Supply Chain Excellence: A Handbook for Dramatic Improvement Using the SCOR Model

Peter Bolstorff and Robert Rosenbaum, Amacom, 2011, 304 pp., $45 (book, third edition).

In this modern global economy, efficient supply chain management is as critical as ever. Any misalignment within the supply chain can result in high inventory, unexpected costs, constrained growth and profits, and a loss of market share. This, in turn, affects competitiveness within the market.

This book is divided into 18 chapters to support supply chain improvement using the supply chain operations reference (SCOR) model, which was developed by the Supply Chain Council. The SCOR model is divided into five phases, which are critical for success:

  • Phase 0: Build organizational support.
  • Phase 1: Define project scope.
  • Phase 2: Analyze performance.
  • Phase 3: Develop project portfolio.
  • Phase 4: Implement projects.

This book provides a step-by-step process and real-life examples to improve supply chain management by improving process efficiency, eliminating dysfunction and aligning the organization.

It is filled with practical tools applicable for those building a supply chain or improving an existing one. The book’s third edition also includes material that addresses current hot topics in supply chain management.

This book serves as an excellent read for anyone involved in the supply chain process, including the experienced supply chain manager.

Jennifer Leny
Quality Consultant
Madison, WI

Development of FDA-Regulated Medical Products: A Translational Approach

Elaine Whitmore, ASQ Quality Press, 2012, 252 pp., $41 member, $67 list (book, second edition).

This book’s author is well-known and respected. In this second edition of the book, her expertise and knowledge are readily apparent. The book, like many Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-related documents, has a logical structure with detailed chapters and many supporting elements.

At its highest level, the book describes the current FDA environment and the intricacies of patient safety issues. It also lays out the nuances of getting a healthcare product approved in these challenging times. There are numerous diagrams, tables, figures and acronyms that guide the reader through the FDA’s structure and its risk-based culture.

With 19 chapters in all, the author describes the fundamental principles of the FDA, how it works, what it requires and how organizations and individuals can navigate the practical and theoretical aspects of product approvals.

Whitmore’s discussion of the product development process is accurate and practical. The book leads the reader through skill-based tests, and points to other issues and considerations with leading questions. The questions guide the reader to useful conclusions that point to how the FDA might think. Lastly, the book includes supporting details such as an appendix, an index and a glossary, are current and updated.

There is little to criticize with this book. It is well written with smooth transitions. The dynamic nature of the regulatory environment is an issue for everyone, and the biggest challenge is dealing with daily changes that can derail the best-laid plans.

Frank Pokrop
San Diego

The Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt Handbook

T.M. Kubiak, ASQ Quality Press, 2012, 672 pp., $99 member, $139 list (book and CD-ROM).

This book was primarily written for individuals who plan to sit for the ASQ Six Sigma Master Black Belt (MBB) certification exam. Industry professionals involved in Six Sigma also will find this book to be useful as a day-to-day reference. A CD-ROM with practice problem sets covering each part of the book and a simulated exam accompanies the book. The organization closely follows the body of knowledge for the ASQ Six Sigma MBB certification exam.

Today, most statistical computations are done using computers and software. This book provides and discusses outputs for the statistical computations. A chapter on measurement methods and tools covers most of the advanced statistical techniques, such as autocorrelation, multiple and logistic regression, reliability modeling, design of experiments and factor analysis. The section on project management is useful to students and practitioners, and provides well-written descriptions on project management principles, project status communication and corrective actions.

Explanations in all chapters of this book are accompanied by appropriate figures, charts and tables, which aid in the comprehension of the written material. The language structure used is simple and easy to follow.

This book will be a valuable addition to the library of those who plan to sit for the exam, as well as industry professionals involved in the implementation of Six Sigma.

Rangarajan Parthasarathy
Harvard, IL

Software Testing

Yogesh Singh, Cambridge University Press, 2012, 650 pp., $75 (book).

This book was primarily written with the software testing practitioner in mind, and provides a comprehensive overview of all aspects of software testing. Because the topic of software testing is part of the ASQ Certified Software Quality Engineer (CSQE) body of knowledge, individuals planning to sit for the certification exam will find this book to be useful. 

For the novice, this book explains software testing in a simple and easy-to-understand manner, and can be used as a self-study reference to master the subject.

The organization of the book is logical and systematic, and begins with an introductory chapter explaining the importance of and the need for software testing. Other chapters cover areas integral to software testing such as functional testing, structural testing, regression testing and object-oriented testing. The chapter on metrics and models in software testing will be of great interest to the software quality practitioner.

The use of the internet and websites is ubiquitous in this day and age. This book includes a chapter on web testing, which covers usability testing, user-interface testing, performance testing and database testing.

More justice could have been done to the notion of security testing and testing for vulnerabilities because this is an ever-growing threat organizations today contend with.

The level of programming used in the book’s examples is basic and does not take expert knowledge of programming to understand and apply.

There are multiple choice questions and exercises at the end of every chapter of the book, which helps readers verify they have understood and assimilated the essential fundamentals of the chapter.

Overall, this is a well-written book on software testing and a must-read for all software quality professionals, especially those involved in software testing.

Anuradha Rangarajan
Harvard, IL

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