Establishing a System Of Policies and Procedures
Stephen B. Page, BookMasters, 2541 Ashland Rd., Mansfield, OH 44905, 1998, 134 pp., $25.95. (book)
This book is a rewrite of the author's previous book, Business Policies and Procedures Handbook. This edition is concise, well organized, focused and complete. It deals with taking a particular course of action when getting a system of policies and procedures into place. It provides a thorough review of why, when and how to accomplish this task.
The process of developing a policy and procedure system includes the following: evaluation of need, research into what should be documented, draft coordination and review, implementation of policies and procedures, and training in the use of the document system. A section covering revisions is also included.
In each chapter, the author gives his recommendations on precisely how to get the job done. When he proposes certain facilitating methods, he provides a workable synopsis of the technique. The appendixes have numerous excellent checklists. Moreover, the book discusses adaptation of the system into an electronic form and includes comments on subtleties for transition and use on the Internet or an Intranet.
If there is any weakness in this book, it is in the small number of examples provided. I wanted to see various samples in order to review certain options or styles.
Every so often, the author lobbies for his own job security by putting in strong exhortations to have his book reviewed by a procedure analyst or by reminding the reader that his is the only book written specifically on this topic. This was mildly irritating, but not distracting from the subject matter. Overall, the book admirably achieves its goal. It is an excellent summary and blueprint for getting documentation into order.
Anyone contemplating establishment or revision of a system of policies and procedures can find something useful and save himself or herself a lot of extra effort by reading this book.
Marc A. Feldman
Regulatory affairs manager
Best Practices in Customer Service
Ron Zemke and John A. Woods, Amacom, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019, 1999, 414 pp., $39.95. (book)
This book consists of 35 articles grouped into eight categories relating to customer service. Each article is preceded by a short abstract, allowing readers to easily identify articles of interest. Part one illustrates why it's important to be concerned about customer service. Parts two through four deal with managing customer service and discuss some of the techniques service providers can use to do their jobs better. Part five is about customer service strategies, and part six deals with customer problems and problem customers. Part seven discusses how Internet providers can manage customer service, and the final section is about support organizations. The appendix includes a substantial list of available customer service periodicals.
The strength of this book lies in its broad coverage and its upbeat presentation of contemporary management methods. To help the reader understand customers, one article states, "People never buy products or services." Another article describes impressing your customer with "Wow" service. Several articles talk about the relationship between high quality customer service and a good work environment for employees who interface with the customer.
This book is of most interest to managers and others who have direct contact with customers. Many articles include practical tips and techniques, in addition to a discussion of different management philosophies. Some tips and techniques include the Ishikawa diagram, building a picture of a perfect service, and a conversation regarding common mistakes employees make with customers and the means to prevent these mistakes. Examples of quality service range from Delta Airlines' service training to ServiceSoft's methods of providing self-service on the Internet.
I highly recommend this book to ASQ members.
John V. Liggett
Variation Management Consultants
The QSTracker System--Training Application
Trackware Corp., 101 First St., Suite 353, Los Altos, CA 94022, 1998, $250 single user registration fee. (software)
The QSTracker System consists of three software applications designed to support an organization's training, document control, and defective material and corrective action needs. The applications work together to form one system, but the applications are sold separately as they can function independently of one another. This review focuses on the training application only.
Designed to allow one or more trainers to administer a companywide training effort, QSTracker's training application uses intuitive filtering and search functions to place critical information at the user's fingertips. The licensed user can develop and store procedures, courses, job descriptions, employee lists and course schedules. The application's network features and comprehensiveness allow users to view data on-line, consider applicable historical trends and efficiently administer employee qualification requirements. This combination creates a total training perspective, setting QSTracker apart from its competitors.
QSTracker's training application meets the requirements of ISO 9001:1994 for section 418 training with technically accurate and easily understandable terminology. The screen layout and display are excellent, as is the software's computational responsiveness.
While the content of the software is excellent, installation is somewhat difficult due to poorly written instructions. Single-line spacing makes the instructions hard to read, and essential elements are not highlighted. Telephone instruction from a Trackware representative is key when installing the software. Technical help is available free from Trackware, and the representatives seem very interested in helping the user.
An investment of time is also required when learning how to use the software. Even an experienced trainer or administrator would most likely need six hours to understand QSTracker's basic features.
Regardless of the time involved in installing the software and learning its features, I recommend this product to any ISO 9000, QS-9000 or FDA regulated organization. It is a great tool that can be used by organizations ranging from 50 to 5,000 employees. This is a high quality product that provides solid value for its cost.
ASQ certified quality auditor and
certified quality engineer
ASQ Senior Member
Fundamentals of AutoCAD, Release 14
Steven B. Combs and Jay H. Zirbel, Prentice-Hall, One Lake St., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458, 1999, 452 pp., $56.50. (book)
AutoCAD is one of the pioneers in computer aided design (CAD) software for personal computers. Mastering the skill of using CAD software is important to a successful drafting or design career. This book and the accompanying work disk provide hands-on tutorials in building the techniques and concepts needed to master drawing using AutoCAD, Release 14.
This is a well-written book full of detailed, step by step instructions. This book can be used as an AutoCAD user's manual in all areas except for computer systems. Of course, the book is more than just a manual. It also provides examples of creating and designing drawings and the techniques and concepts behind the use of each command. Beginning with the very basics of how to use AutoCAD commands, the book also covers creating, saving and managing drawings; using on-line help; and using more advanced techniques such as grid, snap, coordinate display and the orthod mode.
The book is clearly written, allowing readers to understand AutoCAD's concepts without looking at the AutoCAD software. However, the book is intended for readers who have access to the software so they can practice the techniques and concepts.
This book is most beneficial to the beginning CAD student. The tutorial style of writing makes it a suitable CAD textbook, as well.
Shin Ta Liu, consultant
Implementing Your Strategic Plan: How to Turn 'Intent' Into Effective Action for Sustainable Change
C. Davis Fogg, Amacom, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019, 1999, 419 pp., $65. (book)
How do you put a strategic business plan into place? How do you make a strategic business plan work? These are the questions that business consultant C. Davis Fogg, president of his own consulting firm and a former executive at Bausch & Lomb, answers in this book. Anyone who has been involved in trying to implement a strategic business plan knows it can be even more difficult than creating the plan.
There are several books about the strategic business planning process, but few provide information on how to make these plans work. This book deals with the second phase of the strategic plan--implementation. The author spends most of the time explaining his idea of the 18 keys to strategy implementation. The 18 keys fall into five main categories:
* Setting accountability.
* Fixing the organization.
* Enabling and aligning.
* Providing an environment.
* Judging and rewarding.
While this may appear a bit regimented, it makes sense and flows quite logically. Fogg provides understandable examples, and the book is full of graphics that further illustrate his point.
The book has three major sections. The first explains strategic change. The second, discussing the 18 keys, is the largest and most comprehensive. The third looks at the whole planning process and covers items such as rewards and compensation.
I liked this book, finding it fun and easy to read. I had no problem understanding what the author was explaining and could relate to his examples. This book would be an excellent handbook for anyone--especially upper management--involved in the strategic business planning process. Organizations first starting out with a strategic business plan and those struggling with implementation will definitely benefit from reading this book.
Eric Furness, vice president of quality
The GD&T Trainer
Effective Training Inc., 2116 S. Wayne Rd., Westland, MI 48186, 1997, $695 single user edition. (CD-ROM)
Hats off to the development staff of this CD-ROM for geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD and T) training. Based on ASME Y14.5M-1994, The GD&T Trainer provides a fast, effective and enjoyable way to learn a complicated topic.
The product offers two presentation styles: a seminar version and a classroom version. Both cover the same information, but the classroom presentation includes testing, automatic scoring and averaging features. A certificate of achievement is produced if the user's scores indicate understanding of the material.
Shortly after each information screen, a problem or exercise appears for the user to complete. Additionally, each of the product's eight sections concludes with a 20 question quiz using both visual and audible signals to reinforce users' answers. The various parts of the program must be completed in the order in which they are presented. Most users take eight to 12 hours to finish the entire training program.
The software is password controlled and allows the administrator to change the student's name and password. While the program can only be used by one student at a time, partially completed work can be saved, allowing the administrator to train multiple students working at different phases in the program. The administrator's password permits The GD&T Trainer to be reset for use by other students.
The CD-ROM's features work well together, making data entry effortless. Key words are identified in the text as hotwords, linking the user to different screens for additional information. The graphics are well designed and simple to understand. Such details minimize the need for help balloons or a comprehensive manual.
The installation is uncomplicated, and the brief user's guide includes means of contacting the developer for technical support. The product has a clean, crisp user interface and presents difficult material in a palatable way. The GD&T Trainer makes learning about this subject a pleasant experience.
Process program manager
Rod Carpenter, Hanser Gardner Publications, 6915 Valley Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45244-3029, 1998, 120 pp., $49.95. (book)
The QS-9000 standard was developed by Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and numerous major truck manufacturers in 1994. QS-9000 is sometimes thought of as identical to ISO 9000. However, even though each element of ISO 9000 is an element of QS-9000, the QS-9000 requirements contain added clauses. QS-9000 Essentials is a hands-on reference book, organized to allow for the quick identification and interpretation of QS-9000 requirements. This book is not a detailed textbook on QS-9000. Rather, it is meant to serve as a practical guide for understanding QS-9000 requirements.
QS-9000 Essentials is organized into three sections and an appendix. The first describes the supplier responsibilities that must be met in order to satisfy QS-9000 requirements. The second presents the internal audit procedures necessary for achieving certification. The third describes the proprietary requirements as specified by Chrysler, Ford and General Motors. The International Automotive Sector Group sanctioned QS-9000 interpretations are also covered in this section. The detailed appendix provides a document review matrix that contrasts ISO 9000 elements with QS-9000 elements. The appendix also presents the Advanced Product Quality Planning and Control Plan.
The key strengths in this book are the author's use of easy to read graphics and the tabular format used in the presentation of information regarding QS-9000 requirements. QS-9000 Essentials is only useful to those readers who already possess a working knowledge of QS-9000 and need some type of reference manual when dealing with QS-9000 implementation issues.
EET department coordinator
Pennsylvania State University-Altoona
The Certified Quality Manager Handbook, ASQ Quality Management Division, ASQ Quality Press, 611 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53201, 1999, 522 pp., $63 (member), $77 (list). (book)
Designing Feedback, Carl G. Thor, Crisp Management
Library, 410 Sutcliffe Place,
Walnut Creek, CA 94598, 1998, 93 pp., $12.95. (book)
Managing Quality: A Practical Guide to Customer Satisfaction, D.B.N. Murthy, Sage Publications, 2455 Teller Rd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91320, 1999, 226 pp., $45. (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)
World-Class Quality and Productivity, William F. Christopher and Carl G. Thor, Crisp Management Library, 410 Sutcliffe Place, Walnut Creek, CA 94598, 1998, 100 pp., $12.95. (book)
Health Care Performance Measurement: Systems Design and Evaluation, Vahé A. Kazandjian and Terry R. Lied, ASQ Quality Press, 611 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53201, 1999, 234 pp., $36 (member), $44 (list). (book)
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