This book by Richard J. Schonberger is a fantastic book on the process improvement method, regardless of your experience level. In the preface of the book, Mr. Schonberger discusses how he uses “carefully referenced data about best practices in process improvement”, rather than simply writing about his years of experience. This is a good approach since so many books just focus on the writer’s experience. Mr. Schonberger focuses on the core fundamentals of Six Sigma, making sure the reader has a solid grasp of the concepts.
While the book does focus on fundamentals, it isn’t the standard “Learn the DMAIC method” model of book that is so frequently found in our industry. The first part of the book is about hyper-competition. Chapter one covers the subject of Magnitude Advances in Competitive Standards and Technologies. In some ways, this chapter is about the history of six sigma. It goes deeper than your standard history lesson however, covering topics like how intensive competition created the great companies of Japan (Sony, Mitsubishi Electric, Honda, Canon). It also discusses how the 1980s were the heady days of just-in-time (JIT) and total quality control (TQC). This is certainly true; both Six Sigma and total quality management were quickly becoming the standard for quality control in the manufacturing industry at that time.