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Lean Six Sigma for Service: How to Use Lean Speed and Six Sigma Quality to Improve Services and Transactions Hardcover – Jul 15 2003
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From the Back Cover
"How do I apply Lean Six Sigma in my service organization?"
"This is a question many executives and managers are asking. With all the emphasis on using Lean Six Sigma in manufacturing environments, the need for a clear methodology for implementing these major quality improvement initiatives in service functions has been mainly overlooked--until now."
"Lean Six Sigma for Service" provides a service-based approach, explaining how companies of all types can cost-effectively translate manufacturing-oriented Lean Six Sigma tools into the service delivery process. Six Sigma expert Michael George reveals how easy it is to apply relatively simple statistical and Lean tools that will reduce costs and achieve greater speed in service processes.
It's no secret that service functions have a harder time applying Lean and Six Sigma principles. The manufacturing roots of these initiatives have made it unclear how to apply these tools to services; this book effortlessly makes that translation. Here, for the first time, you'll read about how classic Lean tools such as "Pull systems" and "setup reduction" are being used in procurement, call centers, surgical suites, government offices, R&D, and much more. You'll see why services are full of waste--and ripe for the benefits of Lean Six Sigma.
This book provides real-world examples from situations where the critical determinants of quality and speed are the flow of information" "and the interaction between people. The numerous case studies demonstrate how Lean Six Sigma can be used in service organizations just as effectively as in manufacturing--and with even faster results. You'll discover how to: Integrate Lean and Six Sigma and apply them side by side Become a customer-centered organization Gain control over process complexity Improve response time on signature services Apply value-based management to project selection Clean up your workspace Develop supplier relationships
For guidance in deploying Lean Six Sigma in service organizations, reducing lead times, streamlining processes, and holding down costs, "Lean Six Sigma for Services" is the most complete, authoritative guide you can own.
"Lockheed Martin recognized that our business support processes have as much opportunity for improvement as our design and build areas. By applying Lean process speed and Six Sigma quality tools to marketing, legal, contract administration, procurement, etc. we have created a competitive advantage... The lessons learned and practical case studies contained in Lean Six Sigma for Service provide a road map which can create great value for customers, employees and shareholders."--Mike Joyce, Vice President, Lockheed Martin Operational Excellence
Deploy Lean Six Sigma in your service organization
Would you like to: Reduce your company's service costs by 30 to 60 percent? Improve service delivery time by 50 percent? Expand capacity by 20 percent--without adding staff?
If you answered yes--and who wouldn't--then this is the book for you. "Lean Six Sigma for Services "reveals how to bring the miracle of Lean Six Sigma improvement out of manufacturing and into service functions. Michael George describes the basic elements of successful deployment, including insights from corporate leaders who have already "walked the talk" to accelerate your own journey.
Filled with case studies detailing dramatic service improvements in organizations from Lockheed Martin to Stanford University Hospital, this bottom-line book provides executives and managers with the knowledge necessary to blend Lean and Six Sigma to optimize services. You'll see how Lean Six Sigma can cut costs by reducing complexity; how to utilize its tools to provide better quality service; and how you can use shareholder value to drive project selection--without needing an MBA.
About the Author
McGraw-Hill authors represent the leading experts in their fields and are dedicated to improving the lives, careers, and interests of readers worldwide
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Top Customer Reviews
---Mike Joyce, Vice President, LM 21
Author of Six Sigma Business Scorecard
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Both books suffer from exactly the same problem: a very strong manufacturing background, which refuses to stay out of the way, while the authors try to explain 6S concepts and techniques under a services business light.
Examples after examples are taken from pure manufacturing processes - the sort with names like "etching" and "plating".
This is not a matter of bad didactics. It is not a question of learning through manufacturing examples and then easily applying the same concepts and techniques in the services environment. As both authors promptly address at their introductory "why this book" paragraphs, service processes are inherently different from manufacturing processes. Most of them do not even have any physical output. Their tasks or "repetitive units of work" have usually to be described in such high-level, generic ways that render them useless - think of the tasks of a senior associate in a large law firm. That is precisely why the services industry needs so badly a body of knowledge about quality management. George's and Yang's books, unfortunately fall far behind, on this task.
These are books on quality of services that do not cover, to any meaningful length, the role of call centers in designing services processes (not to mention the whole science of quality maangement in call centers); they do not touch the subjects of scripting, Queuing Theory, yield management or any other obvious subjects that come to the mind of any practitioner of process improvement in the banking, retail, hospitality, or professional services industries.
What is behind this?
George is the guy that invented Lean Six Sigma. Yang is a Ph.D., practitioner and professor of quality engineering. Why can't these top-notch professionals produce useful tests on their field of expertise, when it comes to service industry applications?
My hypothesis is that large services companies - the sort of clients that hire projects that are sufficiently large and complex to call (and pay) for methodology and theory building - have consistently neglected the consulting firms that specialize in quality engineering projects, like George's George Group, Yang's Enterprise Excellence Institute, as well as their eminent ancestors, Juran and Demming Institutes. These companies have, instead, hired mainly management consulting firms - the McKinsey's and Accenture's - to help them in their challenges with processes and quality improvement. Why would that have happened?
The advent of business process reengineering (BPR), in the early 90's, was severely criticized by the quality engineering practitioners and warmly embraced by the management consultants. This happened exactly at the time when the IT revolution (decentralized networks, low-platform applications, etc.) opened the gates for radical innovation in services process engineering. Banks, insurance companies, hospitals, retail chains, everybody in the services industries (much, much more than in the manufacturing arena) had their plates full of opportunities for radical process innovation - the sort of projects management consultants were selling, not the step-improvements, group-oriented sort offered by quality consultants. And you know what? These clients were right in their choice.
The problem is, now that all this new technology has been deployed in all these new processes, now that jobs were eliminated by the millions, all over the world, productivity has soared but so has confusion, bad services, non-conformity. So now is the time for our friends in the quality engineering trenches to step-up and actively target the services industry. Maybe they should forget about writing books, right now - they do not yet have the raw material for a complete corpus of knowledge on quality engineering for services. Maybe they should start learning from veterans of process improvement for services outside the quality management community. And definitely, they should start learning by doing large projects for large services organizations.
Michael George has opened my eyes. He points out (in a non-technical way) both the differences in Lean and Six Sigma, and how they complement each other. He does this through some description of the Lean and Six-Sigma techniques, and follows up with some revealing case studies, how Lean and Six-Sigma tools can apply to services.
Six-Sigma brings an awful lot to the table. Six-Sigma was the backbone of Jack Welch's eye-popping success at GE, shaving hundreds of millions off of the company's cost structure. A proscribed series of steps, Six-Sigma's customer focused methodology (DMAIC) allows the practitioner, generally referred to as Green or Black Belts, to rationally Define a problem, Measure it, Analyze the causes, make adjustments to Improve the problem, and ultimately Control the corrected process. In each of these steps, Six-Sigma deploys standard tools that help the practitioner ensure that processes are producing standardized outputs well within specs. The result, if implemented correctly, is higher quality output. Increased quality= less quality costs (scrap, customer returns) =increased margins.
Lean is largely managing processes to increase the velocity of them. Increased velocity means less work in process (WIP). Lean means determining which activities are value added, and which are not. Then, you get rid of the bathwater and keep the baby.
When the two methodologies are combined, you have greater velocity (product turns), less inventory in the pipeline and processes that build value for the customer (Lean Concepts). You also have measurable quality standards that are continually fine tuning the processes, honing in on fitting more and more perfectly the specs desired by consumers. This reduces quality costs dramatically (Six Sigma Concepts).
George follows up with some interesting case studies of how Black and Green Belts have worked to improve processes in Lockheed-Martin, Bank One and, most interesting of all, the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana (Yes, Virginia, if there is rationality in government, there just may be a Santa Claus!). I would have liked to see more of the technical aspects: A case study from the problem definition phase through control, how the various Lean and Six Sigma tools were applied instead of the macro-level explanations of before and after.
I liked the book well enough. It gave me an overview, and an idea of how to implement the tools. However, I would have appreciated some down and dirty, nuts and bolts how-to. After all, the book jacket promises to teach you how to shave dollars from the bottom line. Still, an invaluable, thought provoking read for any manager in a service industry. You may want to pick up "Business Process Mapping" by Jacka and Keller, and "Statistics for Six-Sigma Made Easy" by Brussee to familiarize yourself with the nuts and bolts of Six-Sigma Quality tools.
In essence, Lean Six Sigma for services is a business improvement methodology that maximizes shareholder value by achieving the fastest possible rate of improvement in customer satisfaction, cost, quality, process speed, and invested capital. Presumably George agrees that it would be a fool's errand to read his book (or any other), then charge ahead with implementing all of the recommendations it makes. With all due respect to what can be learned from organizations such as Lockheed Martin, Bank One's National Enterprise Operations group, Stanford Hospital Clinics, the City of Fort Worth, and Caterpillar, Inc. (all of which George rigorously examines), the fact remains that they and all other organizations (regardless of size or nature) are unique in terms of their culture, needs, interests, available resources, etc. George wrote this book inorder to help his readers to understand:
1. How to apply Lean tools to achieve greater speed in service processes
2. How to integrate Lean and Six Sigma
3. How to use shareholder (or stakeholder) value to drive project selection
4. How to to use Lean Six Sigma to cut costs by reducing complexity
To me, the key point is to understand what both Six Sigma and Lean offer to organizations which heavily rely on the services they provide and then -- with meticulous care -- formulate an appropriate "game plan" which will enable the given organization to achieve its desired objectives. Hence the great importance and value of George's counsel when formulating such a plan, then implementing it while making necessary modifications along the way.
More a quibble than a complaint, I wish George had devoted somewhat more attention to the subject of measurement. True, he identifies basic metrics of deployment and affirms the importance of establishing baselines; however, he only briefly discusses tools such as the Pareto chart, FMEA, and Gage R&R.
That said, I strongly recommend this book. Credit George with explaining quite effectively how and why Lean and Six Sigma are complementary and, when properly combined, how and why they create a business improvement methodology that maximizes shareholder value by achieving the fastest possible rate of improvement in customer satisfaction, cost, quality, process speed, and invested capital.
Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out George's Conquering Complexity in Your Business: How Wal-Mart, Toyota, and Other Top Companies Are Breaking Through the Ceiling on Profits and Growth and his more recently published book, Fast Innovation: Achieving Superior Differentiation, Speed to Market, and Increased Profitability. Also, Frederick Reichheld's The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth, Barbara Bund's The Outside-In Corporation: How to Build a Customer-Centric Organization for Breakthrough Results and Jason Jennings' Think Big, Act Small: How America's Best Performing Companies Keep the Start-up Spirit Alive as well as Robert Kaplan and David Norton's The Strategy-Focused Organization: How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Business Environment.
Lean Six Sigma for Service has been out since 2003 so this is not the first review but in today's context the value and relevance of this book is in question. George does a nice job of describing the processes and its application at Lockheed Martin and Bank One. Those descriptions cement his credibility that he has done this work. However they do not shed light on what that work actually was. I found this book surprisingly conceptual and technical with limited applications and actual examples - illustrations of the principles yes - but this is what we did not so much.
The success story vignettes are written at such a high level as to categorize the scale of benefits that Lockheed Martin and Bank One achieved. It would have been much better for George to go deep on one project, show a worked example and create value for the reader. The success stories themselves also focus on back office activities (invoicing etc) which while a role for these technique are not the areas that will get breakthrough service levels.
These are weaknesses as that experience is definitely there but it does not come out in the book. When it was written more than 5 years ago, the author may have been concerned about revealing too much and devaluating his consulting practice. But now with people coming round to wanting to understand and implement, this is not a book for them.
There are other little things that are interesting gaps in the book. On a subject matter basis there is no mention of Motorola's role in creating and deploying six sigma. From the books perspective only the people that Mr. George worked with were the creators and the innovators. That is unfortunate. Another gap is the lack of discussion about information technology and the role that this plays. Even in 2003, IT had a role to play in Six Sigma and lean - particularly at an enterprise scale, but the book is mute on these things.
So, if you are looking for a general discussion of these concepts then this is as good as any other book. However, if you want to understand how to do these techniques and apply them to service you will need to look elsewhere.
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