Paying lip service to the idea of quality control is not possible after you read this book, “Shifting Gears: Applying ISO 9000 Quality Management Principles to Trucking.” Written by Canadian Ward Warkentin, along with James DePillo and Dr. Robert Melone, the book is not a heavy, plodding read at all. In its 133 pages the authors offer eight key ISO quality principles and devote a chapter to each, applying them to various corners of the trucking environment from customers to drivers to suppliers. Case histories are employed in illustrating each management principle.

The eight principles are: customer focus; leadership; involvement of people; process approach; systems approach to management; continual improvement; factual approach to decision making; and mutually beneficial supplier relationships.

The book is not intended as a guide to ISO 9000 registration, rather as a guide to effective management of day-to-day challenges using ISO quality practices. For example, in addressing driver turnover, the authors write:

“A factual approach to decision making provides the necessary tools to measure and analyze key issues throughout the business and to take action based on fact… Begin with measuring your driver turnover to assess how well you company is currently performing. Also consider collecting data on the reasons drivers are leaving, through surveys, exit interviews, or driver meetings. Identifying the key reasons and assessing the root causes that contribute to these reasons enable carriers to take more proactive steps in reducing driver turnover.”

Warkentin, president and founder of Service Quality Associates, an ISO 9000 specialist, has been a consultant to the trucking industry for 15 years. DePillo is Director of Quality for Smith Transport in the U.S. Melone is a consultant with Service Quality and has 30 years of experience in education, the last decade in trucking.

The book is endorsed by the Truckload Carriers Association in the U.S. and was written with the truckload carrier in mind, though it’s applicable to trucking operations – indeed, any business — in general. Published by Thomson Delmar Learning, it costs US$64.95.

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