The Metrology Handbook

ASQ Measurement Quality Division, edited by Jay L. Bucher, ASQ Quality Press, 2004, 544 pp., $75 member, $95 list (book and CD-ROM).

Metrology is the science of measurement. Many of the quality standards and all quality systems have their basis in metrology. As scientific measurement continues to improve and the tools in laboratories, shop floors, hardware and software change, understanding calibration methods and standards is a necessity for engineers and scientists. The Metrology Handbook contains all the information needed to understand measurement systems and parameters.

Divided into seven sections and five appendixes, this volume begins with a chapter on the history and philosophy of metrology and calibration. This is a fascinating chapter that includes major leaps in metrology as well as a detailed chronology. The rest of the book is detailed and technical, providing derivations and background combined with examples and illustrations.

The first half of the book contains calibration and quality system information, including general metrology concepts and specifications for particular areas of calibration and scientific instrumentation. The second half covers necessary statistical concepts, uncertainty and variability, and important parameters that are used in metrology. The final section of the book discusses management issues (both instrument and people management), budget issues and dealing with vendors. In addition to the book, a CD-ROM includes useful spreadsheets with both statistical and other measurement functions and distributions.

Overall, this is a very useful and incredibly comprehensive volume. It is a little daunting given its size but should become part of any scientist’s or manager’s reference library. It is well written and will be used often.

Elaine Allen
Babson College
Wellesley, MA

Powerhouse Partners

Stephen M. Dent and James H. Krefft, Davies-Black Publishing, 2004, 248 pp., $20.95 (book).

In today’s quickly changing business environment, organizations must have the ability to react quickly to customer needs, alliances and technologies. Powerhouse Partners: A Blueprint for Building Organizational Culture for Breakaway Results develops a business model based on smart partnering, which enables communication, agility, creativity and resiliency and thus helps an organization survive the market shifts and financial swings.

Dent and Krefft first explore links between culture and business results and the differences between culture by evolution and culture by design. Culture by design—whereby leaders formulate the culture, rigorously communicate it and live by its tenets—is the desired state. The concept of a business model culture based on partnering is developed, and its advantages are contrasted with the traditional command and control model. The partnering culture attributes are then introduced. Finally, Dent and Krefft develop the powerhouse partners model fully, covering strategies, implementation, leadership, key competencies, recruitment and development of partnering employees.

I found this book to be well written and easy to read. The blueprint style develops the subject matter completely and makes references to earlier points easy to understand. Excellent examples, and in some cases actual forms, are provided to emphasize key points.

This book would be best used by executive management in developing a partnering organization; however, any professional looking to improve his or her organization will find this a useful reference in the toolbox.

Bryan Ruggles
Sanden International (USA)
Allen, TX

Next Generation Business Handbook

Edited by Subir Chowdhury, John Wiley & Sons, 2004, 1,344 pp., $95 (book).

The Next Generation Business Handbook: New Strategies From Tomorrow’s Thought Leaders is written by writers from diverse backgrounds, age groups and cultures, brought together by editor Chowdhury in his global search to find the next generation of business thinkers. Based on his research, the accomplishments of the writers and peer recommendations, Chowdhury assembled writers who all bring fresh thinking to the six critical areas of the book.

Each topic is introduced by an eminent authority in the area. The handbook is designed to inspire those who are focused more on people than on the individual, celebrate diversity, constantly search for the dream and want to reshape the globe of tomorrow.

Anyone looking to invest in strategic business development will find in this an important collection of many exciting new ideas, supported by extensive and dynamic case examples. Some of the new areas explored include career imprinting, operating in the virtual workplace, quality strategy, value creation in the networked economy, globalization and management attention, building customer interface, coping with critical criticism, the nature of entrepreneurship, new venture finance, what really matters in HR management, digital networked businesses and seamless IT alignment.

This super, enormous work is a valuable tool for managers, consultants and researchers at all levels of business, as well as students in business schools, and is highly recommended for reserve lists in all colleges of business and engineering.

Dale Farris
Groves, TX

 An Introduction to Radio Frequency Engineering

Christopher Coleman, Cambridge Univer-sity Press, 2004, 332 pp., $75 (book).

An Introduction to Radio Frequency Engineering provides the fundamentals of enabling technology on which modern wireless communication based; radio frequency (RF) engineering. With a brief discussion of radio waves in the introductory chapter, the book goes straight to the issues and application of the RF engineering, most noticeably its applications in cellular radio and radar systems.

Subsequent chapters provide detailed discussions of key components of RF engineering, including frequency selective circuits and matching, amplifiers, modulators and demodulators, oscillators, transmission lines, power amplifiers, filters and antennas.

Physics theory, which provides a concise discussion of electromagnetic waves, is covered later in chapter nine. More refined topics such as the propagations and digital techniques in radio are also disscussed. Practical application and design examples are provided, along with exercises at the end of each chapter.

Although the title includes the word “introduction,” this book is by no means the best book for nonphysics or nonelectrical engineering professionals who need to understand RF engineering. It requires a substantial understanding of basic electrical engineering and physics to benefit from the straightforward approach of this book.

The intended audiences of this book are upper level undergraduates of electrical engineering and graduate level students. It may also be well suited for researchers and professionals who need to know the nuts and bolts of RF engineering.

Shin Ta Liu
Lynx Systems
San Diego, WI

Decision Process Quality Management

William D. Mawby, ASQ Quality Press, 2005, 144 pp., $20 member, $25 list (book).

Decision Process Quality Management asserts decisions should be treated as a process and quality tools can be applied in the improvement of the decision process itself. From this perspective alone, the book is intriguing and inspiring.

Mawby takes the reader on a fictitious journey with his character, John, who develops a rationale explaining why improving decision processes is the work of quality management. John’s colleague, Charlotte (also fictitious), triggers John’s awareness of the ramifications of decision making regarding employee suggestions for improvement. John’s thinking leads to establishing indicators of decision process quality, using measurement systems analysis for decision processes and applying uncertainty analysis.

The next stop on John’s trip is surfacing the critical factors affecting decision process quality, with an emphasis on customer relationships and quality function deployment techniques. Determining the process capability of the decision process follows. John then delves into lean manufacturing technology and its application to the decision processes. He en-hances the journey with forays into failure mode effects analysis, control charts, design of experiments and algorithmic statistical process control.

John concludes with thoughts on implementing a decision process quality management program. The key is overcoming managers’ resistance to considering John’s fact- based statistical analysis approach.

The steps presented and the techniques addressed appear logical. However, these techniques are embedded in a narrative style of presentation. In places, the narrative tends to interfere with rather than amplify the points being made.

This book is ideal for practitioners who relish exposure to unique applications of proven quality techniques and tools. However, you’ll likely experience many roadblocks in attempting to influence members of upper management to change their ways. And, just before you present your proposed improvement of their decision processes, you may wish to update your résumé.

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


  • The Lean Office: Collected Practices and Cases, Productivity Press, 2005, 121 pp., $15 (book).
  • Accelerated Product Development, Clifford Fiore, Productivity Press, 2005, 210 pp., $45 (book).
  • The Certified Six Sigma Black Belt Handbook, Donald W. Benbow and T.M. Kubiak, ASQ Quality Press, 2005, 353 pp., $75 member, $90 list (book and CD-ROM).

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