1. STATISTICAL METHODS FOR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT, Hitoshi Kume, Association for Overseas Technical Scholarship, ISBN 4-906224-34-2 C0034, 1985 (1st published) – Good basic book on the methods of quality improvement. We handed out thousands of these at FPL. Has one of the best descriptions of process improvement steps wrapped up into the QC Story (Chapter 10).

2. OUT OF THE CRISIS, W. Edwards Deming, MIT Center for Advanced Engineering Study, ISBN 0-911379-01-0, 1991 (14th Printing) – Still probably the best overall treatment of the late Dr. Deming’s philosophy and practice. Get used to clipped sentences and other funny writing habits, though. It’s best to warm up to Deming by reading the next reference first.

3. DEMING MANAGEMENT AT WORK, Mary Walton, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, ISBN 0-399-13557-X, 1990 – Well, it’s not all Deming management at work (FPL is listed as an example, but we didn’t study under Deming), but it’s still chock full of examples of how people apply process improvement and control, plus a gentle introduction into Dr. Deming’s thinking. Very readable.

4. INTRODUCTION TO QUALITY CONTROL, Kaoru Ishikawa, 3A Corporation, ISBN 4-906224-61-X C0034, 1990 – This is our personal quality bible. It expands on his earlier work “What is TQC, the Japanese Way.” This book is a must have, although you have to read it carefully. We find more in one paragraph of Ishikawa’s book than we do in most American management gurus’ entire books (you gurus know who you are!). We’ve seen companies that are 10 years into their quality transformations and have still not gone beyond this “Introduction. “

5. THE BLACK BELT MANUAL, John J. O’Neill Jr., Sigma Quality Management, 2003 – OK, we can’t help but plug our own book. This tremendous tome, written over a 13 year journey (and continually updated) and includes “some” of our favorite tools (a number of which are described in this manual – see, you should have bought the Black Belt Manual first).

6. COMPANY-WIDE TOTAL QUALITY CONTROL, Shigeru Mizuno, Asian Productivity Organization, ISBN 92-833-1100-0, 1989 – Sometimes, when we can’t quite figure out what Ishikawa is trying to say, Mizuno helps clear it up with a different, sometimes simpler approach. We keep them side by side on our bookshelf. Mizuno is also a smaller book, easier to pack in a briefcase for airplane reading.

7. JURAN’S QUALITY CONTROL HANDBOOK, J. M. Juran, Editor-in-Chief, McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, ISBN 0-07-033176-6, 4th Edition, 1988 – This is the sledgehammer of Quality books. Has just about every quality tool known to carbon-based life forms. Every organization needs to have at least one copy; if only to look like you’re “doing quality.” No, seriously, there’s a lot of good stuff here. The only problem with this book is its lack of discrimination. For example, control charts and Pre-Control are presented as equal methods. No judgment or critique of the two methods is offered (and there should be!!).