The integrated use of management system standards

International Organization for Standardization, 146 pp., $40 (book and CD-ROM).

With many companies registering to multiple standards, there was a need for a book that provided guidance on how to integrate the requirements of multiple ISO standards with an organization’s management system. Who better to fill that need than the ISO technical management board?

This book takes an organization through the process of integrating a typical ISO standard, without giving preference to any one standard. Instead, it aims to help organizations understand and apply an integrated approach in the use of multiple management system standards.

The book contains three chapters that guide the reader through the integration process using a hypothetical business organization helmed by Jim the baker. Jim serves as a one-person village bakery but eventually expands his business to serve a large region before becoming a multinational corporation.

Each chapter contains sections that start with a set of guiding questions followed by an overview of the topic. Using the hypothetical example, there is a feature that explains the methods and tools that need to be applied. This is followed by a section that provides examples from case studies that are included on an accompanying CD-ROM. The case studies are excellent and are drawn from organizations of all sizes, locations and industries.

Finally, the practice feature at the end of each section assists readers in applying the principles and methods in their own organizations.

Just like the ISO standards, which do not tell an organization how to implement them, the same is true of this book. But, given the hypothetical example of Jim the baker and the 15 case studies on the CD-ROM, this package would be beneficial to any organization thinking of integrating numerous ISO standards into its management systems.

Reviewed by Wayne Sander
Dove Quality Consulting
Dousman, WI

Insights to Performance Excellence

Mark L. Blazey, ASQ Quality Press, 2008, 360 pp., $84 list, $50 member (book and CD-ROM).

The primary purpose of the latest edition of this series is to help performance-excellence examiners and practitioners understand the Baldrige criteria. Changes to the 2008 edition include updated information about the Baldrige criteria, while new templates and supplements for healthcare and education are included on an accompanying CD-ROM.

Blazey begins with an introduction to performance excellence, explaining the core values, links and lessons he has gleaned during a career that includes five years as a senior examiner for the Baldrige award. The second part of the book breaks down the Baldrige criteria, including specific language, a summary of the requirements, key links and examples of effective practices. The last section deals with tips on preparing the application and clarifies the Baldrige scoring requirements, as well as other issues.

The strength of the book is how it simplifies the Baldrige criteria into easily understandable and actionable items through the use of plain language, flowcharts and relationship matrixes. Its main weakness is the unstructured presentation, which creates repetition of information.

While not a book for beginners looking for an overview of the Baldrige criteria, I recommend it for organizations that recognize the Baldrige criteria as a way to ensure performance excellence. Further, it should be compulsory reading for large organizations that want to apply for the award.

Reviewed by Martín Tanco
University of Navarra
San Sebastian, Spain

The Role of Statistics in Business and Industry

Gerald J. Hahn and Necip Doganaksoy, Wiley & Sons Inc., 2008, 343 pp., $79.95 (book).

This book is a cross between a statistical handbook and a nonstatistical guide—an unusual approach, because it is difficult to do a good job communicating information to technical and nontechnical audiences at the same time. In this case, however, the authors manage to accomplish the feat.

The introductory chapters review some basic statistical information, discuss the role of quality in statistical analyses and touch on many of the applications that are central to the use of statistics in business. These chapters convey the importance of understanding data and should be required reading for quality managers and statistical personnel.

Most of the book covers applications of statistics (and, by extension, quality control and assurance) to manufacturing, production and product design. At that point, the book becomes quite a bit more technical—but not more mathematical—and is aimed at the statistician while not excluding nonstatistical technical researchers and managers. Numerous examples are provided, and the reader is encouraged to visit the book’s file transfer protocol (FTP) site to examine the data and analyses more fully.

The final section of the book includes chapters about applications outside the manufacturing realm, including pharmaceuticals, finance and business services. These are written by guest authors in these fields and, while interesting, are not up to the level of those written by Hahn and Doganaksoy.

With its emphasis on real-world problems and applications, this is a good handbook for all statisticians in the manufacturing field. It also could be used in graduate or industrial training classes.

Reviewed by I. Elaine Allen
Babson College
Wellesley, MA

The Integrated Enterprise Excellence System, Vol. II

Forrest W. Breyfogle III, Bridgeway Books, 2008, 524 pp. $54.95 (book).

Labeled as the second volume, this is actually the third in Breyfogle’s set of books introducing his integrated enterprise excellence (IEE) system. It is intended for managers and Master Black Belts who are implementing or may want to implement an enterprise-level continuous improvement program.

The book starts by describing the strengths and weaknesses of Six Sigma, lean, Hoshin Kanri and the balanced scorecard system, with an emphasis on how metrics are reported. Breyfogle then provides an overview of IEE and describes how successful leaders and business improvement teams can be developed.

The remainder of the book covers how the design, measure, analyze, improve and control process can be used at the enterprise level, with chapters covering each phase.

The book shows how metrics reported in tables or color-coded charts can lead to behaviors that run counter to management desires. Breyfogle argues this is because most metric-reporting systems look at static snapshots of business performance rather than analyzing performance trends and whether the business processes are running in a predictable manner. He suggests reporting metrics using control charts and probability plots to analyze process performance.

Given the importance of metrics in the system, the book could have done more to show what a good metric is and how to develop successful metrics. More information on the best practices for communicating information graphically also would have been useful. But, overall, the book is worthwhile reading for someone looking to implement an enterprise-level continuous improvement program.

Reviewed by Brian Cocolicchio
New City, NY

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