Lean Six Sigma for Beginners [Book Review]

If you’d like a book that repeat itself, this is the book for you. Most of the book can be summarized in probably 20 pages…..but at least you’ll definitely remember those cliff notes by the time you are done. To the subject at hand!


Six Sigma is about analyzing the statistics from your production and being able to reduce the variance observed in your results. Lean is about reducing waste including worker time, input ingredients, information flow, output overproduction, unwanted defects, and procedural delays.  When you put those two together, you get Lean Six Sigma (LSS).

In terms of quality, the first notion that you have to understand is what “quality” means, and this can change depending on your point view. Most people think of luxury items having “quality,” while others would believe that they are overpriced for their application. Thus quality is typically referred to how true and consistent a product (or service) is based on the price paid for it. Not everyone pays top dollar for luxury vehicles as many standard sedans are practically perfect.

Once you know WHICH metrics are important, then it’s time to measure them. This is where statistics come in. Of course not every measurement will be the same, so there will be a range for all of your results. How broad the range of your results is typically known as the variance or standard deviations [st. dev. = sqrt(var)] or your data. The lower the variance, the more consistent you can deliver. Sometimes you want to focus on both sides of the range (such as the size of a gear for a watch, where it can’t be either too big or too small). Other times, one has to worry about just the minimum or maximum rating in the data (the delay for when a call representative finally answers a customer’s call shouldn’t be over a certain time).

Some metrics are easy to measure, analyze, and correct for. In contrast, if you are working on a large scale production line that is online 24-7, the time and money required for LSS investigations become a larger burden. Thus, the book discusses how implementation of six sigma practices should be done BEFORE tragedy strikes, with hindsight from a project leader, and requires backing from your managers and business leaders.

And of course this book, written by G. Harver, praises the benefits of LSS practices. Lower costs long term despite the short upfront costs for investigation. A stronger understanding of your business practices. But most importantly, a continued and improved level of trust from your customers (who could always leave you for the next off-shore supplier, typically promising cheaper labor but with unknown levels of quality).

There’s also 5-8 chapters that tend to say the same thing. Just a few include…..

  • Chapter 3: Beneficiaries of LSS: [Initial Content]
  • Chapter 4: Things for CEOS to note in readiness to implement LSS: [Copy Paste]
  • Chapter 11: Why adopt the LSS style [Copy Paste]
  • Chapter 12: Howe good is LSS for small and medium sized companies: [Copy Paste]
  • Chapter 16: How does LSS Compare to Total Quality Management [Copy Paste Add]
  • Chapter 19: Why companies are not taking advantage of LSS: [Copy paste]
  • Chapter 20: Why LSS is worth the Effort: [Copy paste]

Due to the relatively repetitiveness of the book, I started skimming towards the end of the book hoping to find something more different or detailed. Even a few more detailed examples of where and how LSS was incorporated, especially with a few numbers describing the level of improvement gained. However, the book is mostly a collection of vanilla statements, and half of the book is in bullet form. In case you are too busy to read a 100 page book with large font, you can treat it as a look up reference copy-pasted from PowerPoint slides….


Despite the lack of technical information that I was hoping to read about, I did learn a few things. Most of this is more on the insight on becoming LSS certified and the bureaucracy that can complicate the possible steps involved in implementing LSS practices. Most of these portions are more planning and managerial “lessons” in nature. But I would still recommend people just read the Wikipedia pages instead of this book:





…. ..ONE MORE THING! The author also has 5 pages at the end as a “bonus” where he advertised another one of his books totally unrelated to this topic…..selling stuff on Amazon….

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