ASQ - Energy and Environmental Division

The Certified Quality Manager Handbook, Second Edition
Edited by Duke Okes and Russell T. Westcott

Most managers have long realized that quality does not just happen. It requires not only commitment from the top, but also a firm foundation of technical quality skills and a disciplined approach to application. But where to go for necessary and sufficient information can be an unanswered question for many. The Certified Quality Manager Handbook, Second Edition, edited by Duke Okes and Russell T. Westcott, provides a complete resource for the busy manager looking for substance without encumbering detail.

The book was produced by ASQ’s Quality Management Division as a guide in preparing for the ASQ Certified Quality Manager examination. It is a rich resource of management-level quality information that is ideally suited to the needs of any manager. It comprises a comprehensive collection of executive summaries across the full spectrum of the quality management body of knowledge, including leadership, strategy development and deployment, quality management tools, customer-focused organizations, supplier performance, management, and training/development.

The description above, “without encumbering detail,” should not be taken negatively. This text is by no means a superficial overview. It is exactly what managers need—a means for developing quality literacy that will enable them to understand, evaluate, and affect the quality components of their tasks.

One note of caution: a manager should not skim this book and then announce with confidence, “Now I are one.” A task of substantial size would probably benefit from a designated quality manager—a quality professional with expertise and fluency in details, who can perform the task's necessary day-to-day, hands-on quality functions.

The book is organized into a two-tier system of sections (body of knowledge elements) and chapters (components of each element). Each chapter begins with bulleted lists describing the material to be covered and how it will help the reader. Each chapter closes with endnotes and suggestions for further reading. Documentation and references are substantial throughout.

Three sections are of immediate interest to managers. The leadership section consisting of two chapters appears first and establishes the foundation for following material. Quality begins at the top and succeeds only through top-management support. The evolving definition of quality recognizes the difference between what Joseph Juran calls “little-q” (product quality) and “big-Q” (organizational process quality). Nowadays, the focus is on big-Q with little-q as a component. The leadership section also addresses the basics of organization design, organization change, negotiation, conflict resolution, and team building.

The management section includes chapters on principles, communication, projects, quality systems, and quality models. The discussion of quality systems and models should be illuminating to all. Both are essential to understanding and embracing quality as a key element of organization success, not just another “thing to do.”

The section on quality tools gets down to nitty-gritty, how-to information that will arm a manager to act on quality, not merely know about it. It includes the classic seven tools of quality control as well as the newer seven management and planning tools. All are useful in leading and controlling performance. The discussion of process management is complete and well supported by clarifying graphics. The chapter on measurement is written for understanding, not show, and clearly describes complex concepts related to statistics, capability, and benchmarking.

Readers should move next to sections on customer-focused organizations and supplier performance. Jan Carlzon’s contribution, “Moment of Truth,” explores the importance of “any episode in which the customer comes in contact with any aspect of the organization and gets an impression of the quality of its service”—potentially eye-opening reading for managers who tend to focus mostly on technical aspects of their tasks. And, in many large tasks, supplier quality is critical to overall quality and should be the basis for subcontract award, not price alone.

Finally, a perusal of the strategy development/deployment and training/development sections will complete the tour of the quality management community. Both areas will probably be familiar to managers, easing the assimilation of quality contexts.

Managers cannot and must not do everything. They must hire good people and then delegate effectively in order to gets things done well, on time, and within budget. Quality is a key component of organization success and not a naturally occurring event. The Certified Quality Manager Handbook provides the information necessary to manage this aspect. It should be a manager's first stop on the personal education path and kept close at hand as a guide along the performance trail.

ISBN: 0-87389-487-1, hardback, 490 pp., $81.25. Available from ASQ Quality Press at http://www.asq.org/quality-press/

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