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The Power of Six Sigma
 
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Press Release

Six Sigma . . . Simplified.
Subir Chowdhury's new book will help everyone in your company comprehend-and buy into-this powerful management philosophy.


Chicago, IL-Sure, you've heard about the world's hottest business initiative, but you're having trouble getting past the daunting name. Six Sigma. It sounds like a complex mathematical equation you'd need an engineering degree to understand. But when you consider the benefits of this revolutionary system-greater productivity, better employee morale and a healthier bottom line, just to name a few-it's clear you owe it to your company and career to jettison your fear and learn all about it. Well, cheer up. There's a new book on the market that makes this intimidating topic downright simple . . . even entertaining.

The Power of Six Sigma: An Inspiring Tale of How an Extraordinary Process is Transforming the Way We Work (Dearborn Trade, 2001, ISBN: 0-7931-4435-5, U.S. $17.95, Canada $26.95), authored by Subir Chowdhury, brings this management philosophy down to a level that everyone can understand. In fact, if you've got an hour or so to spare-say, during your morning train ride or on your lunch break-you can learn the nuts and bolts of Six Sigma.

What makes this book so unusual (and so fascinating) is its fictional format. The story is told from the point of view of Joe Meter, a middle manager who has just been fired from the "burger" division of franchise company American Foods. Wanting to kill some time before going home and breaking the news to his family, he calls old friend and coworker Larry Hogan, who now has a successful career with the corporation's "American Pizza" branch.

In The Power of Six Sigma, Larry illustrates the process by telling the story of how American Pizza solved its underlying problems, increased its efficiency and, in the process, found profitable new ways to serve its clients. This is an engaging way to get a point across. But perhaps the best measure of the book's effectiveness is the fact that, as you read, you find yourself applying its principles to your own company.

The story begins as the two men meet for lunch at a new American Pizza store. There, Larry explains to his dejected friend that Six Sigma is the reason the pizza division has thrived while the burger division has been sluggish-and why Larry's career has taken off while Joe's has come to an untimely end. Their ensuing conversation is the book.

"Six Sigma is a management philosophy focused on eliminating mistakes, waste and rework," explains Chowdhury (in the voice of Larry). "It's not a rah-rah 'Do Better' program. It establishes a measurable status to achieve, and embodies a strategic problem-solving method to increase client satisfaction and dramatically enhance the bottom line. It teaches your employees how to improve the way they do business, scientifically and fundamentally, and maintain their new performance level."

First things first: let's tackle the name. Sigma is a Greek letter used to designate a standard deviation. In business terms it measures the capability of any given process to perform defect-free work. The higher the sigma value, the less likely that a process will produce defects. Six is the level of perfection that a Six Sigma company aims to achieve.

As Larry explains it, "if a company is working at One Sigma, that means it's making about 700,000 defects per million opportunities . . . at Two Sigma you're making a little over 300,000 mistakes per million opportunities. Most companies operate between Three and Four Sigma, which means they make between approximately 67,000 and 6,000 mistakes per million chances, respectively."

In other words, a company that operates at 3.8 Sigma is getting it right 99% of the time. To most people, that sounds good. But in fact, it's the equivalent of 20,000 lost articles of mail every hour . . . or 5,000 botched surgical procedures every week . . . or four accidents per day at major airports. The whole point of this management philosophy is that 99% is not good enough.

The goal of the Six Sigma process is to make only 3.4 "mistakes" per every million activities-or to get it right 99.99966% of the time!

The power of Six Sigma, Chowdhury asserts throughout his book, is People Power combined with Process Power.

First, let's consider the people involved. The bulk of the work takes place in middle management. A company's most outstanding managers-people with drive and intellect-are chosen as "Black Belts," trained intensively in the Six Sigma philosophy, then given the support and the resources they need to work fulltime on a specific project. Once the deadlines have been met and numerical goals have been reached, a Black Belt moves on to other projects.

Process Power, the other part of the equation, encompasses five steps: Define the problem, Measure where you stand, Analyze where the problem starts, Improve the situation, and Control the new process to confirm that it's fixed. That's DMAIC, or as Chowdhury's Larry remembers it, "Dumb Managers Always Ignore clients."

Chowdhury wrote this book because he wants employees at all levels of a corporation-from CEOs on down to factory workers-to understand the true power behind Six Sigma.

"Some corporations that have adopted this process have thrived," he says. "But others may be implementing it ineffectively because they either miss the point or can't communicate it to their people. Acceptance is the key to its success, and my book makes that possible. It helps everyone in a company understand Six Sigma so they'll buy into it 100 percent."

"My publishers came up with a great slogan for my book," Chowdhury adds. "It is 'finally, Six Sigma for the rest of us!' I think that says it best of all."

# # #

About the Author:
Subir Chowdhury is Executive Vice President of the American Supplier Institute and former Chairman of the American Society for Quality's Automotive Division. He has been awarded by the honorable U.S. Congress and Automotive Hall of Fame. Chowdhury, a young business professional, is rapidly becoming known as one of the best management thinkers of the 21st century. He lives with his wife Malini in Novi, Michigan.

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The Power of Six Sigma is in the process of being translated into the following languages:

  • German, French, Portuguese, Chinese Complex Characters (Taiwan), Korean and Bahasa (Indonesia).
  • English editions will be available for Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Maldives, and Sri Lanka.

International Editions Are Currently Available For:

UK SPANISH SINGAPORE JAPAN

To learn more about the International Editions please call 1-800-462-4500 Ext. 228 or email asi@asiusa.com


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