AllClear 4.0

SPSS, 233 S. Wacker Dr., 11th Floor, Chicago, IL 60606-6307, 1998, $395 for single user. (software)

AllClear is a software package that allows users to efficiently and effectively document processes in flowchart form. Version 4.0 is particularly flexible, well integrated and should easily meet the flow charting needs of most users.

While the software is not specifically quality focused, several features lend themselves as great tools for quality improvement endeavors. The Diagrammer Pallet, for example, is designed for easy flow chart and organization chart design; however, it could also be extremely useful in developing fault trees for reliability analysis.

Many of the program's standard templates also link nicely to quality related tools and techniques. There are templates for several different flow charts, deployment charts, IDEFO charts (integration definition for function modeling--a government developed chart), cause-and-effect diagrams and ISO 9000 procedures. What a benefit!

Several effective options, such as the Fit Box to Text, Grow Box to Text and Fit Text Font to Box functions, are included. These features are particularly useful when trying to develop clean and nicely formatted flow charts. Believe it or not, AllClear even includes a spell check feature.

The package also comes with AllClear Fishbone 4.0--an additional piece of software that generates indented, outline format fishbone diagrams. While most applications being developed today are 32 bit, the fishbone software is only a 16 bit application. This program was a little more difficult to use than AllClear 4.0, but the fishbone support documentation helped a great deal.

Other supplementary materials include a useful AllClear reference card, an easy-to-follow AllClear 4.0 user's guide and an information sheet describing public and on-site training opportunities.

The program is extremely comprehensive, flexible, fast and responsive. While users may need some time getting acquainted with the software, most will be able to effectively exploit its myriad of features and capabilities after working with it for a short period. This software will meet the needs of virtually all users and, because it is applicable to most industries and professions, the manufacturer will most likely modify and improve it through a regular update cycle.

T.M. Kubiak
Glendale, AZ

Creating a Customer-Centered Culture Video Program

International Management Technologies, 2004 Great Oaks Dr., Suite 100, Burnsville, MN 55337, four videotapes, $1495. (video)

International Management Technologies (IMT) explains its customer centered culture model in this well done, four part video training program. By graphically presenting and analyzing the relationships between factors such as leadership, customer expectations and products, the model strives to improve organizational culture where customer satisfaction is concerned. The video program does an outstanding job of explaining this new way to address customer satisfaction and define processes.

The model and, consequently, the video centers around four issues: language, values, measures and power. The methodology relies on these topics to give customer focus a greater priority throughout the organization. IMT says successful application of the model will achieve measurable results including increased customer loyalty, breakthroughs in product design and sustainable deployment of the change process.

The four videos are presented as facilitator led tutorials by best selling author and consultant Robin Lawton. IMT says the video set (total running time of four hours) is equivalent to a two-and-a-half-day workshop when used with the company's additional application exercises.

Each detail--from the sound and picture quality to Lawton's excellent presentation--is of a professional standard. All the videos in the package offer accurate, detailed and interesting information. Everything the video covers is well described, making this an excellent training tool on this innovative customer satisfaction model.

Due to the tremendous amount of information packed into these videos, it may take viewers a long time to digest everything. Trainers might find it necessary to show the videos several times. The facilitator's manual and additional materials should make employee training easier; however, these materials are not included in the basic video package and, therefore, were not a part of this review.

The video package alone is full of good stuff and Lawton gives viewers a quality presentation. If you are looking to change your organization's customer satisfaction culture, these videos fit the bill.

William M. Bryant
Proteva Computers
Milwaukee, WI

High Income Consulting

Tom Lambert, Nicholas Brealy Publishing, 17470 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma, CA 95476, 1997, 340 pp., $19.95. (book)

The author, no doubt, has a firm grasp on the consulting process and takes ownership of the professionalism he would like to see replicated throughout.

There are four major parts to this second edition that lead the reader toward understanding and consulting competency. Part one is centered around building your own practice, including the process, proposals, fee setting and contract drafting. Part two focuses on the income stream process and covers referrals, brochures and advertising down to the minute details of the best practices and lessons learned from each media type. Part three covers advanced skills and includes the various roles and responsibilities a successful consultant must assume in order to delight his customers. Part four, the consultant's toolkit, is a good summary of best practices in all subprocesses, as well as a glossary and bibliography.

The author's British humor adds a nice touch throughout the book and helps keep things interesting. One quote I found particularly insightful is, "You must be seen as the equivalent of the surgeon rather than a used car salesperson. Remember, it is the person who asks the questions, not the one who answers them, who controls the conversation."

I would recommend this book as an excellent primer and bedside companion to aspiring consultants, as well as old timers who are in need of a little tune-up.

Bill Baker
Lewisville, TX

Interpreting ISO 9000 for Services: Solutions From Registered Organizations

C.W. Russ Russo and Tracy Callaway Russo, Quality Resources, 902 Broadway, New York, NY, 10010, 1998, 247 pp., $40. (book)

With the push for manufacturing companies to become ISO 9000 certified, the shelves are full of literature on ISO 9000 for manufacturing companies. However, service companies are becoming increasingly interested in the benefits of the ISO 9000 quality standards to their industry, as well. In this book, C.W. Russo and Tracy Russo took the manufacturing slant applied to the ISO 9000 standard and presented a practical book on compliance and registration for the service industry.

The book is broken down into three parts. Part one presents a brief summary of ISO 9000's history and benefits. It also explains how to organize and execute the ISO 9000 registration process and tries to dispel some common myths and misconceptions about the standards.

Part two covers the 20 elements of the ISO 9001 standard. This is the heart of the book and the authors did a thorough job of examining each element and presenting it in the context of a service organization. Each chapter includes the following sections:

* Key Questions. Two or three practical questions that capture the fundamental concept underlying the requirements of that particular section.

* Interpreting the Standard. Presents the fundamental requirements required of any organization pursuing ISO 9000 registration.

* Practical Examples. Explains how to interpret and apply the language in service settings.

* Complying in Service Companies. Ideas, strategies and tactics service companies can use in their work flow and processes.

* Case Studies. Interviews with service related companies discussing how they formulated a way to conduct business while meeting element requirements.

* Lessons Learned. Recapitulates the lessons the interviewed organization learned.

Part three includes a chapter on 12 powerful and practical strategies any organization can use to maintain and improve its ISO system. This last chapter offers information and resources concerning the year 2000 revision and the ISO standards.

The four appendices also contain useful information. There is a synopsis of the key questions in each chapter, a translation of manufacturing jargon and terms contained in the ISO 9000 standard, a list of resources related to ISO 9000 for an Internet search and a contact list of the organizations in each case study.

Wayne Sander
Dousman, WI

ISO 9000:2000: Working With
The Upcoming Changes

Jim Norfolk, Quality International Ltd., 11 Birchdale Crescent, St. John, New Brunswick, Canada, 1999, 144 pp., $45. (book)

Intending to provide an understanding of what is present practice in ISO 9000 and what is to be expected in the future, this book recognizes that all companies are different. Therefore, the author provides examples of what various companies have done in the past to achieve good quality management. The author, making a critical point, states that people using their heads to provide ways and means to achieve organizational goals is what makes a good quality system. ISO 9000 is simply a means to provide a framework to set thinking in place.

The material is presented simply and effectively, each chapter covering an important topic. Some of the highlights include: an explanation of ISO 9000:2000, ISO 9000:2000's requirements, a comparison between the two versions, the quality way to write documents and what needs to be done in order to become certified.

The format and writing style make this book easy for management and working professionals to read, understand and apply. The book covered the key points and concerns, while not wasting time and space providing information readily obtained elsewhere, such as statistical process control methodology.

Ron Anjard
Anjard International Consultants
San Diego, CA

Operational Performance Measurement: Increasing Total Productivity

Will Kaydos, CRC Press LLC, 1000 Corporate Blvd., N.W., Boca Raton, FL 33431, 1999, 245 pp., $39.95. (book)

Often, books with dramatic titles are broad, shallow and ultimately disappointing. However, this book is a refreshing and welcome change, providing material and insights for novices and experts. Due to the fact that measurements of operational performance are at the heart of virtually every process oriented approach to management, such as total quality management and variants, and total process management, the book also has wide appeal.

The well organized chapters deal with the logic of measurements, operational requirements and process identification, as well as implementation and usage issues. Kaydos does an excellent job of mixing technical issues, such as production and process capability, with qualitative issues, such as misapplied measures and warning signs. The information is conveyed with precision, using examples and principles to tie things together. Appendices contain descriptions of measures already in place in actual organizations, implementation cases and an article about problems with measures based on global warming.

This book makes a great reference for managers who develop and use measurement systems, engineers who communicate and perhaps obfuscate via measures and academics who need sources of relevant information and examples.

Todd Schultz
Augusta State University
Augusta, GA

The Power of Simplicity: A Management Guide To Cutting Through the Nonsense and Doing Things Right

Jack Trout and Steve Rivkin, McGraw-Hill, 11 W. 19th St., New York, NY 10011, 1999, 205 pp., $24.95. (book)

This book is a no-nonsense tutorial on managing, using simplicity as its guiding principle. It is easy to read and accessible to all levels of management and staff. The book is both informative and enjoyable, covering all aspects of management within the divisions of the book: management issues, leadership issues and people issues.

The well organized book starts with several chapters pertaining to simplicity. This sets the stage for the message the book carries throughout--through simplicity we can work, manage and lead better. This introduction to simplicity as a management ideal has good examples and counter examples to the use and fear of using simplicity. The message from Jack Trout is delivered with a good deal of common sense.

The second part of the book deals with management issues and simplicity. The chapters on information and consultants are especially perceptive. These two chapters hone in on our ability to filter through the blizzard of information and data constantly flowing into business and also how to cut through much of the technical jargon and overly complicated (and expensive) solutions we receive from many consultants. Other chapters focus on using more refined techniques for identifying and keeping customers, defining your departmental budget and strategic planning.

In the section devoted to leadership issues, the author examines organizations, starting from the mission statement through the development of planning processes, goals and marketing. Each chapter is short and includes examples, as well as focused lists and guidelines for the reader to use to examine his or her own organization. The message is delivered with some humor and with some appropriate business horror stories.

The final section of the book examines people issues, encompassing motivation and differences between effort and accomplishment. It will appeal to leaders, managers and staff because it attempts to bridge the gaps that occur in policies and communication.

This is a quick read and covers many important areas of management. It delivers its message simply and follows its own advice well. There are not many management books that are informative and enjoyable to read--this book just happens to be one that is.

I. Elaine Allen
Dover, MA

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