Old Dog, New Trick

New ways to manage risks, solve problems

Newer isn’t always better, and some things just stand the test of time, such as classic movies, the taste of homemade pancakes with real butter and syrup, or music from the 1980s. That last one might draw some argument. But new spins on established ideas and methods can sometimes produce above-and-beyond results. Two articles in this month’s QP reveal new ways to do things better.

Risk management has become a hot topic for quality professionals as they continue to assess their companies’ systems and processes in an effort to prevent potentially bank-breaking oversights and liabilities. In this month’s cover story, "Site Seeing," the authors present a new of method of conducting risk-based quality audits that enables organizations to look at all of their locations and sites in aggregate for a comprehensive view of the potential pain points. The outcome: a methodical way to assess risk across the organization given the many variables that can and do exist in complex environments.

Newton’s Third Law of motion says that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This absolute serves as the basis for a new quality tool, designed not just to identify the causes of product or process problems as many tools do, but also to find solutions.

In their article, "HU Goes There," authors H. James Harrington, Ron Fulbright and Alla Zusman explain how harmful/useful diagrams (HU) can help performance improvement teams see beyond their own areas of expertise to consider things differently and unearth creative and innovative solutions.

Using two detailed examples, the authors explain step-by-step how to create these diagrams, allowing you to replicate their use in your own problem-solving efforts.

When temperatures begin to dip and fall comes knocking, what’s the first thing you think about? If you’re anything like the QP staff, it’s chili. In this month’s installment of Quality in the First Person, author Paul Stepan explains how he used quality methods to improve (at least according to the contest judges) the taste of his chili cook-off entries. Read about his chili-cooking successes in "Chili Topped With Statistics."

How do you use quality to make improvements in your personal life? Consider telling us about it via a Quality in the First Person column submission, or post your stories or photos to the QP Facebook page.

Seiche Sanders

Seiche Sanders

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