2019

CAREER CORNER

A Quality Library for a Desert Island

by Joe Conklin

A key skill for any quality professional is knowing where to find the answers to questions.

After more than 20 years in the quality business, I find my workday is a healthy mixture of old and new questions. The old questions concern problems, techniques and strategies I have used before but sometimes not for a long time. A well-stocked quality library saves considerable time and trouble.

What does “well-stocked” mean, particularly if your organization does not have a library of quality related books? Even if it does, what kinds of books are good to have at home for those times when the germ of an answer pops into your head after working hours?

Of the hundreds of quality related books I have seen or heard of, I have devised my own personal set of the vital few. I call it the “Quality Library for a Desert Island.”

The books on my list cover the basics well, are written with both layman and expert in mind and have shortened many of my searches for quality related answers. They are an excellent foundation for a quality library.

There are 21 titles altogether, and I’ve grouped them according to the major divisions of the ASQ certified quality engineer body of knowledge. Here they are:

Management and Leadership In Quality Engineering

  • Jack Campanella, ed., Principles of Quality Costs: Principles, Implemen- tation and Use, third edition, ASQ Quality Press, 1999.
  • W. Edwards Deming, Out of the Crisis, MIT Press, 2000.
  • Armand V. Feigenbaum, Total Quality Control, third edition revised, McGraw-Hill, 1991.
  • Frank M. Gryna, Quality Planning and Analysis: From Product Devel-opment Through Use, fourth edition, McGraw-Hill, 2001.
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology, Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award: 2004 Criteria for Performance Excellence (Business), ASQ Quality Press, 2005.
Quality Systems Development, Implementation and Verification
  • Dennis R. Arter, Quality Audits for Improved Performance, third edition, ASQ Quality Press, 2003.
  • Charles A. Mills, The Quality Audit: A Management Evaluation Tool, McGraw-Hill, 1989.
Planning, Controlling And Assuring Product And Process Quality
  • ANSI/ASQ Z1.4—2003: Sampling Procedures and Tables for Inspection by Attributes, ASQ Quality Press, 2003.
  • Measurement Systems Analysis, third edition, Automotive Indus-try Action Group, 2003.
  • Donald J. Wheeler and Richard W. Lyday, Evaluating the Measurement Process, second edition, Addison-Wesley Publishing, 1990.

Reliability and Risk Management

  • Robert A. Dovich, Reliability Sta-tistics, ASQ Quality Press, 1990.
  • Patrick D.T. O’Connor, Practical Reliability Engineering, fourth edition revised, John Wiley, 2001.

Problem Solving and Quality Improvement

  • Michael Brassard and Diane Ritter, The Memory Jogger, A Pocket Guide of Quality Control Tools for Contin-uous Improvement, Goal/QPC, 1984.
  • Michael Brassard and Diane Ritter, The Memory Jogger II, A Pocket Guide of Management and Planning Tools for Continuous Improvement and Effec-tive Planning, Goal/QPC, 1994.
  • Shigeru Mizuno, ed., Management for Quality Improvement: The Seven New QC Tools, Productivity Press, 1988.

Quantitative Methods

  • Norman R. Draper and Harry Smith, Applied Regression Analysis, third edition, John Wiley, 1998.
  • Eugene L. Grant and Richard S. Leavenworth, Statistical Quality Control, seventh edition, McGraw-Hill, 1996.
  • J.M. Juran and A. Blanton Godfrey, Juran’s Quality Control Handbook, fifth edition, McGraw-Hill, 1999.
  • Douglas C. Montgomery, Design and Analysis of Experiments, fifth edition, John Wiley, 2001.
  • Douglas C. Montgomery, Introduc-tion to Statistical Quality Control, fourth edition, John Wiley, 2001.
  • John W. Tukey, Exploratory Data Analysis, Addison-Wesley Publish-ing, 1977.

Because my quality career has been more on the statistical and engineering side, the above list is weighted slightly more in that direction. Fortunately, the references under the categories of management and leadership in quality engineering; quality systems development, implementation and verification; and quantitative methods are widely applicable to quality in general.

I encourage readers to consider their own backgrounds and needs and add to the list to create their own libraries. After all, the questions will keep on coming, and finding the answers is part of the fun—and sweat—of the quality business.


JOSEPH D. CONKLIN is a statistician with the U.S. Department of Energy, helping assess the quality of its natural gas survey operations. Conklin earned a master’s degree in statistics from Virginia Tech. An ASQ member, he holds the following ASQ certifications: quality engineer, reliability engineer, quality auditor, quality manager and software quality engineer.

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