GO Productivity Book Club – 4th Installment



Welcome back to the fourth installment of our Book Club.


Part 4: Improving the Process

Continuing our read of the book: Lean Six Sigma for Dummies by John Morgan and Martin-Brenig Jones, we are now continuing onto Part 4 of the book which consists of Chapters 9 to 12.


Chapter 9 – Identifying Value-Adding Steps and Waste

A lean essential is adding value and eliminating waste. Value adds are additional steps that satisfy and exceed CTQ’s – they must be actioned “right first time” and must alter the product or process enough physically to be considered. Once internal definitions have been established for what is a value add, this chapter details the steps towards carrying out a value-added analysis, which helps determine value adds, and non-value adds in order to categorize and eliminate them appropriately.

Waste is any process that does not add value. While the book goes with 7 steps, at GO Productivity we recognize 8 steps in total, known as TIM WOODS (the additional waste being ‘Skill’).

  • Transportation
  • Inventory
  • Motion
  • Waiting
  • Over Production
  • Over Processing
  • Defects
  • Skills

For further information on the 8 Wastes, please stay tuned for our upcoming ‘TIMWOODS’ e-book coming out shortly in the new year.

The chapter concludes with how these wastes add up and how it affects the overall client experience, giving simple but meaningful examples on how they are affected and a method on how to determine which wastes have the largest impact on the entire process.

Chapter 10 – Discovering the Opportunity for Prevention

Preventing the causes of wastes is key to improve your processes. This chapter introduces 5S as one such method (Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain), which starts off with a red tag exercise, which identifies and organizes things in the process that’s needed or not needed.

Some techniques looked at in this chapter to prevent defects are:

  • Jidoka – once a defect is detected, production is stopped until the problem is solved.
  • Failure Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA) – This identifies risks and assigns a severity rating to each one.
  • Poka-Yoke – also known as error or fool-proofing. This prevents simple errors by design.
  • Preventative Maintenance – scheduled planned maintenance to ensure breakdowns and errors don’t occur.

The chapter then focuses on how to level the activities performed, to avoid significant variations, with techniques such as Jidoka, meshed with new concepts such as Heijunka which applies a levelling sequence to the process and production. To be more specific Heijunka involves levelling, sequencing, stability and standardization.

The chapter closes out including important warning that achieving these processes of balance and levelling while having a great positive effect, is not easy to achieve or succeed at implementation. However, it is important to remember that with continuous improvement – there is no arbitrary end point and, you must strive to keep improving.


Chapter 11 – Detecting and Tackling Bottlenecks

Bottlenecks or Constraints are when demands exceed capacity. Eli Goldratt’s 5 Step approach known as the theory of constraints is appropriately recommended to help improve the process flow to avoid bottlenecks. The book makes a key concept of needing the exploit the constraint, maximizing the potential benefits while minimizing costs.

Some methods that can be used to rectify these are by managing the production cycle. One system that can be used is a Pull System, where the process takes the exact amount needed from the preceding process, thus not exceeding excess inventory and reduces inventory costs. Another system is Single Piece Flow in conjunction with Jidoka, every process is performed with a quality check, and if it does not pass the process is halted before moving onto the next step. Cellular manufacturing techniques are also examined in this chapter.


Chapter 12 – Introducing Design for Six Sigma

Design for Six Sigma is briefly looked at in this chapter, it is explicitly stated that the entire breadth of this would encompass a whole other book. This philosophy is heavily customer focused in nature, often concentrating on satisfying ‘delighters’ in the Kano Model. Here, instead of a DMAIC process, a DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Verify) process can be used instead. This chapter reminds us as a key concept that Lean Six Sigma must and should be managed by fact. This chapter gives a detailed overview of Quality Function Deployment (also referred to as House of Quality), with several detailed diagrams, an entire step by step process, as well as additional tools such as QFD drill-down and the Pugh Matrix for readers to design and interlink the various relationships to build our “house”.


JOIN the Club

We would love to engage those of us following along to explore this book (and others in the future!). We welcome your thoughts and feedback along the way as we grow into our Lean Six Sigma journey and the embrace of continuous improvement and increased productivity.

For more in-depth knowledge, and hands on training, you and/or your organization should consider one of GO Productivity’s Lean Six Sigma Courses. We help provide you skills and coaching on your projects, and how to be more productive and improve your bottom line! Reach us today at 

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