Imler’s Excerpt Good For All Organizations

I was impressed with Ken Imler’s book excerpt, “Core Roles in a Strategic Quality System” (p. 57, June 2006). Imler does a great job describing what a strategic quality system is, the philosophy required of executive management and the tools needed to implement such a system.

The article stresses the use of a key tool: management by wandering around (MBWA), which often is underused in today’s fast paced manufacturing environments. Management in all organizations should practice MBWA regularly to establish strong relationships with their employees and find out first hand what issues are hindering business processes.

Smith & Nephew Inc.
Memphis, TN

‘Core Roles’ Can Identify Those Unqualified

Ken Imler’s “Core Roles in a Strategic Quality System” (p. 57, June 2006) was excellent in its content and timeliness.

I’m involved in the project management of attaining TS 16949 certification for my company, and one of our biggest issues is the qualification of a key quality employee. My team and I will use the knowledge so clearly expressed in this article as our foundation when we present the issue and our recommendations to management.

The Relizon Co.
Dayton, OH

June Standards Outlook Demystifies Auditing

I just finished reading “Process Auditing and Techniques” (J.P. Russell, Standards Outlook, p. 71, June 2006), and I would like to congratulate Russell. This is the finest, to-the-point article I have ever read on process auditing.

Particularly interesting to me is that he did not bash element auditing. Rather, he demonstrated both element and process auditing techniques have their places, pros and cons.

In my position as vice president and COO of a third-party registrar accredited to grant certificates for ISO 9001, ISO 14001, AS9100 and ISO/TS 16949, I have been listening to and reading and preaching about process audits since 2000. Six years later, there is still considerable discussion and misunderstanding. Russell’s column goes far in demystifying the issues surrounding process auditing.

Smithers Quality Assessments
Akron, OH

QP Discussion Board

“QP Mailbag” occasionally publishes recent excerpts from Quality Progress’ online discussion board, open to all ASQ members. To post your thoughts, go to www.asq.org/pub/qualityprogress and click Discussion Board, under Resources.

The extensive, enthusiastic coverage of ISO 26000, the social responsibility standard (Dorothy P. Bowers, “Making Social Responsibility the Standard,” p. 35, April 2006) was the final nail in the coffin for my ASQ membership. Has ASQ shifted from a focus on quality to a focus on socialism and government control?

Articles that suggest Six Sigma can keep a company out of trouble with accounting rules (Deniz Senturk, et. al, “Detect Financial Problems With Six Sigma,” p. 41, April 2006) show how far ASQ has come from understanding the role of a leader in a company. ASQ now seems to believe the key to the future is not the individual but a standard enforcing social responsibility.

At one time, a standard was an agreed upon set of dimensions or methods that allowed industries to better serve customers. Now, standards are methods by which world bodies intimidate companies.

Many articles in QP describe government involvement in quality efforts. Has any government ever developed new and better ways for people to live and work? Industries have always led the way. Industries led and operated by competent leaders and employees with vision and concern for the future make our lives better.

A great forward thinker, Ayn Rand, wrote a book titled Atlas Shrugged. I am wondering whether someone at ASQ read that book and missed the point that the idea of social responsibility reduces human value. ASQ is exactly following the “looters” in Rand’s book.

ASQ would do well to reexamine its values before it completely ceases to serve the interests of its members.

Columbus, GA 31909

I endorse McCain’s comments. I also am a fan of Rand’s book, and I admit there is a good point here. As a government contractor employee, I have been very wary of ASQ’s lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill. All I need is for the lobbyists to try to convince the U.S. government that they ought to use Six Sigma or pursue ISO 9000 certification and my job is in jeopardy.

I hope you liked my QP article in September 2005 (“Lead to Succeed,” p. 26). I believe the future of quality is learning business and making quality relevant to business, not trying to legislate by standards.

A similar theme came up at the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) national conference. One talk was titled, “Why Won’t They Listen to Us?” The speaker was saying the safety industry needed to learn to talk about business and the impact of safety on profitability.

Statistics consultant
Pasco, WA

“Many articles in QP describe government involvement in quality efforts. Has any government ever developed new and better ways for people to live and work? Industries have always led the way.”


Did industries lead the way for safety standards in the work place? Did industries lead the way for clean air or clean water? Did they lead the way for gas mileage standards? Or did the government have to force them to do the right thing?

I agree with some of what you say, but let’s not get carried away.

Skyworks Solutions Inc.
Woburn, MA

True, there are plenty of historical and recent examples of business leaders running amok for short term gains, from asbestos to tobacco to Enron.

I was struck at the ASSE conference by the large number of vendors and appearances of strong unity. Who can disagree that you need some sort of protection around an open excavation? Who can disagree that we ought to manage by fact and use data?

The difficulty is, sometimes ASQ crosses the line from “we need to look at our data” to “you should use method X to look at your data.” It would be like OSHA mandating the manufacturer and the exact type of equipment you must use to protect the worker from the excavation.


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