Applied Statistics Manual: A Guide to Improving and Sustaining Quality With Minitab

Matthew A. Barsalou and Joel Smith, ASQ Quality Press, 2018, 444 pp., $60 member, $99 list (book).

Data-driven decision making using software commonly is used to improve and sustain quality. In quality engineering and management, making decisions about quality by performing statistical analysis is the norm. This book provides a clear and concise overview of basic and advanced statistical tools. Instead of focusing on abstruse theory related to statistics, this book focuses on information that can be applied to solve real-world problems, which is critical to the practitioner’s success.

Using Minitab for data analysis is presented. Where appropriate, however, calculations without the use of software also are presented. In addition to chapters on statistical tools, there also are chapters on classical applications of statistics to quality improvement such as process capability and statistical process control. Other topics covered include sampling methods, confidence intervals, sample size calculations and parametric and nonparametric tests. Chapters 11 through 16 present classical applications of statistics to quality improvement.

The book is nonintimidating to the non-statistician and practitioner without sacrificing aspects of statistical rigor. Throughout the book, Minitab screens are presented showing where the data should be entered and what outputs are derived, accompanied by salient aspects of the output interpretation.

The book is organized so readers can jump to the section of interest and after reading it, apply the concepts to solve problems and improve quality. It is a valuable addition to every quality professional’s library, especially quality engineers and quality managers, and is a valuable resource for those taking ASQ certification exams.

Rangarajan Parthasarathy,
Harvard, IL

A First Course in Quality Engineering: Integrating Statistical and Management Methods of Quality

K.S. Krishnamoorthi, V. Ram Krishnamoorthi and Arunkumar Pennathur, CRC Press, 2018, 626 pp., $137.62 list (book).

Statistical analysis and management strategies might not seem inspirational, but this book serves as an approachable guide for leaders. The book strongly emphasizes why teams should perform specific activities as a means to process control or discovery of process improvement. This helps build stronger teams by teaching and reiterating lessons found in the origins of lean and Six Sigma.

The first five chapters focus on different tools and methods used to determine a process’s capability, control and results, and provide a thorough overview of basic and complex statistical methods and graphical representations from process data. There is a strong explanation and demonstration of planning and design of quality, as well as creating processes that are in control. The reader learns different ways of gauging and stratifying data, such as using testing, sampling and surveys. These tools can be used in conjunction with the description, examination and display of the process itself. Further explanation of process mapping and graphical representation connects theory and practice.

The next several chapters focus on the management and team-oriented strategies used to form and sustain strong teams. According to the authors, good leadership is a result of having good values, which translates to customer appreciation via a process that delivers a consistent product. Everything matters, and everything is connected. The authors stress the importance of “walking the talk,” which is a strong foundation that exemplifies the values that make up a high-functioning team.

The book also has practice questions and answers for each chapter. Beginners and seasoned practitioners can read the findings in each chapter and learn which tools to use to solve the practice problems. This text also can be used to prepare for several quality and Six Sigma certification exams.

Trevor Jordan,
Orlando, FL

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