Archive for December, 2008

Kaizen, Six Sigma and Lean Manufacture – Which suits you?

December 10th, 2008 No comments


At the recent Manufacturing Technology 2008 Exhibition, Professor Dennis McKeag of the School of Electrical & Mechanical Engineering, University of Ulster, delivered a highly stimulating presentation on the practical implementation of the mangement philosophies: Kaizen, Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing. Through case study examples, with plenty of personal anecdotes thrown in, Professor McKeag illuminated these familiar but often misunderstood management philosophies.

Further to the presentation, Professor McKeag offered a suggested introductory reading list:


Six Sigma for Everyone; George Eckes; Wiley; ISBN 0-471-28156-5

Approximately: Stg£11.00

A short, easy to read book based on 6-sigma using Kaizen principles that can be equally applied to Lean. Perhaps the best place to start.


Gemba Kaizen – A commonsense low-cost approach to management; Masaaki Imai; McGraw-Hill; ISBN 0-07-031446-2

Approximately: Stg£20.00

Based on organising and managing the workplace. The key techniques of 5S, MUDA and Visual Management are very well covered. Good for anyone wanting to manage the shop-floor and quite easy to read.


Six Sigma – The Breakthrough Strategy Revolutionizing The World’s Top Corporations; Mikel Harry and Richard Schroeder; Currency; ISBN 0-385-49437-8

Approximately: Stg£25.00

Good for Six Sigma implementation. The complete Six Sigma philosophy in an easy to read format. Best suited to repetitive activities such as those found in offices, for example sales order processing, accounts etc.


The Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbox;  Michael L George, David Rowlands, Mark Price, John Maxey; McGraw-Hill; ISBN 0-07-1441190-0

Approximately: Stg£12.00

As the name implies, a large number of Lean/Six-Sigma/Kaizen tools. You are likely to find your preferred techniques here. If you find a technique here there is enough information to begin to use it, but you may want to follow up with some specific and more detailed reading on the technique.


Learning to See – value stream mapping to add value and eliminate muda; Mike Rother & John Shook; The Lean Enterprise Institute; ISBN 0-9667843-0-8

Approximately: Stg£20.00

Value stream mapping of product and information flow is the best start point for any initiative and this is the best book to use for VSM.