Compelling Statistics Article in June Issue

I appreciate the clear, concise writing by Necip Doganaksoy, Gerald Hahn and William Meeker in the June 2002 issue. Their article, "Reliability Analysis by Failure Mode" (p. 47), addresses an important but not widely known area of quality. The authors demonstrate the power of focused experimentation designed to answer a specific question in a familiar context.

In just a few pages they comprehensively cover the nature of the problem, the development of the strategy and the choice of tactics that ultimately lead to a clear decision. Their presentation and explanation of the data and the analysis of a numerical example that relies mostly on special purpose plots make this kind of work approachable to many potential adopters. The authors not only explain how to go about conducting a study like this, they explain why in a compelling way.

Statistical training and technical services
SAS Institute
Wayne, PA


Munich Airport Was First To Be Certified

I read Khurram Nawaz's "Emerging Sectors" article, "Quality in Air Terminal Ground Handling" (June 2002, p. 84), and want to point out that GlobalCert GmbH has already achieved ISO 9001:1994 certification of its ground operations:

  • The Munich Airport became certified in 1995 and 1998.

  • The Nuremberg Airport became certified in 1996.

  • The Hanover Airport became certified in 1997.

Meanwhile, the Munich Airport has developed a quality management system, and since February 2002, it has achieved its certificates according to ISO 9001:2002.

I believe the ground operations unit at the Munich Airport was the first worldwide organization to achieve certification through GlobalCert GmbH.

GlobalCert GmbH
Gosheim, Germany


Company Should Be Looking for Root Cause

Has Sherri Gallagher, an ASQ member, ever heard of root cause ("5 Steps to Savings," "One Good Idea," June 2002, p. 120)?

Why did those employees in her example feel so insecure they needed to squirrel away four boxes of pens and 18 6-inch calipers? What was the process for getting replacements prior to the cleanup? Did it change after the cleanup? What kind of calibration and certification system was in place to drop 18 calipers out of the system?

Gallagher's company appears to justify its fees and existence by showing before and after photos, but it never tends to the root cause of a company's problem with morale and efficiency.

Her company's unsubtle message says, "We (the management) fired a bunch of folks to save costs. You survivors have to work harder to take up the slack. The thrust of our program will be getting you to have clean desktops. This means we will limit your number of personal mementos despite the fact you have to work longer hours away from your family. We will not fix any of the basic flaws in our business system. We hold you responsible for our problems because you didn't keep a neat workplace."

The only thing Gallagher is evaluating is how well folks conform to her plan, not whether her plan is worthwhile. She writes, "Do some morale building. Give people the opportunity to have some control over their work environment." What a misnomer.

Quality manager
EAD Aerospace
Buffalo Grove, IL


Was ISO 9001:2000 Misquoted in May Article?

Terry Vavra misquotes sections 0.1 and 8.2.1 in his interesting and informative article "ISO 9001:2000 and Customer Satisfaction" in the May 2002 issue (p. 69). I wonder if this was done deliberately to elaborate on the actual test. If so, I think an explanation is in order. Or maybe he was looking at a different version of the standard that I do not have.

Ratliff & Associates


I want to thank both Terry Vavra and the authors of "Don't Measure Customer Satisfaction," David C. Swaddling and Charles Miller (May 2002, p. 62), for advancing the understanding of the International Organization for Standardization's, known as ISO, standards with thoughtful articles. It is important to note, however, the standard quoted in Vavra's article was from the draft standard, not the final standard, and was misleading to readers.

The draft standard of 8.2.1 required companies to monitor "customer satisfaction and/or dissatisfaction." By contrast, the final version requires companies to monitor "customer perception as to whether the organization has fulfilled customer requirements." It is important for readers to understand the distinction.

The use of the term "customer perception" indicates a broader understanding of the requirements than the more traditional "satisfaction." Swaddling and Miller do an admirable job of delineating the difference. Customer satisfaction is traditionally limited to asking your current customers what they thought of past transactions. Managers are becoming increasingly skeptical about the correlation between customer satisfaction, narrowly defined, and key strategic outcomes, such as repeat purchase, growth potential and overall revenue.

On the other hand, "customer perception" looks to the future behaviors of both current and prospective customers. Managers have found this more useful when making key strategic decisions with bottom-line consequences.

Together, comprehensive assessments of performance, satisfaction, loyalty, competitiveness and share encompass the market intelligence business managers need to make key decisions when managing their business to improve both top-line and bottom-line results.

Quality is broadening from specifications to strategy and is, therefore, becoming even more valuable to the companies we serve.

Managing director
GfK Isometric Solutions

Author's Response: My compliments to Tom Ratliff and Rob Reul for doing a very careful reading of my article. There are two inaccuracies in my article. First, the quote from section 0.1 on p. 70 is mislabeled. The quoted section should be labeled "section 1.1."

The second inaccuracy is my misquote of section 8.2.1. I excerpted the article from my ASQ Quality Press book Customer Satisfaction Measurement Simplified, which was written during the final revisions to the standard. While we caught the revision in the book's manuscript, I unfortunately overlooked the wording change in the text for this article.

I apologize to readers; the misquote is innocent and happily does not contradict the spirit of the final wording of that section of the standard. However, the difference has obviously caused some to ponder over my intentions.

Marketing Metrics
Paramus, NJ


Which Improvement Principles To Use

Sandford Liebesman's "Standards Outlook" column "Add Value to ISO 9001:2000 Audits" (May 2002, p. 104) was well-written and will greatly help us consult clients who do not have a business or managerial mind-set. The article presents a precise and visual interpretation of the standard's requirements by identifying which improvement principles apply best to various clauses.

As we work with an organization known for its bureaucracy that is presently shifting its entire paradigm, the pairing and multiple pairing of clauses with improvement principles will help internal quality auditing practices, including checklists, interviews and annual auditing plans. It appears, by no coincidence, clauses not covered under the various improvement principles identified by Liebesman deal with the infrastructure, monitoring and measurement of services, and the six procedures required by the ISO 9001:2000 standard.

In short, using this approach to internal auditing will add value and help guide a government organization into the ISO 9000 system.

ISO 9000 quality specialist
Burlington, MA


James Bossert's name was misspelled in the acknowledgments
following the July 2002 "Quality Glossary" (p. 43).

Also, "CQM" was mistakenly used as an abbreviation for certified quality manager in the glossary. We regret the errors.

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