The Real Test Comes a Year Later

Matthew Jochums' idea to compare quality programs with weight loss in "Quality in the First Person: A Quality Way To Lose Weight" (December 2003, p. 89) was excellent. In both quality and weight loss there are initial enthusiasm and remarkable progress. After the first rush of success, the trick is to maintain the current level, then move forward to the next. I only wonder how many started out in the weight loss competition at Jochum's company. With only two people left at the end, I think it can reasonably be compared to some quality programs. The real test would be to see the measurements a year later, after the next holiday season.

Thanks for the thought provoking article. Now I'd like to see one on how personal efficiency is affected by the scads of e-mail we have to churn through while trying to do actual work, achieve good communication and maintain face recognition with those folks that live in our house--uh, oh yeah, our families.

Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, European Region

An Article for Quality Practitioners at All Levels

Peter E. Pylipow's article "Top 10 Tips for Shop Floor Audit Readiness" (November 2003, p. 52) was straightforward and easy to follow. It's an article that can be used at all levels and is just as applicable to repair and remanufacturing operations as it is to pure manufacturing. The sidebar on p. 53 will be useful for the maintenance audits we conduct at US Airways.


Author Clearly Explains How To Handle Change

Davis Balestracci made the issues in "Handling the Human Side of Change" (November 2003, p. 38) very understandable. If only we could overcome those barriers. I will use this article for reference, no doubt!

Moline, IL

Base Line Should Be Made State Monument

After reading about the perilous state and fate of New Jersey's last remaining base line in "Measuring the Land" by Philip Stein ("Measure for Measure," November 2003, p. 74), I suggest the area be proclaimed a state monument. It should be well secured and maybe even turned into a park, for once it's gone, it will be an irrecoverable loss not only for the surveying profession but for everybody else in the state.


Overlooked Facts About Globalization

Globalization is still a matter of debate and is written about in many articles, but some important facts and figures have been overlooked (Debbie Phillips-Donaldson, "Up Front: Globalization: Good for Quality?" November 2003, p. 6). A recent survey conducted by Devco revealed the following:

  • 80% of the members of the International Organization for Standardization, known as ISO, are developing countries or countries in transition.
  • in 40% of these developing countries governmental bodies represent ISO's membership.
  • 70% of the standards in these developing countries are not based on international standards.
  • 42% of these developing countries do not participate in any ISO technical committees or subcommittees.
  • 69% of the national standard bodies in these developing countries do not issue any technical regulations.

Given these findings, how can we talk about quality at a global level? What kind of improvements need to take place to alleviate the conformity assessment costs at the international level? Who should take care of the costs involved if this picture stays the same? One country or region may have efficient elements of quality, but when it comes to free trade, society will bear the costs because all countries don't have similar quality structures.

I invite quality professionals to tackle this situation at a global level. What mission, vision and strategies are needed to have a quality world? Most people make business from quality, but who should take care of the realities at a macro level?

Iran Accreditation System
Tehran, Iran

Indian Engineers Know Quality's Importance

In response to Debbie Phillips-Donaldson's excellent November 2003 "Up Front," I would like to share a few things. I'm a retired Westinghouse quality engineer who spent four months in India teaching ISO 9000 to Indian engineers. I was impressed with their grasp of the importance of quality as a strategic tactic in improving their processes. A few months after I left India, the company I was working with was certified to ISO 9000.

U.S. industries should not declare the outsourcing of projects to India a tactic lacking in quality techniques. In the long run, Indian engineers will be like the Japanese were 50 years ago. They are aware of the importance of quality as a strategic tool to compete in the global economy.

Westinghouse Electric Corp., retired
Pittsburgh, PA

Quality Tools Are Applicable Everywhere

I just read Debbie Phillips-Donaldson's November 2003 editorial on globalization and have some experience and thoughts to share on the subject. Over the past decade, I have held various positions in supply chain management and international sourcing. For the past year, I have served as a supplier quality engineer on an international procurement team whose purpose is to source finished goods in Asia. In support of a new product launch, I have spent substantial time in China and am astounded at the rapid growth of its manufacturing facilities. U.S. companies will continue to outsource at an accelerated pace as they continue to chase cheap labor to stay competitive and maintain market share.

From that standpoint, there appears to be growing demand for quality professionals with experience in supply chain management in manufacturing. Process control is process control no matter where the process is located. Tools currently employed in quality management are applicable across the globe. Fortunately for quality practitioners, the language of quality is universal--numbers and statistics are easily shared.

Global sourcing provides unique challenges and requires the employment of a broader set of skills. The differences in cultures, language, time and customs require understanding and tolerance. The work is often painstaking, detailed and slow, requiring a shift in working hours (and sometimes sleep patterns), but the opportunity to create new partnerships and friendships has been rewarding.

The Hoover Co.
North Canton, OH

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