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Balanced Sourcing: Cooperation and Competition In Supplier Relationships

Timothy M. Laseter, Jossey-Bass Publishers, 350 Sansome St., San Francisco, CA 94104, 1998, 258 pp., $40. (Book)

This book is from the Jossey-Bass Business & Management Series. Timothy Laseter is a vice president of Booz-Allen & Hamilton and the founder of the company's global network of sourcing practitioners.

The premise of the book is that a new model is needed for the purchasing function, which the author considers "the last remaining frontier for gaining competitive advantage." He observes, "Suppliers touch key elements of virtually every business process, so purchasing must also be viewed from a broad business prospective." The author calls this emerging prospective "balanced sourcing."

The book is divided into three main sections: prior methods and approaches, tools and methods of the balanced sourcing approach and descriptive case studies. In describing prior approaches, Laseter notes that traditional adversarial methods are deeply flawed and that GM's "Ignatio Lopez set the benchmark for Darwinian rivalry."

In describing balanced sourcing, Laseter identifies six organizational capabilities as tools for defining and developing a supply base or as a means to leverage a supply base for competitive advantage. The tools include modeling total cost, creating sourcing strategies, building and maintaining relationships, integrating the supply web, leveraging supplier innovation and evolving a global supply base.

Cross-functional teams are used in working toward many of the organizational objectives. Also, transforming an organization to the balanced sourcing model requires the purchasing process to shift from transitional to strategic management. Laseter acknowledges that this task requires a paradigm shift for most companies and cannot be achieved easily.

The book's strength appears in the clear discussions explaining the required operational objectives and how to implement these objectives. Separate chapters discuss each of the six objectives. Case studies, including Florida Power & Light, SuperValu, Honda of America and Cisco Systems, are used to illustrate how different organizations placed emphasis on different sections of the organizational objectives to achieve enhanced product quality, cost reductions and timely delivery.

This book will be of interest to purchasing professionals and anyone who interacts with a purchasing organization or who has an interest in general management of a contemporary business. I am pleased to add this interesting book to my library of business books and recommend its purchase.

John V. Liggett
Variation Management Consultants


Breakaway Planning: 8 Big Questions to Guide Organizational Change

Paul Levesque, AMACOM, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019, 1998, 258 pp., $27.95. (Book)

This is a book written by an experienced consultant who describes the system he uses for running a three-day academy workshop to help company executives plan for a major change.

The book is divided into three sections. The first section discusses the preplanning; the second section (which comprises the bulk of the book) discusses the eight big questions; and the last section covers the most difficult task--implementing the plan.

To nail down only eight questions that cover all the bases of change is a big undertaking. The eight questions are fairly mixed, although questions such as number four, "How will we bring new employees up to speed?", give the reader a distinct assumption about what the change will entail. The questions are also listed in a strange order. For example, "How will we make things better for our customers?" comes in at number six, which is rather late in the day for these customer oriented times.

Most of what one might need to run the three-day workshop is covered in the book, including an agenda, various exercises and instructions for facilitation activities.

If organizations facing changes could ask these questions of their leaders and get them to seriously consider and answer them, then they would probably have a greater chance of success than more ad hoc methods. Besides, blind application of received wisdom is a common cause of change failure and so, direct use of the given system would probably not be a good idea.

Although not definitive, the book contains practical wisdom about change and provides material and ideas that can be used in workshops. It also aids efforts to achieve the breakthrough planning required when preparing for organizational change.

David Straker
Hewlett Packard


Engineering Procedures Handbook

Phillip A. Cloud, Noyes Publications, 369 Fairview Ave., Westwood, NJ, 1997, 419 pp., $78. (Book)

The title describes exactly what the book contains: procedures. It has 62 procedures and 47 forms. The book is divided into seven sections that follow the logical sequence of a product engineering documentation system. It's all there--design and development through product identification, requirements, documentation for the customer and suppliers, document change control and just plain document control.

This handbook could be used as a template on which to create or to improve an existing engineering documentation system. Although the procedures are relatively generic, they seem geared more toward the aerospace industry or defense contractor's because there is an emphasis on configuration control and structured documentation.

The structure and logical flow of the procedures follow a typical product development cycle. Many of the procedures and forms can be used as templates. However, ISO 9001 requires documented engineering procedures; therefore, a company seeking certification may need to establish procedures and forms to comply.

The temptation is to put together a procedure to satisfy a requirement such as ISO. Using these procedures in this way would not really help the design engineering function and could turn it into a procedure used only to please auditors and not drive the design discipline. This is something I don't think the author stresses enough.

The structure of the procedures is fairly straightforward and complete. The procedures have all of the basic elements an engineering department would need. However, most beneficial is the structure of the procedures, not their content. The content is very generic, and care must be taken to make sure the wording fits with the department's actual practices.

The procedure format is fairly standard, using a numbering format typical of what most companies use. It would have been nice if, however, the author had included the procedures and forms on disk in standard word processor format, therefore, saving the reader from retyping everything.

With a few exceptions, this book covers just about all of the bases, and there is a procedure or form for just about every step in the design engineering sequence. Areas I didn't see mentioned, however, include the use of some of the more advanced engineering tools, such as finite element analysis and failure modes and effects analysis, as well as other quality and reliability methods, such as quality function deployment and Fault Tree Analysis. Software control procedures were only mentioned briefly in two paragraphs. In general, the procedures presented in this book would work best with a small- to medium-sized company with a moderately sophisticated product.

Eric Furness, vice president
Astronautics Corp.


ISO 14000 Assessment, Implementation and Audit Software

GreenWare Environmental Systems, 145 King St. East, Suite 200, Toronto, ON, M5C 2Y8, price varies depending on product and number of licenses. (Software)

GreenWare Environmental Systems offers three software packages designed to assist users with their ISO 14000 endeavors. ISO 14000 Assessment evaluates the user's progress toward meeting ISO 14001 requirements. ISO 14000 Implementation includes worksheets based on ISO 14004, guidelines on principles and systems, and supporting techniques on the environmental standards. The ISO 14000 Audit helps auditors verify and document that environmental management systems conform to ISO 14010 and 14011 criteria.

The three programs can be purchased individually or as a set, as was the case for this review. Different licensing agreements are also offered, obviously affecting the price.

When used as a complete set, the software presents an integrated package that allows the development and management of an entire environmental management system (EMS). With this package, a company can electronically formulate a documentation system, create checklists and other audit documents, track EMS gaps and corrective actions cited by internal audits, develop audit reports and more.

The software is written using the same logic found in financial management software rather than from the logic found in statistical process control or general statistical analysis software. This logic is used throughout the entire package; however, it is particularly evident in the functions used to conduct calculations and develop reports. If the user is not familiar with financial management software, it may seem strange to manage laboratory data in this manner. This concept is not necessarily bad, but it is different for many and may require that users learn a new style of logic.

Even though the programs are written using financial and accounting logic, I would be cautious in using the software as a means to maintain company financial records for either tax or dividend purposes. That is not the software's intent.

One should be aware that the software is produced in Canada; therefore, the only options made available regarding the unit of measurement were metric and Imperial.

As long as the user is aware of units of measurements and that the software is written from the accounting perspective, this package makes an excellent, useful piece of software.

John G. Surak, professor
Clemson University


Project Management Practitioner's Handbook

Ralph L. Kliem and Irwin S. Ludin, AMACOM, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019, 1998, 360 pp., $55. (Book)

The authors of this book have seamlessly molded a story about a hypothetical project into an integrated framework from which the reader can learn a great deal about the art and science of project management. This novel method of teaching is based on hands-on instructions as seen through the eyes of a newly appointed project manager. This approach holds the reader's attention while providing a solid framework from which to learn about projects.

The book is structured around 19 chapters and relies on plenty of diagrams and notes. In addition, the authors added a section at the end of each chapter, "Questions for Getting Started." After taking the reader through a short tutorial in each chapter, the lessons in the chapter are reinforced in the "Questions for Getting Started" section, which is geared at getting readers to take what they've just learned and apply it to projects at their place of employment.

The format and layout of the book is detailed from beginning to end and includes a preface, three general sections, an appendix, a glossary, references and an index. The overall book follows three themes: an overview of projects, basic functions of project management and project management enhancement.

The tone and intent of the writings are clear, constructive, easy to follow and reach both the novice and the experienced manager. The cross referencing to the hypothetical project throughout the book shows practical applications of the various chapter. While project management can be highly quantitative, perhaps the greatest strength of the book is the way in which the human element is discussed and handled. Conflicting pressures, deadlines, costs and motivations are reviewed and presented in ways that are mutually beneficial to the project manager and to the employee.

While I was impressed with almost everything about the book, I, like many ASQ members, believe certain writings should be closely tied to associations that certify professionals in the field. The knowledgeable reader will wonder why a finely tuned book such as this is not more closely tied to the areas of study that are recognized by the Project Management Institute. This might be a goal for the next edition. In closing, this book, with its unique approach to teaching and its clearly written style, serves as a solid contribution to the subject and to those who may be new to the field.

Frank Pokrop
Abbott Laboratories


The Team Trail Guide

Oriel, 3800 Regent St., Madison, WI 53705, 1998, $199. (CD-ROM)

The Team Trail Guide is a CD-ROM for those new to leading teams or leaders who have not had formal training in team concepts. In this respect, the product performs very well. This is not, however, a complete training program on teamwork.

The content of the package is accurate; however, it only offers basic team methodologies that are already well-established and proven. Not much is presented in the way of new ideas or theories. The product is limited to the soft sciences of interpersonal relationships in groups, team communication and conflict resolution. The hard, or at least semi-hard, sciences of team problem solving --such as the seven basic tools of problem solving--are not addressed.

However, the material that is presented is well covered and accurate. The section on conflict resolution is particularly strong, and users will find the conflict-resolution diagram a very useful tool. The quality of the audio and video was high with the exception of some black text on a dark gray background that was difficult to read.

It was easy to get lost in the various paths the program offers. When repeating a topic, I often came across screens that I hadn't seen before. It wasn't clear how I came upon these screens or how to retrieve them at a later date. Due to such instances, it was more productive to follow the course map when working through the program.

The product seemed to work better with the audio function turned off. The audio is spoken, quickly making it difficult to follow along. The audio also did not mirror what was presented on the screen and was, therefore, quite distracting. The "read audio" feature was useful in this regard.

It took three tries to load the product, and the computer had to reboot after each failure. Once loaded, it took three minutes to open the program and an additional minute for the introduction to finish.

According to Oriel, the distributor, the CD-ROM is designed to improve team leadership and facilitation skills in order to make teams more efficient.

To this extent, the product is valuable if used as part of a more comprehensive team-training program. It would best serve as the central resource for a group dynamics segment of such an overall training program.

Joseph J. Lutzel, president
J. Lutzel Consulting


Work Culture Organizational Performance and Business Success: Measurement and Management

Thomas Rollins and Darryl Roberts, Quorum Books, 88 Post Rd. West, Westport, CT 06881, 1998, 262 pp., $59.95. (Book)

This book tackles measurement and management of the work culture, stating that an employee measurement system must be carefully developed and implemented. The authors review the major literature on the topic and compile a list of best practices in employee measurement. Six case studies dealing with successful company implementation are also covered.

Four cultural models are summarized in the book and help show why it is important to understand the "full cultural continuum." The authors also try to address several pertinent future concerns in the employment arena, such as: Employees will need new competencies to survive, customers will become more demanding, self-managed teams will become more prevalent and influential, speed will become more important as a source of competitive advantage and organizations will return to their fundamental competencies.

There are no graphs, diagrams or pictures and only a few charts. Also, the bibliography is not as long as I expected based on the details and conclusions presented.

The authors specialize in change dynamics, management and concepts presented in their book. Therefore, this book would aid a broad variety of managerial areas because all managers must be aware of their own working environment and know how to effectively manage in these changing and demanding times.

Ron Anjard, president
Anjard International Consultants


Calculating the Price of Nonconformance, Philip Crosby Associates II, PO Box 2687, Winter Park, FL 32790, $249. (CD-ROM)

Contents Under Pressure: 10 Team-Based Principles for Coping in an Ever-Changing World, Carla Reed, Tompkins Press, 2809 Millbrook Rd.,
Raleigh, NC 27604, 1999, 49 pp., $4.95. (Book)

Five Frogs on a Log: A CEO's Field Guide, Mark L. Feldman and Michael F. Spratt, HarperCollins Publishers, 10 E. 53rd St., New York, NY 10022, 1999, 186 pp., $40. (Book)

Fundamentals of Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing, Volumes One, Two and Three, Alex Krulikowski, Effective Training, PO Box 756, Wayne, MI 48184, Total time-14.03 hours, $2495. (This series comes with a workbook.) (Video)

The Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing Trainer, Effective Training, 2116 S. Wayne Rd., Westland, MI 48186, $695. (CD-ROM)

The Helix Factor: The Key to Streamlining Your Business Processes, Michael R. Wood, The Natural Intelligence Press, P.O. Box 785, Marmora, NJ 08223, 1998, 163 pp., $26.95. (Book)

Insuring Quality: How to Improve Quality, Compliance, Customer Service and Ethics in the Insurance Industry, Hedy Abromovitz and Les Abromovitz, CRC Press, 2000 Corporate Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33431, 1998, 217 pp., $39.95. (Book)

Integrating ISO 14001 Into a Quality Management System, Marilyn R. Block, I. Robert Marash, ASQ Quality Press, 611 E. Wisconsin Ave., P.O. Box 3005, Milwaukee, WI 53201-3005, 1999,
127 pp. Available through ASQ's Publications Catalog: member price $31, list price $35. (Book)

ISO 9000-2000: Working With the Upcoming Changes, Jim Norfolk, Quality Management International, 11 Birchdale Crescent, St. John, New Brunswick, Canada, 1999, 144 pp., $45. (Book)

Managing With Total Quality Management, Adrian Wilkinson, Tom Redman, Ed Snape and Mick Marchington, Macmillan Press, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, U.K. RG21 6XS, 1998, 188 pp., $17.99. (Book)

NLP Solutions: How to Model What Works in Business to Make it Work for You, Sue Knight, Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 1163 E. Ogden Ave., Naperville, IL 60563, 1999, 252 pp., $17.95. (Book)

Operational Performance Measurement: Increasing Total Productivity, Will Kaydos, CRC Press, 2000 Corporate Blvd., N.W., Boca Raton, FL 33431, 1999, 245 pp., $39.95. (Book)

Rewards That Drive High Performance: Success Stories From Leading Organizations, Thomas B. Wilson, AMACOM, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019, 1999, 302 pp., $29.95. (Book)

Scoring a Whole in One: People in Enterprise Playing in Concert, Edward Martin Baker, Crisp Publications, 1200 Hamilton Court, Menlo Park, CA 94025, 1999, 80 pp., $12.95. (Book)

Total Project Control: A Manager's Guide to Integrated Project Planning, Measuring and Tracking, Stephen A. Devaux, John Wiley & Sons, 605 Third Ave., New York, NY 10158, 1999, 297 pp., $55. (Book)

Total Quality Essentials, Sarv Singh Soin, McGraw-Hill, 11 W. 19th St., New York, NY 10011, 1998, 362 pp., $39.95. (Book)

Total Quality Management, Dale H. Besterfield, Carol Besterfield-Michna, Glen H. Besterfield, Mary Besterfield-Sacre, Prentice Hall, One Lake St., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458, 532 pp., $90. (Book)

Winning in Business With Enterprise Project Management, Paul C. Dinsmore, AMACOM, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019, 1999, 220 pp., $39.95. (Book)


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