Just the beginning

I completely agree with Luis Echeverria's Back to Basics article, "Use Your Head," (October 2014, p. 80). I can’t count the number of certified quality engineers who don’t understand and correctly apply statistical sampling plans, such as ASQ/ANSI Z1.4. And forget about them knowing what an operating characteristics curve is.

Too many certified quality auditors don’t know how to clearly write an audit observation so that an outsider would know what the discrepancy was that needed corrective action. As Echeverria wrote, the ASQ certification should just be the beginning of the learning and application process.

James D. Werner
Raritan, NJ

Exam struggle

In response to Peter Clark’s article, "Strength in Numbers," (October 2014, pp. 24-28): Thank you for writing this article. I am getting ready to take my quality engineer certification exam for the second time, and the part I struggled with the most on the first one was the statistics. We have terrific tools that take the calculation out of our hands, and like you, I have been out of the school scenario (other than internal training) for many years.

Math was never my forte—especially not statistics. I nervously went into the first exam thinking the material was fresh enough in my mind after taking a prep class that didn’t involve much student interaction several weeks prior to the test. Three of the seven people from our prep class who took the test that day passed—I did not. I thought, "There’s got to be another way." I decided to sign right back up for the next test date to ensure I wouldn't let the opportunity slip by.

Well, here we are, coming upon the December 2014 test date, and I have to wonder if I am any better off now than I was then. No prep class this time. It’s just me studying by myself. I hope that the second time is the charm.

Thank you for your insight and for letting us know you struggled, too.

Judy Martinez
Erie, PA

Another FMEA mistake

In response to "Which FMEA Mistakes Are You Making?" (September 2014, pp. 36-41): This is a great article and I totally agree with the mistakes listed. I have been a team leader and also an auditor of failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) for nearly 10 years.

Another mistake that I see when auditing FMEAs is that they are not updated. Many FMEAs are performed by suppliers when submitting the production part approval process documentation to customers. But they are never updated, for instance, if there is a corrective action implemented in the process due to a customer complaint or an internal audit finding.

We must reinforce to our suppliers and to the team of engineers within the organizations that FMEA is a living document that must be updated if there is a change implemented either in the process or to the design of the product.

Carlos Martinez
San Diego

Online Extras

  • Celebrate and vote
    November is World Quality Month. How will your organization recognize the occasion? Visit www.worldqualitymonth.org to find a step-by-step guide to celebrating the month, along with a tool kit with resources for downloading and sharing. You can also vote for the top 10 submissions to ASQ’s #QualityIs Twitter and Facebook contest from Nov. 5-19. The three winners will receive a basket of World Quality Month souvenirs, such as T-shirts, tote bags and mugs. See contest details at http://asq.org/world-quality-month/#qualityis.
  • What tool are you?
    Visit www.qualitytoolquiz.com to learn what your favorite quality tool says about you. You can share your results on ASQ social media or print it to display.
  • Revision resources
    Stay informed about the ISO 9001 revision by visiting http://asq.org/standards-iso-9001-2015.html. The page offers resources to help you prepare for transitioning to ISO 9001:2015, along with a revision timeline so you’re aware of key dates.

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 has been the biggest benefit of your ASQ certification?

  • I gained more clout with peers and supervisors. 61.7%
  • It helped me get a new job. 26.4%
  • I got a pay raise. 8.8%
  • It helped me earn a promotion. 2.9%

Visit www.qualityprogress.com for the latest question:

Which of these definitions of quality do you most agree with?

  • Efficiently providing products and services that meet or exceed customer expectations.
  • Continuously measuring the improvement of processes and services for customers.
  • Acting as promised and reporting failures.
  • Doing the right thing at the right time in the right way with the right people.
  • I don’t agree with any of these definitions.

Quality News Today

Recent headlines from ASQ’s global news service

The Breaking Point
It’s no longer enough to cram the brains of a desktop computer into a phone. To make sure its smartphones don’t disappoint, a crew at Motorola Mobility LLC is paid to break them. (http://bit.ly/phonebreak)

Glitches All Too Common in Hospitals
No one outside the Dallas hospital that treated the first U.S. case of Ebola knows why the staff decided initially to send the man home. It was a communication snafu. But thousands of less-visible communication errors happen in healthcare every day. (http://bit.ly/healthglitches)

Want the latest quality-related news and analysis? The QNT Weekly enewsletter, available exclusively to ASQ members, delivers it every Friday. Subscribe now at http://email.asq.org/subscribe/qntwk.

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