Continuous Improvement in the Science Classroom Grades 6-8

Jeffrey J. Burgard, ASQ Quality Press, 600 N. Plankinton Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203, 2000, 176 pp., member $23, list $28.50. (book)

Reading Burgard's stories about his practices and experiences in the classroom reminds me of two facts: One is that young people do indeed want to learn, and the second is that many school systems and classrooms are systematically bludgeoning this desire to learn to death.

The classroom is a perfect forum for the use of Deming's paradigm for continuous improvement. Students are a work in progress. Some techniques used by Burgard in his classroom allow students to realize they have a vested interest in what occurs in the classroom. These techniques can also give them a feeling of empowerment as they retain some control over what happens. They act, rather than get acted upon. His use of "aim" and "feedback" gives students (the product) input, and his individual student and class run charts give them instant information on their own and their class's improvement.

I think that educators at all levels and parents should read this book. Until education is seen as a system of interrelated activities, and not as a series of disconnected processes, the emphasis in the classroom will continue to be on rote memorization, not learning or knowledge.

This volume demonstrates that any environment can be improved by the use of quality tools and the application of continuous quality improvement theory.

Herzl Marouni

Customer Driven Healthcare: QFD for Process Improvement And Cost Reduction

Ed Chaplin and John Terninko, ASQ Quality Press, 600 N. Plankinton Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203, 2000, 316 pp., member $60, list $75. (book)

The authors of this book set forth an orderly process for applying quality function deployment (QFD) to health care systems. They provide an excellent example of the application of this powerful quality assessment tool to a system where the product is not a concrete box or device, but a service. The approach is tempered and meticulous. There is little doubt that a methodical approach is needed to evaluate and enhance quality for health care systems, but the range of systems for which the approach outlined in this book is applicable is much broader than health care alone, embracing many systems that produce services, plans or actual systems themselves.

In emphasizing the power of the QFD process to empower both the customers and the stakeholders in systems, the authors caution that a firm commitment to change is necessary on the part of management and participants in the system.

The authors have presented a highly detailed and comprehensive description of the methodology of QFD. The process itself achieves the transition from qualitative data to an empirical determinations ranking that can be used for decision making in the process.

The book is valuable for health care systems designers, but I also recommend it as a guide to systems engineers seeking to evaluate their project management systems, social science systems and other systems requiring the enhancement of quality of a somewhat abstract product.

William F. Foster
Dogbyte Company
Vienna, VA

ISO Lesson Guide 2000: Pocket Guide to Q9001:2000

Dennis Arter and J.P. Russell, ASQ Quality Press, 600 N. Plankinton Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203, 2001, 65 pp., member $7.50, list $9.40. (book)

This book truly is a pocket guide in both size, 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 in., and content. What the authors have done is take ISO 9001:2000 and put it into a condensed narrative overview. They call it a "lesson guide" with the intent of providing a minitutorial on quality as it is viewed in the scope of ISO 9001:2000.

When I first received the book, I thought I was getting a condensed version of ISO 9001:2000 chapter and verse that I could carry around with me and use as a quick reference. That's not what this is, however. The word for word actual text of ISO 9001:2000 isn't there, so the title is somewhat misleading. Instead, what you get is a discussion and interpretation of quality using ISO 9001:2000 as a guide.

The authors begin with a narrative on what quality is and what it means to the customer and then define and discuss a process using the ISO 9001 system as a model. The rest of the book is a narrative walk-through of the ISO 9001:2000 main sections. It gives the authors' interpretation of what the ISO sections are saying you should do to provide a quality product or service. The discussions are practical and written in a commonsense style that is easy to understand and even entertaining.

This book would not be useful to anyone who is trying to determine compliance or implement procedures that meet a specific ISO 9001:2000 requirement.

In all, it's a good overview and quick reading of the standard.

Eric Furness
Astronautics & Kearfott Corporations

Research on the Management of Innovation: The Minnesota Studies

Edited by A.H. Van de Ven, H.L. Angle and M.S. Poole, Oxford University Press, 198 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016-4314, 2000, 791 pp., $35. (book)

This is a reprinting of the book of the same title that was initially published in 1989. At that time the book was compiled to serve as an interim report on a research project, the Minnesota Innovation Research Program, which had begun in 1983. The objective of the research was to understand how and why innovations develop from concept to implementation. This book presents various topics concerning the emerging ideas, methods and findings from the research project about the process of innovation.

Overall, this book (and the project) is overly ambitious, and as a consequence, the research results suffer from conclusions that are ambivalent and too general. There are no revolutionary ideas or definite guidelines to enable industrial managers to gain a quick grasp of ideas to follow.

The comment in the above paragraph does not reflect the individual research quality and conclusions on the more confined and well-defined subject areas such as the studies of innovations in business creation, public policy and administration, and technological innovation. The trouble comes from the authors' attempt to draw common denominators about the innovation process from a wide variety of fields.

This book is recommended for researchers who are interested in uncovering the intrinsic development of the innovation process in an organizational setting.

Shin Ta Liu
Lynx Systems
San Diego

The Nordic School Of Quality Management

Edited by Bo Edvardsson and Anders Gustafsson, Studentlitteratur, Lund, Sweden, PO Box 141 SE-22100, 1999, 412 pp., $40.55. (book)

Editors Edvardsson and Gustafsson invited leading scholars in the Nordic countries to submit papers on their areas of research in quality management, resulting in this compilation of 14 academic studies.

Almost all the papers grapple conceptually with the unique nature of services, but the authors are ultimately interested in integrating theories and empirical results that address all types of products. A historical overview of quality management concisely documents both the proliferation of quality theory and techniques across industries and the enhancement of the evolving theory by organizational development and other human resource disciplines.

Included in the compilation are specific quality system studies on education from which more general findings are derived. Similar papers focus on the hospitality industry and hospitals. Each chapter extensively integrates and summarizes current related literature. Misspellings are minor distractions, as is, in one instance, a graphic containing an element that is still in the original Swedish.

As a compilation of current research on quality management, this book is of more use to the academic than to the general reader.

Frank Giorgilli
Temple University Hospital

World-Class Quality And Productivity: Fifteen Strategies For Improving Performance

William F. Christopher and Carl G. Thor, Crisp Management Library, Walnut Creek, CA 94598, 1998, 100 pp., $12.95. (book)

This short book is designed to deliver the punch line on the top 15 strategies available to managers in today's competitive changing world. It's almost the Cliff Notes version of current management philosophy. It is a quick read and is designed for managers with limited time to grasp the current issues and strategies.

The focus of the book is to help the reader see with new eyes the impact and opportunity we have with the proper deployment and attention to detail. The authors start with the basic premise that quality = productivity and productivity = quality.

Each chapter starts with an appropriate quote to set the stage for discussion on that strategy. The chapters/strategies include vision, outcomes, customer value, goals, measures, empowerment, teamwork, continuous improvement, innovation, excellence, learning and knowledge, systems, recognition and celebration, sharing and change.

The underlying theme is that there is always a better way and that we must respond to the change around us...in our customers, in our employees, in our processes and in our products and services.

Bill Baker
Plano, TX


Invest in the Best: How To Profit from Well-Managed Companies, Stephen George, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 605 Third Ave., New York, NY 10158-0012, 2000, 221 pp., $29.95. (book)

Keys to Employee Success in Coming Decades, edited by Ronald J. Sims and John G. Veres III, Quorum Books, 88 Port Road W., Westport, CT 06881, 1999, 272 pp., $59.95. (book)

Management Decision Making, George E. Monahan, Cambridge University Press, 40 W. 20th St., New York, NY 10011-4211, 2000, 714 pp., $69.95. (book and CD-ROM)

Manual on Test Sieving Methods, 4th Edition, Lawrence R. Pope and Charles W. Ward, ASTM, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, West Conshohocken, PA 19248-2958, 1998, 43 pp., $26. (book)

Manufacturing at Warp Speed: Optimizing Supply Chain Financial Performance, H. William Dettmer and Eli Schragenheim, CRC Press LLC, 2000 N.W. Corporate Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33431, 2001, 342 pp., $57.95. (book and CD-ROM)

Synergy 2000 LE Software Version 2.0, Zontec, 1389 Kemper Meadow Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45240, 2000, $999. (software)

Six Sigma for Leadership, Greg Brue, Six Sigma Consultants Inc., 8619 Tennyson N.E., Albuquerque, NM 87122, 2000, 320 pp., $69.95 (book)

Y14.5M-1994 Standard Ease: Electronic Version of the ASME Y14.5M-1994 Standard, Tec-Ease, 8054 S. Hill Road, Cherry Creek, NY 14723, 2000, $195. (software)

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