Seen and Heard

Measurement help

I was looking at Table 3 in the article "Measuring Up" (August 2013, pp. 20–26), and I was a bit confused because the numbers in the rows (which is what the table is color-coded by) weren’t "measuring up."

I think it might be easier to see trends and patterns if the columns in the data were presented as the key groupings, rather than the rows. You can construct this using a function called "conditional formatting" with "data bars" as the display type. Here’s an article on that: http://bit.ly/conditionformatting.

The "Measuring Up" article is amazing. I’m going to send a copy to our quality manager, continuous improvement manager and operations manager. We’re trying to drive a culture change toward a focus on quality, so every tool helps.

Brent Brewington
West Lafayette, IN

Make the distinction

In response to Greg Milliken’s article, "Avoiding an Avalanche" (May 2013, pp. 22–27): While reading the article, I was unclear whether the author was writing about document control or records control. I later determined he had rolled the processes together, which can be a major, albeit common, mistake when discussing or writing about document and data control.

All too often, we try to bundle records control within the same process(es) used for controlling documentation, but the distinction needs to be made between the two to ensure those using the system(s) understand the differences between documents (documents and data that inform, such as policies, procedures, work instructions, specifications, prints and standards) and records (evidence an action was carried out, which is also sometimes data). 

The control mechanisms are vastly different for these two types of "documents," and therefore should be the first major categorical distinction made when organizing the systems within a quality management system.

David Turner
Crystal Lake, IL

The social scoop

Get the latest on what QP readers and members of the quality community are discussing on social media.

On Twitter:

@CU_Quality: @ASQ: Four reasons for quality professionals to use social media on the job: http://ow.ly/nmLcE. Also promotes a quality culture/mindset.

On Facebook:

Gwendolyn Savedbygrace George-James in response to "Broken Arrow" (August 2013, pp. 54-55): Nice article. Just like basically anything, poor QUALITY can and will cause a "heck of a mess!" That’s why we need to always focus on "continuous improvement." That goes for education, management, medical, you name it!

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Smart About Standards

Listen to this month’s Author Audio as Oscar Combs, author of this month’s cover story, "Standard Wise," talks more about how ISO 9001 shouldn’t be used as just a quality management system standard, but also as a business management tool.

QP on the Go

No matter where you are, you can read the latest issue of QP in its digital format. Available open-access during the publication month, the digital edition is the perfect way to read QP on your smartphone, tablet or computer screen. At the end of the month, the issue is placed in a members-only archive.

Quick Poll Results

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

What is the largest challenge in implementing quality at your organization?

  • Establishing a culture of quality. 66.6%
  • Deciding how to govern and manage quality. 13.8%
  • Providing employees with training. 13.8%
  • Measuring success.   5.7%

Visit www.qualityprogress.com for the latest question:

In what area of your business do you find ISO 9001 most useful?

  • Measuring process performance.
  • Adding value to processes.
  • Understanding and meeting customer requirements.
  • Driving continuous improvement.

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Diners at Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants in Iowa and Nebraska caught an intestinal illness tied to a rare type of parasite after eating salad mix that came from Mexico, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

Using Data to Improve Humanitarian Aid
The efforts by Global Pulse and a growing collection of scientists at universities, companies and nonprofit groups have been labeled "big data for development." The goal, the scientists involved agree, is to bring real-time monitoring and prediction to development and aid programs.

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