One of the many lessons I got from my dad growing up was to always use the right tool for the job. As we all know about dads, putting that tool back in the wrong place was usually a direct route to "the look." I get to visit many different paint application facilities in my work as a paint defect and systems analyst, and I understand the great pressure for quality that is common to all. The Quality Toolbox is an essential tool that you won't want to misplace.

Nancy Tague knows her quality tools. She has worked as a manager of performance improvement for Albemarle Corp., a billion dollar chemical manufacturer, and has put together the most comprehensive and understandable compendium of quality tools that I've seen. Ten years ago, The Quality Toolbox began with two questions: "What tools exist?" and "When are they used?" Fifty-two new tools and variations later, the second edition takes us from a Pareto chart to design of experiments on the journey toward quality.

There are several features that make this book unique and well worth having. The first is the "Tool Matrix," which lists all the tools in the book by how they are used - project planning, idea creation, process analysis and so on. Each tool is also indexed to show when they might be used in the quality improvement process.

The book is not merely a list of tools. There is a good discussion of Total Quality Management (TQM), ISO, Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing that will give the reader a good foundation in the history of quality management and each of these quality disciplines. For those needing to start a quality program from the ground up, there is an outlined 10 step quality improvement process that will help any facility get started.

As is the case in paint defect analysis, sometimes stories - case studies, if you will - are the best thing to illustrate your point. Nancy gives us several stories that include all the different meetings and what tools were used during the process.

The real strength of this book, though, is in the individual tools collection - there are more than 85. Each tool includes an easy to understand description, a discussion of when to use each tool, a detailed procedure for the effective use of the tool, an example, variations if any, and considerations that include tips and tricks, as well as warnings.

We sometimes get locked in to quality tools that have been used in our facilities for years without considering other tools that might be helpful. This book will help you better understand the tools you use and will also be a very valuable resource in finding new ones.

Title:The Quality Toolbox: 2nd Edition
Author: Nancy R. Tague
Publisher: ASQ Quality Press
Pages: 558
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