Speaker: Hurricane Katrina’s
Aftermath Exacerbated by
Lack of Quality Methods

Combined leadership essential in coordinating responses to disasters

Organizational misalignment and mismanagement while not using quality tools and practices severely hampered initial response efforts following Hurricane Katrina, said one federal official who helped lead the recovery.

In his keynote address at ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement held in May in Pittsburgh, retired Adm. Thad Allen implied that improper root cause analysis might have been responsible for many of the problems encountered in the days following the 2005 disaster: "I realized that we as a country, from the start, had gotten the problem wrong.

"We were not dealing with a hurricane," Allen added. "What we failed to recognize was a paradigm change—the effect of a weapon of mass effect without criminality."

Allen—who also led recovery efforts following other natural and man-made disasters—including the earthquake in Haiti and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill—said that while all agencies were working feverishly to help in the hurricane recovery, none were aligned or working for anyone specifically.

Allen’s answer was to implement an incident management system. He said combined leadership was be essential to tackle the disaster efficiently.

"The overarching goal for any operation is unity of effort," Allen said, adding that his goal became aligning resources with objectives.

More conference keynotes

In addition to Allen’s address, Barbara Corcoran—author, real estate mogul and one of the stars of ABC’s "Shark Tank"—gave an inspiring talk on getting the most out of your career by understanding and acting on six truisms:

  1. Perception creates reality.
  2. All the good ideas are on the outside.
  3. The power of recognition shouldn’t be underestimated—be sure to be genuine.
  4. The dogs should be shot early. "By firing people that weren’t good at sales, I figured I was doing them a favor," she said.
  5. Fun is good for business.
  6. There are only two kinds of people: expanders and contractors. Have a good mix of each.

Drawing on personal memories of her youth and her climb to the top of the Manhattan real estate market, Corcoran explained her secrets for success. She told audience members that when faced with fear or nervousness about a certain situation, "Remember, you have a right to be there."

Other keynote speakers included J.J. Irani of Tata Sons; Bennie Fowler, group vice president of quality and new model launch at Ford Motor Co.; Brian Joiner, co-founder and president of Sustain Dane; and Rob Bryant, senior vice president of quality and lean Six Sigma at Computer Sciences Corp.

Team competition

This year’s world conference also witnessed a repeat performance during the 26th International Team Excellence Award competition: For the second-straight year, Telefónica, a telecommunications company in Buenos Aires, Argentina, won the gold award.

Telefónica’s team demonstrated how it used Six Sigma and the define, measure, analyze, improve and control (DMAIC) tool to find solutions to broadband network problems that affected its customers. The team’s goal was to implement solutions in less than 96 hours for 95% of the detected problems. The effort resulted in the company responding within 48 hours in 100% of the cases and ultimately saved $400,000.

The Boeing Co., Long Beach, CA, took home the silver award for its work improving the quality of parts. The Boeing team’s project resulted in $8.4 million in cost avoidance and a savings of $2.9 million.

Movistar Argentina in Buenos Aires won the bronze award for its work in improving customer satisfaction. The team increased annual sales revenue by $7.5 million and moved the customer satisfaction index from 7.6 to 8.

Overall, 28 teams from seven countries participated in the competition. For more information about the event, visit http://wcqi.asq.org/team-competition/2011-teams/index.html.

About 2,200 people attended the three-day conference. Next year’s event will be held May 21-23 in Anaheim, CA. Visit http://wcqi.asq.org for details.


Nearly 70 Organizations
Apply for Baldrige Award

For the sixth year in a row, healthcare organizations made up the majority of organizations that applied for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. This year, 40 of the 69 applicants hail from the healthcare industry. The other organizations include:

  • Two manufacturers.
  • Three service companies.
  • Two small businesses.
  • Eight educational organizations.
  • Fourteen nonprofit or governmental organizations.

An independent board of 553 examiners will evaluate the applicants in the program’s seven criteria: leadership; strategic planning; operations focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; process management; and results.

This year’s Baldrige award recipients are expected to be announced in late November. For more information about the award and profiles of previous award recipients, visit www.baldrige.nist.gov.


Partnership Creates Standards
for Trauma Care Quality

Several healthcare organizations are partnering in Michigan to build a program to measure and improve the quality and safety of trauma center care.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Blue Care Network, 22 trauma centers and the American College of Surgeons have created a program that addresses the differences in how trauma care is delivered, which can have a significant impact on patient health. The goal of the initiative is to create standards to measure trauma care quality.

According to the National Trauma Institute, traumatic injury is a major U.S. public health issue. Every year, trauma accounts for 37 million emergency department visits and 2.6 million hospital admissions. In 2000, trauma-related cases amounted to $406 billion, including an estimated $80 billion in medical care costs.

The Michigan Trauma Quality Improvement Program will provide infrastructure for trauma hospitals to measure and improve patient outcomes, identify best practices for quality and safety of care, and share data to make trauma care more effective.

The first phase of the initiative was launched earlier this year in 14 hospitals. By January 2012, eight more hospitals are expected to join the initiative. 

Who’s Who in Q

NAME: David M. Kemeter.


EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree from Philadelphia University.

CURRENT JOB: Continuous process improvement/lean Six Sigma deputy deployment director at the U.S. Army Public Health Command.

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: Kemeter spent most of his career working for the Defense Logistics Agency and Defense Contract Management Agency. His professional experience includes time as a quality assurance specialist, management and program analyst, customer relationship management specialist and program manager. He has been certified as a lean Six Sigma Black Belt by the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of the Army.

INTRODUCTION TO QUALITY: Kemeter’s formal introduction to quality occurred at the Defense Logistics Agency.

ASQ ACTIVITIES: He regularly participates in ASQ’s Philadelphia section activities and related events.

PERSONAL: Married to Francesca; one son.

FAVORITE WAY TO RELAX: Walking in the park, exercising, reading and attending sporting events and concerts.

QUALITY QUOTE: Continuous process improvement not only builds customer service, it also builds better leaders.


Quick Poll Results

Each month at www.qualityprogress.com, visitors can take an informal survey, and we post the results.

Here are the numbers from a recent Quick Poll:

"What’s the best way to generate ideas and innovate?"

  • Brainstorm across workgroups. 75.3%
  • Solicit customer feedback. 23.2%
  • Leave it to the R&D folks. 1.4%

Visit www.qualityprogress.com for the most recent poll question:

"What best describes the results of your organization’s
outsourcing efforts?"

  • Met all financial and productivity goals.
  • Some savings, but some headaches, too.
  • The goals weren’t met; we’re insourcing.

QP classics

To celebrate ASQ’s 65th anniversary this year, QP is spotlighting classic content online each month. This month, download a pair of opinion columns from December 1975 focused on the "great nuclear debate."

The point-counterpoint articles were written by Ralph Nader, the longtime consumer advocate, and Clarence E. Larson, a consultant and American scientist who worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II.


ASQ Announces Newly Elected Officers

ASQ announced its officers for the 2012 term at its annual business meeting, held in conjunction with ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement.

The newly elected officers, who assumed their roles July 1, are:

Chair: James J. Rooney, ABSG Consulting, Knoxville, TN.

Chair-elect: John C. Timmerman, Marriott International Inc., Sterling, VA.

Past chair: E. David Spong, Boeing Co. (retired), Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.

Treasurer: William B. "Bo" McBee, Hewlett-Packard Co., Houston.

Newly elected board members are Joanne D. Mayo, Cary, NC; and Kathleen Goonan, Goonan Performance Strategies, Boylston, MA.

ASQ also changed its governance model and made changes to officer titles. The office of the president was renamed executive council, president-elect will now be called chair-elect, president became chair, and executive director was changed to CEO. When Spong, the last president, fulfilled his term, he became past chair.


CUSTOMER SATISFACTION with the airline industry this year bumped up 10 points to 683, compared with 2010’s total rating, according to a recent J.D. Power and Associates survey. But air travelers are still not happy about the added charges, such as bag-check fees, priority boarding and onboard food and entertainment purchases, the survey found. For more information, visit http://businesscenter.jdpower.com/news/pressrelease.aspx?id=2011075.

RABQSA INTERNATIONAL INC. and the International Association for Radio, Telecommunications and Electromagnetics have signed an agreement to affiliate their certification services. The agreement creates additional certification offerings for both organizations. For more information, visit www.rabqsa.com/nr.html.


ASQ Division Co-Hosts STEM Event

ASQ’s Education Division is partnering with University of Wisconsin-Stout to sponsor the division’s Advancing the STEM Agenda in Education, the Workplace and Society Conference July 19-20 at UW-Stout in Menomonie. 

UW-Stout, a recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2001, is hosting the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) event.

Keynote speakers will include Michele Brinn, vice president for workforce development and education at the Greenville (SC) Chamber of Commerce; Keith T. Miller, president of Virginia State University; and Julie Furst-Bowe, provost of UW-Stout.

For more information about the two-day event, visit http://asq.org/conferences/stem-agenda.


In QP’s 2011 Software Showcase & Directory (June 2011, pp. 53–60), Minitab was inadvertently left out of the listings. The electronic version, available at http://asq.org/quality-progress/2011/06/full-issue.pdf, has been updated with the correct information. QP regrets the error.

ASQ News

AUDIT CONFERENCE ASQ’s Audit Division will host its 20th annual conference Oct. 27-28 in Reno, NV. For conference details, visit http://asq.org/conferences/audit.

ASQ-APQC STUDY  ASQ is partnering with the American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC) to conduct a best practice study on quality management. The two organizations will tackle measurement governance, process and links to business value in the research study. For more information about the study or to participate as a sponsor, visit www.apqc.org/measuring-corporate-quality.

25TH SALARY SURVEY OPENS  QP’s 25th annual salary survey is open the entire month of July. Visit www.qualityprogress.com and follow the link to take this year’s 10-minute survey. Results will be published in December’s QP.

WEBSITE MAKEOVER  ASQ is planning to unveil new features and a new look for its website this summer. The website, www.asq.org, will be more navigable and will better organize content to help members and visitors find information faster and make connections easier. 

ASQ FELLOW HONORED  Manu Vora, an ASQ fellow, recently received a lifetime service award for his work with the Blind Foundation of India (BFI), an organization based in Naperville, IL, that Vora founded in 1989. BFI works to prevent and cure blindness in India. Vora serves as BFI president.

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