Learning

There will be a lot of material available for you out there - you need to learn as well to not allow these to lead you to inaction. You should know how to pace yourself and learn only those that are relevant to your current undertaking.

There are a lot of good books to learn from. For a general approach about systems, read the works of Deming. You will find his books to be profound. Reading his books will lead you to discussions on variation. Learning variation will bring you to the concept of SPC or statistical process control. The best books on SPC for me are those of Donald Wheeler.

You may also want to strengthen your statistics and you may need to review on the basics. Get yourself Introductory Books on Statistics - and learn from it. Along the way, you may want some advanced stuff as EDA or Exploratory Data Analysis which originated from the works of John Tukey.

Becoming a Six Sigma Green Belt is also about Project Management. As you may know, your approach will be guided by the DMAIC model. At each stage will be deliverables, and without the correct project management skills - you will find it difficult to complete these.

You also need to work on your leadership skills since the six sigma undertaking is a team approach. You must know how to direct the focus of the team and get their support. You must know how to engage them fully for your team to become effective in coming up with the right solutions.

Six Sigma Green Belt Challenge

Becoming a six sigma green belt is indeed a challenge. Are you up to it? For my case, I'm still working at my six sigma green belt project. I still have a lot to learn - but I am doing my best. I'm continuously reading books to further my knowledge.

For your case, if you are serious about becoming a six sigma green belt then you should know what it requires. If you are up to it, then by all means, take the six sigma green belt challenge.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Learn 6sigma

Learn 6sigma - and be competitive.

To learn 6sigma will indeed be challenging. You will be introduced to the 6sigma DMAIC approach and all the 6sigma qualitative and quantitative tools with it. It will be filled with statistical stuff - but an enjoyable one - since you will be learning how to apply it in the real world.

To learn 6sigma - you have to be interested about it - and you should have the discipline of continuous improvement. Having the right mindset to learn 6sigma will be easier for you to absorb all the new information introduced.

There will usually be classroom lectures in order to learn 6sigma - one conducted by 6sigma master blackbelts. Main emphasis will be the DMAIC approach in problem solving. DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control Phases or stages. At each stage, there will be tools you can use to be more effective in your problem solving.

To truly learn 6sigma, you must also continually come up with projects so that you will not forget the theories discussed in the classroom setting. You will also learn to analyze which statistical tools or qualitative tools you can use at each stage of your 6sigma problem solving activity.

Your 6sigma blackbelts will be there to help you and guide you as you make your very first 6sigma project. Especially involving statistical tools, you are better off asking your 6sigma blackbelts if you are doing it right. Much is still to be learned of statistics - and only the initiated (your blackbelts) are in the better position to help you out.

It wouldn’t hurt much if you could also do your own research in order to learn 6sigma better. In this way, you will be able to deepen your knowledge of the 6sigma approach. There are a lot of good books out there that you can use as references. For me these includes, Understanding SPC by Donald Wheeler (also his book on Understanding Variation), DOE & SQC by Douglas Montgomery, Improving Quality Through Planned Experimentation by Ronald Moen, Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbox by Michael L. George and many more.

To learn 6sigma is indeed a challenge - yet if you are up to it, you will grow fonder with the scientific approach it uses; you will also see how effective it is in solving your problems. Learn 6sigma - and get that edge.

Learn 6 sigma - it is your key to success.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Six Sigma Execution and Learning

If there is one book that I would recommend to read first - it would be George Eckes' Six Sigma Execution. I find it easier to read - and will not bog you down with lots of statistics stuff. Don't get me wrong, I like statistics - though I still have to learn a lot - but with his book, I found to be practical.

For an appreciation of the DMAIC approach, this book worked for me. And if you need quick results, I would suggest Six Sigma Execution. However, when you do have the time - strengthen your statistics knowledge. This will improve your data analysis skills.

Everyday, I'm trying to find the time to study statistics. The irony of it though - is that the more I study statistics - the more I know that there are lots of things I do not know about it. And thus my passion for getting my hands on various statistics books - both classical and contemporary ones.

The beauty of this though - is that I am continuously learning. And if you love to learn, you will study for the pure joy of it - at least I do.

Lean Manufacturing, VSM and more...

Lean manufacturing is all about eliminating waste in the process - that is whether you are in the service sector or in a manufacturing environment. Lean Manufacturing books actually point out 7 wastes - and these can be broadly categorized as non-value adding activities.

A common way of approaching lean is with the use of VSM (Value Stream Mapping). A good book to study is Learning To See. In essence, VSM documents both information and the physical flow. Then you can put in the details that will be considered when you do an analysis of your existing situation.

When doing the VSM, you first do the current state - and after analysis - you should come up with the future state. In your current state, you place inside kaizen bursts, your opportunity for improvements. Remember though that this is a team approach - so you are actually working this out with your members or teammates. Such events are usually called kaizen events.

Different companies employ kaizen events differently. As can be read in books as well, there is no one correct formula. The key is always in finding one that will fit your case. Blindly following a technique or a formula will not ensure success - it will all depend on your circumstance.

As I've read also, different Toyota Plants have different ways of implementing the concepts of lean manufacturing. So this would mean that if you go to these different plants, you will find that these are not exactly alike. The guiding principles however - I am sure is the same.