Quality Manual Guidelines Will Ease Transition

The article “Basic Requirements of a Quality Manual” by Kevin R. Grimes (March 2004, p. 21) is very useful. I plan to refer to it often as I edit our quality manual to transition from a QS-9000 quality system to a TS 16949 quality system.

Advance Wire Products
Lombard, IL

Quality Manual Should Focus on the System

Is there any way QP could publish an article about how to design a quality manual around the process and system approaches, not around ISO 9001 clauses? I cannot believe that three-and-a-half years after ISO 9001:2000 came out, QP still presents quality manuals from the dark ages (“Basic Requirements of a Quality Manual”).

My company designed a system manual, not a quality manual. The first part describes our strategy (vision, mission, critical success factors, strategy map and balanced scorecard), and the second part describes the system that will accomplish the objectives and fulfill the strategy. It looks at the global set of processes and uses pictures and graphs to explain each process.

Then, on the last page, we use a matrix to relate our processes to the ISO 9001 clauses. We want whoever reads our manual to understand our system.

Estarreja, Portugal

Policy Statement Will Induce Fear, Loathing

Kevin Grimes’ article will mislead those who seek to add value with a quality management system (QMS) while conforming to ISO 9001. He makes it look like a quality manual should be written for auditors when it really should be written for the employees to help them understand how the system works. A separate matrix showing how the system conforms to ISO 9001:2000 is the only page that should be dedicated to helping auditors.

Grimes even suggests copying one of the quality policy statements from his book. The main example he recommends includes the requirement that the quality assurance coordinator has “full authority and final responsibility for ensuring all activities conform to the quality management system” (see Figure 4, p. 27).

The need to do this (and to copy a policy statement) suggests a lack of commitment by top management. Centralizing power with the coordinator undermines management’s responsibility to ensure the system’s processes are identified, planned, developed, resourced, operated,
controlled, analyzed and improved. This statement will induce fear and loathing in companies where QP is taken seriously. A QMS is meant to help employees meet requirements.

Modern quality manuals no longer specify the QMS; they describe it. Process based management systems include processes that work with each other to fulfill objectives and requirements.

Process teams operate and improve their processes to ensure they add value and prevent loss. Process teams are also encouraged to improve their processes to reduce the cost of meeting objectives and requirements. The emphasis is on continual improvement.

Grimes’ policy, on the other hand, would rather have employees do as they are told by a system of documents administered by someone who is not accountable for the company’s performance.

Instead of suggesting the only reason quality professionals document their quality systems is to conform to a standard, shouldn’t QP publish more articles on how to develop a process based management system that can be used to add value faster and prevent loss sooner?

ASQ members work to enhance the value of the quality profession. This article promoting an ASQ Quality Press book represents a huge backward step.

Quality Management International
Exton, PA

Influential Researchers Omitted From References

I believe in giving credit where credit is due, or at least knowing and acknowledging those who have gone before us.

The assumptions and methods discussed in “Better Teaching With Deming and Bloom” by James A. Hills (March 2004, p. 57) have been covered in considerably more depth and sophistication over the past decade by researchers and authors such as Vicki Spandel and Rick Stiggins. Unfortunately, I did not find these authors in the list of references at the end of the article. Here’s a more complete list:

  • L.W. Anderson, D.R. Krathwohl, P.W. Airasian, K.A. Cruikshank, R.E. Mayer, P.R. Pintrich, James Raths and M.C. Wittrock, editors, A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Addison Wesley Longman, 2001.
  • Vicki Spandel, Creating Better Writers Through Six-Trait Writing Assessment and Instruction, third edition, Pearson Allen & Bacon, 2000. There are approximately two dozen similar books and several training videos on the use of the six-trait approach for teaching and assessing writing.
  • Rick Stiggins, Student-Involved Classroom Assessment, third edition, Merrill Prentice Hall, 2001. Stiggins developed his taxonomy and assessment system based on a synthesis of the many extant taxonomies, including Bloom’s.

Sheboygan Area School District
Sheboygan, WI

Author’s Response: Perhaps you did not notice the reference to Bloom in the sidebar on p. 60. This reference should have been included in the list of references on p. 64. I referred only to primary sources regarding Bloom, and I included a direct quote of W. Edwards Deming from Mary Walton’s The Deming Management Method.

The other quality management terms, such as quality control sheet, rational decisions, constancy of purpose, continuous progress and plan-do-check-act, have become so familiar it is no longer necessary to reference them.

I believe this is also true for the familiar six writing traits used in basic composition courses. The work seeks to integrate the fundamental concepts of Bloom and Deming to produce a new communiqué. In terms of the taxonomy, of course, the synthesis is high level, original thinking. Quality Progress’ editorial review board, comprised of quality professionals and specialists in education, worked closely with me to assure the integrity of the article.

If you are already practicing or experimenting with your own synthesis, I would appreciate hearing more about your work. Should there be other studies in the field that can expand upon this work or provide a more compelling synthesis of Bloom and Deming, please advise. We would all applaud.

FairPlay Educational
Services and Publications
Lawrence, KS

A Successful Education Meets a Goal

The goal of education is preparation for life. How do we measure the quality of education? It must meet the goal. Passing tests, simulations and homework is not the goal. The only way to measure whether the education was a success is to measure the ability of the student to be part of the life he or she envisions.

In the context of David W. Chambers’ and Abel A. Fernandez’s article (“The Quality of Learning,” March 2004, p. 50), a successful education means the student will be a successful dentist. If the student is not a successful dentist, then the education has failed to meet the goal. The student must be part of defining what it means to be a successful dentist. This is consistent with the idea that the student is mostly responsible for his or her development.

If schools took this approach, the risks students face would be reduced.

ASQ Boston Section
Boston, MA

Outsourcing Does Not Eliminate Jobs

I would like to comment on two things in Greg Hutchins’ “Career Corner” column on “Outsourcing and Jobs” in the March 2004 issue (p. 70). First, outsourcing does not eliminate jobs. It just transfers the responsibility from one company to another. If work or a position is outsourced, the workload and process do not disappear. Instead of working for Company A (core work), you now work for Company B (noncore work). Unless, of course, the work and process are reengineered.

Second, regarding the 2.8 million manufacturing jobs lost, Hutchins says, “Why couldn’t this smart quality person, who was willing to take a pay cut, find a job?” If Jim’s position at Company A is outsourced, Jim should be the number one candidate to fill the position with Company B. Company B is not going to pay $250 per hour or more for a consultant and shouldn’t. That’s why jobs are lost!

Manpower & Organization
Charleston Air Force Base, SC

DOE Is Adaptable To Many Situations

I really enjoyed “3.4 per Million: DOE and Six Sigma” by Joseph D. Conklin in the March 2004 issue
(p. 66) because it demonstrates how the design of experiments (DOE) methodology can be adapted to many different types of problems.

Readers should note the arc-sine square root transformation no longer has uniform variance for smaller sample sizes and where the proportions approach either 0 or 1. Soren Bisgaard and Howard Fuller (Quality Engineering, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 429-443) illustrate M.F. Freeman and J.W. Tukey’s modification that can handle the extreme situations. They show transformations for Poisson data as well. I found a generalized linear model using binomial options for the data gives analysis results comparable to analysis of variance.

I look forward to reading more of the excellent applied statistics articles that have been appearing more frequently in Quality Progress.

Qwest Communications
Parker, CO


  • The degrees of freedom for “formula” and “vendor x material” are reversed in Table 3 of “3.4 per Million: DOE and Six Sigma” by Joseph D. Conklin in the March 2004 issue
    (p. 66). Also, the formula “[2 x sin-1 (TFP1/2)]” on p. 67 of the same article should read “[2 x sin-1 (TFP1/2)].”

Average Rating


Out of 0 Ratings
Rate this article

Add Comments

View comments
Comments FAQ

Featured advertisers