Statistics for Experimenters

George E.P. Box, J. Stuart Hunter and William G. Hunter, Wiley-Interscience, 2005, 633 pp., $99.95 (book).

Every statistician should have a copy of Statistics for Experimenters: Design, Innovation and Discovery in his or her library. The second edition of this classic text is as good as its earlier counterpart from 1978, but it has been completely rewritten, rearranged and revised.

Perhaps the most important addition to this edition is the inclusion of computer analyses and reference to the use of the statistical language R for all the computations. Other important new topics include graphical analysis of variance, simplification by transformation, introduction to process control, forecasting and time series, and Bayesian approaches to model selection and sequential experimentation.

As in the earlier edition, following an introduction to experimental design, the text begins with the basics of probability and statistics, moving to examination of two entities and significance tests and then on to more sophisticated factorial designs and response surface analysis. The last three chapters include new material on robust methods, forecasting and time series, and evolutionary process operations. The inclusion of these topics enhances the use of this book because many of the methods now used in process control integrate forecasting techniques.

More mathematical derivations and further applications are added to the book in the appendixes included after many chapters. For example, following the chapter on additional fractional designs, is one appendix giving the technical details of the Bayesian model discrimination. Another appendix describes partial analysis of Bayesian designs, and a third shows orthogonal designs.

Whether for reference, teaching or practical applications, this is a valuable volume for statisticians.

I. Elaine Allen
Babson College
Wellesley, MA

TS 16949: Insights From A Third-Party Auditor

Karen Welch, ASQ Quality Press, 2005, 248 pp., member $28, list $35 (book and CD-ROM).

I initially hoped to learn how Welch addresses the process approach in auditing through TS 16949: Insights From a Third-Party Auditor With a Process Approach Audit Checklist. Unfortunately, the book came as a major disappointment.

The introduction states: “Because there are many other references readily available that already thoroughly cover the subject, chapter one is meant to briefly summarize the method rather than repeat information available elsewhere.” This is bothersome since there are no references listed so I could prepare myself with key concepts before reading this book. A brief summary did not even provide what constitutes a process-based auditing approach. It may be obvious and trivial for the experienced auditor; however, I believe the author is obliged to provide a formal exposition of process based auditing.

The first three chapters of the book include a checklist for ISO/TS 16949:2002 that could be used to conduct a process based audit, an overview of the process approach of auditing and a list of common errors found during third-party ISO/TS 16949:2000 audits.

The rest of the book presents a running list of common errors found during the process and finally a list of questions for the auditors to ask. The checklist is the main substance of the book. However, after 161 pages, the lists of questions are repetitive and tedious. Welch also presents the questions without a guideline of expected answers or motives behind each question.

I do not recommend this book for an auditor, whether novice or experienced.

Shin Ta Liu
San Diego, CA

Andy & Me

Pascal Dennis, Productivity Press, 2005, 184 pp., $19.95 (book).

Adventures, romance, tribulations, a search for truth, fear and yes, a happy ending. Andy & Me: Crisis and Transformation on the Lean Journey takes the reader on a fictional journey with a failing U.S. automobile manufacturer. Readers share the journey with the story’s hero, Tom Pappas, as he takes action to turn around leadership, management and operations at a New Jersey motor manufacturing plant. This plant is one of the troubled operations within Taylor Motors. The reader becomes involved in the search for strategies to save the company, jobs, a community and everything else considered important within the plant and to Taylor Motors.

The story opens with the troubling news of plant closings within Taylor Motors. Pappas is 37 years old, freshly divorced and an engineer and manager at the failing auto plant. He already knew everything wasn’t OK. He has seen failures, confusion and even trash on the floor all around the plant. Those failures have been tolerated as just a part of doing business. But suddenly, doing business the old way isn’t good enough. Market competition had taken its toll, and Taylor Motors is suffering.

Pappas works with an experienced senior citizen from Japan, Mr. Saito, as the story evolves. Saito offers years of learning and experience, including experiences at the time Japan became a lean, high quality and successful center for manufacturing. Saito shares strategies taken to Japan by Americans, strategies possibly forgotten in the United States. He also shares new strategies for delivering lean and productive operations.

This book is a great read, a fast read and an ideal recreational read. It is enjoyable even as lessons for the lean journey are learned. The book might also be useful as a case study in an action based workshop or class in which real situations—as opposed to theory—are considered.

The book focuses on the Toyota production system and principles of lean operations. Insights from the story have use in manufacturing as well as other areas in which quality as process and quality as result are confirmed priorities.

Gerald Brong
Ellensburg, WA


  •  The Six Sigma Performance Handbook: A Statistical Guide To Optimizing Results, Praveen Gupta, McGraw-Hill, 2005, 512 pp., $89.95 (book).
  •  Lean Enterprise Systems: Using IT for Continuous Improvement, Steve Bell, Wiley-Interscience, 2006,
    433 pp., $79.95 (book).
  •  Actionable Performance Measurement: A Key to Success, Marvin Howell, ASQ Quality Press, 2006, 266 pp., $28 member, $35 list (book and CD-ROM).
  •  The Management System Auditor’s Handbook, Joe Kausek, ASQ Quality Press, 2006, 432 pp., $56 member, $70 list (book and CD-ROM).

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