Thanks for penning an article ("Under Cultivation," July 2017, pp. 16-21) around such a widely discussed yet difficult-to-grasp subject. I fully agree that trust plays a vital role in promoting and sustaining a culture of quality. Within our own organization, we have seen that a blame-free culture supported by trust in leadership goes a long way in identifying and proactively mitigating quality risks. Genuinely recognizing employees in a timely manner for quality-centric behaviors ingrains a culture of quality in organizational DNA.

Prakash Patwardhan
Columbia, MO


In response to "Get at the Core" (August 2017, pp. 16-20): The company I now work for uses human error as a root cause analysis for 90% of the corrective and preventive actions. This article hits the nail on the head and is something I have been preaching since I joined the company. I am requiring all personnel involved with corrective actions to read this article.

Charlie Poirier
Chino Hills, CA

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This month’s question

With last year’s release of the Federal Aviation Administration’s small unmanned aircraft rule, more industries are experimenting with drones. Auditors, for example, are using drones to count the number of vehicles at an automotive manufacturer’s plant or to take stock of inventory at a retail organization. Retail giant Amazon is working on launching Amazon Prime Air, which will use drones to deliver packages in 30 minutes or less.

How do you see drones being used in the future? How will they affect your role or be used by your organization?

Send us your take at editor@asq.org.

Last month’s question

Three Square Market, a Wisconsin organization, is the first U.S. organization offering to implant radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips in its employees—right between their thumb and forefinger. The chip, which is about the size of a grain of rice, can be used to operate the copy machine, open doors, log in to computers and even make purchases in the organization’s breakroom.

Implantable devices are growing in popularity. While some people see RFID chips as the technology of the future—eventually replacing things such as passports and bus passes—others are much more skeptical about the implications of being microchipped.

What are some of the potential quality implications or ethical issues surrounding RFID chips and implantable technology?

Claire Everett, St. Leonards, Australia, writes:

We already carry around technology that can track our every movement—smartphones with GPS for one. Really, the only difference I can see is we can’t choose to leave an RFID at home (or anywhere else). I can see a future in which people are born who never carry a wallet; they’re implanted with an RFID at birth and never need one.

Obviously, there’s going to need to be strong quality and security controls around them to prevent identity theft and other kinds of theft. Done right, however, we could end up much better protected than we are now. 

Personally, I’d take the RFID as soon as I was sure the security was adequate. I’d love to not be able to lose my transport card or have to dig though my wallet to find the right store card, or need to have a new credit or debit card mailed when the previous one is expiring. Are there negatives? Yes, but I think there are far more positives.

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