Complex Service Delivery Processes: Strategy to Operations

Jean Harvey, ASQ Quality Press, 2015, 456 pp., $60 member, $99 list (third edition, book).

Harvey defines professionals as university graduates in an applied field, such as law, engineering or architecture. Clients seek out complex services from these types of professionals because of their lack of knowledge or skills in various specialized realms. Professionals in these classified complex services are part of a constantly evolving body of knowledge, requiring a code of ethics that is sanctioned by regulating bodies for malpractice, including suspension or the withdrawal of practice privileges.

This edition was updated with links to 31 videos on operational strategies that address case studies and technical analysis that meet the current operational challenges of today’s business environment. The videos clarify, complement and illustrate the content of the book.

The pragmatic material is organized into main conceptual categories of linking strategy and operations, methods and techniques to achieve operational excellence and recipes for corporate and personal change initiatives.

The abundant case examples include actual businesses, situations that personally involved the author in his consulting role and generic situations built from composites of the author’s experiences.

This book continues to be used as a reference in business schools, making this highly specialized reference suitable for university graduate business collections. The material also will be valuable to the nonprofit sector.

Dale Farris
Groves, TX

5S Made Easy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Implementing and Sustaining Your 5S Program

David Visco, Productivity Press, 2015, 104 pp., $49.95 (book).

If you are looking for a simple, all-inclusive, step-by-step guide to create a 5S system, this book is perfect for you. Visco starts with the most basic question: What is 5S? He includes the concepts, advantages and disadvantages of using 5S in your operations. He discusses plan development, initial implementation and training. Where required, he includes quality tools such as lean, the five whys and an innovative 5S cycle.

The author’s goal is for readers to design and implement their own 5S system that is effective and sustainable. Each short chapter of the workbook is broken into brief sections with room for note-taking on benefits, materials needed, pre-event tasks, event steps and lessons learned.

There are illustrations of "before and after" situations and checklists that contain a summary of steps. All documents and worksheets are downloadable from his website, and other materials are available for sale to ease and facilitate implementation. The appendixes, table of contents and glossary also are very helpful.

The workbook is spiral bound, printed on good quality paper and suitable for taking notes. It won’t get ruined out on the operations floor. By following the steps in this book, anyone can plan, execute and sustain a 5S program.

Marc A. Feldman

Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) for Small Business Owners and Non-Engineers: Determining and Preventing What Can Go Wrong

Marcia M. Weeden, ASQ Quality Press, 2015, 224 pp., $30 member, $50 list (book).

The need to identify and prevent failures in a process or product before they occur is an ongoing challenge for organizations regardless of their size. This is especially true when faced with increased customer demands for reliable services and products. Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) is one of the effective tools developed to address this challenge.

An FMEA can be used to identify where and how a process or product might fail, and to assess the potential impact of different failures. Once identified, appropriate actions are taken with the goal of removing or reducing the potential impact of the failures.

This book describes the FMEA process in simple terms and discusses how it can be successfully implemented in a small organization that might not have the capacity to employ engineers, or the means to purchase expensive software applications to use the tool.

The author clearly identifies what the book covers and what it does not. As stated in the book, it provides methods for:

  • Identifying the areas or actions that may be at risk for failure.
  • Ranking risks that may be faced.
  • Determining the degree of threat being faced.

The book does not provide an in-depth analysis of the role of reliability engineering and its contribution to an FMEA process, or examples of FMEA applications.

The book is comprised of a large number of small sections covering various topics. The overview section provides a good introduction to the benefits of an FMEA. The book then covers the use and stages of FMEA.

It ends with how to conduct an FMEA, which includes a worksheet and a presentation of its structure and purpose. The book includes a number of examples, helping to reduce the ambiguity and difficulty in calculating realistic severity of failures, likelihood of occurrence and difficulty of detection numbers.

Except for the oversimplification of some the of topics by the author and the absence of additional available resources for readers who might be interested in expanding their knowledge of the FMEA tool, the book is a good resource for individuals tasked with the implementation of the tool.

Herzl Marouni

Designing Supply Chains for New Product Development

Antonio Arreola-Risa, Barry Keys, Business Expert Press, 2013, 250 pp., $59.95 (book).

Transitioning a product from R&D to commercial application is a process full of risks and opportunities. A significant risk factor that must be understood is supply chain development. The author points out that many times the R&D supply chain is not equipped to deal with commercial demands for cost, schedule and quality. This book follows a team as they design a supply chain with a clean-sheet approach, transitioning product from R&D to commercialization.

The developed process includes 12 steps addressing things such as supplier landscape, make versus buy, low-cost sourcing, intellectual property, design changes and learning curves. Each of the steps are addressed in separate chapters, which include the introduction and background of each concept, the approach used by the team, and examples of tools used to coordinate and evaluate information. The final three steps of the process include decision framing, war-gaming and review. These steps are used to develop and differentiate between alternative strategies, ensure sound tactical plans and keep the project up-to-date as conditions evolve.

The book is well-written and follows a logical progression. The development of the models and tools is easy to understand and could be applied to other conditions and commodities with little effort. The process steps employed are all based on sound business principles. The one caveat revealed by the authors is that this was simply a "paper" exercise as the project was placed on hold for economic reasons before it was implemented.

The focus for this book is the corporate supplier management professional. But engineering and quality professionals involved in supply chain development also will find the book a valuable resource.

Bryan Ruggles
New Orleans

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