The Best Practices Enterprise

James M. Kerr, J. Ross Publishing, 2006, 240 pp., $44.95 (book).

The Best Practices Enterprise: A Guide to Achieving Sustainable World-Class Performance can serve as a primer for executives. Kerr outlines seven essential best practices, along with 15 principles, which he identifies as successful organizational performance. The book addresses what a company should do to transform itself into a best practices enterprise.

The primary focus of this book is on upper management and business owners searching for relevance and a competitive edge in the 21st century. Other chapters are more practical but still relate to strategic decision makers.

Chapter nine covers the most valued principle, continuous employee improvement. It’s about developing human capital in an organization, a principle sorely overlooked in most organizations. An appendix at the end of each chapter makes the book unique and more accessible to readers.

Kerr shortchanges business process redesign in the book. He discusses continuous improvement approaches but does not mention lean and Six Sigma’s impact on the entire enterprise change process. None of the seven best practices is earth shattering but weaving them into a corporate strategy is the secret silver bullet.

Bill Baker
Speed to Excellence
Santa Fe, NM

The Quality Improvement Handbook

John E. Bauer, Grace L. Duffy and Russell T. Westcott, editors and ASQ Quality Manage-ment Division, ASQ Quality Press, 2006,
217 pp., $36 member, $60 list (book and CD-ROM).

The second edition of The Quality Improvement Handbook is an invaluable resource for anyone preparing to take the ASQ Certified Quality Improvement Associate (CQIA) exam and other ASQ certification exams. It is also a useful book for individuals seeking an introduction to quality improvement tools.

The organization and scope of the handbook facilitate its use as a study guide. The sequence of the information mirrors the organization of the CQIA body of knowledge (BoK). Applicable elements of the BoK are presented at the beginning of each section along with a description of the level of required cognition: remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate or create. This alerts the reader to the required level of understanding.

A sample CQIA test is provided for readers to evaluate their understanding.

This sample test is provided on a supplementary CD-ROM so there is no problem taking the book to the ASQ exam. The CD-ROM also has a cross reference, which traces the sample test questions back to the CQIA BoK. This assists the reader in identifying those portions of the BoK that require further study.

The book is easy to read and addresses each of the topics at an overview level, which is ideal for readers who are seeking to refresh their understanding. Readers who desire more in-depth coverage of a particular topic can refer to the list of additional resources organized by subject area, which is provided as an appendix.

The level of detail provided is appropriate for an introductory text or study guide. This handbook would be an excellent resource for an entry level quality professional.

Rich Anderson
Tucson, AZ

Improving Flow

Productivity Press Development Team, Productivity Press, 2006, 143 pp., $15 (book).

Improving Flow: Collected Practices and Cases is a compilation of short articles on lean manufacturing published in the “Lean Manufacturing Advisor Newsletter.” Each article focuses on an application of a lean manufacturing tool in production flow and how it benefited the operation.

Topics are grouped into the logical progression of setting up cells, improving flow, smoothing production and shortening changeovers. Illustrations, tables and schematics contribute positively to each article. The points made are easily understood, even by a novice to lean manufacturing techniques. Each piece contributes to the important takeaway value at the end. The authors have included an excellent index, making searching for specifics effortless.

The main shortcomings of the book are a slightly misleading title that does not mention lean manufacturing; the lack of a glossary; and an assumption that the reader is familiar with the various acronyms and techniques. This should not deter the reader however, as there is a wealth of information within this book. Also, the majority of the articles focus on manufacturing issues. There is little about adapting lean techniques to service providers. Some careful consideration of the material could negate this omission.

Anyone looking for a quick start into improving their lean manufacturing efforts or is looking for some simple, quick jumping-off points to improvement will benefit from this book.

Marc A. Feldman
Solvay Chemicals Inc.

5S for the Office

Thomas A. Fabrizio and Don Tapping, Productivity Press, 2006, 188 pp., $45 (book & CD-ROM).

5S for the Office: Organizing the Workplace to Eliminate Waste is an excellent reference for quality and business professionals looking for a concise and user friendly guide to implementing lean practices in a nonmanufacturing setting. The book not only covers the definitions of 5S (sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain), but also includes explanations of the seven deadly wastes found in most offices.

Each step includes the process and task required, who is responsible for task completion, the time frame and worksheets. Brief, generic examples within each chapter give some general guidance. The authors encourage readers to use this reference as a guide only, rather than a set of rules. The book assumes no prior experience with 5S and could easily be used by all types of companies and department personnel.

An added bonus includes a CD-ROM of blank interactive versions of some worksheets used in the book. They can be easily customized and reused.

The authors do make some bold statements without substantiating them. Nonetheless, most of the book is an easy-to-follow roadmap for implementing 5S. This book offers a good, all-purpose approach to understanding 5S principles and would be helpful for both seasoned quality and business professionals responsible for implementing the methodology.

Linda Cubalchini-Travis
Simi Valley, CA

Results Without Authority

Tom Kendrick, Amacom, 2006, 262 pp., $19.95 (book)

Results Without Authority: Con-trolling a Project When the Team Doesn’t Report to You is oriented toward helping project leaders become more effective. It is also a guide for managers and others trying to achieve success in the business world.

At first reading, some of the advice offered appears highly manipulative—perhaps even distasteful to some readers. However, on closer scrutiny the suggestions are realistic, positive and well intended. For example, the suggestions on how a project leader can gain power and use it in a positive way are for the good of the organization and the people affected.

Extensive checklists of potential questions to ask and steps to follow will guide not only the person with granted authority but also anyone attempting to be successful in positively influencing people who do not officially report to him or her.

Much of the emphasis is on the early stages of the project life cycle—initiating, selling and planning the project. The focus is on control through: the process, influence used, the project metrics, project initiation, project planning, project execution, tracking and monitoring, and project closure.

This book is a much needed companion to those focusing on the mechanics and procedures of project planning and management. It integrates the purpose, process and tools of each project stage with the control and people issues confronting a project manager.

Without specifically using the term “pitfalls,” Kendrick explores the myriad ways a project might falter or fail—and what to do about them. One of the primary benefits of the book is the insight to the potential issues, risks and constraints that can hobble a project manager’s effectiveness and the project’s outcomes.

Written in down-to-earth language, the book is easy to read, with realistic examples and sound advice. It is a book for quality and project professionals, management and anybody trying to get work done with and through others. Buy it, read it, absorb and apply the messages, and refer to this book often.

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


  • Fundamentals of Project Management, third edition, James P. Lewis, Amacom, 2007, 164 pp., $14.95 (book).
  • Lean Six Sigma: A Practitioner’s Guide, Ian D. Wedgemwood, Prentice Hall, 2007, 433 pp., $59.99 (book).
  • Transformation to Performance Excellence: Baldrige Education Leaders Speak Out, edited by Sandra Cokeley, Margaret A. Byrnes, Geri Markley and Suzanne Keely, ASQ Quality Press, 2007, 168 pp., $22 member, $36 list (book and CD-ROM).

Average Rating


Out of 0 Ratings
Rate this article

Add Comments

View comments
Comments FAQ

Featured advertisers