Statistics for Research
Shirley Dowdy, Stanley Wearden and Daniel Chilko, John Wiley and Sons, 640 pp., $94.95 (book).
This is the third edition of a textbook for use in an advanced undergraduate or introductory graduate statistics course. However, it could be equally useful for a statistical researcher because of its coverage. While it begins with a basic discussion of the scientific method and covers introductory probability and statistics and univariate and bivariate tests, its breadth is wide, and it also includes multivariate techniques in the last chapters. Upgrades from the last edition are the inclusion of SAS and JMP software scripts for many of the analyses presented.
The best parts of this book are the examples, including ones that have been worked out and problems illustrating additional ideas. The clarity of presentation is also important to both students and researchers. For those in quality control (QC) applications, the extensive discussion of design components in analysis of variance and analysis of covariance is excellent, with many types of experimental designs presented. On the other hand, the book does not present specific techniques for statistical process control or analysis of time series data, and this may limit its usefulness in the quality assurance (QA)/QC areas.
It is hard not to recommend this book as part of a statistician’s library for its readability. It provides a great review and would help any statistician explain techniques and methods to nonstatisticians using the examples provided. However, it is a general statistics book and not specific enough for QA/QC statisticians for use in their daily research and applications.
I. Elaine Allen
ISO 9001:2000: A New Paradigm for Healthcare
Bryce E. Carson Sr., ASQ Quality Press, 2004, 208 pp., $32 member, $40 list (book and CD-ROM).
Carson provides eight keys to creating a
sustainable quality management system, an introduction to the ISO
9000 family of standards and an overview of ISO 9001
clauses. He focuses on how these standards can be of value in
today’s embattled U.S. healthcare delivery system. Faced
with unparalleled challenges, including Medicare cutbacks, rising
malpractice insurance costs, ever-
changing regulations, overworked staff, clinical staffing shortages and accreditation requirements that constantly change, healthcare in America is in need of a major overhaul in its approach to quality.
Carson introduces and explains the eight quality management principles that form the basis of the ISO 9001, all the while striving to apply these general principles to the healthcare arena. He also provides an ISO 9001 self-assessment tool, a sample quality systems manual, quality procedures, sample flowcharts and process maps. He duplicates these tools on the accompanying CD ROM (in PDF).
While the material certainly succeeds in summarizing and explaining ISO 9001—and the author’s intent to assist healthcare leadership in better understanding the value of a commitment to ISO 9001 is admirable—there is no explanation of how to actually implement these quality standards in a healthcare institution. Carson also suggests that healthcare providers select a change agent or consultant who is ISO 9001 certified to assist with such an implementation.
This title is recommended for healthcare managers capable of transcending the limited boundaries of the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations accreditation and genuinely desiring to be the best providers they can.
Nan: A Six Sigma Mystery
Robert Barry, ASQ Quality Press, 2003,
288 pp., $20 member, $25 list (book).
In Nan: A Six Sigma Mystery Barry uses a “novel” approach to introduce aspects of Six Sigma to the uninitiated reader.
While I was very excited with the approach, I was somewhat disappointed with the content. The book was very easy to read but was also very light in its Six Sigma coverage. At times, the pace of the story was painfully slow and conversations between characters felt forced and contrived.
Still, the author managed to cover several aspects of team and project management. The engaged reader will find references to meeting management, networking, fostering buy-in, utilizing subject matter experts, brainstorming, process familiarization, creative methods for delivering Six Sigma concepts, the role of training and fact based decision making.
As the synopsis points out, this book focuses on application in the healthcare industry and is not intended to teach concepts. The more technical one’s background and the more knowledgeable one is regarding Six Sigma, the less appeal and overall benefit this book may have. However, it is a different and creative approach to a technical subject and perhaps ideal for those just learning Six Sigma.
Mechanical Reliability Improvement
R. E. Little and D.M. Kosikowski, Marcel Dekker/Baker and Taylor, 2003, 672 pp., $185 (book).
Mechanical Reliability Improvement: Probability and Statistics for Experi-mental Testing is a bottom up attempt to treat mechanical reliability problems adequately and comprehensively. More than 130 acronyms are defined by Little and Kosikowski, and more than 120 programs are listed at the beginning of the book. Statistical techniques are presented sequentially, and finally, the last chapter presents problems that can be addressed by these techniques.
In spite of the extensive coverage of techniques that are relevant to mechanical reliability, several fundamental results in stress strength models published in the last decade (for example, in Technometrics) are not mentioned. Other techniques used in this area, such as bootstrapping and multivariate analysis, are also ignored.
Overall, the book is not user friendly, and practitioners will easily get lost. However, researchers in mechanical reliability will find the book an incredible source of ideas and solutions. For such individuals the book is highly recommended.
The drawbacks in navigation mentioned above could be easily overcome in a Web based version of the book with appropriate pointers and links. Hopefully, such a version will be made available in the future.
The Project Management Tool Kit
Tom Kendrick, Amacom, 2004, 221 pp., $19.95 (book).
Kendrick, using his 30 years of experience, created a compilation of tools beneficial for project managers with The Project Management Tool Kit: 100 Tips and Techniques for Getting the Job Done Right. For the novice, it is a resource that can briefly identify process steps and serve as a roadmap for getting a job done correctly. It identifies project management skills needed for personal development. Since it is not very detailed, readers should complement this book with other, more detailed project management materials.
The book is also valuable for the experienced project manager because of its organization and the checklists that serve to ensure all essentials of project management are being addressed. This book is a great, quick, easy-to-get-to, no-nonsense refresher. It is organized to let the reader access specific key processes indexed to practices, and some are correlated to the Project Management Institute’s Book of Knowledge Guide 2000, where applicable. The alphabetical listing of tools, techniques and tips assists the user in finding specific material quickly.
This resource is useful to executives, project leaders, project sponsors and all functional managers. Project team members can benefit from this tool kit, too.
John J. Lanczycki
Richard L. MacInnes and Stephen L. Pearce, Productivity Press, 2003, 313 pp., $50 (book).
MacInnes and Pearce provide compelling information ideas in Strategic MRO: A Roadmap for Transforming Assets Into Competitive Advantage that students of supply chain, maintenance and operation management need to learn to be competitive in the future.
The authors conclude obtaining a competitive advantage should be the center of focus for effectively managing maintenance, repair and operating (MRO), and this focus should be addressed at the strategic level of learning. To create the direction and goals for optimal assets management, the authors provide five future perfect states as the guiding principles.
The five steps used to identify and properly manage the assets for competitive advantage are: define the value stream, connect the assets to the value stream, connect the demand to the asset, connect supply to demand and compress demand supply connection (DSC).
Some finer points in the book include a manager’s need to learn how to classify assets and demand criticality to manage MRO effectively. Plenty of business case studies are provided, which are connected to the practices of DSC. The book also provides a chapter on the information technology connection with steps to properly deploy it.
This book is strongly recommended for providing a new frontier for the practitioners and students of supply chain and MRO management to investigate and master for their competitive advantage.
Shin Ta Liu
Jack B. ReVelle, ASQ Quality Press, 2004, 245 pp., $24 member, $30 list (book).
What I thought was just another introduction to quality tools is actually a book covering 130 quality techniques and tools in a succinct but substantive way. If you feel really knowledgeable about the myriad quality tools you know to be available, you may be in for some surprises with Quality Essentials: A Reference Guide From A to Z.
I would call this book a concise encyclopedia of essential quality tools. The short yet informative narratives are highlighted with well-chosen diagrams and charts. The explanations serve both as a refresher for tools known but not frequently used and an enticement to probe deeper into the use of tools and techniques previously unknown.
ReVelle has made excellent choices in selecting the techniques and tools that are essential and avoiding those that could have been excessive. Personally, I would have liked references telling where to find more about the topics presented. Of course, that would have substantially increased the size of the book and undermined its values of compactness and simplicity. For the majority of users, I suspect the book is just right as is.
Quality Essentials is probably one of the few books you’ll want to take to an examination as ready-reference material. It’s an inexpensive, well-organized, highly practical addition to any quality professional’s toolbox.
Russ Westcott R.T. Westcott
Old Saybrook, CT
Get It, Set It, Move It, Prove It: 60 Ways To Get Real Results in Your Organizations, Mark Graham Brown, Productivity Press, 2004, $19.95 (book).
The Lean Six Sigma Pocket Textbook, Michael George, David Rowlands, Mark Price and John Maxey, McGraw-Hill, 2004, $14.95 (book).
Measurement Matters: How Effective Assessment Drives Business and Safety Perfor-mance, Brooks Carder and Patrick Ragan, ASQ Quality Press, 2004, $40 (book).
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