What Every Employee Needs To Know About AS9100
Harold J. Steudel and Terry Mann, Steudel and Schultz, 2003, 72 pp., $6.99 (book), $250 (CD-ROM).
Any organization contemplating implementation of an AS9100 quality system should establish a plan for providing training to ensure its employees understand the requirements of the system. What Every Employee Needs To Know About AS9100: A Pocket Guide to the Basics may be a useful resource for an organization.
The pocket guide provides summaries of each of the AS9100 requirement clauses and can be used as an employee handout during training. It also explains the registration process, describing what auditors look for and providing examples of typical questions asked during a registration audit. However, in-depth explanations are not provided due to the small size of the guide.
Although the book provides useful information, it is not the kind employees would need to have readily on hand, making it unlikely the book would be carried routinely, even though it is pocket sized.
The supplemental training CD-ROM contains three narrated PowerPoint presentations that can be used in conjunction with an employee training program. The training modules address the material presented in the pocket guide. The presentations can be used by themselves or be supplemented with company specific information. In either case, they present a great deal of information regarding the background of ISO 9000 and AS9100, the AS9100 quality system requirements, the value of registration and the registration process.
Anyone considering using this pocket guide and CD-ROM should check with the publisher for current pricing information. Quantity discounts are available.
Ethics to Life
Bjørn Andersen, ASQ Quality Press, 2004, 333 pp., $32 member, $50 list (book).
If you’re an ethicist, you need this book. If you are involved in any aspect of the quality processes and quality results field, you need this book. If you are new to the field or an experienced practitioner, this is a useful resource. If you’re in an executive position, operations management, information systems, supply chain management, engineering, marketing, personnel or if you are a customer, you need Bringing Business Ethics to Life: Achieving Corporate Social Responsibility.
This is a must read and must use reference for practitioners in quality. Anderson does not preach or prescribe. He offers information for decision making and use in organizations. Ethics are viewed from the inside with references to real-world implications.
Early in the book Anderson addresses what he terms “control personnel,” or the people influencing the activities of others. These people model behavior, train others and may manage policies related to ethics. Ideas about training in ethics, not just ethical theories, are explored as the range of employee performance is considered.
Anderson uses first person writing style to help personalize the information. Organization of chapters and a detailed table of contents provide quick find resources for the reader. There are important topics explored in the quality field, and this resource provides practical information with real-world situations presented as examples. As a reference tool or even a textbook, this publication is on the recommended list.
Frank M. Gryna, ASQ Quality Press, 2004, 232 pp., $28 member, $35 list (book).
Frank Gryna, a quality professional, writes a sensitive and sympathetic book quality and HR managers will find useful. Work Overload!: Redesigning Jobs To Minimize Stress and Burnout could affect how managers at all levels think about the people they manage and the impact of their present theory on their organization. Work overload is not a simple black and white problem, and Gryna does not offer pat solutions.
The book is fundamentally about stress as a result of poor design of the work itself, which means we can redesign work to eliminate stress. Gryna takes a systems approach to his subject, drawing effectively on his years of experience. He looks at stress and its origins from several perspectives. Examples and anecdotes come from different kinds of organizations.
Although the chapters are related and build on what came before, one can read and benefit from any chapter in isolation depending on personal relevance. Chapters also include the role of upper management and the connection between work and family.
Each chapter concludes with a summary and three key points, which is helpful when going back through the book to revisit a particular point. There are several appendixes summarizing specific actions to reduce work overload. The last appendix does describe some stress reducing techniques for individuals who cannot avoid stress by other means, so there is a little self-help flavor. Try belly breathing!
Lean Supply Management
Jeffrey P. Wincel, Productivity Press, 2004, 239 pp., $40 (book).
Lean Supply Management: A Hand-book for Strategic Procurement is aimed at supply chain professionals, with a particular concern for the use of the toolbox that was developed around lean manufacturing and total quality as well as other areas. These include concepts such as kaizen, kaikaku, value analysis and engineering, hoshin, benchmarking and design for assembly and manufacture.
A single case study based around a fictitious company runs through the book and is used to illustrate the process being described. This is helpful for understanding the concepts. There are also many diagrams and charts throughout the book illustrating tools and principles.
The book is divided into four main sections. The first section discusses the organizational foundation required for lean management. The second section is intended for use in times of change, while the third section covers what should be done during more stable times. The final section discusses how traditional supply chain management and lean management can be made to work in harmony.
Being a relatively short book, it does not go into much detail and is therefore more suited to building an overall framework for lean supply chain management than for guiding the detail of the implementation.
Overall, the book provides a good overview of Wincel's ideas about using lean methods in supply chains. It is suited for shaping ideas of supply chain managers. However, if the reader has limited understanding of lean or other quality methods, he or she would be advised to seek further support in this area.
Syque Consulting and Publishing
Crowthore, Berkshire, England
Robin F. Goldsmith, Artech House, 2004,
241 pp., $85 (book).
Clients have a vague idea of what they want a software system to do but not enough of one to provide the detailed requirements necessary to build the system. Discovering Real Business Requirements for Software Project Success focuses on determining the client’s business requirements. Therefore, this book is not a theoretical one but a practical one. Goldsmith makes this clear from the beginning; he also does not debate the works or ideas of others.
This book deals with practical issues of discovering, determining and defining the business requirements of the customer so software can be designed to meet those requirements. The author presents several tools for this process. The first is the Problem Pyramid, a six-block tool that helps identify the real problem and then the real requirements for solving that problem. The six blocks are presented in the order they should be completed.
The other tool consists of 21 ways to test that the requirements have been identified appropriately. The focus of these tests is to find and fix the problems when they are easiest and cheapest to fix.
Overall, this book is an excellent reference for a software engineer. While it is not a theoretical text, it would certainly be valuable in any number of software engineering and design classes.
John D. Richards
Creating Level Pull
Art Smally, Lean Enterprise Institute, 2004, 114 pp., $50 (book).
Creating Level Pull: A Lean Produc-tion System Improvement Guide for Production Control, Operation, and Engineering Professionals is one of the newest in a series of workbooks on lean manufacturing from the Lean Enterprise Institute. Smally goes beyond the traditional lean value stream of individual product types or families and targets how production control works for all products within the plant.
Smally calls this moving to system kaizen because all products within a facility are brought under a lean production control system. He also states the goal is to have a strong pull system so each operation gets the exact parts or material needed from the previous operation; in turn, demand from the customer is leveled, creating a smooth flow of activities throughout the plant.
To illustrate the concepts, Smally uses a fictitious company called Apogee Mirror which manufactures exterior mirrors for the automotive industry. The processes are clearly explained with diagrams using lean symbols that help the reader follow the methodology and understand process flow. As the concepts are presented, diagrams change to show the effects of applying the pull system. The workbook has tabbed sections, each covering a different concept.
The workbook is well written and illustrated like all of the previous ones in the series. It provides a hands-on approach to learning about the more advanced concept of lean called level pull. It would make an excellent training manual or reference and is also a valuable tool to anyone involved with implementing lean manufacturing.
Astronautics Corp. of America
George Shinkle, Reb Gooding and Mike Smith, Productivity Press, 2004, 272 pp., $35 (book).
Lean management, as defined in Transforming Strategy Into Success: How To Implement a Lean Manage-ment System means “utilizing people, material and assets to achieve the optimum value of the total business system to generate maximum customer value and maximum business value in the minimum time and at the minimum cost.” In laying out measures that lead to a lean management system, Shinkle, Gooding and Smith focus on established strategy and processes striving to improve the system by elimination of waste, whether it is waste of resources, time or lack of customer satisfaction.
Once the content of the lean management approach is presented, as in all systems, management must commit to a six to 24 month process of improvement through the concepts of lean management. The process can begin with identification of key people, evolving to include key teams and eventually bringing everyone. It is necessary to train each group in key skills, tools and approaches: identifying metrics, focusing on elimination of waste, and increasing flow and responsiveness. Management should recognize and reward those achieving goals of lean management.
This book describes the elements of yet another approach to meeting the needs of customers. Like every system, it requires overcoming resistance to change and will only work with desire by management to commit. Some organizations will find this a concrete and understandable way to improve, particularly in customer satisfaction and profitability. For them it is a valuable handbook.
William F. Foster
Tools for Team Leadership: Delivering the X-Factor in Team Excellence, Gregory Huszczo, Davies-Black Publishing, 2004, 320 pp., $28.95 (book).
Powerhouse Partners: A Blue-print for Building Organizational Culture for Breakaway Results, Stephen Dent and James Krefft, Davies-Black Publishing, 2004, 248 pp., $28.95 (book).
The Complete Lean Enterprise: Value Stream Mapping for Administrative and Office Processes, Beau Keyte and Drew Locher, Productivity Press, 2004, 136 pp., $45 (book).
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