Statistical Roundtables: Insights and Best Practices

Christine M. Anderson-Cook and Lu Lu, Editors, ASQ Quality Press, 2016, 480 pp., $60 member, $99 list (book).

QP has been publishing the Statistics Roundtable column since 1999. This book contains 90 of these articles organized into nine different chapters; each chapter grouping related articles together by topic. Chapter one briefly introduces all nine topics covered in the later chapters. The authors chose topics that are relevant to statisticians and a broad audience.

Chapter two of the book contains articles related to statistical engineering. Even though the articles do not provide in-depth information on the topic, they act as reference material and a starting point for further exploration. Chapters three and four contain articles related to data quality and collection. These articles are cleverly chosen to demonstrate the importance of data quality and the key factors needing consideration during data collection.

Articles related to key statistical tools used in data analysis and quality controls are compiled in chapters five and six. Chapters seven and eight highlight timely reliability, improving evaluations, multi-variant thinking and cumulative meta-analysis. These topics are highly relevant for statistical analysis and decision making. Chapters nine and 10 contain articles related to statistical applications and training.

This book is a nice collection of QP’s published columns. I enjoyed reading these historical articles and rediscovering my statistical knowledge base. I recommend this book to anyone interested in statistical methods, data analysis tools and applications.

Suresh Anaganti
Palmyra, PA

Practical Process Validation

Mark A. Durivage and Bob (Bhavan) Mehta, ASQ Quality Press, 2016, 168 pp., $42 member, $70 list (book).

Process validation deals with establishing that a process consistently produces a result meeting its predetermined specifications. This work must be well documented and involves activities taking place over the life cycle of the process, including the three stages: process design; process qualification; continual process verification.

This book is intended to provide the requirements necessary to perform process validations that will comply with regulatory and certification body requirements. It also provides quality professionals with a convenient and comprehensive guide to properly conduct process validations.

Besides regularity and certification requirements, the discussion focuses on establishing policies and procedures for the validation, validation prerequisites, process validation considerations, validation master plan, sample size considerations,

control charts for process monitoring, and process capability. The text also provides examples of common mistakes in validation activities along with potential solutions.

The book is short and uses a lot of acronyms. The statistical discussions connected to control charts and process capability basically consist of a formula and a short example. This makes it harder to understand and translate to practice. The book is not a comprehensive guide to properly conduct process validations. However, it is a general introduction to process validation and will serve as a basic reference.

Bengt Klefsjö

Kaizen Kanban: A Visual Facilitation Approach to Create Prioritized ProjectPipelines

Fabrice Bouchereau, ASQ Quality Press, 2016, 144 pp., $30 member, $50 list (book).

Kaizen Kanban does great things in the first few pages, providing the reasons and context for the book’s existence. The book serves as a collection of tools used throughout the lean, Six Sigma and process improvement realm, but it also provides case studies on how to use those tools efficiently and effectively. The author indicates early that a process improvement team should be encouraged to think creatively and use tools from many different toolboxes in order to achieve desired results. Team members need the right tools to create meaningful change, and this text gives some excellent advice how to determine which ones to use.

Quality improvement is perhaps best showcased in case studies. This book uses one detailed case study example for an organization called "SportsMax" to convey its ideas. The book also follows the logical path of a process improvement project from kickoff to project close. The language is approachable, so the reader needs only a very basic understanding of lean or Six Sigma to comprehend it. As the title implies, a significant amount of time and page space is allocated to charts and pictures of tools in action, which makes this a very easy-to-consult form of text.

The strongest part of this book is the section dedicated to waste identification and classification. The book defines each form of the seven-plus-one forms of waste and proceeds to provide applicable examples of each. After identification is completed, it rolls right into performing value-added/nonvalue-added analysis. This portion drives home the message about continuous improvement. Even if the project has been completed, the revamped process may not be fully and completely optimized.

In several ways, parts of this book can be used to support training front-line team members in lean and Six Sigma concepts. The other parts can be applied to general team and workforce management, and project management. Overall, the text does an excellent job of visually defining and thoroughly explaining how the many pieces come together to form a successful process improvement project.

Trevor Jordan
Orlando, FL

Sourcing to Support the Green Initiative

Lisa Ellram and Wendy Tate, Business Expert Press, 2013, 124 pp., $34.95 (book).

This is a book for those interested in getting their businesses to support the green initiative but do not know where to begin. The book opens with an introduction to the idea of sustainability and the concept of what it means to source in an environmentally friendly manner. It includes why it is important to use a holistic, life-cycle perspective during the entire process.

Sustainability is defined within as "creating and maintaining the conditions under which humans can live in productive harmony with the natural environment while fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations." Businesses waste and pollute more than consumers. Suppliers, rather than producers, generate most of the "waste" in the commercial stream. The most gain in reducing adverse environmental effects will come from changing practices involving the supply chain.

Multiple approaches can be taken to be more sustainably friendly and often more financially efficient. These generally are summarized as the 5Rs: reduce, recycle, reuse, replace and remove. Much of the book helps identify what, where and how the most successful efforts can, and should, be made. The prescription is to analyze inputs and outputs of materials and energy directly attributed to a product, process or service and its environmental impacts, then look for improvement.

Each chapter has a key point summary of covered material. There are notes and reference sections. A reasonable index and a list of illustrations and figures (most of which are very helpful and informative) are provided.

While not defining a generic, standardized roadmap, this book provides a good start to developing and implementing a green initiative within your company’s purchasing group.

Marc A. Feldman

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