Building Call Center Culture

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

Call centers have quickly become an essential component of most businesses. Dan Coen's book focuses on how the relationship between call center agents and their supervisors directly relates to the relationship between agents and customers. Coen highlights dozens of techniques, action plans, strategies and new ideas that will help build a healthy communication culture within a call center and stimulate positive customer responses and sales growth.

Starting with six fundamental principles of call center management, Coen adds suggestions on how to design a communication culture, grapple with the real emotions of working in a call center, and create and initiate agent feedback. He also discusses how to make agents successful, use class categories to better manage agents, manage agent career planning and retain agents through successful compensation agreements.

Although the author relates his material to call center management, his ideas can be used by anyone in management positions in other types of businesses.

Dale Farris
Farris Resources
Groves, TX

The Eaton Lean System

Productivity Press, 541 NE 20th Ave., Suite 108, Portland, OR 97232, 2001, $695 (software).

The Eaton Lean System consists of seven standalone e-learning CD-ROMs on muda, standardized work, continuous flow, pull, kaizen, heijunka and the 5S system. Each CD apparently comes separately and without documentation. I was provided only with the continuous flow CD, so I couldn't compare the various CDs and determine how well they are integrated.

The target audience is individuals interested in an overview of continuous flow systems, specifically U-shape cells. The CD allows for minimal interaction during the presentations and has a simulation module where alternative capacity can be assigned to three work stations under various workflow conditions.

The continuous flow CD includes a simulation and six sections: overview, traditional manufacturing, traditional batch production, small lot production, U-shaped cell, and summary and comparison. These sections consist of slides with accompanying voice and visuals representing simulations of various manufacturing setups.

As a result of the relatively low level of content sophistication in the product, my conclusion is this CD does not achieve the objectives of interactive learning. The lack of interesting and stimulating content and of documentation make it of limited use to individuals and organizations.

Ron S. Kenett
KPA Ltd.
Raanana, Isra

Facilitating Organization Change: Lessons From Complexity Science

Edwin E. Olson and Glenda H. Eoyang, Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, 350 Sansome St., 5th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94104-1342, 2001, 235 pp., $29.95 (book).

We are told change is inevitable, like death and taxes. Nearly all organizations at one time or another, will attempt to change in some way. The authors offer a comprehensive alternative to traditional change models --the science of complex adaptive systems--to help organizations increase the fit between their outputs and marketplace demands.

Using complexity theory, the book presents eight concepts the authors believe are fundamental to successful organizational change. Each chapter expands on one of the eight concepts and presents tools and approaches to help change agents apply the principles of complexity to their situations. Case studies and stories demonstrate how the principles of complexity help organizations become adaptive and efficient. The book also clarifies the role of the change agent.

The book includes support information for all of the major concepts presented. The authors have included a diagnostic questionnaire to allow change agents to assess how closely their organization's current perspective matches a complex adaptive perspective.

This book is recommended for human resource professionals who advise managers on making organizational change, for organizational development professionals and for change agents.

Roger E. Olson
Systems Quality Consulting
Alta Loma, CA

Interpreting ISO 9001:2000 With Statistical Methodology

James L. Lamprecht, ASQ Quality Press, 600 N. Plankinton Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203, 2002, 216 pp., $26 member, $32 list (book).

This book tries to offer a paragraph by paragraph paraphrase of the ISO 9001:2000 standard complete with commentaries and examples. To help the reader put the statistical information into practice, the author includes sample forms and questionnaires.

The statistical method used in the text is basic. However, an appendix gives an overview of 60 pages of statistical techniques. Here, the author tries to cover difficult methods such as analysis of variance, design of experiments, hypothesis testing and control charts.

Several descriptions might be hard to follow for a beginner and, in some cases, the statements are doubtful from a statistical point of view. I am also surprised every time I read about the concept of "cost of quality" instead of "poor quality costs," since it is the lack of quality that costs. In Sweden we changed terminology many years ago.

I expected more from the book. It is doubtful whether it fulfills the title.

Bengt Klefsjö
Luleå University
Luleå, Swed

Strategic Management, Fourth Edition

John L. Thomson, Thomson Learning, Berkshire House, 168-173 High Holborn, London, England, WC1V7AA, 2001, 1,141 pp., $27.99 (book).

For quality professionals to effectively influence the strategic decisions of their organizations, they must first move beyond traditional quality tools and gain an understanding of the strategic management process.

Thomson has provided a text that identifies a strategic management model, elaborates on the components of each step within that model and addresses issues related to strategy development and implementation.

The author uses case studies to illustrate the topics. Each case study is followed by questions to stimulate discussion of the central issues. The case studies are drawn from companies around the world and highlight the universal applicability of the strategic management process.

The book fails to address several issues. Customer driven quality and performance improvement are not presented as strategic issues. The text does not address the alignment of human resource plans, training activities and work processes to achieve an organization's goals. The failure to cover these areas might prevent management students from understanding quality is a valid strategic issue.

Despite its shortcomings, the book does present a good description of the overall strategic management process and issues facing managers today.

Rich Anderson
Tucson, AZ

The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace

Cary Cherniss and Daniel Goleman, eds., Jossey-Bass, 350 Sansome St., 5th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94104-1342, 2001, 352 pp., $39.95 (book).

While not designed for the quality professional, The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace provides an invaluable examination of the workplace. There are three main parts to the book.

The first section examines what emotional intelligence (EI) is by looking at its definition and how to assess it in an organization. These chapters are complex and include reviews of research as well as models and paradigms of EI in the workplace.

The next section discusses the function of HR in measuring and evaluating EI. Chapter seven can be used as a training manual for HR managers, while chapter eight details the hiring criteria and difficulties in finding senior executives.

The last section provides information about building an EI organization and the training necessary at all levels. Some chapters provide a hands-on approach, while others are scholarly in their discussion of workplace EI. This book would be a good addition to any quality management library.

I. Elaine Allen
Babson College
Wellesley, MA

Recent Releases

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Fundamental Concepts of Quality Improvement, Melissa G. Hartman, ed., ASQ Quality Press, 600 N. Plankinton Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203, 2002, 352 pp., $32 member, $40 list (book).

High Quality Low Cost Software Inspections, Ronald A. Radice, Paradoxicon Publishing, 60 Elm St., Andover, MA 01810, 2002, 480 pp., $59.95 (book).

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ISO 9001:2000 Conversion Kit: Quality System Manual, Procedures and Transition Guide and Transition Checklist, Harold J. Steudel and Terry Mann, H.J. Steudel & Associates Inc., 6417 Normandy Lane, Madison, WI 53719, 2000, $549.95 with software licenses (software).

ISO 9000:2000 Revision Highlights: A Comparative Guide, Klaus Graebig, ASQ Quality Press, 600 N. Plankinton Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203, 2002, 96 pp., $20 member, $25 list (book).

Jack: Straight From the Gut, Jack Welch with John A. Byrne, Warner Books Inc., 1271 Ave. of the Americas, New York, NY 10020, 2001, 479 pp., $29.95 (book).

Make No Mistake: An Outcome-Based Approach to Mistake-Proofing, C. Martin Hinckley, Productivity Press, 541 NE 20th Ave., Suite 108, Portland, OR 97232, 2001, 400 pp., $75 (book).

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