The 15 Quality Books You Should Be Reading

See what books our readers found the most valuable.

Quality Press is having a book sale! Members and nonmembers can receive an additional 10% off member prices on all titles published by Quality Press, May 1–May 31, with promo code MAY2020.

To celebrate the beginning of a new decade, we’ve picked our most popular books, chosen by quality professionals from around the world and put together this guide. Organized by topic, this mix of new releases and timeless classics offers something for every quality professional. Review this list and grab the books that are missing from your quality library.

Culture

The Journey

Charles A. Clanfrani et al.

To sustain success in today’s competitive environment, organizations must meet the needs and expectations of all relevant parties. This book covers both the “what” and “how” aspects of achieving sustained success and is a guide for top managers ready to embark on this journey.

Unleash Quality

Arron S. Angle

The power of quality comes from actions that stem from behaviors—behaviors that apply to every department within a company. In other words, a company’s culture. This is where most organizations fail in their deployment of quality—by not treating quality as a cultural imperative.

The Joy of Lean

Dodd Starbird

As it attracts more attention as a philosophy, lean is still sometimes misunderstood as a method for just cutting expenses. That doesn’t sound very joyful. This book will show leaders how to cultivate a positive Lean Culture of Excellence that creates value for customers and employees.

Problem Solving

Root Cause Analysis, 2nd Edition

Duke Okes

This best-seller can help anyone who needs to find specific causes for failures. It provides detailed steps for solving problems, and it focuses on the deep analytical process involved in finding the true causes of problems. The book accomplishes this through visuals, figures, diagrams, and tools to make the reader see what is truly significant.

Handbook of Investigation and Effective CAPA Systems, 2nd Edition

José Rodriguez-Pérez, Ph.D.

The second edition of this handbook dealing exclusively with CAPA systems emphasizes root cause analysis as the necessary preceding step of any effective corrective and preventive action system. These concepts apply to many sectors, including automotive, aerospace, service, and more.

The ASQ Pocket Guide to Root Cause Analysis

Bjørn Andersen and Tom Natland Fagerhaug

When organizations experience unintended variation, it can cause a range of problems, from minor nuisances to the loss of customers and revenue. This pocket guide provides accessible knowledge about problem-solving, with a specific focus on identifying and eliminating the root causes of a problem.

Quality Management

The Art of Integrating Strategic Planning, Process Metrics, Risk Mitigation, and Auditing

J.B. Smith

This book promotes auditing beyond compliance to identify additional improvement opportunities, such as the discovery of hidden factories and risks. The scope also extends to an organization’s vision and strategy, which must align with the audit. Concepts and models are clearly illustrated using real-life examples.

Performance Metrics

Duke Okes

Which performance measures should you use? How do you sort through a variety of possible metrics and decide which are best? Performance Metrics provides a clarifying perspective for those who know that metrics need to be developed but are unsure as to the steps to follow in developing and deploying them.

Senior Management and Quality

Fin Rooney

Fin Rooney dives into quality concepts and how to apply them strategically to your organization. In his thorough approach, he begins by revisiting the question, “What is quality?” Full of helpful questions and thought-provoking ideas, this book will ensure interesting conversations with managers about how they view quality.

Quality Tools

The Quality Toolbox, Second Edition

Nancy R. Tague

The Quality Toolbox is a comprehensive reference for a variety of methods and techniques. It includes tools for brainstorming, evaluating ideas, analyzing processes, determining root causes, planning, and basic statistics. The book is thoughtfully designed both for self-learning and for teaching others.

Business Process Improvement Toolbox, Second Edition

Bjørn Andersen

Filled with quality tools and applications, this book provides readers with practical insight into how they can create a coherent business process improvement system. Consistently improving various aspects of how things are done, large and small, is the key to success for any organization.

Mapping Work Processes, Second Edition

Bjørn Andersen et al.

This best-seller is a hands-on, step-by-step workbook of instructions on how to create flowcharts and document work processes. This edition also includes organizational examples and case studies from many different industries to help readers understand real-life applications of the material presented.

Technology

Data Quality: Dimensions, Measurement, Strategy, Management, and Governance

Rupa Mahanti, Ph.D.

Good data is a source of myriad opportunities, while bad data is a tremendous burden. This book provides guidance on strategies and tactics for data quality. It balances technical details and higher-level qualitative discussions with case studies, illustrations, and real-world examples throughout.

Quality Experience Telemetry

Alka Jarvis et al.

Telemetry is an automated way to collect and transmit data from remote sites to receiving sites for monitoring, analyzing, and driving improvement. This book explains the telemetry infrastructure and associated details. It will enable readers to implement a telemetry program that improves the customer experience.

Data Integrity and Compliance

José Rodriguez-Pérez, Ph.D.

This book consolidates data integrity expectations from several regulatory sources and provides implementation guidance. It applies data management principles and procedures to the manufacturing of medical products throughout the whole supply chain.

Is your favorite book missing from this list? Let us know! Comment below, or tweet us @ASQ. To find more books on everything to do with quality, visit the ASQ bookstore.

Top 5 Quality Gifts From ASQ

At ASQ, we often talk about giving the gift of quality—that is, the gift of knowledge and tools one needs to practice quality.  ASQ also offers tangible gifts for the quality professional. If you’re searching for a creative or unique gift for a colleague, friend, or boss, we have a few suggestions—from popular books to a membership to a phone case to ASQ golf balls (yes, golf balls).

1.    The Quality Toolbox, Second Edition. This book is always a favorite colleague gift for those starting out in the field, and a timeless refresher for everyone else.

2.    An ASQ membership. This could be a good gift for everyone from students and interns to seasoned professionals. Choose from a student, associate, or a full membership. Along with all the benefits of a membership, ASQ members receive a free monthly gift bundle on a “hot” quality topic, such as the ISO 9001 revision.

3.    ASQ phone case. Or a sweatshirt. Or a bag. Or a pen, a hat, a T-shirt, or golf balls. Did you know that you can get a variety of fun, small gifts with the ASQ logo? See our store for ASQ accessories, office gear, and clothing.

4.    The ASQ Quality Improvement Pocket Guide. This inexpensive pocket guide is a quick, on-the-job reference for anyone interested in making their workplace more effective and efficient. It’s a great gift for quality newbies.

5.   Quality Press Gift Certificate. If you’d like the recipient to choose his or her own book, give a gift certificate to the Quality Press bookstore. The certificate can be redeemed for any of ASQ’s print or e-books, as well as standards and journals.

Establishing a Culture of Excellence: A Conversation With Arun Hariharan

Arun Hariharan is a quality, knowledge management, and performance management practitioner. He has worked with several large companies and is the founder and CEO of The CPi Coach.

 

Written for both quality practitioners and business leaders, his latest book, Continuous Permanent Improvement (Quality Press, 2014), is a strategic distillation of experiences, anecdotes, stories, case studies, and lessons learned from successes and mistakes in nearly three decades of experience.

 

Hariharan has worked with business processes, systematic thinking, customer focus, quality, and performance measurements in a variety of companies and industries as diverse as financial services, telecom, manufacturing, conglomerate, and management consulting.

 

He spoke with ASQ about key lessons in establishing a culture of continuous permanent improvement.

Q. You talk often in your book about the need to establish a culture of excellence at an organization as a way to ensure success. Others would use profitability or market-share as a way to gauge success. How do excellence and profitability work together to define success in an organization?

Arun Hariharan: In a business, clearly, profitability and market-share are key measures of success. A culture of excellence is an important enabler to achieve financial results – in any event – to achieve them in a sustained way. A culture of excellence will ensure that the organization is proactive and does not miss any improvement opportunity. It can be said that financial results are the end and a culture of excellence is an important means of achieving this end – that’s how they work together.

I would like to use the example of Toyota and another automobile manufacturer (that shall remain unnamed out of respect for the dead!). Both started their automobile manufacturing operations around the same time some decades ago. Toyota decided to follow the path of excellence.

The other company, because it enjoyed a monopoly for many years in its market, made good money for several years despite palming off a shoddy quality product. The party lasted as long as customers had no choice. In the 1980s competition set in, but this company still refused to pay attention to quality or excellence. It believed that it would always have a bunch of “loyal” customers despite its poor quality and despite competitors offering better value.

The reality turned out to be very different. From the very first year that competition set in, the company that did not believe in excellence started losing market-share, eventually going bankrupt. An announcement of its shutting down appeared recently. On the other hand, Toyota, a company that believes in a culture of excellence, is a world-leader in profitability and market share.

Q. How big of a role should upper management play in establishing a culture of excellence versus regular employees?

AH: Upper management is the biggest make or break factor in establishing a culture of excellence. More than merely telling people that excellence is important, it is important to demonstrate to employees that upper management means this. The best way to convince employees is for senior people to actually get involved and spend time in excellence.

For example, I know CEOs who have spent time month after month for years in reviewing quality and customer related performance measures – with the same seriousness with which they review revenue and profits. Another important thing that upper management must do is to ensure that employees’ performance appraisals, starting with the CEO, include measures related to excellence – and that people’s bonuses and growth in the company are actually linked to this.

Perhaps the most important element in establishing the culture of excellence is for upper management to create an atmosphere where employees genuinely feel encouraged, not afraid, to make quality problems, defects and customer-complaints visible, so that they can be solved and prevented.

Q. Is there one particular tool or tools that you recommend are used every day in an organization that wants to commit to establishing a culture of excellence?

AH: We found that if strategic COPIS, root cause analysis, value stream mapping and simply listening to customers can become the organization’s habits rather than merely seen as tools to be used by a few, they will go a long way in establishing a culture of excellence.

Q. How should leaders capture, retain and apply organizational knowledge gathered in the pursuit of excellence?

AH: I look at customer-voice (which could include complaints or data obtained by surveys) as the most important part of organizational knowledge gathered in the pursuit of excellence. Once this knowledge is captured, some of the methods described in my recent book (such as root cause analysis to get to the root of the problem, identify the solution, and make the solution permanent by embedding it into the process) could be applied.

Another important part of organizational knowledge that we found worth retaining and replicating is completed excellence initiatives, including formal quality improvement projects. For example, an improvement project done in one part of the organization could be easily replicated in other locations if the organization has a structured way of capturing, storing, retrieving and applying relevant organizational knowledge.