The Autumn 2013 edition of the ASQ Quality Management Forum includes a great review of our ‘Lean Six Sigma and Minitab’ publication. The review is written by Mr. Robert Spencer, an Adjunct Professor in the Program in Quality Assurance in the College of Extended and International Education at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

A copy of the review is shown below.

When we start out on a big project, it’s like beginning an extensive trip—we’ll get to our destination sooner and more comfortably if we have a good roadmap to follow. That is just what’s offered in this pocket guide. The entire Six Sigma and Lean process improvement strategy is laid out from start to finish through the DMAIC phases, showing the array of tools and techniques used along the way. A big bonus in this guide is the extensive presentation of examples showing how to analyze and interpret process improvement data using Minitab. This guide fills a unique need in demonstrating the integration of Six Sigma and Lean methodologies with the power of the Minitab statistical analysis software package.

The book can easily be used to design a Six Sigma Lean project. Most routine templates (e.g., project charter, FMEA table, Pugh diagram and so on) are provided via download from the publisher’s website. These templates have a common “look and feel,” making for a consistent and attractive presentation of your results. In addition, numerous Minitab example analyses are displayed. Pointers are offered to customize graph and data outputs to be more understandable by decision makers. The format of the presentation of Six Sigma and Lean tools and Minitab analysis setup and output interpretation should fit well with team members who have some training (green belts). The guide should also be an excellent training resource for more experienced belts who are coaching and mentoring team members. It could first be used as a training text and then kept at the ready as newly acquired skills are applied in a real-world process improvement project.

There are several outstanding free resources that come with the pocket guide.
First, the author provides a customized menu that can be added to Minitab to ease the task of finding commonly used Six Sigma and Lean graphing and statistical analysis procedures. This drop-down menu is easily installed and allows selection of procedure groups for statistical analysis, statistical process control, graphical analysis, and hypothesis testing from a single consolidated menu.
Second, dozens of data files and Minitab script files are provided for readers who want to practice further with examples presented in the guide. These resources show the data setup and procedure instructions to obtain the analysis output, and more importantly, how the source data must be configured in the Minitab data file. Finally, a Six Sigma Tool Finder app (for Android and iOS) provides a high-level summary of each tool and technique explained in the text. These summaries are accessed through aninteractive DMAIC roadmap, making this a valuable addition to allow selection of tools quicker and with greater certainty about appropriateness.

I had the good fortune of meeting the pocket guide author Quentin Brook at the ASQ World Conference on Quality Improvement in Indianapolis last May. I obtained the print version of the guide, which is 7 X 8¼ inches and about 1¼ inches thick. This is actually larger than “pocket size,” but the guide is easy to carry around and the spiral binding makes it a pleasure to use since pages can be laid flat for easier viewing. An iBook version is available for iPads and includes additional instructional videos.

At last count I have nearly two dozen references in my library on Six Sigma and Lean practices. Although I would not want to part with many of these resources, I could do rather nicely in most process improvement projects with just this pocket guide as a reference. The guide’s subtitle: The Complete Toolbox Guide for all Lean Six Sigma Practitioners accurately states the utility of this book to business process improvement leaders and the members of their Six Sigma and Lean teams.

Mr. Robert Spencer
Adjunct Professor in the Program in Quality Assurance in the College of Extended and International Education at California State University, Dominguez Hills.