Double dose

I wanted to commend you on your October edition and draw attention to two particular sections. First, the 2011 Quality Resource Guide (pp. 43-63) provides a baseline and a starting point for key vendors in this domain. I found the layout very usable and easy to understand.

Second, the Standards Outlook column by Sandford Liebesman ("The Missing Link") provides an exceptional counterpoint to the rather pessimistic Six Sigma content. By explicitly linking the quality and finance departments, Liebesman demonstrates the broad benefits of this approach.

The column’s headline reinforces that the application of this approach would have been the logical response to the question posed by the article "Is Six Sigma Dead?" and, if it is, how we could revive it. The quote later in that article says it all, "A better financial reporting system needs to be added to capture the improvements early."

It is fitting that the strongest edition of QP is published as a lead-in to World Quality Month. Congratulations on a successful endeavor.

Daniel Zrymiak
Surrey, British Columbia

Ford’s hybrid

"Is Six Sigma Dead?" (October 2011) is a very good article. If it was shorter, it would be even better because then I could share it with leaders at my organization.

I work at a joint venture of Ford Motor Co., which has been implementing Six Sigma since the last century and experienced the same problems mentioned in the article. But the company has been moving in the right direction in recent years, ever since it implemented the global quality improvement process (GQIP), which aligns Six Sigma with product quality improvement activities.

The GQIP was designed in accordance with the define, measure, analyze, improve and control format, and it clearly defines when Six Sigma should be used as a problem-solving tool to investigate customer complaints or other quality problems. It might be interesting for quality journals to explore Ford’s Six Sigma program further to determine how to make Six Sigma better serve its purpose.

Mindy Zhou
Chongqing, China

Playing politics

I find it illogical that while the Republican presidential candidates "have pledged to implement lean Six Sigma methods throughout the federal government" (Keeping Current, October 2011) and—setting aside political partisanship—have asked President Obama to do the same, the GOP has historically attacked a leader in the lean world: Donald M. Berwick, M.D.

As noted in "Reviving Healthcare" (July 2010), "Berwick, as head of Medicare and Medicaid, could signal more innovation (and) better quality of care for the U.S. healthcare system."

When political parties set aside their agendas and truly begin to make positive, rational choices that improve the country they serve, only then will they be able to say they support continuous quality improvement. I hope, for both our countries’ sake, it won’t be too late.

Tracy Fox
London, Ontario

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