Congratulations On January Issue

When I received the January 2006 issue, I enthusiastically reviewed “Up Front” (“Innovate or Die,” Debbie Phillips-Donaldson, p. 6) and all the feature articles about the future of quality.

I went through them twice and found all very rich in showing future trends for quality management and the quality profession. I was particularly impressed by Phillips-Donald-son’s feature, “Good News—If You’re Ready” (p. 37), outlining ASQ’s futures study.

I delightfully consider this issue a gift for the new year from QP to its readers. I heartily congratulate Phillips-Donaldson and others who have shared their insightful thoughts and views and provided us with clues to more effectively embrace future challenges and play a proactive role in shaping our evolving world.

Thank you very much for your invaluable gift.

Iranian Society of Quality Managers
ASQ Country Councilor for Iran

Watkins Article Useful But Doesn’t Go Far Enough

David Wakins’ article in the January 2006 issue (“Reflections on the Future of Quality,” p. 23) is a great basis for thought. However, I don’t think it goes far enough. A quality management system must not only morph into a business management system—it must also morph into an environmental management system. In fact, I don’t believe any of these business tools can be developed in isolation.

Blue Mountain Creek Propriety Ltd.
Margo Kroyer-Pedersen Wildlife Shelter
Grantville, Victoria

Watkins Article Excellent, Clear

I would like to compliment David Watkins on a truly excellent article on the current evolution of management systems.

I have been a big proponent of the business management system concept for the past couple of years and truly believe this is the future of management systems. Watkins’ analysis of this evolution clearly explains the evolving role quality experts can bring to this process and the value it can bring to an organization.

This article correctly states the days of quality playing the police force of the organization are fading, but the days of quality developing and improving processes and systems key to an organization’s survival and growth are just beginning.

Ducommun AeroStructures
Gardena, CA

Future of Quality Should Include Cost of Quality

fter reading the article “Reflections on the Future of Quality,” I feel compelled to add some thoughts of my own.

No mention was made of the cost of quality. Quality must be embedded in every aspect of a product’s development. Personnel at every level must be committed to improving systems and processes. Otherwise, quality will continue to be considered an add-on, extra expense and adversary.

Competitively priced systems and products of superior quality will always have a competitive edge. Embedding innovations and environmental responsibility into these systems will further aid in ensuring their success.

Can we get folks to build innovation and environmental responsibility into products? If there’s a buck in it, you bet!

Gurnee, IL

After Six Sigma—Don’t Forget Lean

The article “After Six Sigma—What’s Next?” (Soren Bisgaard and Jeroen De Mast, January 2006, p. 30) is thought provoking but has missed some very important points about what is happening and will continue to happen to quality improvement efforts.

The authors did not mention anything about what lean thinking is doing in the world of continuous improvement. As quality professionals, we are taught to look at defects as waste. Lean identifies many other forms of waste. By focusing on value as seen by the customer and driving out waste, lean gives a different view of how to improve processes and often yields great innovations.

Regardless of what we call it in the future, all work will remain a process, and the principles of lean thinking, including the latest ones Jim Womack and Dan Jones present in their book Lean Solutions: How Companies and Customers Can Create Value and Wealth Together (Free Press, 2005) will help generate new ideas. Bisgaard and De Mast totally missed this aspect of quality’s future.

Dennis Sowards
Quality Support Services
Mesa, AZ

Additions to ‘House That Fraud Built’

In “The House That Fraud Built” (Christine LaComb and Deniz Senturk, January 2006, p. 52), a Delphi survey might be a good second way to rank the red flags in Table 1.

[Editor’s Note: A Delphi survey is a structured group interaction method of collecting opinions and feedback.]

Authors of the references yielding the red flags could serve as a Delphi panel of experts. In three rounds, experts would read each others’ rankings and comments, then rethink and rerank the red flags. This should produce more informed opinions and raise the validity of rankings. Delphi in combination with quality function deployment might be beneficial in other settings as well.

A second point: The red flags mainly concern fraud detection, but there is little on fraud prevention. For example, typical financial data are aggregated and averaged to the point they create a place to hide actual performance. The visual management element of lean and total quality tracks and widely displays raw process numbers for all to see—offering some deterrence to anyone inclined to slant the financials.

Schonberger & Associates
Bellevue, WA

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