A First Course in Quality Engineering

K.S. Krishnamoorthi and V. Ram Krishnamoorthi, CRC Press, 2011, 634 pp., $129.95 (second edition, book).

If you are looking for a beginner’s book on quality engineering that will be useful in an academic setting or for personal use, then this is the one for you. It combines in one book what normally takes two, delivering the concepts of quality engineering and methods along with statistical and management topics.

The authors introduce the statistical subjects using the development of formulas and data to come to a conclusion. It reminds me of my college days before the introduction of the computer and handheld devices. Their method helps students fully understand statistics and how they are applied.

The book is divided into eight sections, which are arranged broadly along the lines of the major segments of a quality system:

  • Introduction to quality.
  • Statistics for quality.
  • Quality in design.
  • Quality in production I and II.
  • Managing for quality.
  • Quality in procurement.
  • Continuous improvement of quality.
  • A system for quality.

This second edition also includes an overview of lean manufacturing methods.

The end of each chapter contains exercises that can be used to check for competency of the subject. In addition, there are mini-projects involving real-world quality problems.

Readers will need some exposure to mathematics and statistics to completely comprehend the subject matter. But, this is a solid beginning book on quality engineering concepts.

Wayne Sander
Dousman, WI

Lean Office and Service Simplified

Drew Locher, Productivity Press, 2011, 194 pp., $39.95 (book).

Lean methods tend to be associated with manufacturing operations, but they also can be applied to other areas. With this book, Locher shows how lean can be applied to office and service environments. The book begins by briefly discussing how the office should be organized by value stream. It then discusses how to establish standard work and flow within the office setting.

The next three chapters discuss creating a level flow within the office, establishing visual management systems and applying lean tools. The final two chapters discuss applying lean methods to areas such as HR, sales and marketing, as well as establishing lean leadership methods. The book’s conversational tone makes the concepts easy to understand. There are enough details and examples provided that someone could start using the concepts quickly.

Given the importance of queue management to office and service processes, it would have been nice if the authors included how Little’s law could be used, as well as how overburdening someone could affect cycle time or queue length.

Overall, this is a great book for anyone who wants to get an introduction to how lean can be applied to office and service processes.

Brian Cocolicchio
New City, NY

Lean Six Sigma for the Healthcare Enterprise

Sandra Furterer, editor, CRC Press, 2011, 331 pp., $79.95 (book).

This book was complied by four contributors combining a comprehensive approach to process improvement, illustrated with seven in-depth case studies. The first chapter introduces the methods of enterprise performance excellence and strategic business architecture, followed by a second chapter with a lean Six Sigma roadmap overview. This sets a context for the comprehensive case studies in healthcare management, which are the centerpiece of this work.

An example of one case study is from chapter four. It focused on operating room turnaround and on-time starts improvement. The project goal was to reduce operating room turnaround time between cases while providing continued patient care and safety. The improvement effort took 10 months and resulted in a 15% reduction in average time and 45% reduction in time variability.

The case studies provide enough details that readers can follow the various characteristics of such improvements in terms of effort invested and results achieved. This can prove important in calibrating expectations and sketching how sustainable improvements are achieved.

This book has universal value and can be implemented in a range of industries. I recommend it to Black Belts and lean Six Sigma experts involved in process improvement in healthcare.

Ron S. Kenett
KPA Ltd.
Raanana, Israel

Establishing a Culture of Patient Safety

Judith Ann Pauley and Joseph Pauley, ASQ Quality Press, 2012, 208 pp., $18 member, $30 list (book)

The book is based on psychology fundamentals of communication derived from personality traits. It defines different personality types, discussing the main traits and how they affect an individual’s performance in a healthcare environment. The authors discuss which personalities are a better fit for determined positions and how interaction among professionals and patients can improve by matching right personalities.

The individuals that will benefit most from reading this book will be those in managerial positions in which they get to choose their staff. Supervisors also should experience improved efficiency in resource and people management.

Additionally, supervisees may benefit from understanding how their own personality affects their job, patients and how they are seen by their supervisors. By being aware of those facts, customer service and teamwork skills will get a boost when interacting with others.

The book’s subtitle is misleading. I strongly suggest including a chapter on quality tools or deleting the word "quality tools" from it to eliminate any confusion. As the subtitle reads, Improving Communications, Building Relationships and Using Quality Tools, directly implies the use of quality tools. This book is about communication and supervision skills, with no quality tool discussion included.

But, I did like the way the authors explained how personalities and relationship building can help to create a safer and more efficient environment for patients and co-workers. The strength of this book is that it shows how to build communication channels by knowing yourself and the information recipient.

Roberto Guzman
Morrisville, NC

Recent Releases

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Performance-Based Certification: How to Design a Valid, Defensible, Cost-Effective Program
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The Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt Handbook
T.M. Kubiak, ASQ Quality Press, 2012, 672 pp., $88 member, $146 list (book).

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