Principles of Quality Costs: Financial Measures for Strategic Implementation of Quality Management

Douglas C. Wood, editor, ASQ Quality Press, 2013, 238 pp., $46 member, $76 list (fourth edition, book).

Much has happened since Jack Campanella edited the third edition of this book in 1999. Douglas Wood and his contributors, have presented an updated and new perspective on the value of applying the principles of quality costs to virtually every corner of your organization, regardless of type.

This is a book that you—literally—can’t afford not to read. It speaks the common language of business and management—how to achieve the return on your organization’s investment. Moreover, the book guides readers in implementing a quality costs program that will demonstrate a payoff to organizations and their customers.

Applying these principles and guidelines will highlight the absolute worth of quality efforts and create a supporting strategy for the organization’s growth and financial stability.

Three appendixes provide a look at basic financial concepts, detailed descriptions of quality cost elements, and a bibliography of publications and papers relating to quality costs. References are provided for each of the six chapters. An extensive array of charts, tables and sample reports add to the textual implementation guidance.

If you really want to achieve a successful implementation of quality management, you absolutely must read this book and apply the principles and methods provided.

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

Product Safety Excellence: The Seven Elements Essential for Product Liability Prevention

Timothy A. Pine, ASQ Quality Press, 2012, 136 pp., $20 member, $34 list (book).

This book is a quick read and covers the topic of ensuring product safety thoroughly from a high level. Anyone needing a short but complete overview and some general guidance on setting up a program to review or mitigate product liability should read this book.

Pine begins with definitions of hazard, risk and safety and what constitutes unreasonable risk. He covers the areas of product intended use, foreseeable use and misuse including the ancillary issues of product labeling, packaging, operation and consumer assembly if required.

After final product design, he tackles different use environments, expected product life and alternative consumer uses while focusing on the main goal of preventing liability.

He discusses steps of a product qualification process, supplier capability, criteria for quality system audits and responses to customer claims and complaints to maintain a product that is increasingly less liable.

A list of generic hazard categories, a safety checklist and a consumer safety complaint "do" list are provided. But by necessity, they are not detailed enough to address any one specific product or situation. Several quality tools are mentioned as being useful in various processes.

Although the coverage is primarily targeted at discrete item production, the treatment is holistic enough to apply to other industries such as chemical manufacturing or even service providers, if considered broadly.

Marc A. Feldman
Solvay Chemicals, Inc.

The Certified Quality Technician Handbook

H. Fred Walker, Donald W. Benbow and Ahmad K. Elshennawy, ASQ Quality Press, 2013, 256 pp., $89 member, $129 list (second edition, book and CD-ROM).

This book is intended as a reference for quality technicians, as well as individuals preparing to take the ASQ certified quality technician (CQT) exam. It has been written in simple language with numerous figures, charts and tables, which aid in the comprehension of the written material. The organization of the chapters in the book conforms to the ASQ body of knowledge for the CQT exam. The book contains numerous examples and problems, many of which are drawn from real-world situations.

The first chapter introduces quality concepts and tools including quality costs, Six Sigma, lean and team formation. The chapter on metrology and calibration is well written and explains gages commonly used in mechanical manufacturing.

Other chapters in the book discuss inspection and testing, auditing, preventive and corrective action processes and non-conforming material review process. There is also a section on investigating root causes. As an added bonus, there is a chapter on statistical techniques.

The appendixes provide handy information such as the areas under the standard normal curve, control limit formulas, control charting constants and the values of Z for the standard normal distribution.

The book is accompanied by a CD-ROM, which contains a sample exam consisting of nearly 75 questions. Individuals preparing to take the certification exam will appreciate this. In summary, this book is a comprehensive and valuable reference for all quality professionals in general, and for quality technicians in particular.

Anuradha Rangarajan
Harvard, IL

Leading the Lean Healthcare Journey: Driving Culture Change to Increase Value

Joan Wellman, Patrick Hagan and Howard Jeffries, CRC Press, 2011, 292 pp., $65.95 (book).

From the beginning of this book, the authors note that it is not a book on how to improve healthcare, nor does it provide a recipe on how to make an operating room or intensive care unit more efficient. However, it is a book that challenges assumptions we have about the delivery of healthcare in the United States and focuses on teams that had the courage to explore better options.

The book is a compilation of practical examples of performance improvements initiated at various medical institutions during the first 10 years of the 21st century. Although different factors and organizational needs varied from institution to institution, common themes are mentioned throughout the book:

Improving the quality of patient care does not mean increased costs.

Instituting change resulting in improved processes requires a substantive and sustained leadership commitment and involvement in terms of financial investment and infrastructure support.

Involvement of key personnel such as nurses, physicians and pharmacists—and transforming them into change agents while increasing patients’ and their families’ engagement—are key to a successful continuous performance improvement initiative.

Aligning institutional culture with a culture of safety throughout the organization.

The only potential drawback of the book is that some of the continuous improvement and lean transformation tools, such as plan-do-check-act, rapid process improvement workshops and value stream mapping, are repeated examples.

I found this book to be another good source not only for leaders and staff in healthcare institutions, but also for anyone interested in learning more about how to improve healthcare quality.

Herzl Marouni
ABS Consulting

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