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Seen & Heard


The art of measurement

Peter Merrill’s March 2013 column on food safety, “Seize the Opportunity,” deserves huge kudos for articulating the fundamental dichotomy that our society faces: cheap and quick initiatives that generate huge return on capital employed, yet can have irreversible damage and consequences to the general health of society. Well done, Peter.

Alex T.C. Lau
Whitby, Ontario

Acting on feedback

In response to the One Good Idea article, “Survey Fatigue” (October 2012): Joel Pecoraro writes about ways to improve customer response rates to surveys and points out several relevant questions. However, one of the most important points was not raised: Provide feedback to customers responding to the survey—individually or not—informing them of the measures taken to introduce improvements based on customer survey responses. This is the only way to ensure that they will answer your next survey.

Basilio V. Dagnino
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Following up on LSS

In response to “The Right Blend,” (February 2013): Good article on lean Six Sigma (LSS) implementation in an environment other than manufacturing. I am curious about the following:

  • How long did it take for the project to go through the define, measure, analyze, improve and control (DMAIC) process? Would it have been possible to just use value stream maps and spaghetti diagrams to achieve the same results in a shorter amount of time?
  • After project completion in 2011, have results been sustained since the Black Belt left the project?
  • What happened to the one full-time employee (FTE) that was reduced as a result of a successful LSS project? How did you ensure the accuracy of the time study if the technicians perceived the purpose of the project was to reduce the number of FTEs?

James Gao
Edmonton, Alberta

Author’s response:

  1. It took six months to go through DMAIC. Regarding the second part of the question, many other tools, such as time and motion studies, value analysis, Pareto and load leveling, were used because they were necessary to assess all processes and apply appropriate solutions.
  2. Since project completion, results have been sustained with great success. This is accomplished through quarterly scored audits during which any new opportunities for improvement are identified and current status is evaluated.
  3. The FTE was laid off. Regarding the second part of the question, we did not mislead anyone, but we also did not present the project as a “head count reduction” project. Our project scope was bigger than that, as you can see from the article.

Vera Vanicek
Aventura, FL


QP’s Most Popular Articles


Online Extras


More on collaboration

Read two online sidebars that accompany the feature article, “Balancing Act,” (pp. 16-21) and view an additional figure. Also, in this month’s Author Audio, listen in as authors Eda Ross Montgomery and Justin Neway talk more about how collaboration among quality and manufacturing teams, along with the use of technology, is key to managing quality data and reducing risk.

Get smart with your emotions

View two additional tables that round out Scott Thor’s article, “Mood Righting” (pp. 34-40), about using emotional intelligence to increase work engagement.


Quick Poll Results

Each month at www.qualityprogress.com, visitors can take an informal survey. Here are the numbers from a last month’s Quick Poll:

“How does telecommuting affect business?”

  • It depends on the organization.  65.2%
  • It’s a valuable employee benefit with few drawbacks.  21.7%
  • It’s hurtful in terms of productivity and innovation.  13%

Visit www.qualityprogress.com for the latest question:

“What poses the greatest risk to today’s organizations?”

  • Technology.
  • Data management.
  • Market uncertainty.

Quality News Today

Recent headlines from ASQ’s global news service

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Lululemon Athletica Inc. recalled 17% of its women’s pants after they were found to be too sheer when the fabric is stretched in multiple directions, as it is during a routine downward dog yoga move.

Mitsubishi’s Melting Lithium-ion Battery
Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said that a defect was found in a lithium-ion battery pack used in a plug-in hybrid vehicle, where the battery was partly melted due to heat it produced.

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