Defining quality

In response to "Finding Harmony" (November 2014, pp. 16-20): I think David Garvin’s 1984 article in Sloan Management Review, "What Does ‘Product Quality’ Really Mean?" summed up quality and excellence in the value-based approach to defining quality when he described quality as "performance at an acceptable price and conformance at an acceptable cost." This definition ties quality to the business and finance side of satisfaction for the customer and supplier.

In the seventh quality principle of relationship management, if the customer is faced with an unsustainable price for a product, or a supplier is faced with an unsustainable cost of manufacturing or service, both eventually fall to the demands for profit.

Quality should be integrated into sustainable business practices. The concept of excellence as the right way to have the right outcome helps in the thought process, as does balancing performance and conformance to keep price and cost in check.

Dale Carter

Certification inspiration

In response to "Strength in Numbers" (October 2014, pp. 24-28): That was an excellent article. I followed a similar path taking the quality technician certification exam, then the certified quality auditor exam eight months later, and the certified quality engineer exam 12 months after that.

Like the author, Peter Clark, I managed to pass all three tests on my first attempt. I took a review course for the quality auditor exam, but opted to self-study for the quality technician and quality engineer exams.

As a seasoned quality engineer and quality manager, I do see the value of all the learning involved during the preparation process. Great job, your article was very inspiring.

Howard M. Herman
Meriden, CT

Discussing quiz results

LinkedIn discussions buzzed about quality tools this past month because members took ASQ’s quality tool quiz, which told quiz-takers what their favorite quality tools said about them. Haven’t taken the quiz yet? Check it out at http://asq.org/qualitytoolquiz.

Jerry Peyton: My favorite tool is regression analysis, which wasn’t an option, so I chose scatter diagrams because that is the graphical version of linear regression. It said I’m the opposite of scatterbrained, although it doesn’t always show. That may be true, but it also said I’m adept at reading between the lines. Not sure whether that is true.

My second tool was the Pareto diagram, which showed me being a "big picture" guy who takes data and narrows it down to the most significant factors. That is most definitely me! #WQM14

Murali Sastry: My favorite quality tool is Pareto analysis. It’s a simple tool, yet it is highly effective in bringing prioritization to a given set of activities, and it provides a path forward. Also, it can be used effectively during various stages of problem solving. That’s what I like about Pareto analysis.

Tune In

The latest ASQ TV episode focuses on healthcare. In the episode, hear about the challenges of quality in healthcare, look at how Six Sigma is used in a hospital setting and learn about design of experiments.

Watch for a new episode on quality in education on Dec. 9 and another on careers in quality on Dec. 30. Visit http://videos.asq.org to access the full video library.

Online Extras

  • Have something to say?
    Send feedback on recent QP articles to editor@asq.org or comment on the article’s webpage. Your comment could appear in the LogOn section of QP.
  • Experts with the answers
    Solve your quality conundrums with the help of QP’s subject matter experts. Send your questions to editor@asq.org or submit them via the online form at http://asq.org/qualityprogress/expert-answers/form.html.
  • Big changes in 2015
    The ISO 9001 revision is right around the corner. Are you ready? Stay updated by visiting http://asq.org/standards-iso-9001-2015.html, a webpage that offers articles on key changes, transition tips, dates to know and many more resources.

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:

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

  • 45.7% Efficiently providing products and services that meet or exceed
    customer expectations.
  • 33.3% Doing the right thing at the right time in the right way with the right people.
  • 10.4% Continuously measuring the improvement of processes and services for customers.
  • 8.5% I don’t agree with any of these definitions.
  • 1.9% Acting as promised and reporting failures.

Visit www.qualityprogress.com for the latest question:

What’s the most important element when handling a recall?

  • Apologizing publicly and maintaining transparency while rectifying the issue.
  • Having a recall process in place in advance of quality problems.
  • Implementing changes to prevent future issues.
  • Performing customer outreach methods to prevent recall notices from being ignored.

Quality News Today

Recent headlines from ASQ’s global news service

Latest Ebola Fear: Safety of Lab Equipment
When physicians at the Nebraska Medical Center got their first Ebola case in September, they knew they’d be relying heavily on sophisticated blood test machines to monitor the patient’s condition. But they didn’t expect the virus might leave the machines incapacitated for longer than the patient. (http://bit.ly/ebolalabequip)

New Hospital Job: Patient Satisfaction Officer
Two years ago, Inova Health System recruited a top executive who was not a physician, had never worked in hospital administration and barely knew the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. What he specialized in was customer service. (http://bit.ly/newhospitaljob)

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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