Help Out Those Who Keep You Employed

I just read Stephen George's article "How To Speak the Language of Senior Management" (May 2003, p. 30). Wow! What a concept! Instead of trying to get senior management to subscribe to the quality professional's agenda, the quality professional steps on board with senior management to add value to senior management's agenda.

Senior managers keep me employed, so why wouldn't I want to support them in accomplishing their strategic goals? There doesn't need to be any animosity or head butting--we just need to use our quality toolbag and expertise to help managers do what they do best.

If George were to develop an in-depth training session, I would be the first to enroll.

Ryder Transportation Management
Ft. Worth, TX

Speaking Management's Lingo Is Not Sufficient

The oft repeated theme of how to speak the language of senior management keeps coming up because people who heed it, as conventionally expressed, still don't get their desired influence over management. To make a meaningful change in our outcomes, we've got to understand that speaking management's lingo alone is not sufficient.

We've got to learn to think like management. Only then will using the words not backfire by simply revealing our pretentious dearth of substance.

Go Pro Management
Needham, MA

Financial Terms Weren't Thoroughly Explained

Thank you for publishing Stephen George's article. Learning how to speak in financial terms is a new challenge for all quality professionals.

I was disappointed, however, that the financial terms used in the article were not explained. It's easy to suggest we know how to speak the language, but why not help us learn it?

I would have liked to see an article following this one written by someone who works in the financial field to help explain the terminology and offer concrete examples and suggestions on how to translate customer satisfaction into revenue.

Great first step, but a follow-up would be very welcome!

Philips Medical Systems North America
Bothell, WA

Don't Tiptoe Around Management

I can't decide if you are trying to portray Oliver Warbucks or the godfather on the cover of the May 2003 issue. I find the concept "learn the executive's language" a code for "don't shatter management's rose colored glasses!"

I was pleased to see Mike Crossen's "Mr. Pareto Head" cartoon (p. 14) in the same issue. It took the spin off all this catering to top management. Executives need to hear the truth about the company's status--positive and negative. Quality professionals have had to do this for years, and the companies that have survived are the ones with managers who listened, no matter how painful it was.

Ecowater Systems
Woodbury, MN

May Articles Were Right on Target

Peter E. Pylipow's article "My Supplier's Capability Is What?" (May 2003, p. 60) was excellent. It was written in a clear and entertaining style. The article illustrates the desired behaviors, common pitfalls, communication needs and execution level nuances of implementing a quality initiative.

The subject matter was also on target. Often quality practices become so mechanized we lose track of the application constraints. I will be forwarding this article to many people in my organization. Kudos to the author!

Joseph G. Voelkel and Christopher Chapman's "Frontiers of Quality" column in the same issue ("Value Stream Mapping," p. 65) was also right on target. The credibility of Six Sigma is severely undermined when some operations assign "pet peeve" projects to beginning Six Sigma practitioners. The low bang for the buck or utter nonimplementability of these projects undermines both the individual and the Six Sigma roll out.

Wyeth Pharmaceuticals
Carolina, Puerto Rico

Each Cavity Is Not Always A Distinct Population

Peter E. Pylipow's article brings up a topic that's commonly misunderstood throughout industry. Many people want to view each cavity in a multicavity injection molding tool as a distinct population, but this is not always the case.

A separation of cavity distributions such as that shown in the article, due to either tool steel variation or fill variation, will dramatically reduce the overall capability of the molding process stream. The parts from each of the cavities are generally affected by melt temperature, fill speed, pressures and cooling rate. In other words, the process variables are going to move the cavity distributions together one way or another.

When the lower distribution moves away from the lower specification limit and toward the center due to processing variation, the upper distribution moves away from the center and toward the upper specification limit. To look at each cavity individually will provide an exaggerated capability measure, whereas simply combining the cavities may provide a somewhat conservative capability measure.

Since most statistical process control software packages cannot perform these calculations seamlessly for a combined output, the second best option is to go with the conservative measure and force tooling to bring the steel together up front to give manufacturing the best chance of success. The exaggerated individual cavity measure should never be accepted.

Pliant Plastics
Muskegon, MI

Author Overlooked Two Important Points

I really enjoyed Peter E. Pylipow's article, and in no way is what I am about to say intended to be a negative comment. There are two things that would help bring full closure to the points made in the article. First, any process capability calculations must be based on output from a stable or in control process for the calculation to have relevant meaning.

Second, the customer should spend some time performing a critical parts analysis to establish clear specification parameters. The specification parameters should be free of guard bands and specification creep.

The critical parameters should also have clear ties to the customer's requirements and be established by a solid means, such as quality function deployment. All too often the requirements are not gathered into a single set of control parameters for the supplier.

I have no doubt Pylipow is aware of these items, but it would have helped if he had at least made the first point. The second point is one that is often overlooked by customers during the formulation of their supply chain management strategy.

Even if it were redundant, it would have been helpful if he reviewed specification parameters and presented them in the form of a single, simple and clean report by-product.

Breakthrough Improvement Group
Round Rock, TX

Be Sure To Keep Your Résumé Error Free

The May 2003 "Career Corner" column by Joe Conklin ("Résumés: Before and After," p. 71) was a substantial yet concise lesson on how to create an effective résumé. Particularly meaningful was the reminder to quantify the results of your improvement efforts on your résumé to sell yourself just as you sell your projects to senior management.

As D.J. demonstrated, having colleagues who know you and who have hiring experience review your résumé and cover letter in relation to the position provides an objective viewpoint on how well you have tailored the documents to the position's requirements and favorably represented yourself.

Another tip to remember: Be sure to thoroughly check for grammatical or spelling errors. A recent survey indicated nearly 50% of hiring managers said they would not even consider a résumé or cover letter that contained spelling errors (www.CareerBuilder.com, "Hiring Manager Survey").

Baton Rouge, LA

Contact 'QP'
We welcome your letters. Send them to EDITOR, ASQ/QUALITY PROGRESS, 600 N. PLANKINTON AVE., MILWAUKEE, WI 53203-3005; or e-mail them to editor@asq.org. Please include address, daytime phone number and e-mail address. All letters will be published on the QP Discussion Board, or you can post your comment on the QP Discussion Board directly. We reserve the right to edit letters for space and clarity. Opinions expressed are those of the writers and not necessarily of ASQ or Quality Progress.

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