A Practical Field Guide for ISO 14001:2015

Erik Myhrberg and Brandon Myhrberg, ASQ Quality Press, 2017, 104 pp., $40 member, $60 list (book).

This book is a field guide that will help you transition from ISO 14001:2004 to ISO 14001:2015, and help you develop an ISO 14001 environmental management system (EMS) from scratch. For each clause in the standard, the book contains a brief explanation of the clause followed by what documentation is required, suggestions for internal audit questions, guidelines for management and a flowchart summarizing the key aspects. A matrix is provided that shows where ISO 14001:2004 sub-clause requirements appear in ISO 14001:2015.

Because ISO 14001: 2015 continues to view environmental standards as part of an organization's ability to consistently deliver products that meet customer specifications, the book takes this into consideration while providing readers with a consistent approach to implementing an ISO 14001:2015 EMS.

The book is divided into seven sections covering clauses four through 10. The important aspects of each clause are stated succinctly with actionable information. The flowcharts are helpful in providing a quick-and-easy summery of the key requirements.

Such a presentation format should help practitioners quickly understand what actions must be taken to follow the standard without spending too much time reading verbose text. This should be helpful for organizations trying to establish compliance with the standard starting from scratch.

For organizations transitioning from the 2004, this book provides appropriate guidance on what is different and thus how to make the needed changes to enable an efficient transition.

This book is well written with the practitioner in mind. Therefore, it should find a place on the bookshelf of every quality professional involved in the implementation of ISO 14001. In addition, this book will serve as a valuable resource for quality professionals and students preparing for various certification exams.

Rangarajan Parthasarathy
Harvard, IL

Succeeding With Senior Management: Getting the Right Support at the Right Time for Your Project

G. Michael Campbell, Amacom, 2017, 224 pp., $24.95 (book).

The goal of this book is to provide project managers with clear guidelines gained from longtime real-life experiences on effective methods and tactics for gaining support from senior management crucial to project success. The book focuses on how project managers should use communication methods beyond what is formally defined as agreed-upon protocols outlined in project communication plans.

The book is organized into 22 chapters. Chapter one covers the importance of project managers’ understanding the importance of engaging the executive sponsors throughout the project life cycle. Typically, executives’ time and efforts are mostly focused on an organization’s overall success rather than the success of any specific project. It is project manager's responsibility to persuade sponsors to divert some of their time to projects ensuring that they have provided them with all pertinent information efficiently and effectively.

The reader also is reminded that for project managers, the political landscape is one of the most challenging factors while managing a project, and they must be aware of office politics and be prepared to mitigate the risks they introduce. Each chapter ends with a list of useful points to be remembered.

This book provides project managers with refreshing approaches and powerful tools they can use to build relationships and trust with project sponsors and champions to steer their projects to success and be recognized as an asset to their organization.

Herzl Marouni

The Standardized Work Field Guide

Timothy D. Martin, Jeffrey T. Bell and Scott A. Martin, CRC Press, 2016, 182 pp., $51.95 (book).

In the world of quality improvement, the tool of standardized work has been borrowed from the Toyota Production System and applied to many other business environments. These include manufacturing, as well as the service sector. The principle of the tool is that standardizing best work practices forms a baseline for kaizen. New, improved standards become the baseline for even further improvements, exemplifying a process that is never-ending.

Authors Martin and Bell are joined by freelance artist Scott A. Martin in creating a profusely illustrated field guide to standardized work that readers can use on a typical work floor (gemba). The purpose of this book is to help readers work through and get used to the methods, tools and concepts of standardized work so they can make better use of the tools, as well as adapt the techniques to other applications as needed. The extensive artistic drawings and illustrations add a bit of humor that make the journey through standardized work a little more lighthearted, and occasionally even funny.

While standardized work is applicable in all industries, the authors primarily feature manufacturing assembly examples of various aspects that surround standardized work tools and techniques. They also break down many items into smaller steps to more easily follow the logic used to proceed from step to step. The illustrations help connect the concepts and principles of the tools with readers interested in learning how to sketch out an approach to using the tools in their own organization.

This work provides an introductory primer on standardized work that can help readers better understand these principles and how these concepts can assist any business with enhancing a competitive edge. The work also stands on the shoulders of Frederick Winslow Taylor and other giants of scientific management whose ground-breaking themes in the late 1800s–early 1900s of improving economic efficiency and labor productivity, and of applying science to the engineering of processes and management continue to influence worldwide industrial engineering.

Dale Farris
Groves, TX

Raise Your Team’s Employee Engagement Score: A Manager’s Guide

Richard P. Finnegan, Amacom, 2017, 128 pp., $14.95 (book).

If you have ever asked yourself whether there was something you could do to improve your employee performance score or if you have ever thought about ways to improve your team’s level of engagement, this is the right book for you. There is no doubt that employee engagement affects an organization's business metrics, hence most organizations survey their employees at least annually to assess employee performance and engagement. Often, employees get a post-assessment score and a request to submit plans to raise the score. Year after year, many employees, including myself, wonder whether this scoring is just another workplace formality or whether there is something they can do to boost their score. I found the answer in this book. The author explains the importance of engagement scoring and different ways to improve employee engagement scores.

The book is organized into 12 short chapters. The author stresses the importance of hiring the best people by expanding recruiting pools and suggesting recruiting through social media. The author explains the importance of employee value propositions and guidelines to improve them. Also included are the benefits of recruiting employees who self-engage and tips for screening for engagement competency. Building employee trust is crucial for employee retention. The author clearly describes the importance of stay interviews and one-on-one employee engagement solutions, which help build employee trust.

As a CEO of a small biotech research organization, I found this book useful for planning employee engagement goals, and programs to improve my own employee performance and engagement. The book is well written and easy to understand. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the importance of employee engagement.

Suresh Anaganti
Palmyra, PA

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