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Necessary Measures

by Johnson, Louis; Deaner, Maureen;

Learn the difference between standard and expanded gage repeatability and reproducibility (R&R) studies and how expanded gage R&R helps clarify measurement system variation....

3.4 per Million: Conducting FMEAs for Results

by Kubiak, T.M.

Today’s world is fraught with risk. A failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) is a prevention-based, risk management tool. Its real value is reflected in its use as a long-term, living document....

Safety in the Skies

by Odigie, Michael; Martin, Royce A.; Courbat, Michael; Sinn, John W.

Embracing the notion of continuous improvement, the aviation industry is endeavoring to redefine and fine-tune the way safety is managed....

Open Access

Looping in Quality

by Awofala, Dele

The quality loop framework provides organizations with a structured approach to integrating quality throughout the product assembly process—from the workstation to the customer....

At Your Fingertips

by Cartia, Robert A.

Troubleshooting is defined as a form of problem solving most often applied to the repair of failed products or processes. It is a logical, systematic search for the source of a problem so it can be solved and so the product or process can operate again....

Standards Outlook: Into the Future

by Reid, R. Dan

During the past 30 years or so, there has been a lot of content in this column and in QP dealing with management system standards (MSS). Well, get ready. ISO MSSs as you know them are about to change, starting as soon as next year....

Standards Outlook: Common Ground

by Gordon, Dale K.

Accreditation by a recognized accreditation board ensures the impartiality and competence of the certification board (CB), and fosters confidence and acceptance of the CB’s certifications by end users in public and private sectors....

Open Access

Perspectives: Be a Trendsetter

by Kraft, Debra

Quality professionals should consider expanding their networking efforts into the business realm. Why? Our organizations expect us not only to eliminate the costs of poor quality, but also help optimize profitability....

Open Access

5S Shakeup

by Casey, John

There are secrets about 5S that lean experts often overlook because nobody ever clued them in. Before revealing the secrets, however, there are a few questions to answer: What is 5S? Why is 5S important to implement?...

Open Access

Expert Answers: August 2013

by QP Staff

Correction vs. corrective action ... Identifying and eliminating waste...

Open Access

Feeling Connected

by Port, Jonathan D.

Each of us desires to be heard and understood, affirmed, blessed, safe, touched, chosen and included. Understanding these desires in each person can lead to high-performing work relationships, motivated employees and better quality....

Standards Outlook: Road to Revision

by Cressionnie, L.L. “Buddy"

The flagship aviation, space and defense quality management system (QMS) standard has started revision activities. AS9100 is the foundation standard of the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG)....

Open Access

Back to Basics: Light Bulb Moment

by Force, Scott

NEWLY CERTIFIED Six Sigma Black Belts often struggle with understanding how the various quality tools work together. It took me a few projects before I began to see linkage. As I teach and mentor new Belts, I use an analogy that hits close to home....

Parts of the Process

by Aguirre-Torres, Victor; López-Alvarez, Maria Teresa

Repeatability and reproducibility studies are based on the concept of variance components estimation. This is a remarkable achievement of statistical science because people usually think in terms of means and trends, not variation around a mean....

Open Access

Balancing Act

by Montgomery, Eda Ross; Neway, Justin

With common quality methods and standards in place, manufacturing organizations share a daunting challenge: an increased volume of electronic and paper-based data collected during process development and manufacturing....

Open Access

Paving the Way

by Anderson-Cook, Christine M.; Borror, Connie M.

Data and information are at the heart of good investigations and decision making, but are all kinds of data the same? What are the major categories and types of questions to ask to collect and analyze data?...

Standards Outlook: Confidence Game

by Gordon, Dale K.

For the second time in my 55 years on this Earth, we are seeing a crisis of confidence. This stems from many factors, including the devastating recession of 2008 to 2009 and the slow and painful global economic recovery we are witnessing....

Standards Outlook: Keeping Watch

by Russell, J.P.

Supply chain management is important to ensure organizations can compete in the global market. Organizations continue to focus on core competencies, resulting in greater dependence on high-quality materials and services from suppliers....

Why Certify?

by Laman, Scott A.; Korkuch, Dana; Kohler, Rene; Drobnick, Rudy; Kramer, Robin; Gardner, Pete; DiPuppo, Janet G.; Krothapalli, Sowmya;

These stories are told by people at different stages of their careers. One of the things they have in common, however, is they’ve carefully considered the costs and benefits of ASQ certification....

Standards Outlook: Corrective Action Challenge

by Reid, R. Dan

The purpose of corrective action is to prevent the recurrence of the problem. There are usually many actions that can be taken to address the problem, ranging from incremental changes to innovative solutions....

Measure for Measure: What If?

by Bucher, Jay L.

There are no requirements that call for traceable calibration to the National Institute of Standards and Technology or any other National Metrology Institute (NMI). Nor are there any requirements for other countries to be traceable to their NMIs....

Open Access

Hearing Aids

by Brandt, D. Randall

Today, hundreds of organizations regularly conduct surveys and focus groups, solicit comments and complaints, scour social media and gather data from other sources....

Measure for Measure: Measuring Your Worth

by Bucher, Jay L.

I’ve run across this type of situation in which a calibration technician might feel he or she is not as important as others in the organization. Nothing could be further from the truth....

Clever Combination

by Flori, Albert

As software use increases in safety-critical applications, we must implement quality improvement tools and techniques to identify software failures before they have a critical effect on the completed system or a fatal effect on the end user....

Standards Outlook: Ingraining Innovation

by Reid, R. Dan

The concept of innovation has been around for a while, but it has grown and evolved to become an issue of significant, if not critical, importance to organizations....

Open Access

Career Corner: Waiting for the Phone to Ring?

by Westcott, Russell T.

Whether you're employed or unemployed, if you are waiting for the phone to ring or for an email to arrive inviting you to explore a new job opportunity, you are awaiting a miracle. And we all know how often a miracle occurs....

Open Access

Standards Outlook: What's Old Is New Again

by West, John E. "Jack"; Hunt, Lorri; Croft, Nigel H.; Jarvis, Alka

The time appears to have finally come to start another major revision of ISO 9001. But before moving forward, it’s a good idea to look back at where we’ve been....

Statistics Roundtable: Going on Feel

by Snee, Ronald D.; Hoerl, Roger W.

Customers consider consistent quality to be one of the most important product and service attributes. Often, it’s the most important....

Open Access

Back to Basics: Creative Combination

by Force, Scott

I have been facilitating lean Six Sigma projects and coaching other belts through their projects since 2002. Combining tools is a technique I use with teams when potential root cause analysis through a fishbone diagram does not show any obvious direction....

Standards Outlook: Know Your Future

by Reid, R. Dan

The future is a subject of great interest to quality practitioners. So let’s look for initiatives that may be right around the corner. Armed with the right information, you should be able to get a head start on the competition....

Reaching Out

by Blumenthal, Cynthia

In his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Middlesex, Jeffery Eugenides describes life at Ford Motor Co. in the 1920s, detailing how unskilled workers tried to match the calculated pace of assembly lines and a manufacturer that made almost every part itself....

Ford's Focus

by Levinson, William A.

“Triple bottom line” refers to the measurement of a business’s impact on people, planet and profits. These metrics may seem aggressive, but Henry Ford proved their intelligent interpretation and application makes them synergistic and mutually supporting....

Standards Outlook: Variation Reduction

by Gordon, Dale K.

With the latest revision of the common standards in early 2009, it was also time to do a major update of the auditor authentication process....

Perspectives: Wake Up and Smell the Cookies

by Diepstra, G. Keith

MY RECENT TRANSITION from the automotive sector to a company in the food industry held some unusual surprises: • The overall equipment effectiveness, capabilities and yields were shockingly low in the food industry....

Standards Outlook: Taking Control

by Russell, J.P.

Organizations need controls to ensure objectives are achieved. It’s management’s job to establish, implement and monitor controls, and the auditor’s job to determine whether they are adequate....

Open Access

What Have We Learned?

by Reid, R. Dan

In a general way, the disaster in Japan provides us with a good context to see what lessons can be learned from fundamental quality management science....

Open Access

Leveling the Playing Field

by Wawrzyniak, Linda

I would never have guessed I had something to offer professional athletes from a quality professional’s perspective. I was proven wrong, however, after a little experiment with a simple quality tool....

Best of Both Worlds

by Granowicz, Gene

Combine flowcharts and turtle diagrams to simplify the presentation of information and clarify process interactions, making employee training and quality management system auditing easier....

Know More, Do More

by Chang, Nancy S.Q.; Gagliardi, Frank A.

If organizations want to take advantage of a changing landscape dotted with new opportunities, products and services, they need to make a substantial investment in educating and retaining a competent labor force....

Open Access

One Good Idea: TREAT Your Customers

by Sedlock, Ron

The missing piece to the quality puzzle is service quality. It is the catalyst needed to activate the quality ingredients that produce the results you want....

Open Access

Salary Survey 2010: Not Out of the Question

by Hansen, Max Christian

Every year, QP’s Salary Survey sparks countless questions for quality professionals and gets them thinking about their careers and personal development: How do I compare with others? What can I do get ahead? Are things getting better out there?...

Salary Survey 2010: Part 1, Section 1: Salary by Job Title

by Hansen, Max Christian

The vast majority of respondents to this year’s salary survey was regular, full or part-time employees—that is, they work for a single company or organization. Part 1 of this report, comprised of sections 1-20, covers these respondents....

Salary Survey 2010: Part 1, Section 2: Salary by U.S. Regions and Canadian Provinces

by Hansen, Max Christian

In the United States and Canada, average salaries of quality professionals varied widely by region or province. The lowest-paying region in the United States was home to quality professionals with salaries 9.3% less than the national average....

Salary Survey 2010: The Complete Report

by QP Staff

experience by gender / FIGURE 2 More than 20 years 10.1- 20 years 6.1- 10 years 3.1- 6 years $ 6,000 Male Years of experience in quality profession Years of experience in quality profession Female $ 4,000 $ 2,000 0 $ 2,000 $ 4,000 $ 6,000 1- 3 years Less...

Standards Outlook: Benefit Without a Doubt

by Bucher, Jay

In the typical executive reward system, bonuses are based, in part, on implementing creative solutions to complex problems rather than using standardization. for strategic advantage....

Open Access

3.4 per Million: Firefighting With DMAIC

by Snee, Ronald D., Gardner, Edgar C.

As quality professionals, we like to solve problems by finding root causes and putting fixes in place. As a rule, we don’t like to fight fires, but sometimes we have to....

Making the Connection

by ReVelle, Jack B.

Connectivity can refer to the predecessor-successor relationship existing between two or more tools for continuous improvement. The output from one tool, such as a Pareto analysis, can become the input to another, such as cause and effect analysis....

Open Access


by Murphy, William H.

All companies want to build a stronger brand by ensuring customer satisfaction. Along the way, of course, the companies want to make a profit....

Quality in the First Person: Seek and You Shall Find

by Knapp, Gary

In March 2009, I joined a small computer numerical control (CNC) job shop’s management team as quality manager. I started there after having worked for 11 years in quality management and having had experience developing new projects, launching new...

Standards Outlook: Knowledge Is Power

by Reid, R. Dan

In most systems, executives are rewarded for coming up with creative solutions to complex problems rather than for standardization work. Yet, there is tremendous value in standardization....

Discussion Warranted

by Kleyner, Andre

Warranties are important attributes of most business transactions. Their comprehensive impact on a company’s bottom line, however, is not always clearly understood—even by the people who deal with product quality and reliability on an everyday basis....

Open Access

Where to Start

by Hayes, Bob E.; Goodden, Randall; Atkinson, Ron; Murdock, Frank; Smith, Don

Companies are viewing the Toyota situation as a cautionary tale rife with lessons that can benefit all organizations. To help drive those lessons home, QP recruited five quality experts, each of whom broke down one aspect of the fallout....

Open Access

Under Scrutiny

by Paradies, Mark

For years, quality practitioners have been taught to find root causes of problems by using a set of tools based on the theory of cause and effect. Many users of these techniques, however, find that some problems keep happening....

Open Access

Perspectives: TPS Troubles

by Leggett, Steven C.

It’s only natural to link the TPS to Toyota’s safety problems. But is the system the problem? And should organizations that employ a version of the TPS be concerned about their systems?...

Customer Focus Sparks Invention

by Ellifson, Valerie

To reduce customer complaints and remain profitable, Littelfuse’s facility in the Philippines designed a voice of the customer (VOC) project. The executive team or project champion and project sponsor help the team set goals and expectations, and provide ...

Window of Opportunity

by Chadha, Rajeev; Kalra, Jay

By employing lean Six Sigma, a supplier for one of the Big Three automakers met its goals and developed technology that is projected to be applicable to any and every automobile—from two-door coupes to full-size vans—within five years....

Open Access

Leaning Toward Green

by Chapman, Christopher D.; Green II, Newton B.

Lean practitioners have long challenged employees to question why a process is performed in a particular way, whether it is necessary, and to shift their paradigm to implement a simpler, more efficient way to provide value to the customer....

Quality in the First Person: Accidental Destiny

by Harding, Paul

John Ruskin once said, “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort.”1 How many of us who work in quality came into the profession by accident? I, for one, can raise my hand. I started my career as an apprentice tool...

Expert Answers: December 2009

by QP Staff

Continual vs. continuous ... Setting up a data set....

Attitude Shift

by Young, Marc

In a used-car dealership group based in Richmond, VA, a lean culture change took place that started with a redesign of its process for reconditioning used cars and ended with numerous benefits, some of which it didn't expect....

Standards Outlook: Major Upgrades

by Reid, R. Dan

The new fourth edition of the Chrysler, Ford and General Motors (GM) Potential Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) Reference Manual, which was released last year, is a significant upgrade from the third edition published in 2001....

Know Thyself

by Warda, Robert P.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to improvement: project-centric improvement and culture-centric improvement. Traditional thought says these approaches have their separate places. But PCI and CCI are inextricably linked....

Keep on Truckin’

by Adrian, Nicole

In July 2005, a transportation representative at Bayer MaterialScience identified a potential problem with the way the company chose its shipping carriers. Bayer, a global manufacturer of polymers used as raw materials for products such as compact...

Open Access

FMEA Minus the Pain

by Ramu, Govindarajan

Failure mode effects analysis has stood the test of time as a powerful risk assessment tool for products, processes and systems....

Open Access

Human Touch

by Nelson, John; Lemarquis, Jean-Paul

“No job is so important, nor service so urgent, that we cannot take the time to perform our work safely.” Those familiar with the old Bell System will remember this safety creed. It helped guide many decisions in potentially dangerous situations....

The Power of Balance

by Su, Qiang; Shi, Jing-hua; Lai, Sheng-jie

Many organizations face tremendous challenges in calculating trade-off relationships and the point of balance when determining their cost of quality. Experts don’t always agree, compounding the difficulty....

Open Access

Building From the Basics

by Rooney, James J.; Kubiak, T.M; Westcott, Russ; Reid, R. Dan; Wagoner, Keith; Pylipow, Peter E.; Plsek, Paul

Quality control is about models, methods, measuring and managing. It’s about uncovering a problem and finding the solution. It’s about using the right techniques at the right time to make things better....

Standards Outlook: Automakers Shift Manual Into Another Gear

by Reid, R. Dan

The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) published the second edition of the Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) and Control Plan Reference Manual this summer....

Drill Deep for Strategic Alignment

by Kausek, Joe

Internal auditors must understand an organization’s strategy and how each process fits into that strategy. Internal auditing for strategic alignment and execution requires that the auditor understand the organization’s desired strategy and how each proces...

Starting From Scratch

by Radziwill, Nicole; Olson, Diane; Vollmar, Andrew; Lippert, Ted; Mattis, Ted; Van Dewark, Kevin; Sinn, John W.

Graduate students studying quality developed the Quality Systems Development Roadmap to help organizations do this, using application templates from the Lean Six Sigma Quality Transformation Toolkit. However, new companies, organizations without an enterp...

Quality in the First Person: Rocky Start

by Payne, Tamara

The early part of my life was filled with mistakes, one after the other. When I was 15, my family moved to a new town, and I was in a new school. By 16, I quit school. By 17, I was married, and at 18, I was divorced with a baby....

Open Access

Small Business, Big Feat

by Adrian, Nicole

Efforts to continuously improve employee and customer satisfaction, and business practices led PRO-TEC to a Baldrige award. The company has incorporated many best management practices, including lean manufacturing and continuous improvement, and relied on...

Standards Outlook: Hazardous to Your Health

by Reid, R. Dan

One hospital chain in my area has a snappy ad saying your selection of a hospital could be the most important choice you will ever make. This might be true—going into the hospital these days can be hazardous to your health....

The Great Debate

by Mors, Terry A.

Two auditors meet over breakfast. One is a quality management system (QMS) auditor and the other an environmental management system (EMS) auditor....

Open Access

Expert Answers: February 2008

by QP Staff

ISO standards outlines ... The benefits of kaizen blitzes....

Open Access

Lean Lessons: Filling New Post-Lean Capacity

by John Connelly

The impact of lean projects in manufacturing plants is more than cost efficiencies, decreases in lead times and improvements in on-time delivery....

Turbocharge Your Preventive Action System

by Sittsamer, Murray J.; Oxley, Michael R.; O’Hara, William

A layered process audit (LPA) is an ongoing chain of simple verification checks to make sure a defined process is followed correctly. This powerful management tool can improve safety, quality and cost savings by amplifying problem solving systems and...

Standards Outlook: Auto Industry Drives to Improve Healthcare

by Reid, R. Dan

The U.S. auto industry has been challenged by its need to compete in a global marketplace while burdened by healthcare expenses for workers and retirees....

Open Access

Annual Quality Awards 2007

by Ellifson, Valerie

The annual quality awards listing is a guide to automotive, government, international, national, and state quality related awards, organized by type, the award’s name and sponsor, criteria, contact information, and notes. Awards in the form of...

Using FMEA to Assess Outsourcing Risk

by Welborn, Cliff

Although outsourcing is a growing trend among U.S. businesses, there are risks involved and not everyone benefits from such arrangements. The advantages of outsourcing must be weighed against risks and go beyond cost savings. Without a systematic...

Open Access

Lean Lessons: Lean Kaizen in the 21st Century

by Alukal, George

Adapted from a chapter of Lean Kaizen, the author offers key takeaways from the Toyota Production System (TPS). He describes how the kaizen method is the foundation of the The Toyota Way and how it emphasizes efficiency, problem solving and...

Nanotechnology: A Big Little Frontier for Quality

by Harriett Black Nembhard

Nanotechnology is a field of applied science that deals with arranging particles...

The Innovation Process and Quality Tools

by Walker, H. Fred; Levesque, Justin

Cost control and product quality are only capable of sustaining competitive advantage. It takes product or service innovation to create competitive advantage in a global marketplace. Innovation consists of a series of steps like any other business or...

Conformity or Sustainability? That Is the Question

by Watkins, David

Sustainability is an enterprise’s ability to survive and prosper in a rapidly evolving environment, and the essence of sustainability is performance results. Any expenditure of resources that does not generate value produces a net loss and impaired...

Quality Glossary

by Nelsen, Dave

Five years after it published its first glossary of quality terms, ASQ has revised that glossary with updated definitions and new entries, many from the lean glossary published in 2005. This reference of terms, acronyms, and prominent figures in the...

Standards Outlook: Six Lessons Learned From QS-9000

by Reid, R. Dan

The sun sets on QS-9000, the U.S. automotive standard.

My version of the old joke goes: "When’s your birthday?" "Dec. 15." "What year?" "Every year, so far."...

Open Access

It's in the Genes at Cummins

by Daniels, Susan

When asked why diesel maker Cummins used Six Sigma to explain new health insurance benefits to its employees, the response was that Six Sigma is part of Cummins' DNA. Six Sigma methods helped ensure a smooth enrollment process, particularly for union...

Open Access

ASQ Certification Board Puts Quality Tools to Work

by Laman, Scott A.; Burns, Elizabeth; Lynn, Kathy L.

Recognizing the importance of customer satisfaction in strategic planning, the ASQ certification board recently used quality tools to develop customer requirements. To begin the process, a SIPOC (suppliers, inputs, outputs, and customers) diagram was...

Merging Quality Cultures in Contract Manufacturing

by Jones, David M.

When EPIC Technologies acquired the Siemens Electronic Manufacturing Center operations in Johnson City, Tennessee, it became necessary to merge its quality culture with those of its new subsidiary while continuing to keep its original customers happy....

Standards Outlook: Coming Changes in Aerospace Standards

by Gordon, Dale K.

All parts of the aerospace industry--commercial, business, military and space--currently seem to be doing fairly well. You could say the industry has a lot of momentum....

3.4 per Million: Six Sigma in Everything We Do?

by Carnell, Mike

I was lucky to work for Motorola in the 1980s and early 1990s - right in the middle of the company's transformation. Motorola was at risk as were many U.S. businesses....

Open Access

Consultants' Style: Sometimes Less Is More

by Iossifova, Albena; Sinha, Kingshuk K.

When medium to small organizations decide to become ISO 9001 or ISO 14001 registered, they often rely heavily on consultants for training, gap analysis, documentation, and management system development. However, because consultants are expensive, these...

Standards Outlook: Developing the Voluntary Healthcare Standard

by Reid, R. Dan

The new Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) voluntary standard for healthcare delivery is in its second review, with an anticipated launch no later than early 2008. AIAG also is pursuing partners for the publication from the healthcare sector....

Open Access

Linking the Supply Chain to TQM

by Matthews, Charles R.

In today's environment of global outsourcing, supplier quality management must transform itself from simply measuring supplier compliance to gathering knowledge, managing risk, and executing project management. Total quality management (TQM) ensures...

Standards Outlook: Standards and the Knowledge Age

by West, John E. "Jack"

Things are moving so fast these days that some are questioning the long-term viability of standards, particularly management systems standards (MSSs)....

Quality in the First Person: SPC: Not Just for Geeks

by Kruger, Katrina

I fell into quality the old fashioned way: I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. At the time, computers were becoming important tools, and I was one of the few people in the plant who knew how - or even wanted - to operate one....

Open Access

Shifting Quality Into High Gear

by Edmund, Mark

Park Place Lexus (PPL), located in the Dallas metropolitan area, is the first automobile dealership to win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Determined not to be just another car dealership, PPL leaders looked outside the industry to...

Open Access

Annual Quality Awards

by Funk, Valerie

The Annual Quality Awards Listing is a guide to automotive, government, international, national, and state quality related awards. The list is organized by type, the award's name and sponsor, criteria, contact information, and notes. To be included in...

Standards Outlook: Supply Chain Management Remains Aerospace Challenge

by Gordon, Dale K.

The aerospace industry is in the process of shedding new light on the customer-supplier relationship, especially in the never ending quest to deliver defect free, safe and reliable product....

Digesting Complicated Processes

by Baker, Rocky

Businesses today face the challenge of balancing innovation with the need to maintain control of processes. The introduction to ISO 9001 contains a process model called the process approach that is based on the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle and can be...

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