Introduction to Statistical Engineering

S.J. Morrison, BookForce UK, Ltd., 2006, 209 pp., $40.96 (book).

Introduction to Statistical Engineering is a statistical textbook covering all the concepts of basic statistics but using applications from engineering as its applied framework. Beyond the examples given, Morrison grounds the discussion of statistical and probability concepts within engineering very well.

The book is aimed at engineers, not statisticians; therefore, topics are covered without the need to know calculus. Early chapters’ topics include basic statistics and important statistical distributions, quality control in terms of cumulative sum and control charts, and simple linear regression and analysis of variance.

In addition, there are chapters on design of experiments and research and development that focus on the types of studies important in engineering. Finally, the author covers some topics in quality management. The conclusion and appendixes provide references and guidelines for further—more advanced—study.

The book is an easy read—even for the nonhands-on engineer—and it is clear that the examples were chosen carefully to illustrate both statistical ideas and engineering applicability. For engineers or other quality experts who are not statisticians, this book would make a good reference text. The only minor flaw is that the type quality of the book is variable. Many of the charts and figures are quite roughly drawn but other aspects such as tables and equations are easy to read. A new edition—should there be one—would benefit from upgraded charts and figures.

I. Elaine Allen
Babson College
Wellesley, MA

Applying the Science Of Six Sigma to the Art of Sales and Marketing

Michael J. Pestorius, ASQ Quality Press, 136 pp., $28.35 member, $47.25 list (book).

Any book combining statistics and sales is sure to scare all but the most enlightened sales and marketing person. Crossing the great divide between the left and right brain is simply a journey many in that role are not willing to take. However, with Applying the Science of Six Sigma to the Art of Sales and Marketing as their guidebook, all but the most frightened will be just fine.

Written in a style that does not talk down to readers, Pestorius dedicates a few pages to the origins and myths surrounding Six Sigma. He then shows the reader how to apply the define, measure, analyze, improve and control concept to sales and marketing challenges. For example, the chapter on sales territory planning provides a way for sales managers to develop customer segmentation routines based on statistical analysis.

In another chapter, Pestorius applies the predictive nature of Six Sigma to the sales representative hiring process. The book offers different methods to make sound, fact-based sales and marketing decisions.

The application of statistics to the sales process is not new. Many powerful tools, including regression analysis, have been used extensively to develop successful market segmentation schemes. What Pestorius has added to the conversation is a sound explanation of how a process driven approach like Six Sigma can improve the sales performance of organizations large and small.

Tim Knight
Evergreen Park, IL

The Magic of Self-Directed Work Teams

Paul C. Palmes, ASQ Quality Press, 2006, 128 pp., $28.35 member, $47.25 list (book).

The Magic of Self-Directed Work Teams: A Case Study in Courage and Culture Change is a detailed case study charting change and development at a real company—Northern Pipe Products—as it introduced self-directed work teams. This interesting, insider narrative provides information on financial, operating and other indicators in a five-year chronological examination of the successful introduction, implementation of new management practices and how they were sustained. The book reads like a novel in that the reader feels as if he or she are taking the journey along with the author. The story is laid out in three stages: the old culture, out of the darkness and a new commitment.

The context of the story is very detailed. The problems that Northern Pipe Products encountered seem overwhelming, but Palmes leads the readers through their decisions when addressing every issue. This involves fascinating insights from all levels of the organization. The tools and techniques used are presented and then followed by what worked and what did not. Finally, the return on investment and the cost of quality is examined.

The book clearly shows the lessons learned at Northern Pipe Products are transferable to any organization in any industry. This is an inspirational and excellent case study showing how, specifically, self-directed work teams should be employed. But also on a higher level, it shows how quality management can be adopted to make a significant impact.

Denis Leonard,
Veridian Homes
Madison, WI

Accelerated Quality And Reliability Solutions

Lev M. Klyatis and Eugene L. Klyatis, Elsevier Science, 2006, 544 pp., $160 (book).

Are you frustrated that your reliability testing efforts don’t seem to effectively uncover product weaknesses prior to release? Is a lack of test equipment or methods to simulate field conditions a problem in your validation process? Accelerated Quality and Reliability Solutions provides the tools to address these questions and more.

This book covers various methods of validation testing and reveals through numerous examples the weaknesses in many current test programs. Primary to the authors’ experiences is the fact that most testing does not account for environmental conditions seen in the field, especially the interactive effects of various factors. Thus, most validation testing done today is ineffective in revealing design weaknesses.

The authors spend a great deal of time detailing how to develop models for environmental conditions. Some development of mathematical models for interactive effects is provided, along with discussion and examples.

I found the book to be a difficult read. There are many sentence fragments and outright grammatical errors. There is too much repetition and the text does not seem to follow a logical progression.

Reliability professionals may find this book an interesting read and may find some valuable insight with respect to modeling for environmental testing factors. Quality professionals not already familiar with reliability and validation testing would not find this book to be a valuable addition to their quality tool chest.

Bryan Ruggles
Boeing Commercial Aircraft
Everett, WA

The Management System Auditor’s Handbook

Joe Kausek, ASQ Quality Press, 2006, 432 pp., $59.85 member, $99.75 list (book and CD-ROM).

In the past I have read many auditing books that have explained and re-explained how to plan an audit, auditor training, the audit process and checklists.

Although The Management System Auditor’s Handbook provides some of the same rhetoric, Kausek has added some flair in places that were frequently dry and boring. For example, he states that the No. 1 rule of an audit is to “feed the auditor.” Now that’s a classic.

Unlike other auditing books, the author gets more in depth on subjects like interviewing basics, the funnel approach to questioning an auditee, handling difficult auditees and sample size techniques. He also covers key audit points or items the auditor should pay particular attention to throughout the audit. Kausek expounds on these key points with clear and concise direction to assist an auditor in the audit process.

There is a chapter on conducting health and safety audits, one on performing combined audits such as ISO 9001 or ISO/TS 16949 and ISO 14001 audits, and one on auditing the core automotive tools. A CD-ROM accompanies the book. It includes an audit checklist for ISO 9001, ISO/TS 16949, ISO 14001 and ISO 18001. These are some of the better checklists I have seen for auditing, and they alone are worth the cost of the book.

I found this book to be worthwhile reading. It got better as I got further into it. The book does discuss some rudimentary subjects, but the reader should get beyond those and absorb some fresh ideas and principles the author has to offer.

Wayne Sander
Dove Quality Consulting
Dousman, WI


  • Strategic Benchmarking Reloaded with Six Sigma Gregory H. Watson, John Wiley & Sons, 2007, 360 pp., $45 (book).
  • Business Process Change: A Guide for Business Managers and BPM and Six Sigma Professionals, second edition Paul Harmon, Morgan Kaufmann, 2007, 548 pp., $49.95 (book).
  • Treasure Chest of Six Sigma Growth Methods, Tools, and Best Practices Lynne Hambleton, Prentice Hall, 2007, 995 pp., $89 (book).

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