by Theodore B. Kinni

TPM Team Guide
edited by Kunio Shirose

Total productive maintenance is most widely practiced as a team activity, and this book is a working guide for those teams. For use by teams on the shop floor, this paperback breaks TPM activities into a simple, idea-per-page format designed to guide supervisors and teams in their initial efforts.

The book, a translation of the original Japanese edition published by the Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance, begins with quick reviews of basic principles for TPM and work teams. This coverage is sometimes spotty. For example, the book devotes four sentences to choosing team leaders, suggesting that teams choose a leader with strong leadership skills.

More useful are the chapters that guide teams in TPM problem identification, analysis and resolution. The book concisely describes common problem areas and advises teams on how to prioritize their activities. There are also several chapters of good tips for presenting team findings within and outside organizations. The book also provides descriptions of common analysis tools such as Pareto charts and affinity diagrams.

Billed as the companion to TPM for Operators, TPM Team Guide (Productivity Press, $25) is a useful supplement for teams just beginning their TPM training efforts. Those requiring more substantial information should look elsewhere.

The Faster Learning Organization
by Bob Guns

In what seems to be an inevitable development given the competitive nature of business, creating a learning organization is no longer good enough. Now, companies need to become "Faster Learning Organizations." An FLO "propels an organization toward the lead in its industry because it enhances strategic capability, strengthens the organization's ability to change, and improves performance," says consultant Bob Guns.

Guns offers several notable examples. One example is NASA's colossal effort to land a man on the moon. Another is Xerox and its response to Japan's competitive challenge in the 1980s. In both cases, the author finds that accelerated learning was the basis of their success.

Faster learning, like faster product development, is enhanced by concurrent efforts. Rather than a linear process, Guns recommends three parallel strategies in building an FLO. The first, surge strategy, concentrates on improved marketplace performance; the second, cultivate strategy, focuses on building employees' learning capacity; and the third, transform strategy, is used to create the process by which faster learning is practiced.

As the latest entry in the Warren Bennis Executive Briefing Series, this book is designed for fast reading and easy comprehension. Meant to be read in two hours, the book's key ideas are highlighted, examples are presented separately, and each short chapter includes action ideas and a summary. By and large, the format is effective-the layout itself speeds learning.

The Faster Learning Organization (Pfeiffer, $19.95) is clear and concise. It also offers a glimpse of what may be the next development in the evolution of the learning organization.

The Selection Solution
by William Byham, with Stephen Krauzer

Continuing in the tradition of his bestseller Zapp!, author and consultant William Byham again presents business lessons in a fictional style. This time, Byham and co-author Stephen Krauzer present Byham's employee-selection process, trademarked as Targeted Selection, in an entertaining parody of a hard-boiled mystery.

The authors' selection program is a series of solutions to common hiring problems. The seven solutions add up to a complete process and include the definition of job requirements, organizational fit, analysis of past behavior, a standard data-collection system, interviewing skills and simulations, and a team-based approach.

The team-based approach is one of the most useful elements of the Targeted Selection process. Furthermore, the characters in the story operate as a team, providing an example for work teams that need to learn selection skills.

Like Zapp!, the book's chapters are short and to-the-point. In addition, the authors' writing style is easily understood. The key points of the story are highlighted in "notebook" entries for fast reference.

The Selection Solution (DDI Press, $17.95) is a useful addition to Byham's previous books on empowerment. As more line managers and teams take on the responsibility for hiring new employees, the need for employee-selection skills becomes more widespread. This book is a fine way to introduce those employees to proven employee-selection techniques in an easily accessible format. Human resource professionals may learn a thing or two themselves.

Cycle Time Reduction
by Jerry Harbour

It is hard to accept the need for yet another volume on cycle time reduction, and this book isn't quite up to reversing that prejudice. However, author Jerry Harbour avoids writing pages upon pages of argument designed to promote the need for the book, concentrating instead on the "hows" of cycle time reduction.

Harbour relates the process of time reduction in existing cycles to a series of principles. These four principles, one per chapter, comprise the bulk of the book. The first, the elimination of waste, describes the process of eliminating nonvalue-added steps from a process. The second, resource availability, helps ensure that all the inputs needed in a process are delivered to the right place at the right time. The third, technology, helps organizations use information technology to increase process speed. And the fourth, continuous flow, helps organizations eliminate bottlenecks and maximize throughput.

The book loses focus after the principles are described, and the two final chapters appear to have been added on without much thought. There is a short, not-very-well-organized chapter devoted to cross-functional teams and a longer chapter summarizing activity-based design for new processes that might have better served as the basis for another book.

The thinking in Cycle Time Reduction (Quality Resources, $29.95) is not exactly unique. Nevertheless, Harbour keeps his presentation on track, leaving readers with a basic understanding of the subject and a handful of useful tools.


QS-9000 Pioneers by Subir Chowdhury and Ken Zimmer
(Irwin, 288 pages, $50)
Quality professionals in the automotive supply industry should find this collection of QS-9000 implementation case studies particularly timely. The studies are contributed by managers of QS-9000-registered companies and include first-hand accounts of the registration process.

Tools for Team Excellence by Gregory Huszczo
(Davies-Black, 230 pages, $25.95)
This handbook takes a process-based approach to team building. The book centers on the seven key components of successful teams, including shared direction, skills and education, clearly defined roles, process orientation, interpersonal skills and mutual respect, active reinforcement and external support.

Reliability Engineering by Elsayed A. Elsayed
(Addison-Wesley, 737 pages, $64.51)
Elsayed offers a comprehensive guide for building reliability into products during the development process. Each chapter in the detailed text includes problems and case studies for testing comprehension and Windows-based reliability analysis software.

Keeping Score by Mark Graham Brown
(Quality Resources, 198 pages, $29.95)
Using Kaplan and Norton's balanced scorecard concept and the Baldrige criteria, Brown offers a metrics-development process designed to ensure that companies measure their most critical success factors correctly. Economical value-added, customer-satisfaction, quality, process and employee-satisfaction measures make up the core of this process.

Synchronicity by Joseph Jaworski
(Berrett-Koehler, 210 pages, $24.95)
Jaworski uses the intimate details of his life to illustrate the sometimes puzzling world of leadership. He suggests that true leadership entails setting "the stage on which predictable miracles, synchronistic in nature, can-and do-occur."

Teams in Government by Jerry Koehler and Joseph Pankowski
(St. Lucie Press, 172 pages, $29.95)
In this introduction to teams and TQM, aimed at government organizations, the authors present a basic overview of quality principles, the elements of teams, and tools and techniques for process improvement. A 26-phase process offers a generic improvement road map to readers.