Sunday, November 25, 2018

New Book Part 1

In this series of blog posts, I will be discussing my newest book, The Focus and Leverage Improvement Book - Locating and Eliminating the Constraining Factor of Your Lean Six Sigma Initiative.

Book Overview

In 2010, Bruce Nelson and I began writing a blog under the name of Focus and Leverage, and since then we have posted well over four hundred blog posts on a variety of different subjects. The response to our posts has been overwhelming. The metric we used to track the receptivity of our posts
was the number of page views by week. The number of views started at around one hundred per week, but then it started increasing exponentially until it reached well over three hundred thousand per week. We were both amazed and flabbergasted at the level of response we were getting to our
posts. Several of our more avid readers recommended that we take what we had written in our blog posts and create a book, summarizing our posts. We thought long and hard about this suggestion and have decided to press forward and have this idea come to fruition.  This book captures some of the most popular posts that Bruce and I have written and posted.

You will notice that I use the term “we” to explain the concepts presented throughout this book, even though I am the only author listed. It’s because Bruce has elected not to be a co-author this time, due to time constraints.  But even though he’s not listed as a co-author, his writings cover much of this book and make it much more interesting and informative. Much of what we have written in our posts has to do with creating a forum of sorts. That forum is one on continuous improvement methodologies, principles and best practices. After all, continuous improvement has been the hallmark of both our entire careers, and those who know us well know that we love helping others with their efforts.

The layout of this book is a series of our most popular blog posts, which were combined to form the chapters in this book. Unlike many books, one chapter does not necessarily build on the previous one. For example, one of the most popular posts has been our method for teaching people the basics of the Theory of Constraints. We will be discussing our first experiences with TOC, and in so doing, we think you will see why we have embraced it so much. Another topic of discussion will be on our integrated Theory of Constraints, Lean and Six Sigma. We have christened this approach the Ultimate Improvement Cycle, which is also known by the abbreviation TLS. Because these two subjects are similar in nature, they have been linked into the same chapter.

We have also written about problems and what we believe is the best approach for solving them. We have introduced various problem-solving tools and techniques we have used throughout our careers, including tools like Pareto Charts, Causal Chains, Cause and Effect Diagrams, Why-Why Diagrams and a host of other tools we have used in our careers to solve both simple and complex problems. This chapter will also include a session on paths of variation, which you might find to be an interesting read.

In addition to these time-tested problem-solving tools and techniques, we have also presented the TOC problem-solving toolset, known as the Logical Thinking Processes (LTPs). These tools were introduced by Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt and have been somewhat modified over the years. We have presented the LTPs by use of a case study on how to use TOC Thinking Processes. Bruce has earned the title of a certified Jonah’s Jonah, which means he can teach and certify others. And as you will see, he knows and understands the LTPs as well as anyone I know.

Closely related to the LTPs is a technique known as the Goal Tree, which, if followed to its logical conclusion, will teach you how to assess your company and in a single day will help your company create a strategic improvement plan. Often, we have seen students come away from a training session on the LTPs not knowing how to use them. For these people, the Goal Tree has proven its worth many times over.

We will also be writing about two distinctly different methods to manage projects, namely the Critical Path Method (CPM) and Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM). In this chapter, we discuss project management failure modes, project management negative behaviors that must be overcome, and how best to track projects. We will demonstrate why CCPM is the project management method of choice and how, by using CCPM, your projects can be finished on time, on scope and on budget over 95 percent of the time.

We will also introduce you to the TOC Parts Replenishment Model and will compare it to the traditional Min/Max system. We will demonstrate how, by using the TOC Parts Replenishment Model, you will be able to reduce your facility’s parts inventory levels by 40 percent to 50 percent or
more, while reducing your stock-outs to nearly zero.

In my next post, I will continue the summary of this new book.
Bob Sproull

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