The Principal’s Leadership Counts!

Margaret A. Byrnes with Jeanne C. Baxter, ASQ Quality Press, 2006, 220 pp., $30 member, $50 list (book).

The Principal’s Leadership Counts! shoots straight for the target of why it’s beneficial to launch Baldrige based quality schools. The book begins with Byrnes and Baxter examining the stressors and costs of low quality while providing a background to the Baldrige framework. The rest of the book exists as a how-to resource filled with checklists, information sheets, operations instructions and suggestions for process management. There is even a chapter on handling complaints from parents, students and other key stakeholders.

The book is primarily authored for principals, but it has definite appeal for other central office or building level persons assigned to leadership responsibilities. It’s important to note the book is written for traditionally structured schools. The appendixes offer high value, especially the sections offering thumbnail sketches of quality tools and resources for teacher appraisal.

Anthony Earl, former governor (1983-1987) of Wisconsin, writes in the forward, “This book presents a straightforward way for principals to learn more about Baldrige based quality, and how they can lead the necessary cultural shifts and support classroom teachers in their efforts.” Earl is correct in his assessment.

Gerald Brong
Ellensburg, WI

Safe and Sound Software

Thomas H. Faris, ASQ Quality Press, 2006, 368 pp., $30 member, $50 list (book and CD-ROM).

Safe and Sound Software: Creating an Efficient and Effective Quality System for Software Medical Device Organizations is probably the most comprehensive book available on requirements and recommendations for the development and deployment of software medical devices. It’s a useful volume for managers in regulatory affairs and quality as well as consultants and engineers in the medical device industry. The book is well-written and includes many examples and case studies making software quality issues accessible to all quality professionals.

Interesting features in each chapter delineate properties or regulations that are mandatory for approval. Separate text boxes in each chapter highlight the differences between mandatory vs. recommended procedures. Faris provides further information on which procedures are optimal for approval.

Early chapters cover areas of software quality, software design, ramifications of defects, operational requirements and safety risk management. Other chapters discuss Food and Drug Administration regulations, international requirements, ISO quality management standards, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountabil-ity Act of 1996 and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Their implications and integration into the regulations follow specific chapters related to software medical devices.

The most useful part for practitioners is included as an appendix on the enclosed CD-ROM. It lists and provides spreadsheet grids of the requirements—explicit and recommended—for software medical devices. The checklists also can be used by regulatory affairs and quality professionals.

I. Elaine Allen
Babson College
Wellesley, MA

Inside the Mind of Toyota

Satoshi Hino, Productivity Press, 2006, 327 pp., $50 (book).

It is said that Sakichi Toyoda—the founder of Toyota—told his eldest son Kiichiro to build cars and serve his country. Whether this is true, Toyota has since grown into one of the most successful companies in the world at achieving high customer satisfaction values and solid profitability. It is no wonder many people try to understand how Toyota has succeeded.

Inside the Mind of Toyota: Management Principles for Enduring Growth discusses the Toyota production system (TPS), often called lean production. TPS is certainly difficult to introduce successfully without adopting the comprehensive Toyota management system, of which TPS is only one part. At Toyota, top management exerts leadership based on Toyota paradigms, middle management develops systems in accordance with top management aims, and all employees quietly engage in shop floor improvements or kaizen.

However, the Toyota success is due to much more than TPS. The key to Toyota’s strength is what lies beneath the surface of casual scrutiny: unshakable principles, corporate culture, discipline, information management and coherent vision. Hino is well aware of the importance of Toyota’s philosophy and traces the roots of Toyota’s management both in biographical terms, looking at the history of leaders in the company, and in philosophical terms, looking at the evolution of management thinking.

Readers will learn how Toyota’s planning, quality management, cost management, finance and accounting and labor management are organized. They also will get a glimpse of Toyota in the 21st century—an insight normally invisible to all of us who do not read Japanese.

This book is an excellent complement to Jeffery Liker’s book, The Toyota Way. Although the approaches differ, the messages are similar: To understand Toyota’s success you must delve deeply into the underlying management principles and culture. This is certainly not a cookbook. It deserves serious study, application and experimentation. Learn how Toyota thinks, learn Toyota’s strengths, make them your own and then exceed them.

Bengt Klefsjö
Luleå University of Technology
Luleå , Sweden

The ISO 9000 Quality Systems Handbook

David Hoyle, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2006, 704 pp., $49.95 (book).

The fifth edition of The ISO 9000 Quality Systems Handbook should be prescribed reading for individuals responsible for developing, maintaining and auditing management systems based on this series of international standards. Hoyle provides insight into the complexities of quality management system development in clear, easy to understand language. The book is sure to enhance the abilities of novices and experts alike.

The book begins with the theory behind the eight basic principles underlying ISO 9001, then moves to how the standard is perceived by its users and ends with the roles, origins and applications of the standard. With this groundwork laid, the remainder of the text is devoted to Hoyle’s interpretation of the standard.

The handbook’s biggest value is found in subsequent chapters dedicated to each section of the standard. Hoyle breaks the standard down—in a very detailed manner—to its individual requirements. He asks three simple questions about each: What does it mean, why is it important, and how is it demonstrated? This simple question-and-answer format works very well:

  • What? Characterizes each re-quirement, making it easy to understand.
  • Why? Links each requirement back to the basic principle supporting it.
  • How? Applies each requirement to real-world applications.

There is no question that this is the thinking person’s guide to ISO 9000. This book deserves an honored place on every quality practitioner’s bookshelf but only after it has been read thoroughly at least once.

Tim Knight
JD Norman Industries
Woodridge, IL

The Small Manufacturer’s Toolkit

Steve Novak, Auerbach Publications, 2005, 440 pp., $79.95 (book).

The stated goal of The Small Manufacturer’s Toolkit is to provide enough information on various business operation tools to help readers better choose which ones to use. Thus, it is meant to help you avoid grabbing a hammer and see nothing but nails stuck in your order fulfillment process.

The book targets smaller businesses that don’t have the capacity to employ an expert in each discipline described throughout the chapters. Novak discusses the following tools:

  • Inventory management: inventory, production scheduling and warehousing.
  • Sales and planning.
  • Manufacturing: lean, Six Sigma and theory of constraints.
  • Quality tools: total quality management, statistical process control and ISO 9000.
  • Business management: project management, supply chain and e-commerce.

Novak assumes readers already have built their small businesses by focusing their skills on the products they have fostered but are then challenged to make sure all facets of their budding companies are as efficient and effective as possible. What makes this book worth the time is Novak’s addition of several decision trees displaying which operational need matches each tool.

The book’s passages are comprehensive enough to go head to head against any website’s materials. Having all of the tools described in one book makes it easier than performing several independent searches on the web.

Jeff Stevens
AT Wall Company
Warwick, RI


  • Design for Six Sigma for Green Belts and Champions, Howard S. Gitlow, David M. Levine and Edward A. Popvich, Prentice Hall, 2006, 720 pp., $79.99 (book & CD-ROM).
  • On Track to Quality, James K. Todd, Lighthouse Point Press, 2006, 138 pp., $19.95 (book).
  • The Quality Improvement Handbook, second edition, John E. Bauer, Grace L. Duffy and Russell T. Westcott with the ASQ Quality Manage-ment Division, ASQ Quality Press, 2006, 242 pp., $36 member, $60 list (book).

Average Rating


Out of 0 Ratings
Rate this article

Add Comments

View comments
Comments FAQ

Featured advertisers