Lean Sustainability: Creating Safe, Enduring and Profitable Operations

Dennis Averill, Productivity Press, 2011, 222 pp., $39.95 (book).

This book provides a clear roadmap for businesses to achieve safe, sustainable and profitable operations by applying lean methods throughout organizations and incorporating sustainability concepts into Safety, Health and Environmental (SHE) Initiatives.

The book is divided into eight chapters covering the relevant elements of expanded total productive maintenance or total perfect manufacturing (TPM), a management improvement method developed in Japan using the concepts of preventive maintenance that has been followed in the United States for many years.

According to the author, there are specific characteristics of TPM that demonstrate a close relationship between TPM and lean production. These include pursuit of overall organizational efficiency, ownership of equipment, processes and associated losses, implementation of continuous improvement and a hands-on approach to build a zero-accident environment, zero defect and zero loss throughout the organization.

The book is a compilation of well-organized personal insights and dynamic tools Averill has gained during his professional experience. The main drawback of the book is it lacks examples of case studies in which businesses successfully implemented the proposed roadmap and tools. Regardless of this weakness, this is a book worth buying and using. It will especially appeal to those responsible for implementation of SHE programs in their organizations.

Herzl Marouni
ABS Consulting

A Factory of One: Applying Lean Principles to Banish Waste And Improve Your Personal Performance

Daniel Markovitz, Productivity Press, 2011, 177 pp., $25.95 (book).

The purpose of this book is to reconnect readers with the value-creating portion of their work. Markovitz parallels office work to a manufacturing situation by applying lean concepts and techniques to make improvements. When work can be standardized, it is easier to provide value. The goal of standardized work is not to dehumanize the effort, but rather to reduce variability and eliminate defects—or, in this case, increase efficiency.

Markovitz looks at office positions and points out where and how to create rational and timely work flow. He provides suggestions on setting up desks and files—physical and electronic—to reduce waste of all kinds. The inbox and calendar are used to generate kanban and schedules. This helps to discriminate between what you are doing and what you should be doing. It also helps bring about serial tasking, which is a more effective way to work rather than multitasking.

This book is for anyone who wishes to improve work habits and efficiency. Many simple ways are provided to achieve improvement. The illustrations are meaningful, and the index helps find specific trouble areas as needed. I’m sure I will be referring to these ideas often as I try to lean out my own desk and performance.

Marc A. Feldman
Solvay Chemicals Inc.

Smart Data: Enterprise Performance Optimization Strategy

James A. George and James A. Rodger, John Wiley & Sons, 2010, 327 pp., $122 (book).

This book explores the premise that by creating an enterprise-wide data utilization strategy—or smart data—organizations can strengthen performance in their primary mission areas. The authors have developed this book around methods and architecture necessary to achieve what they have labeled as the service-oriented enterprise. This includes understanding and enabling smart data systems, and using a service-oriented architecture and enterprise collaboration web services.

The book starts with a comprehensive overview of smart data and its strategy and offers a discussion of data as the primary decision tool used in high-performance organizations. This book focuses on data as the principle contributor to optimizing performance. The subject matter is further expanded in following chapters. The book immediately addresses the big picture and the critical items that must be considered in executive decision making.

The next subject area explores the elements considered essential for optimizing enterprise performance. An important discussion on potential barriers to optimum performance and potential solutions follows. In addition, a full chapter is devoted to presenting enabling technologies to use in implementation of recommendations. The final chapter is considered a CEO overview written in actionable format so it will be useful to an executive audience.

I found the book to be written at an academic and strategic level. No effort was made to develop the subject areas to any depth, or provide tools or guidelines that might be useful at the working level. The book employs different case studies from academia and the real world. In the real world cases, the examples were, for the most part, simplistic and not fully developed.

The target audience for this book, as stated, is CEOs and similar senior executives in government and private industries. This book also would appeal to students interested in discovering the improvement advantages that the adoption of a smart data strategy would provide.

Bryan Ruggles
Boeing Commercial Aircraft

Reliability Data Analysis With Excel and Minitab

Kenneth Stephens, ASQ Quality Press, 2011, 360 pp., $75 member, $125 list (book and CD-ROM).

This book is about reliability and how to evaluate and analyze data when there are time constraints that prevent you from sampling the entire population. The author uses a very practical approach to the reliability subject.

The book reminds me more of a textbook than a book you can pick up and begin using. This book is not for the faint of heart. Unless you are experienced in reliability and statistics, this book will be over your head.

The book does not contain problem sets, so it cannot be used as a textbook by itself. It could be used as a companion book along with a textbook in a reliability course in which MS Excel and Minitab are being used.

But, Stephens has done an excellent job of presenting the topics of reliability, with which he has extensive experience. The topics include:

  • Discrete distributions for reliability analysis.
  • Least squares estimation.
  • Probability distribution functions.
  • Weibull and extreme-value distributions.
  • Normal and lognormal distributions.
  • Logistic and log-logistic distributions.
  • Systems reliability.
  • Repairable components.

The book includes a CD-ROM that offers MS Excel files and Minitab files. Please note if you do not have Minitab, the files will not open. The files coincide with the text at appropriate places in the book. When they are encountered, the reader should consult the CD-ROM and study the related discussions in the book.

The author is very frank and honest in that this book is not for everyone, and I agree.

Wayne Sander
Dousman, WI

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There Is Another Way! Launch a Baldrige-Based Quality Classroom
Margaret A. Byrnes wiith Jeanne C. Baxter, ASQ Quality Press, 2012, 352 pp., $30 member, $50 list (second edition, book).

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