Customer Capitalism--Increasing Returns in New Market Spaces

Sandra Vandermerwe, Nicholas Brealey Publishing Ltd., 1163 E. Ogden Ave., Naperville, IL 60563, 1999, 296 pp., $25. (book)

Sandra Vandermerwe uses the term "market spaces" in her book to focus business process thinking away from market share focus. She also presents strong evidence explaining why Amazon.com and Auto-by-Tel are examples of businesses serving customers in ways never thought of before. Her position: If management thinks market share is the prime determinant of profits, such thinking will paralyze management decisions, becoming the underlying force perpetuating diminishing returns.

Customer Capitalism is not about customer retention. This book clarifies and enlightens its readers on how and why e-businesses can flourish quickly. With customer capitalism it is not the product that keeps competitors out, nor is it the technical standard or the technology that protects an organization from rivals. It is customers who lock on to a company and become the barrier to competitive entry.

This book should be read by all business professionals. It is filled with refreshing ideas that make great sense. The author has done an outstanding job presenting the facts and making comparisons. It is my opinion that this book will prove very useful for managers regardless of the functional area of responsibility.

John Lanczycki Jr.
Creative Planners
Danbury, CT

Invest in the Best

Stephen George, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 605 Third Ave., New York, NY 10158-0012, 2000, 221 pp., $29.95. (book)

This is an incredibly interesting book that focuses on the correlation between superior management and outstanding financial performance and shows how knowledge of a company's management can lead to sound investment strategy.

This is not a book that deals with financial indicators, but one that uniquely considers the overall operations of a company as part of the process leading to investment decisions.

The author provides practical methods for assessing the quality of a company's management by interpreting easily available indicators. It also shows how to apply knowledge gained to improve investment decisions.

The text identifies various quality indicators and provides practical case histories on some of the companies that have proven to be great investments over the past decade. The book includes graphic illustrations to help illuminate the author's concepts.

Although most investors review the same financial data, including a company's management performance in the review, this process puts the savvy investor one step ahead of the rest.

James F. Jaquess

Six Sigma for Leadership

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

Six Sigma has been launched all over the world and does not, in principle, contain anything new. Its focus on processes and variation can be found in works by W. Edwards Deming and Walter Shewhart.

I disagree with the statement in the book that total quality management (TQM) is a foundation for the next step that Six Sigma provides. Six Sigma is a methodology within TQM, which in my opinion, is a management system of values, methodologies and tools. The reason why this methodology has been so successful is that it is structured, supports many values and systematically uses several efficient tools.

This book was written by a consultant within the Six Sigma area to excite CEOs, presidents or executive level management about the potential of Six Sigma. It is easy to read with lots of figures (which I like), has quotations from successful companies and famous people, and includes descriptions of successful improvement projects.

Two CDs related to Minitab software and support materials are also contained in the book (although not in the review copy).

Bengt Klefsjö
Luleå University
Luleå, Sweden

Six Sigma for Team Members: Applying the Six Sigma Seven Principles of Problem-Solving Technology

Greg Brue, Six Sigma Consultants Inc., 8619 Tennyson N.E., Albuquerque, NM 87122, 2000, 64 pp., $9.95. (book)

This abbreviated, 64-page pamphlet represents a good, basic introduction to Six Sigma.

For those not familiar with this body of knowledge, the pamphlet covers the topic's more popular concepts: frequently asked questions about the philosophy of Six Sigma, the seven principles of problem solving technology, Six Sigma in theory and explanations of the roles of a team member, Green Belt, Black Belt, Master Black Belt and Champion. Additional chapters include a section on "The Magic of Metrics," a general glossary and insights from the author, plus a $20 rebate toward a more in-depth handbook/CD package.

If you've been a practicing quality professional for some time, this reference makes it very apparent there is basically nothing new under the sun. Most, if not all, of the concepts and methods used in Six Sigma methodology will be recognizable as reliable old friends in the quality profession.

My major hesitation in recommending this book is that it is a very basic introduction to Six Sigma. Why pay extra for the same information that is already part of numerous articles or other references, which offer the complete details of how to implement Six Sigma?

Linda Cubalchini-Travis
Simi Valley, CA

Software Engineering Processes, Principles and Applications

Yingxu Wang and Graham King, CRC Press LLC, 2000 N.W. Corporate Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33421, 2000, 752 pp., $99.95. (book)

As the world moves inexorably toward an ever increasing number of virtual organizations such as virtual schoolhouses, virtual meetings and virtual organizations, the role of software development becomes increasingly important in our lives.

The central players in software development are no longer programmers but project managers and corporate leaders. This volume was designed not only as a primary text for students but also as a comprehensive reference for practitioners.

The book is extremely well-organized and easy to use because of the supplements provided by the authors:

  • A brief description of the purpose at the beginning of each chapter, with a discussion of the background of the chapter and its relationship to other parts and chapters of the book.
  • A brief summary and sidebar of knowledge structure for each chapter, which exact key knowledge and major achievements.
  • Annotated references, helping readers to find related knowledge and/or alternative approaches in the literature and become familiar with the research and practices in the entire discipline of process based software engineering.

Software Engineering Processes, Principles and Applications is an extremely detailed and comprehensive work. The text's bibliography will be more useful to students and researchers than it will be to practitioners.

I would strongly recommend this reference for software engineers, project managers or senior program managers dealing with software engineering, especially if they are undergoing or plan to undergo a coordinate measuring machine or ISO 9000 certification process. It will pay dividends far in excess of its cost.

John D. Richards
SRA International
San Antonio, TX

The Six Sigma Revolution: How General Electric and Others Turned Process Into Profits

George Eckes, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 605 Third Ave., New York, NY 10158-0012, 2000, 274 pp., $29.95. (book)

The Six Sigma revolution, according to John Eckes, is more like the logical end of the evolution of W. Edwards Deming's philosophy and practices. Although Deming emphasized the importance of top management influence and the use of data with statistical analysis in the success of quality efforts, Eckes, a former psychologist, carries this concept further to provide muscle and blood to internalize process management and process improvement at an organizational level.

This book starts with steps to initiate Six Sigma at the strategic level, including the creation of strategic business objectives, the creation of processes and process owners, and the determination of the measurements, data to be collected and analysis required. At the tactical level, a project team will follow the define, measure, analyze, improve and control (DMAIC) cycle to manage the improvement.

Although the content of this book presents a logical conclusion of the quality movement's past, it is revolutionary for the quality professional. That means for quality to survive as a profession, quality professionals need to enlarge their vision of general business issues and use quality techniques to serve their business purposes.

Shin Ta Liu
Lynx Systems
San Diego


Abrasion-Resistant Cast Iron Handbook, George Laird, Richard Gundlach and Klaus Röhrig, American Foundry Society, Des Plaines, IL 60016-8399, 2000, 222 pp., $240. (book)

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, Project Management Institute, Four Campus Blvd., Newton Square, PA 19073-3299, 2000, 248 pp., $35.95. (book)

Basic Manufacturing, Second Edition, Roger Timings and Mike Tooley, Newnes, 225 Wildwood Ave., Woburn, MA 01801-2041, 2001, 311 pp., $28.95. (book)

Building Call Center Culture, Dan Coen, DCD Publishing, PO Box 571533, Tarzana, CA 91357, 2001, 195 pp., $24.95. (book)

Measuring Team Performance, Steven D. Jones and Don J. Schilling, Jossey-Bass Inc., 350 Sansome St., San Francisco, CA 94104, 2000, 245 pp., $39.95. (book)

Quality Management Systems: A Practical Guide, Howard S. Gitlow, CRC Press LLC, 2000 N.W. Corporate Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33431, 2001, 282 pp., $39.95. (book)

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