The Certified Supplier Quality Professional Handbook

Mark Allen Durivage, editor, ASQ Quality Press, 2016, 320 pp., $89 member, $135 list (book)

The purpose of this handbook is to assist individuals taking the ASQ-certified supplier quality professional exam. However, the book also is a good reference for those working to ensure product quality across all manufacturing and service industries. In the age of massive outsourcing at a global scale, it is critical to ensure absolute quality in an organization’s supply chain. The integrity of the supply chain ensures product quality and helps to comply with applicable regulations and voluntary standards.

The book is structured into eight parts, and this handbook’s content is contributed individual subject matter experts. The journey toward a successful supplier quality management starts with a clear supply chain strategy and goals.

The first part clearly presents supplier life cycle, cost analysis, quality agreements and supplier deployment strategy and expectations.

The second part of the book explains supplier risk assessment and risk mitigation strategies. Several methods of risk ranking and filtering—including limitations of each method—are discussed.

The third part describes procedures for successful supplier selection and part, process or service qualification. Parts four and five detail the importance of a metrics approach and supplier audits for continuous supplier quality monitoring. The last parts detail supplier relationship management, business governance, ethics and compliance policies.

The concepts in the handbook are presented clearly for easy understanding and implementation. Overall, I found this handbook useful as a reference for every supplier quality professional.

Suresh Anaganti
Palmyra, PA

Personal Kanban: Mapping Work—Navigating Life

Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2011, 216 pp., $24.95 list (book)

This book is a personal self-help guide to effectively manage priorities in life using kanban techniques. By leveraging kanban best practices, the authors show how to effectively navigate life by mapping work.

The authors prescribe only two rules to personal kanban: visualize your work and limit your work in progress. They guide readers on how to chart the logical progression of life’s tasks—both big and small. By comparing complementary tools such as Stephen Covey's matrix for time management and his "Getting Things Done" approach, the authors illustrate how personal kanban helps drive flexibility in task progression. They also provide valuable tips on how to measure such progress in a meaningful way.

The multiple visuals and examples in the book drive the point home on the unassuming yet powerful outcomes of personal kanban. Bring out the white board, dry-erase pens and stick notes and you are on your way. This book makes for a light and interesting read, and helps readers accomplish priorities with appropriate time and resource management.

Anuradha Rangarajan
Harvard, IL

The Joy of Lean: Transforming, Leading and Sustaining a Culture of Engaged Team Performance

Dodd Starbird, ASQ Quality Press, 2016, 176 pp., $21 member, $35 list (book)

This book explores the critical role of leadership in creating and sustaining a culture of excellence using lean. If an organization wants to realize the long-term benefits of lean implementation, senior leadership must develop and articulate an inspirational purpose that drives a commitment for cultural transformation across the entire organization.

The book is written in a conversational style without any technical jargon. It is an easy read, and numerous case studies with real-world examples provide a good understanding of what it takes to build a lean culture for sustainable performance. The author makes a compelling case that—if done right—this framework can deliver long-term efficiency gains while also inspiring the team through higher engagement and ownership.

A good feature of this book is that it compiles a history of business theories on process and performance improvement in an appendix. It helps to quickly build an understanding of the best thinking in this field in an evolutionary manner without having to refer to multiple texts. Another appendix introduces the newly emerging concept of Agile product development. 

Although the case studies and examples presented in this book are useful, it also would be helpful to learn more about the failures, challenges and barriers that are usually experienced during any implementation. This book is well-suited for practitioners of lean, team leaders, mid-level managers and senior executives.

It is not a book about lean tools, rather it is a guide to implementing lean in a way that engages and empowers the organization. Those who already have a sound knowledge of lean tools and have a few years of experience applying these tools across a variety of projects will benefit the most from this book.

Naveen Agarwal
Jacksonville, FL

The Certified Six Sigma Black Belt Handbook

T.M. Kubiak and Donald W. Benbow, ASQ Quality Press, 2016, 946 pp., $99 member, $145 list (third edition, book)

Even though an extensive disclaimer for this text is clear in setting the tone as one of mastery and professionalism, Kubiak and Benbow present the material in an approachable and conversational manner.

A newly-certified Six Sigma Black Belt (BB) could probably read this book and not require much additional explanation or coaching to understand the concepts and tools presented, which is a complement of the style and content of the text itself. The book also maintains a pulse on core lean and Six Sigma concepts, consistently returning to a foundation on which to build all other ideas.

One of the high points of this handbook is its use of plain language to convey direction. Examples of how and when to apply specific tools are plentiful and detailed. Each chapter or section begins with a series of questions for a project team. In asking those questions, the text helps to prepare the team members’ mindset for the use of each tool.

The book also provides a unique perspective and examples of such tools, such as the stakeholder analysis, that may not have been provided throughout a BB’s previous training. The text is Minitab-centric, so that may require some adjustment before using this book on actual projects.

Another positive found in this text is its candor or realness. After a BB is certified and in a position of considerable value to the process-improvement element of an organization, the person may be more responsible for managing strategy during the deployment of Six Sigma rather than managing actual project teams. This book does the reader a favor by being open about how real-world corporate projects can be littered with political mines. It reminds BBs to focus on how the data speak and what to do with that information, even if that means providing alternative methods, coaching or constructive feedback to team members or employees who are not receptive to change.

 There also is a strong emphasis on statistics and analytics, as there should be, with a lot of the appropriate calculations and charting explained clearly and effectively. Each analytical method is prefaced with the intended use, and there are several examples provided
for each case. For those reasons and many more, this book would be a solid selection for a Six Sigma trainer.

Trevor Jordan
Orlando, FL

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