Manufacturing Handbook of Best Practices: An Innovation, Productivity and Quality Focus

Jack B. ReVelle, ed., St. Lucie Press, 2000 Corporate Blvd. N.W., Boca Raton, FL 33431, 2002, 472 pp., $94.95 (book).

Providing a wide-ranging compendium of manufacturing best practices, the 19 chapters cover most of the modern techniques and tools in use today--and in sufficient depth for readers to gain an insight to possible applications within their own organizations. Both professional manufacturing managers and students of manufacturing practices will find topics worthy of their time.

The standard topics, such as Six Sigma, ISO 9001:2000 and lean manufacturing are discussed. Other significant topics include:

  • Quality function deployment.
  • Intellectual capital.
  • Design of experiments.
  • Designing for manufacturing and assembly--getting it right beforehand.
  • Simultaneous product and process development.
  • Environmental issues and ISO 14001.
  • Differentiation between lean and agile enterprises.
  • Measurement system analysis.
  • An introduction to PAIN (process analysis and improve- ment network).
  • Inventory control.
  • Robust design techniques.
  • Statistical process control.
  • Supply chain management.
  • The TRIZ problem solving methodology.

The 13 authors provide ample diagrams, tables and references. Math formulas are kept to a minimum and are easily circumnavigated by the mathematically challenged.

The strengths of this book are the easy-to-understand explanations and examples. The reader quickly realizes the editor's purpose is to provide enough information to trigger further research and learning. It is remarkable so much information has been squeezed into such a relatively small space.

One minor criticism is that a comprehensive glossary would have been useful. Also, a chapter could have been added to tie all the techniques and tools into a comprehensive best practice plan.

Readers may find topics they are familiar with, but even then the review is worthwhile. Most readers should find several topics, techniques and tools they know little about. This is a good opportunity to determine whether the techniques and tools should be applied in your organization. Buy and read this book--it's a winner.

Russ Westcott
R.T. Westcott & Associates
Old Saybrook, CT

Visualizing Statistical Model and Concepts

R.W. Farebrother, Marcel Dekker, 270 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016, 2002, 280 pp., $135 (book).

This book is meant to enhance understanding of current statistical techniques.

Several topics are especially interesting, including duality between observation space and parametric space, various metrics (least orthogonal distance, least deviation) applied to measure distance as optimization criteria and their implications in the geometrical or mechanical models, and many regression techniques.

Farebrother is long in presenting various ideas and short in providing comprehensive discussions around single topics. Ideas are often mentioned and dropped without complete treatments. Maybe this is his intention, but sometimes flow and ease of reading are sacrificed for conciseness.

This book provides some alternative readings for understanding statistical techniques and will only benefit readers who are motivated to further explore in-depth knowledge.

Shin Ta Liu
Lynx Systems
San Diego


The Little Black Book of Project Management

Michael C. Thomsett, AMACOM, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019, 2002, 192 pp., $15 (book).

This book, now in its second edition, is advertised as the "workplace bible" of project management. It is written not so much for the professional project manager as to provide a methodology for someone new who has recently been charged with managing a complex program or project.

The 14 chapters start with the background of project management and progress to project management as a career. In between, the book discusses how to master a complex project by managing the component parts. Thomsett starts by describing how to organize and control a project by breaking it down. He then goes into how to manage the various activities of a project to keep it on track and on budget.

This book stresses the basics and stays away from complex project management software. The methods are well explained and at a level people of varying backgrounds can understand, and there are numerous examples and references. Each chapter ends with questions to test reader understanding, with answers and complete explanations at the end of the book.

Thomsett has taken the daunting task of project management and has used a systematic process to put it in perspective.

Eric Furness
Derco Aerospace

Design for Six Sigma: The Revolutionary Process For Achieving Extraordinary Profits

Subir Chowdhury, Dearborn Trade Publishing, 30 S. Wacker Dr., Suite 2500, Chicago, IL 60606, 2002, 208 pp., $25 (book).

This book follows the Six Sigma success story up the value chain to the design and development process, where defect reduction can have greater impact. Chowdhury outlines the real power of Six Sigma--the combining of people and process to change an organization. While most organizations spend less time training design for Six Sigma (DFSS) than standard Six Sigma, he stresses DFSS involves many more quality concepts.

Chowdhury begins with a short review of his previous book, The Power of Six Sigma, to get readers up to speed, then defines roles and responsibilities of participants and moves on to his five-step process--identify, define, develop, optimize and verify. The identify and define steps focus on interacting with quality function deployment and understanding the customer value chain. In the develop step he discusses generating ideas and innovation such as the theory of inventive problem solving and failure mode effects analysis. In optimize he addresses robust design and tolerancing. In the verify step he surveys capability analysis, prototyping and pilot production phases.

This book is a summary of the DFSS process. It's only 163 pages, but it will help any reader understand the process better.

Bill Baker


Accountability Through Measurement: A Global Healthcare Imperative, Vahé Kazandjian, ASQ Quality Press, 600 N. Plankin-ton Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203, 2003, 300 pp., $36 member, $45 list (book).

The Lean Enterprise Memory Jogger II, GOAL/QPC, 2 Manor Parkway, Salem, NH 03079-2841, 2002, 166 pp., $8.95 (book).

Average Rating


Out of 0 Ratings
Rate this article

Add Comments

View comments
Comments FAQ

Featured advertisers