Tribal Knowledge: The Practical Use of ISO, Lean and Six Sigma Together

Marnie Schmidt, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014, 106 pp., $9.99 (book).

Author and publisher Marnie Schmidt packs a lot of information into 106 pages. Her goal is to provide a step-by-step guide for implementing a comprehensive business management program that incorporates a quality management system, lean and Six Sigma.

The ISO 9001 model is viewed as an effective infrastructure if no other exists. Lean and Six Sigma tools are applied to identify and eliminate waste and variation. The author briefly describes each improvement tool and its application, but the unfamiliar reader may need to read some additional resources.

The author’s 45-day model is applied to a specific target area. The model starts with gaining commitment from the local manager and ends with presenting results. The process is started again in a new area. Within the model, traditional opportunity areas are examined such as document control, communication and training. Quality improvement tools are described and applied along the way.

The Tribal Knowledge model is aggressive yet comprehensive. This book will help prepare and guide those who seek to implement sustained quality and process improvements. If you are a quality improvement professional this book doesn't offer many new tools, however, it does offer a succinct and comprehensive improvement process. If you are not a quality improvement professional or have failed to implement improvements in the past, this book is an excellent resource.

James R. Kotterman
Plymouth, MI

World-Class Warehousing and Material Handling

Edward H. Frazelle, McGraw-Hill Education, 2016, 384 pp., $65 (second edition, book).

The book was written to answer a simple question: In what ways does warehousing add value in business and the supply chain? The concept of warehousing is introduced and explained in chapter one. The history of warehousing and fundamentals are well written, capturing the essence of the topic.

The author’s main points are warehouse activities, performance, cost, material handling, warehouse layout optimization and warehouse communication systems. The entire book has examples and images taken from real-time warehouse operations. The illustrations of various activities performed in the warehouse makes this book unique.

Every chapter in the book is extremely precise and written with a thorough understanding of warehousing functions and principles. The case studies and simulations provide real-life experience for the reader. The author uses simple language easily understood to a novice. It is a valuable resource for understanding the basic concept of warehousing. The topics presented in the book are current and cover the entire supply chain concept.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone in charge of warehouse operations or to organizations trying to build on their distribution and supply chain management.

Suresh Anaganti
Palmyra, PA

Quality in the 21st Century: Perspectives From ASQ Feigenbaum Medal Winners

Paulo Sampaio and Pedro Saraiva, editors, Springer, 2016, 118 pp., $99 (book).

Quality, as a profession, has meandered through various crossroads since it was established as a discipline by people such as W. Edwards Deming, Joseph M. Juran and Armand Feingenbaum. The authors have assembled an interesting collection of insights, retrospective assessments and outlooks on quality, using inputs from ASQ Feigenbaum Medal recipients. The medal is awarded to individuals younger than 35 years old for outstanding leadership, professionalism and potential in the field of quality.

Pedro Saraiva was the first medal recipient and the chapters covered in the book offer a wide perspective that fits well with the title of the book. The recipients of the Feigenbaum medal are recognized experts who contributed to this transformation as young professionals, and it is interesting to get an updated perspective from this group. Listed below are some of the points that impressed me:

  • Quality as a discipline had not emerged from academia. This is an important point that presents unique opportunities in current trends to bridge the gap between academia and needs of practitioners. In this context, you need to set the stage for a theoretical development by academia that relates to quality.
  • Quality trends identified by ASQ. There are four major trends: emphasize strategic relevance, connect to innovation, increase brand value and exploit information technology. The first trend was always part of the quality message and the last three relate to recent developments offering important opportunities for new initiatives.
  • Data quality as an important dimension. This point positions the concern for data quality in the field of quality professionals. This is not an obvious statement because many quality professionals do not think they have competencies to deal with analytic and statistical issues. To prepare quality professionals to handle such a topic will require significant investments in training and a revised prioritization.
  • Quality management is an integrated approach. The book explains in clear terms that embracing Six Sigma or lean methods, as standalone initiatives is restrictive.
  • Quality metrics are an essential aspect of quality in the 21st century. This point is reflected throughout the book.
  • Getting feedback from the customer is an important discipline. Recent years have seen a misguided understanding of the effort needed to get such feedback. Most customer surveys are poorly designed. Quality professionals should be experts in this area.

These points a collection of the ideas presented in the book. Remember, that this short text is simply a collection of ideas about quality in the 21st century and not a comprehensive treatment of such issues.

Ron S. Kenett
Raanana, Israel

Make Your Clinics Flow With Synchrony: A Practical and Innovative Guide for Physicians, Managers and Staff

Dennis P. Han and Aneesh Suneja, ASQ Quality Press, 2016, 100 pp., $21 member, $35 list (book).
Through the application of lean principles and theory of constraints (TOC) in clinical settings, this book introduces a concept known as "synchrony" in which patients and physicians see each other when both are ready without any unnecessary delays. The book contains only six chapters in addition to an introduction and conclusion.

According to the authors, the mission is clear: educate staff, observe the patient process from start to end, visually manage the front lines, and create a dynamic team that moves where it is needed and when it is needed. Stable processes must be put in place, and teams must be created that can multitask and adjust at a moment’s notice. This team employs uses lean tools to institute continuous improvement.

The authors show through the use of TOC how a single step determines how quickly the rest of processes are completed. In a clinical setting, it is the physician who is the main limiting factor. The physician must be in operation the entire workday.

Another constraint is the patient who needs to be able to see the physician when the physician is available. This physician-patient constraint is the basis of synchrony. The conclusion provides value-added insight and guidance on effective applications of synchrony in other environments in which the interaction between a physician and patient play a major factor.

In summary, this book is a valuable resource that could be used by any organization—not just clinics—in which stable processes and sustainable improvements are sought with the goal of reducing non-value-added activities.

Herzl Marouni

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