Helping suppliers improve

In response to "Back to Basics: Sufficient Evidence" (August 2015): In my career as a computer components software quality engineer, I developed and used an audit checklist to identify risks. This created a profile of the prospective suppliers’ strengths and weaknesses. We then worked with the chosen supplier to strengthen its weaknesses. We also put in place incoming inspections and testing as contingency measures to protect our organization from the supplier’s weaknesses.

The results from our inspections and testing were communicated back to the supplier to further drive its improvement efforts. The supplier, in turn, communicated its testing results to help identify any test correlation issues.

As our inspection and test data improved, we reduced, then dropped, our incoming inspections. We only monitored the final system test results and our customer feedback to verify acceptable quality and reliability. It was a lot of work, but it resulted in developing low-cost, high-quality suppliers.

Duane Briggs
Lexington, SC

Plenty still unknown

"Open to Change" (July 2015) provided good but incomplete information on an unknown entity (ISO 9001:2015). The author has provided a little more light onto the shadowed outline of this critical subject. I don’t think we will really know what this new revision is until sometime next year when an auditor finds that one clause everyone else overlooked.

Tom Fessenden
Cypress, TX

Clearing up misunderstandings

In response to "Quality in the First Person: Substandard Training" (July 2015): Very good description of a (continuing) misapplication of the idea of standardization of quality processes. Even now, I am dismayed at the number of offerings to help people "avoid mistakes in interpretation" of the new version of the ISO 9001 standard. If the standard isn’t self-evidently clear, it isn’t written well.

Certification will require agreement with the auditor—so if you need any help at all, you should ask the auditor. Independent verifications are fine, but I still believe the market is the best indicator of quality success. If you satisfy the customers (with whatever your system is), you will do better than your competition.

Steven Cooke
Charlotte, NC

Jargon included

In response to "Blank-Slate State" (May 2015): This matches my style exactly when creating a quality management system. The only thing I do differently is regarding "regulatory vomit." I include this jargon so the person being audited will not be intimidated when the auditor uses it. For example, "Show me your procedure for product realization."

Rick Paul
Escondido, CA

Tune In

The latest episode of ASQ TV dives deep into root cause analysis, covering how quality tools helped save a deteriorating national monument and the benefits of using the scientific method approach. Watch for two new episodes this month: one on standards and auditing (Sept. 8) and another on ISO 9001:2015 certification (Sept. 29). Visit http://videos.asq.org to access the full video library.

Online Extras

Videos feature ISO 9001:2015 experts

Most of the authors of this month’s cover story, "Keep Calm and Prepare for ISO 9001:2015," appear on ASQ’s Standards Channel, where they discuss key changes in ISO 9001:2015 and offer advice for implementing it. Tune in to watch informational videos at videos.asq.org/asq-standards-channel.

Don’t be a victim

In his Standards Connection enewsletter article, "Avoiding Misinterpretation Quicksand," expert John Guzik clears up potential misunderstandings in the new version of ISO 9001. Read the article at http://tinyurl.com/iso9001quicksand and subscribe to the enewsletter at asq.org/standardsconnection.

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 your organization’s biggest barrier to creativity?

Visit www.qualityprogress.com for the latest question:

A hierarchical structure that isnt conducive to ideas rising up.


Organizational silos prevent collaboration.


Lack of an innovation strategy.


Large team sizes hinder communication.


What gives you the most anxiety about implementing ISO 9001:2015?

  • Adopting risk-based thinking.
  • Enhancing leadership’s role in quality.
  • Defining the context of your organization.
  • Dealing with documentation.
  • Understanding the new clause structure.

Quality News Today

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First 3-D-Printed Drug Approved by FDA
3-D printing allows the pill to deliver a higher dosage of medicine—up to 1,000 milligrams—while being porous enough to dissolve quickly. These attributes can particularly benefit patients who have difficulty swallowing their medication and miss doses of treatment.

New Breed of Software Engineers Join Automotive Industry
To cope with the software engineer shortage in the automotive industry, suppliers such as Visteon Corp. are turning to unconventional sources—such as the movie and video game industries—to recruit people.

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