The Process Auditing Techniques Guide

J.P. Russell, ASQ Quality Press, 2010, 152 pp., $15 member, $25 list (second edition, book).

Russell augments your basic knowledge and perceptions of quality auditing with a brief but incisive introduction to process auditing techniques and tools.

Process audits are used to verify and validate manufacturing processes, software and service processes, and products. The author defines and gives examples of processes and then expands into the sub-process of preparing for the audit.

This book covers audit purpose statements and audit scope, audit team formation, auditee contact, types of information you will be seeking and reviewing, flow diagramming the process and the selection of tools. Russell outlines how to start the audit, provides explanations with helpful insights and notations, and discusses how the process should be traced.

The book then shifts into investigative mode as the collection of evidence commences. Examples of questions to ask auditee personnel are linked to the process elements being tested. The importance of ensuring the accuracy of all numbers collected is emphasized. Process performance indicators are examined, and how performance compares with the process objectives is determined.

Heavy emphasis is placed on risk assessment and the capability of the process. The intent is to assess the presence and effectiveness of controls and improvement efforts.

A chapter is devoted to checking products, services and processes to verify conformance to specified requirements; statutory and regulatory requirements; and health, safety and security requirements.

The final steps in the audit are completed by preparing and delivering the report, holding the closing meeting and closing the audit. The book includes a useful glossary and a removable pocket-card summarizing the process audit steps and other information.

It is a must-read for every practicing auditor of quality systems, processes and practices. It supplements traditional auditing how-to books by specifically addressing and guiding process auditing.

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

Corporate Governance for Small to Mid-Sized Organizations

H. James Harrington and Marco E.J. Bertin, Paton Professional, 2010, 114 pp., $24.95 (book).

Authors Harrington and Bertin present another book in this publisher’s Little Big Book for Performance Improvement series with this succinct summary of the key principles in forming and developing an effective governing board.

Based on many years of quality consulting experience, the authors make a strong case for the management value and profitability of effective governance, which is a key factor in generating and supporting long-term growth and success.

Following a brief overview chapter on the fundamentals of board operations, the authors offer concisely written chapters that cover the importance of boards, integrating a governing board in a family business, family councils, specifics on board-of-director operations and useful suggestions for various alternatives to board governance for small or mid-size companies.

Although the focus here is on profit-making companies, the solid principles and pragmatic examples also apply to nonprofit boards, and the information is of greater value to newly established companies.

Dale Farris
Groves, TX

Mr. Lean Buys and Transforms a Manufacturing Company

Greg Lane, CRC Press, 2009, 296 pp., $39.95 (book).

This is Greg Lane’s true story about how he bought a small manufacturing company that produced parts for the semiconductor industry and used the lean methods learned at Toyota to improve the business.

The book begins with how Lane went about finding the business he wanted to purchase and then, chapter by chapter, describes how he used observation, standardization, kaizen flow, kaizen equipment and kaizen layout to improve how his business estimated costs for quotes, office processes, the manufacturing processes on the shop floor and everything else regarding the business. The book ends with Lane selling the business six years later.

What is nice about the book is that every chapter has sections detailing the lean principles Lane applied to specific portions of the business. It also gives an overview of how lean is applied to a job-shop environment.

The book has several appendixes that include examples of how Lane applied lean to various areas of the business. It would have been enlightening to know where he found problems in applying lean and what he would do differently if he were to buy a small business again.

Overall, it is a good book for those who doubt lean can be applied in a small business or job-shop setting. Lane’s story proves otherwise.

Brian Cocolicchio
New City, NY

Cracking the Case of ISO 9001:2008 for Manufacturing

Charles A. Cianfrani and John E. (Jack) West, ASQ Quality Press, 2010, 216 pp., $15 member, $25 list (second edition, book).

This is one of several books by Cianfrani and West covering different aspects of ISO 9001:2008 for various industries.

The authors provide the answers and questions likely to be generated when undertaking efforts to register or recertify to the standard. The material presented logically connects key principles, concepts and tools in devising a strategy for establishing an ISO 9001:2008-compliant quality system.

Tips are given to avoid implementation issues and false starts. The table of contents, glossary and index help readers find specific topics, and the tools section is a superb summary of traditional practices for generating information about a process. Cross-indexing the tools to the standard sections where they are most applicable is extremely helpful to the novice.

There is little to criticize in this short book, other than a rather skimpy additional reading list. This is a simple guide geared more toward practical application. It is not meant to provoke philosophical discussion.

This is an outstanding guide to ISO 9001:2008 and should be in everyone’s pocket during a registration or recertification initiative.

Anyone involved in such an effort or maintenance after achievement will also benefit from reading this paperback.

Marc A. Feldman
Solvay Chemicals

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