You gotta love a book that includes dialogue like this: "Marketing has a spy in the Krote warehouse in the M93 galaxy. He reported that shipments are trickling in at the usual pace, but that the quality is worse than usual and no one is buying the product."
Lean 9001: Battle for the Arctic Rose will never make the New York Times bestseller list. But the 300-page book just might become required reading wherever "lean" manufacturing and ISO 9001 quality standards are on the business agenda.
The sci-fi novel, published by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, is a unique tool for teaching the basics of lean and ISO 9001. Certified engineers and quality experts John Guderian and Timothy Renaud tell the tale of intergalactic competition for the rare Arctic Rose tree in the year 7278. Competitors take different approaches to implementing the "ancient" practices of lean and ISO 9001, with varying degrees of success.
But it's not all ray guns and glory. One of SME's aims in publishing this intergalactic romp, say the authors in a preface, was to show people who might not take a formal training course or read a textbook the importance of putting a quality program in place before implementing lean practices. Although there's plenty of goofy humor and action that's reminiscent of old "Star Trek" episodes, readers will learn how ISO 9001 standards support lean operations, and how decisions about quality, customer satisfaction, and process management affect a company's overall success.
Chapter titles range from the intriguing ("The Serpentoleum Consulting Company" and "Maybe They'll Just Take Your Eyes") to the obviously educational ("Assessing Process Maturity Level" and "Improved Purchasing Process"). But don't let the chapter titles or the occasional process flow chart deter you; the futuristic story line and humorous dialogue continue throughout the book.
Lean 9001: Battle for the Arctic Rose is available for $29 from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, either by ordering online at www.sme.org or by calling (800) 733-4763.