APICS is the premier professional association for supply chain management.

Exploring the Possibilities of iTLS

By Karl M. Kapp, Ed.D., CFPIM, CIRM | March/April 2011 | 21 | 2

TOC, lean, and six sigma concepts combine for real results

Editor’s note: This special “Book Review” features books written by APICS magazine feature article and department authors.

Profitability With No Boundaries: Optimizing TOC and Lean-Six Sigma
By Reza M. Pirasteh and Robert E. Fox
Published in 2010 
ASQ Quality Press 384 pages


In Profitability With No Boundaries, authors Reza M. Pirasteh and Robert E. Fox have created a work targeted to two distinct groups: senior thought leaders of organizations and change agents or practitioners who are responsible for profitability and performance. To begin the book, the authors suggest that combining concepts from lean, six sigma, and the theory of constraints (TOC) can greatly benefit organizations. They have coined this convergence of methodologies iTLS.

Pirasteh and Fox developed, implemented, and honed a practice that now has scientific research behind it in the form of a two-and-a-half-year long experience that shows how combining lean, six sigma, and TOC can bring about tangible financial results above and beyond implementing any one of the methodologies independently. In fact, they found that iTLS projects produced more than four times the benefits of either lean or six sigma projects alone. Similar results have been repeated both domestically and internationally.

The book offers an important history lesson for understanding the manufacturing process. According to the authors, the river systems of Henry Ford and Taiichi Ohno— and the economic decision making tools implemented by Alfred Sloan at GM—can be combined into a single highly effective approach.

Pirasteh and Fox have used iTLS to help operations management leaders understand their organizations’ core problems, quantify potential benefits, establish priorities, and implement practical solutions. The authors also have significant experience in the area of process improvement.

This book is a fascinating read and provides both a high-level overview and an opportunity for change agents to roll up their sleeves and begin implementation. For companies aiming to reach a new performance level, iTLS might just be the methodology that delivers.

Principles of Supply Chain Management
By Richard E. Crandall, William R. Crandall, and Charlie C. Chen 
Published in 2010 
CRC Press 
645 pages

Author Richard Crandall and his son, William, have teamed with Charlie Chen to write Principles of Supply Chain Management, providing an insightful and in-depth look at the topic. This work expands the father-and-son team’s first effort in the 2008 New Methods of Competing in the Global Marketplace.

Principles of Supply Chain Management serves as an authoritative reference, covering everything from make and buy decisions to e-commerce to performance measurements. If you need to reference the elements of a supply chain, this text provides short, quick explanations of basic essentials about key concepts and how they relate to one another.

This comprehensive book is broken into six distinct parts. Part one describes supply chains and explains why implementation and management are so critical. This creates a foundation for the subsequent five parts and concludes by explaining the supply chain as a comprehensive and interrelated system in terms of physical, financial, relational, and informational flows.

Part two helps the reader unravel the perspective of the multiple customers within a supply chain, while covering important topics such as product life cycle management and managing demand. In part three, the authors examine the supply side of the operation, looking at the historical and current courses of retail elements within a supply chain and the service side of the product and service bundle that is so prevalent in today’s product mix.

Part four explores how the components identified earlier in the book are integrated into a complex system with elements inside and outside the organization needing to work together to achieve success. The authors explain why few organizations have moved to a truly integrated supply chain approach. In part five, the critical flow of financial data, the importance of technology, and associated technological innovations are covered.

Part six is aptly titled “The Future” and ends this text logically by taking a look at where supply chain management is heading. The authors describe what’s trending now and what the not-too-distant future holds for those practicing the art of supply chain management.

If you’re looking for a solid grounding in supply chain management and insights into making your supply chain a little more efficient, then this book is a great start. It provides the content and context necessary to understand many of the nuances of today’s modern supply chain.

Change Better: Survive— and Thrive—During Change at Work and Throughout Life

By Jeanenne LaMarsh
Published in 2010 

Agate B2
160 pages

Manufacturing organizations are in a constant state of change. New improvement methods are introduced all the time, technology moves from bar codes to radio frequency identification in the blink of an eye, and e-commerce changes supply chain relationships overnight.

Hundreds of books have been written on the topic of organizational change management. Many describe how business leaders can convince employees of the effectiveness of the proposed change; how change leads to increased productivity and market share; and how change is difficult but ultimately good. What is missing is the employee perspective. In Change Better, Jeanenne LaMarsh explores what happens to workers during the change process and how they can adapt to the change on a personal level.

This book is focused on developing the critical skills employees need to cope with change both at work and in their personal lives. It describes the tools required to deal with change, such as developing a change management plan, handling the emotional stages of change, and creating a change partnership.

The book consists of three sections. In the first, LaMarsh describes change and helps the reader examine the state of change today and why it is occurring with increasing frequency and complexity. This section discusses how to avoid the “victim mentality” and describes how to deal with leaders that may be out of touch.

The second section provides an organized and systematic way to deal with change through a change management plan. This section is immensely practical and implementable.

There is a workbook with worksheets, questions, tables, and other elements to help workers deal with the change process and move from a theoretical to a practical approach that can provide real benefits.

The third section describes a logical and pragmatic methodology for managing change. It outlines how to create a contract with an organization, through which it’s possible to move from being a target of change to a partner within the change process.

Over the past few years, many organizations and individuals have undergone dramatic changes in terms of the economy, work status, and future outlook. Dealing with that is not simple; however, reading a book like this will provide the tools necessary to leverage change in a positive manner.

Karl M. Kapp, Ed.D., CFPIM, CIRM, a professor at Bloomsburg University, is author of Gadgets, Games, and Gizmos for Learning and coauthor of Integrated Learning for ERP Success. He may be contacted at kkapp@bloomu.edu.

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