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The Power of Six Sigma: An Inspiring Tale of How Six Sigma is Transforming the Way We Work by Subir Chowdhury


Rating: (Recommended)


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My Lunch with Larry

If you’re looking for a short book that can explain Six Sigma to any employee, you may want to choose The Power of Six Sigma by Subir Chowdhury. Most of the book is the luncheon conversation between recently downsized Joe Meter from American Burger, and his friend Larry Hogan, an executive with American Pizza, whom Joe has known since college, and when they started work together. Along the way, Joe stagnated, and Larry found Six Sigma and success. The book explains Six Sigma through their conversation, and uses language that every employee will find easy to read and understand. Here’s an excerpt:

“ ‘But Four Sigma still leaves the dreaded 1 percent rate of error, right?’
 ‘Good memory!’
 ‘Well, how do you get rid of that 1 percent?’ I said, sipping a little more hot coffee so Susan could freshen it up a bit.
 ‘For starters,’ Larry said, ‘instead of just getting rid of the bad end products, you try to solve WHY the bad results are occurring. In the case of a biscuit factory, while other programs tell you to oil the machine and toss out the burnt biscuits, Six Sigma tells you to take the whole machine apart, find out why it’s making the occasional burnt biscuit, fix the problem, then put it back together again so you don’t have any more burnt biscuits. That way, you don’t need a dozen Quality Control guys with clipboards standing there at the end of the line watching the biscuits drop into the out box!’ He added a little sugar to his coffee and continued.
 ‘There’s no point throwing good money after bad, which is what a lot of programs seem to recommend. They urge you to keep driving a horse with a bad leg to make it go faster. Better to fix the lef or get a new horse. Why keep oiling a machine that makes bad biscuits? Break it down and put it back together, or get a new machine that doesn’t have the same defect. Don’t keep patching leaks. Build a better boat! Don’t keep paying for constant tune-ups on a car with a rotten engine. FIX THE ENGINE!
 ‘Six Sigma doesn’t try to manage the problem, Joe. It tries to eliminate it.’”

Throughout the book terms like “Black Belt” and “Green Belt” are explained, along with a dozen other buzzwords that are associated with Six Sigma. If you want to lay a foundation for workers to understand your Six Sigma program, you may want to consider asking them to read The Power of Six Sigma.

Steve Hopkins, May 15, 2002


ã 2002 Hopkins and Company, LLC


The recommendation rating for this book appeared in the June 2002 issue of Executive Times


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