Have you ever wondered what’s on the bookshelf in a supplier quality management company? Take a peek! We asked our staff members what they think are the best books on quality management and here’re what they chose:

  1. Poorly Made in China: An Insider’s Account of the Tactics Behind China’s Production Game By Paul Midler

This is an excellent book on understanding basic supplier behaviour in China. Paul Midler moved to China in 2001 to work as a consultant for Western companies who want to use Chinese suppliers. His book delves into the world of Chinese manufacturing and he investigates why quality is so poor in China. He shows that there is a struggle between Chinese manufacturers and American companies – Chinese companies want to save money by reducing specifications whereas American companies always want to get higher levels of quality at reasonable prices. This creates a situation where the production cycle is the opposite of the model of continuous improvement. After resolving the initial production problems and making products that match specifications, the factory then turns to cutting costs, often through a series of ‘continual product debasements’ as he says. Crucially, he points out that manufacturers do know what’s wrong with their product, but they don’t let on to their customers, which means that the customer is left guessing where corners may have been cut.

  1. 42 Rules for Sourcing and Manufacturing in China: A Practical Handbook for Doing Business in China, Special Economic Zones, Factory Tours and Manufacturing Quality (2nd Edition) By Rosemary Coates

‘When you come to China, expect the unexpected’. That’s one of the many wisdoms in Rosemary Coates’ book about sourcing and manufacturing in China. Written in a crisp, easily accessible manner, Rosemary sets out 42 rules on how to work effectively with Chinese suppliers. One aspect that readers will appreciate is that she discusses Chinese etiquette and business customs at length, pointing out simple things like the right way to accept business cards and respond to dinner invitations.

  1. Juran’s Quality Handbook (7th Edition) by Joseph Juran

It may have been written over 50 years ago but Dr. Juran’s book is still one of the most important texts on quality management. Dr. Juran was one of the pioneers in the field and introduced many key concepts we use today, like his ‘Quality Trilogy’ – quality planning, quality control, and quality improvement. Dr. Juran also holds a special place for us because we invited him to deliver training sessions in Singapore. The handbook, edited by the Juran Institute’s current CEO Joseph Defeo,  is written for all those who are involved with the quality of products, services and products, and covers a wide range of topics on implementing quality practices throughout an organization, not just on the manufacturing floor. An absolute must-have.

  1. Automation Unplugged by Jim Pinto

Jim Pinto is an entrepreneur, angel investor, speaker, writer, technology futurist and author. In a time when industrial automation is one of the biggest topics, his book Automation Unplugged provides useful commentary on negotiating the business, marketing, sales, and quality management challenges that are posed by globalization and industrial automation. He points out that to compete successfully against Chinese manufacturers who have very low wages, continually increasing manufacturing prowess, high technology, and close proximity to raw materials, American companies must come up with an entirely new business model to survive. He also suggests that the new leaders in industrial automation are not good engineers, marketers, sales people, or manufacturing and quality experts. They are teams that provide a synthesis of all these skills.

  1. Supplier Relationship Management: Unlocking the Hidden Value in Your Supply Base By Jonathan O’Brien

Successful supplier relationship management matters, now more than ever, in achieving your production outcomes. Even if you are a seasoned professional in supplier management and procurement, this is a great book to have on hand so that you can get ideas on how to drive improvements with your suppliers and maximise their value. Jonathon adopts an extremely systematic approach, beginning first with supplier segmentation and developing performance management measures, to methods for supplier improvement, development, innovation, and collaboration.  He introduces many techniques and tools you can use, such as his ‘5A Strategic Collaborative Relationship’ method – a five-stage process for developing a collaboration process with a supplier.