"Elevate Your Strategy" (August 2017, pp. 30-35) is a fantastic article. In today’s world of agility, we often fail to understand that agility relies on an entire system and ecosystem of design and preparedness—reduction of technical debt, clear procedures, advanced skills and culture, for example. We often don’t set ourselves up for success. Well done on this article.

Bill Minckler
Bexley, OH


In response to "Visual Aid" (October 2017, pp. 34-39): Excellent, excellent resource. We are researching this further so we can implement it for the new year. Thanks!

Heather Johnson
Weaverville, NC


In response to "Better Intelligence" (September 2017, pp. 34-40): This is a great article about fusing lean Six Sigma and analytics. I highlighted so much to share with others. Well done.

Kevin Holston

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This month’s question

Japan’s reputation for quality has taken a hit in recent months. In October, it was discovered that Kobe Steel Ltd., a major Japanese steel manufacturer, has been falsifying its quality data since at least 2007. The scandal affects about 500 companies, including Boeing, General Motors and Ford.

Nissan and Subaru also have been in the spotlight recently for flawed vehicle inspections. For decades, both automakers used unauthorized employees to conduct final safety checks at their Japanese factories.

What can these organizations do to recover from these serious scandals? What can other organizations do to prevent something like this from happening to them?

Send us your take at editor@asq.org.

Last month’s question

After a disaster, people often rally to help those affected by donating food, water and clothing. But sometimes the donated items aren’t what is really needed, or so much is donated that it can’t all be used. This can overburden recovery systems and clog supply chains, preventing victims from getting what they need, when they need it.

What systems can be put in place to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of disaster relief efforts?

Sandi Singleton, Danbury, CT, writes:

How about a reverse supermarket database where needs are posted by various non-profit organizations and people can select what need they want to fulfill and donate the requested items to that organization?

What would be fabulous is if the person donating could buy the items through the non-profit’s site, or buy the items on his or her own and ship them to the non-profit’s distribution center or wherever the requesting organization needs the donation to go.

Serena Wong, Malaysia, says:

Good coordination and improved communication between the different organizations involved in disaster relief efforts could help improve efforts. Basic stock and inventory management and distribution management skills also would be useful.

A wish list or registry of needed items and their priority that is monitored and updated daily or weekly can be useful. When the quantity of items collected is sufficient, the items can be assigned a lower priority or crossed off the list. Make a list of action items and assign task owners.

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