Industrial Engineer Engineering and Management Solutions at Work

December 2011    |    Volume: 43    |    Number: 12

The member magazine of the Institute of Industrial Engineers

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Great expectations

Besides cookies, treats and maybe a new skateboard, drop a little knowledge into your IE’s stocking this winter

Compiled by Michael Hughes

Leveraging Lean In Healthcare

By Charles Protzman, Dr. George Mayzell and Joyce Kerpchar

This reference guide is divided into three main parts: a definition and history of lean, descriptions and explanations about how to apply lean tools, and explanations about how to implement lean throughout healthcare. Case studies from the real world show how the tools are used and detail guidance for bringing lean into hospitals. These cases include examples from the emergency department, surgical services, nutritional services, labs, outpatient clinics and other healthcare actors.

CRC Press, $74.95

Service Science

By Mark S. Daskin

Unless you live in the woods in a hut made from limbs and weeds, you use services virtually every waking – and nonwaking – moment. In the U.S., that industry has more than doubled as a percentage of gross domestic product. So it makes sense to optimize the service industry to minimize interminable lines and other frustrations. Queuing theory, inventory decisions, resource allocation and logistics, among other industrial engineering specialties, can be key to continuous improvement in the service sector. Service Science shows how to integrate such methodologies into this growing industry.

Wiley, $130

The Zappos Experience

By Joseph A. Michelli

Stories about Zappos.com seem to put the online retailer into the “You can’t be serious” category. Cupcake competitions, office conga lines and jungle office décor don’t match up with the buttoned-up business set – be it Wall Street or Main Street. But this atmosphere has unleashed employee creativity, innovation and concern for the customer. Repeat customers flock to buy more goods and sing praises to their friends. Tapping into Zappos.com’s leadership principles and core values could pay dividends in your line of work.

McGraw-Hill Professional, $25

Rescue the Problem Project

By Todd C. Williams

Rescuing any “red status” project involves the simple, but often difficult, task of figuring out what went wrong in the first place. Since 65 percent of projects fail to meet their goals, managers obviously need to keep looking. Todd C. Williams delves into a wide variety of unacceptable and “shambolic” situations to help everyone involved – project manager, customer, sponsor, executive or individual – find the often missing link of success. The field-tested project recovery process could turn around any project on the brink of disaster.

AMACOM, $32.95

Six Sigma for Sustainability

By Thomas McCarty, Michael Jordan and Daniel Probst

What does process variation have to do with carbon emissions? Plenty, according to these black belts and LEED-accredited professionals. The path to environmentally sound business practices can be led by typical DMAIC structures like program governance, project charters, measurement systems, risk assessment and process design support. Six Sigma tools can reduce a company’s carbon footprint, save energy, recycle materials, trim water use and solve financial woes. In an era where CEOs are launching sustainability programs to save money and cultivate a better image, Six Sigma can develop a winner.

McGraw-Hill Professional, $50

Design for Operational Excellence

By Kevin J. Duggan

For industrial engineers, it’s all about the processes. But sometimes they can get caught in the loop of improving, sustaining, improving, sustaining and then doing some more. Kanban and design of experiments, rather than growing the business, become the goal. Kevin Duggan turns this on its head, encouraging you to decide on a destination, and then design the processes that will reach those goals. Instead of being told a company vision, employees are taught how to reach the company’s destination.

McGraw-Hill Professional, $35

Beyond the Lean Revolution

By Deborah J. Nightingale and Jayakanth Srinivasan

During the recent recession, many businesses used lean methodology to cut costs while maintaining or improving quality. That limited approach could preclude paying attention to the real drivers of the future: strategic objectives, performance and value creation. Deborah J. Nightingale and Jayakanth Srinivasan align classical lean thinking to a companywide approach to change that makes for a transformation journey to a secure and profitable future. They offer executives and middle managers seven principles to transform their enterprise.

AMACOM, $34.95

A Manager's Guide to Virtual Teams

By Yael Zofi

Globalization and technology have made virtual teams the new face of teamwork in business. But as staffing, rent and office supply costs decrease, managers face the challenge of establishing rapport with a workforce that spreads across continents into an infinite number of cultures. Yael Zofi draws on her more than 20 years of global work and extensive interviews to devise a virtual roadmap for team managers who want to make nearly unlimited access to global talent gel in reality. Learn how to develop trust, defuse conflicts and manage deliverables.

AMACOM, $27.95

How to Be Good at Performance Appraisals

By Dick Grote

While some debate the necessity of performance appraisals, this process is a big part of every manager’s job. Dick Grote maintains that most people involved in a shoddy performance appraisal process have not been taught how to use the procedure to benefit themselves and their people. For example, most appraisals take a balanced approach, using the meetings to point out an employee’s strengths and weaknesses. That approach has failed consistently and should be replaced by one that focuses on strengths and successes – unless you’re dealing with a marginal performer.

Harvard Business Review Press, $19.95

Optimizing Student Learning

By Betty Ziskovsky and Joe Ziskovsky

Education reform has been around for decades. But while more money is poured into the system, results don’t seem to be improving much, if at all. Perhaps it’s time to, as this book’s subtitle says, take “a lean systems approach to improving K-12 education.” The book follows a seventh-grade teacher and her lean mentor as they use lean principles to revamp a world geography course. Load leveling, standard work and continuous improvement apply. After all, as the book states, “Education is a system of processes revolving around the delivery of instructional services.”

ASQ Quality Press, $32