Introduction

For those interested in the history of Six Sigma, it evolved from 1855 as a methodology, measuring tool, and technique in Quality Management Systems. The Lean concepts are based on the production process in the manufacturing unit of Henry Ford. These were refined in the early 1900s and became a part of total quality management and the Six Sigma concepts and philosophy.  

In this blog about Best Lean Six Sigma Books, I will try to list out the best books in this genre.  

15 Best Lean Six Sigma Books

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The list of 15 best Lean Six Sigma books given here is an assorted selection of Lean Six Sigma resources based on theory, concepts, implementation, problem-solving, industry-specific, useful for students as well as professionals. All the books deal with the core areas of Lean Six Sigma and help in preparing for the certification as some of them have exercises and problem-solving questions.

The main list of books has kept away from Scrum, Agile, Kaizen, and Kanban as they do not feature much in the LSS Certification process unless the participant wants to specialize in these which is a different training and testing process. So while selecting from these books, the major features a participant can look for, based on their learning needs, are:-

  • History of Six Sigma and Lean
  • The Nine wastes of Lean (special mention as the wastes went from 6 to 8 to 9)
  • Lean Six Sigma methodologies, tools, and techniques
  • Manage a project and apply LSS in a particular industry
  • LSS and continuous improvement
  • Customer service, needs, and retention through LSS
  • Service sector and the importance of LSS, especially during contemporary times.
  • Importance of QMS for Business development
  • Practical case studies, exercises, and problem-solving

The books are listed in random order and the ratings have been taken from Amazon.

1. Lean Six Sigma Service Excellence

A Guide to Green Belt Certification and Bottom Line Improvement by Gerald Taylor

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Rating – 5/5 stars                                                          Available – Hardcover and Kindle

This book is one of the best sellers on Lean Six Sigma with a top rating by readers. As the subtitle of the book suggests, it is about the importance and focal areas of the Green belt.

Even though it does mention Lean Six Sigma in the manufacturing environment, there is a shift to the service environment. Lean Six Sigma Service Excellence explains the significance of Lean Six Sigma in the non -manufacturing sector.

2. The Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook

by Micheal L Jones, John Maxey, et al

Rating – 4.6/5 stars                              Available – Paperback and Kindle versions

The best feature of this book is its structure and organization of tools by purpose and usage and known for being most comprehensive and result-oriented in its approach.

It explains through summaries and examples of the seventy most important tools of Lean Six Sigma such as control charts, Pareto charts, and “heijunka”. It also guides on which tool to use when and how for maximum efficiency. It is a quick reference for the DMAIC improvement cycle.

3. The Certified Six Sigma Black Belt Handbook (with CD)

T.M. Kubiak and Donald W. Benbow

Rating – 4.6/5 stars                                                         Available – hardcover with CD

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It is published by the American Society for Quality(ASQ) and is rated quite high. This book has a CD with 180 problems as a supplement for all chapters. It gets updated regularly with difficult concepts, latest developments, problems, case studies, and exercises.

The book stands out for dealing with change management and QMS. It can be used by quality auditors as well as other professionals who want to bring qualitative change to their organization. Though the primary audience is people who want to go for certification, this book is a reference book for the Quality management professional.

4. Six Sigma: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide

 A Complete Training & Reference Guide for White Belts, Yellow Belts, Green Belts, and Black Belts by Craig Joseph Setter & The Council for Six Sigma Certification

Rating – 4.6/5 stars                                             Available- paperback and hardcover

This is the go-to book for all students and professionals of all levels of certification. It has a very high reader rating. It offers guidance and practical exercises for both students and professionals.

 The chapters start with basic concepts and an overview of the methodologies for the aspirants of white and yellow belts. The next couple of units goes to a higher level of knowledge that includes computing statistics with software like Excel and Minitab. These are helpful for the Green belt certification. A few units then deal with the advanced level of knowledge and concepts needed for Black belt certification. The rest of the book gives a detailed account of Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma in different industries.

5. What is Lean Six Sigma?

by Michael L. George and David Rowlands

Rating – 4.3/5 stars                                        Available – paperback and Kindle

As the name suggests, What is Lean Six Sigma? gives an overview of the history and innovations in the concepts and innovations in the methodologies, tools, and techniques of Lean Six sigma. Another highlight of this book is that it has a lot of cartoons, diagrams, and real-life examples. It is a bestseller and is in high demand.

Lean Six Sigma is based on four Keys – Speed and quality, process improvement, working together for maximum gain, and data-based decision making. It drives home the importance of teamwork, customer service, the importance of data and facts for taking decisions, and the integral role of LSS for a business or organization to succeed and develop.

6. The Six Sigma Handbook

 A Complete Guide for Green Belts, Black Belts, and Managers at All Levels by Thomas Pyzdek and Paul A. Keller 

Rating – 4.4/5 stars                                          Available – paperback and Kindle

 The two major features of this book are its details on using the Minitab software for data analysis and secondly, how to recognize a profitable opportunity and maximize resources to ensure the building of a Six Sigma active organization.

This resource is a favorite among managers and Lean Six sigma specialists as it explores the philosophy in-depth and problem-solving strategy. It lays stress on data being the best driver of quality improvement. It gives details of DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) as a technique of improving on existing processes. Then, the authors propound DMADV ( define, measure, analyze, design, verify) as a technique to design a new product.

Lean, Six Sigma, quality control and manufacturing process management concept on virtual screen

7. Juran’s Quality Essentials

 For Leaders by Joseph A. DeFeo and Joseph M. Juran

Rating – 4.3/5 stars                                Available – Kindle and  hardcover

This book is the most referred book by Quality Management professionals. It motivates the reader to improve quality and performance through a culture of quality. This improves the sustainability of the organization’s financial growth too.

If an organization has its strategic plan in place it means that it can align its goals by removing all those initiatives which don’t contribute positively through quality management. Some other highlights of the book are the quality pointers on product and service development methods, bottom-line performance improvement, and how to use SS and LSS methods, tools, and techniques to manage business processes simply and cost-effectively.  

8. Lean Six Sigma the StatStuff Way

 A Practical Reference Guide for Lean Six Sigma by Matt Hansen

Rating – 5/5 stars                        Available –  paperback

This is a compilation of all Lean Six Sigma training material (incl videos) prepared by Star Staff which is the only free resource on this subject available online. Its reader rating is top class and is a best seller. The book is 370 pages and has colorful illustrations from the videos. It’s best known as a practical reference guide. This resource has been endorsed by many leaders of Fortune 500 companies like Apple, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, etc

Some of the best features of this book include the charts which show process behaviors, the evaluation of the measurement systems, options to improve the design phase. It is all-encompassing, comprehensive, and useful in putting LSS in place in any industry including call-center and retail industries. 

9. Lean Six Sigma in Banking Services

 Operational and Strategy Applications for Theory and Practice (Future of Business and Finance) by Vijaya Sunder M, L. S. Ganesh

Rating – new book, no rating yet                   Available – hardcover and Kindle

One of the best books listed here. Any organization looking for a qualitative edge over its competitors should place multiple copies of this book in their library.

This book has a list of ways and methods, models, strategic and operational approaches to Lean Six Sigma which is required for Continuous Improvement(CI). This resource is especially useful for the Banking industry as it analyzes case studies that have evidence-based practices. This book is a goldmine for researchers too.

10. The Goal

 A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu M. Goldratt

Rating – 4.6/5                                                        Available -paperback and hardcover

A unique, pioneering resource that has been a best-seller from the day it was published. It is a parable of the long-suffering hero overcoming all challenges and becoming the victor with the help of his mentor!

The Goal has influenced management thinking. The central character’s name is Alex Rogo, a plant manager who was forever trying to improve his personal as well as professional life. He is quite desperate to improve the overall performance of the plant as well as his team to avert the crisis so that people don’t lose their jobs. His bosses had given him 90 days to resolve all issues. Coincidentally, he meets one of his professors, Jonah who educates and shows him the new age thinking and way of doing things. Based on their discussions and actions, they find the Theory of Constraints (TOC), developed by Eli Goldrath, the best option. This theory is an amalgam of processes, systems, quality management, performance management, and customer care and service.

11. Practical Lean Six Sigma for Healthcare

  Using the A3 and Lean Thinking to Improve Operational Performance in Hospitals, Clinics, and Physician Group Practices by Tod Sperl, Rob Ptacek, et al

Rating – 4.5/5 stars                                      Available – Kindle and Spiral-bound

As the name suggests this book establishes the importance of quality services in the healthcare industry through LSS and protocols of patient care and safety. The examples have been taken from a wide range of clinics, hospitals, and physician groups. The authors have ensured that all practices and suggestions are conducive to the audit principles of Joint Commission International.

12. Lean Six Sigma Case Studies in the Healthcare Enterprise

by Sandra L. Furterer 

Rating – 5/5 stars                           Available – paperback, hardcover, and Kindle

This book emphasizes process improvement and operational management in hospitals.

The whole book is based on Enterprise Performance Excellence (EPE) improvement methodology and value-chain view of healthcare. The highlight of the book is the vast deposit of case studies that throw light on problem-solving in the Operation theatre, emergency management, diagnostic tests, scans, etc

Word writing text Process Improvement. Business concept for Optimization Meet New Quotas Standard of Quality.

13. Lean Six Sigma for Engineers and Managers

With Applied Case Studies Book by Matthew John Franchetti

Rating – 5/5 stars                                    Available – paperback, hardcover, and Kindle

The book is a reference guide for Lean Six Sigma Certification aspirants as well professionals across industries. The examples and case studies are taken from various industries.

This book is a practical and technical roadmap and a guide in quality management through Lean Six sigma. It highlights concepts related to QMS, data analysis, and statistical process control. This valuable work is based on 10 years of research practices of more than 20 LSS projects taken up globally.

14.  The Six Sigma Way

How to Maximize the Impact of Your Change and Improvement Efforts by Peter S. Pande, Robert P. Neuman, and Roland Cavanagh

Rating – 4.2/5 stars                                           Available – hardcover and Kindle.

This book, published in 2000, is known to be one of the definitive books that influenced the world of business and continuous improvement in workplaces. The reprints and editions included lessons learned and myths debunked over the years. It has case studies, roadmaps, and practical guidelines for anyone interested in LSS and change.

Another credit to this book is that it is one of the pioneering works to emphasize the customer-centric approach. Case studies from companies like  GE, Motorola, Adobe, Macy, and Starwood have been taken to establish the guidelines, roadmaps to make key decisions based on the Lean Six Sigma methodologies, tools, and techniques.

15. Unlocking Lean Six Sigma

 A Competency-Based Approach to Applying Continuous Process Improvement Principles and Best Practices by Dr. Wesley E. Donahue 

Rating-4.6/5 stars                                          Available – paperback

This book explains Lean Six Sigma and how to integrate it into the work processes and systems in a manner that readers from technical and non-technical backgrounds can understand the concepts and relevance well.

The book has several worksheets which help the reader internalize and develop the learning to suit the work environment. To understand the concepts and the use of the LSS tools, the book provides a rich resource of case studies, charts, illustrations, and links to websites with related resources. Another highlight of the book is the 120-question knowledge test which helps in promoting the reader’s self-awareness and level of understanding.

Two Bonus Highly Relevant Resources

Two other books which are closely related to Six Sigma and other Quality Management systems especially in the manufacturing and service-oriented healthcare industry, help understand them better and offer practical implications and tips are:-

  • The Toyota Way by Jeffrey Liker talks about 14 management principles from the world’s greatest manufacturer. One of its highlights is focusing on the need for high-quality products and services to establish and retain customer loyalty.  This book has been highly rated by its readers and is available in the hardcover as well as Kindle version.
  • Lean, Kaizen and Kanban by Eric Liker. It is an audiobook narrated by KC Wayman. The book is divided into two parts- the first part deals with the tools and techniques of Lean Six Sigma and the second part deals with Kaizen and Kanban.

Mumbai Dabbawalas – Harvard case study

A common genius routine followed by an army of 5000 odd persons, delivering more than 2 lakh (approx) lunch boxes per day in about 603 square kilometers of constantly changing environment of Mumbai for 125 years, with a Six Sigma efficiency rating of 99.999999, given by Forbes Global magazine in 1998. The Mumbai Dabbawalas got Six Sigma Certified, which means the error ratio is 1 in 16 million i.e. 1 mistake in 1,60,00,000 tiffin deliveries. In an overcrowded city like Mumbai, commuters find it difficult to carry their lunch boxes, so these Dabbawalas serve humanity by delivering home-cooked food by lunchtime. They have maintained their Six sigma standards till recent times. They were not catering service till the pandemic started but now they are rethinking their business strategy.

Who can be a Lean Six Sigma Certificate holder?

The Six Sigma white, yellow and green belts are basic and have very few pre-requisites.  For Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training, a person must have three years of full-time work experience in their core area that is the field of their expertise. To get trained in the next level that is the Black belt in LSSC (Lean Six Sigma Certification), one needs to have three to five years of full-time work experience in their core area that is the field of their expertise along with one or two projects. The highest level, after the LSSC Black belt, is the Master Black Belt certification.

Top  Colleges/Institutions Of India, offering Lean Six Sigma Certification courses

There are more than 20 colleges and institutions in India that offer Six Sigma and  Lean Six Sigma courses of all levels. Some of them offer online courses too. A course can be selected based on time available, job requirements, area of expertise, affordability, location (if on campus), and placement details. Some of the best institutions based on high ranking, justifiable fee structure, and placement opportunities are Henry Harvin Education ranked first by Business Today, Quantum HR Solutions Gurgaon, Indian Statistical Institute Bangalore, ICFAI Business School (IBS) Hyderabad and others.

Introduction to Lean Six Sigma – Henry Harvin

Henry Harvin Quality Management Academy

Henry Harvin Quality Management Academy offers six to seven Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma Certification courses which include a Graduation program. Two of their popular programs are:-

  1. Six Sigma Green Belt Course This course trains the participant to apply problem-solving skills by developing analytical thinking skills. It emphasizes the DMAIC techniques (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control).
  • Six Sigma Black Belt Course Six Sigma Black Belt certification from Henry Harvin Education gives you the edge over others in becoming a leader in your area of specialization. It is offered both online and face to face. The 36+ hours of the course provide training in the core areas of Six Sigma along with relevant projects, internships, and placements. 

Signing off

“ Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.” —Vera Nazarian

All the books listed here are for students as well as professionals and offer a wide range of choices that cater to different learning needs and areas of specialization. I have tried to include the 15 best of the plethora of books available out there! Lean Six Sigma is becoming more and more a common, mandatory tool in Quality and Customer Relationship Management. It is a data-based and statistical form of process control. It increases performance, reduces cost, and increases profits, decreases process deviation, helps improve the quality of final products and services. 

It works when the customer’s requirements and satisfaction are the main focus. It involves manpower in well-trained teams not only in manufacturing units but also in service industries like healthcare, hospitality, and people management. So Lean Six Sigma certification helps in becoming an efficient member in QM and the booklist that is given here will help the aspirant not only ace the certification but also excel in the workplace.

FAQs

Q1. Which are the best books for Lean Six Sigma and Supply Chain Management?

Two of the best books available are – 1. Supplier Management Handbook by James L. Bossert (Ed) 2. Lean Supply Chain and Logistics Management by Paul Myerson 

Q2. Is there a compendium of books that has details of Lean Six Sigma certification and other details like Kaizen, Kanban, Scrum, etc?

Yes, they are a resource useful for both students and professionals. They are – Lean Mastery Collection: 8 Manuscripts: Lean Six Sigma, Lean Startup, Lean Enterprise, Lean Analytics, Agile Project Management, Kanban, Scrum, Kaizen  Audible Audiobook – Jeffrey Ries (Author), Sam Slydell (Narrator)
.Lean Mastery Collection: 8 Bundle Books. Lean Six Sigma + Analytics + Startup + Enterprise + Agile Project Management + Kanban, Scrum + Kaizen. Audible Audiobook by Michael S. Lean (Author), Xavier York (Narrator)

Q3. What is Lean Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is a business management strategy of techniques and tools practiced, refined, established, and authenticated by Motorola, a telecom company, to improve the manufacturing processes. Six Sigma is a process where 99.99966% of all opportunities of producing defects are statistically measured and controlled upon. It seeks to improve the quality of the process by identifying and removing the causes of defects or expected defects leading to failure in the outcome. Lean is an operational philosophy that focuses on identifying and eliminating all types and forms of waste. In the early 1900s, Henry Ford paired Six Sigma with the Lean Concepts to strengthen and streamline the production processes by finding tools and techniques of reducing waste of time, effort, product, and productivity. Taichi Ohno, the father of Toyota Production System identified seven of the nine types of wastages (overproduction, overprocessing, motion, transportation, inventory, waiting, underutilized employees, defects, and behavior) that became the base of Lean in LSS (Lean Six Sigma).

Q4. Are there any levels in Lean Six Sigma certification?

Yes, it is advisable to go for the green belt before the black belt. Both of these are required for the Master Black belt. There are also the white belt and yellow belt in Six Sigma certification, which are very basic ones.

Q5. Are the books available in seconds and used category?

Yes, most of them are available if they are published before 2020. Secondly, new editions of these books published after 2019 may not be available in seconds/used. 

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3 Comments

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  3. Sameer Kumar Reply

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