Baldrige in Plain English, 2019-2020: Understanding Performance Excellence

John Vinyard, ASQ Quality Press, 2019, 160 pp., $24 member, $40 list (book).

This book is written as a foundation for understanding the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. It introduces the Baldrige criteria and explains Baldrige as a tool set for managing organizations and building excellence. It’s a high-utility reference for people just starting to work with the Baldrige philosophy, criteria, tools and resources.

Each section of the book includes an introduction to the basics of the section’s topic before moving into specifics about accomplishing outcomes of the criteria. Ideas and insights are provided on how to accomplish outcomes, as well as a common-sense description of what the criteria address and outcomes to achieve. The explanations are a how-to discussion on what the criteria actually mean and what some organizations do to build success.

New and experienced users will get a better understanding of the Baldrige criteria, background and meaning through insights, ideas and operational guidelines for large and small organizations, businesses and public service organizations. Key points and topics for consideration by organizational leaders also are included.

Also addressed are an organization’s leadership, strategies for organizational development and administration, practices for engaging customers and meeting their expectations, measuring and analyzing operations and outcomes, and workforce environment and engagement.

The book is a discussion starter about actions that will deliver results, and can be used as a reference for workshops or courses on Baldrige strategies, procedures and the award, as well as managing an organization striving to achieve and maintain performance excellence.

This is a recommended resource for leaders of organizations focused on service, outcomes and continuous improvement.

Gerald R. Brong, Ellensburg, WA

Statistical Process Control, seventh edition

John Oakland and Robert Oakland, Routledge, 2018, 446 pp., $46.47 list (book).

Understanding the sources and types of variation that exist in processes, and gaining the knowledge and required competency to control them has been—and still is—of great interest to organizations that provide products or services that reduce waste and the associated costs.

Applying statistical process control (SPC) techniques is considered an integral part of any initiative aimed at producing or providing products and services with improved quality and reduced cost. If applied effectively, these techniques enable an organization to gain a competitive advantage and increase market share. This book assists organizations in achieving those goals.

The book covers extensively the basic elements of SPC, including understanding what constitutes a process, recognizing and capturing the data supporting the existence of process variation, applying tools to eliminate variation and control the processes, sustaining and managing process capability, and applying process improvement techniques.

Each of the book’s 15 chapters includes objectives, highlights, references, further reading and discussion questions. Also provided are examples of real-life cases of applying SPC techniques and the worked examples to further clarify the theoretical concepts and help readers confirm their understanding.

What distinguishes this book from other SPC publications is its comprehensive coverage of the following management practices and tools necessary to effectively implement SPC: process problem solving and improvements, managing out-of-control processes, designing the SPC system, Six Sigma process quality and implementing SPC. As an added benefit, readers can download Excel spreadsheets for some tables found in chapters three through nine from the Routledge website.

Not only is this book a valuable resource to individuals tasked or involved with process improvement initiatives, but it also can be used as a textbook on SPC in science, engineering and technology.

Herzl Marouni, Houston

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