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Expert Answers: April 2014

by QP Staff

Coordinate measuring machine profile capability ......


Measure for Measure: Assessing Performance

by Grachanen, Christopher L.

For many calibration and testing laboratories, routine proficiency testing is a requirement for obtaining and maintaining accreditation status....


Open Access

Breaking Down Barriers

by Liu, Shu

To leverage the benefits and prepare for the challenges big data present, quality professionals must change their mindset, get more data, upgrade their skills and expand their roles in the big data universe....


The Service Quality Platform

by Swersey, Arthur J.

A five-step framework helps service organizations lay the foundation for building a service quality program....


So Many Variables, So Few Observations

by Seaman, Julia E.; Seaman, Christopher A.; Allen, I. Elaine

Colapsing variables in a factor analysis can have dangerous implications, and it also can be difficult to interpret the resulting factors. But what if you have no choice?...


Innovation Imperative: Getting a Jump Start

by Merrill, Peter

In last year’s July issue of QP, I wrote about what a career in innovation might look like. In this column, I want to provide you with some ways to get there....


Measure for Measure: Know Your Surroundings

by Grachanen, Christopher L.

Ambient conditions during tests and calibration activities can have a big influence on measurement results. Some of these influences affect the device being measured; some affect the measurement system; and some affect both....


Getting a Good Read

by Bruns, Todd; Bai, Rendong

The internet has forced libraries to focus on enhancing customer service through quality management. LibQUAL+ is a tool to evaluate library customer service and engage patrons as partners to close the gap between experienced and expected service....


Innovation Imperative: Risk and Development

by Merrill, Peter

In my first Innovation Imperative column, I wrote that, in short, innovation is a risky business. In this month’s column, I am going to move beyond identifying the nature of the risks we must address and look at how we manage those risks....


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?...


Open Access

Perspectives: Added Structure

by Trotter, A. Mark; Calabrese, Rick; Huang, Li-Chung; Krumenaker, Alice; Palm, Ulo

Global good manufacturing practices (GMP) and regulatory guidelines ensure the “safety, identity, strength, quality (and) purity of drug(s).” Manufacturing and quality control testing of approved drugs fall under these GMP regulations....


Making Contact

by Metz, Brian

For an organization to be able to truly understand how well it’s meeting customer expectations, more concrete, measureable metrics must be used....


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....


Expert Answers: August 2012

by QP Staff

Innovation issues ... SPC vs. SQC ......


Open Access

Perspectives: Relying on the Basics

by Diepstra, Keith

It’s difficult to improve a process that isn’t running. Equipment reliability from a manufacturing equipment perspective is typically the purview of maintenance teams and may include watch-over by the engineering team....


Statistics Roundtable: Gage R&R Reminders

by Hare, Lynne B.

Major characteristic specification limits of a popular brand were 3% and 4%. Product with lower than 3% lacked consumer appeal, and product with greater than 4% had reduced shelf life....


Online Conklin: Baker’s Loaf

by Conklin, Joseph D.; Mazu, Michael J.

When recounting Plant Able’s successful struggle to implement process management, we compared it to raising children. That sums up the story when implementation is in your home plant....


The Right Stuff

by Post, Theron; Schuman, Rosemary

The reality for many leaders is they are engaged in making decisions that affect everyone in the organization, but most of them have little evidence of whether decisions are being implemented as intended....


Statistics Roundtable: Knowing There Are Unknowns

by Allen, I. Elaine; Seaman, Julia E.

DO THE ITEMS that people carry in their pockets or purses make them more likely to develop cancer? In an epidemiological study on the development of lung cancer in the population, is carrying matches an important variable?...


Standards Outlook: Remote Control

by Russell, J.P.

When you start talking about remote auditing—or e-audits—around a group of auditors, you will hear plenty of strong opinions. Some auditors are vehemently opposed, while others are open to the idea....


3.4 per Million: Integrating Inputs

by Breyfogle, Forrest W. III

Obtaining voice of the customer information is always important because a business’s survival depends on a person choosing its products over a competitor’s products....


Mixed Signals

by Anderson-Cook, Christine M. , Lu, Lu, and Morzinski, Jerome

It's no surprise when statistics students or colleagues from outside the discipline don’t immediately understand advanced statistical terms and concepts such as “kriging” or “probit regression.”...


Statistics Roundtable: Imputation Explanation

by Allen, I. Elaine; Seaman, Julia E.

The United States recently completed its 23rd federal census of population. The first census was mandated by the U.S. Constitution and carried out under Thomas Jefferson in 1790....


Standards Outlook: Better Together

by Russell, J.P.

Even if everything is done appropriately during an audit, following up on the findings is just as important because it gives meaning to the audit....


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....


Brewed Awakening

by Gojanovic, Tony; Jimenez, Ernie

Manufacturers often rely on an established network of distributors to move finished goods to retailers and consumers. A typical U.S. beer maker may depend on a network of 500 distributors to deliver its beverages to more than 700,000 retail accounts....


Statistics Roundtable: Outlier Options

by Seaman, Julia E.; Allen, I. Elaine

Even in basic statistics courses, we teach that outliers in a data set can pose big problems. We often teach that visually examining data can help identify outliers. Beyond detection, few textbooks devote much time to statistically assessing outliers....


Open Access

Career Climb

by Kulisek, Diane G.; Whitacre, Teresa; Westcott, Russell T.; Lindborg, Hank; Hutchins, Greg

You don’t need to be jobless in today’s economy to feel stressed and apprehensive about your current situation. You don’t need to be reminded there aren’t any guarantees in today’s world....


A Lean Six Sigma Breakthrough

by Jing, Gary G.

The relationship between lean and Six Sigma may appear to be simple, but in practice it may be more challenging because there are so many ways to piece the two together....


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...


Small Change, Big Impact

by West, John E. “Jack”

Little has changed in the fourth edition of ISO 9001, which was issued late last year by the International Organization for Standardization. ISO 9001:2008 contains no new requirements, so the transition should be painless for most organizations....


Expert Answers: March 2009

by QP Staff

Return policy ... restructuring activities ... sample size....


Open Access

Salary Survey 2008: Seeing Green

by Allen, I. Elaine

Significant salary discrepancies exist among quality professionals depending on where they work, their gender and whether they supervise others, according to an analysis of QP’s 2007 and 2008 salary surveys. Part 1, section 1 leads off the salary survey p...


Salary Survey 2008: The Complete Report

by QP Staff

51 Section 6 Salary by Number of Work Hours Online Section 7 Salary by Nonexempt vs. Exempt Status Online Section 8 Salary by Number of Years in Current Position Online Section 9 Salary by Number of Years in Current Position and in the Quality Field Onli...


Open Access

Bright Idea

by Bilke, Terry; Sinn, John

There is an opportunity to apply statistical process control where it can have an impact on our daily lives by providing warning signs of pending outages, signal waste and process problems in the world’s largest machine: the North American power system....


Statistics Roundtable: The Trusty Jackknife

by Allen, I. Elaine; Seaman, Christopher A.

Outliers are a continual source of problems when analyzing data. A few questionable data points can skew your distribution, make significant results seem insignificant and generally ruin your day....


Statistics Roundtable: Match Game

by Allen, I. Elaine; Seaman, Christopher A.

One useful method for evaluating new medical treatments, devices or services involves propensity score methods - matching members of different groups based on a range of characteristics and forming a probability score....


Deliver Great Service By Listening and Adapting

by Goodman, John; Collier, Crystal D.

The customer service systems of most companies worldwide are seldom adaptable enough to handle diverse situations. To avoid giving customers the impression that their contacts are a waste of time, an organization must have an actionable voice of the...


The Science in Six Sigma

by de Mast, Jeroen; Bisgaard, Soren

The structure Six Sigma provides for managing an organization's improvement initiatives is more important than its conformance quality target. It also guides project leaders and offers an array of analysis tools. In addition to Six Sigma's DMAIC...


Measure for Measure: Working With Fixed Value Measurement Standards

by Payne, Graeme

Most instruments for measuring electrical quantities are calibrated by comparing their indication to a value provided by a measurement standard. Usually, the measurement standard can be adjusted to make the unit under test indicate the nominal value....


New Frontiers in the Design of Experiments

by Kenett, Ron S.; Steinberg, David M.

Statistically designed experiments enable businesses to reduce time to market while achieving quality product performance that is critical to survival and success. R.A. Fisher first introduced them in the early 20th century to evaluate the results of...


The Histogram for Complex Parts

by Vermani, S.K.

In the aerospace industry, production and procurement usually consists of infrequent lots of complex parts with relatively small lot sizes. Data are often insufficient to implement standard process assessment techniques. In these situations, a percent...


Measure for Measure: Appraiser Variation in Gage R&R Measurement

by Ermer, Donald

In part one of this column, I said if our data analysis is inaccurate, it does not represent the true quality characteristics of the part or product being measured, even if we're using quality improvement tools correctly....


Standards Outlook: Circling the Wagons

by Reid, R. Dan

The U.S. technical advisory group to International Organization for Standardization technical committee 176 (ISO/TC 176) recently released a document called Quality Management Systems—Advice From ISO/TC 176 for Sector Specific Applications.1...


Open Access

8 Dimensions of Excellence

by Lawton, Robin

Despite a stated desire to be customer focused, most companies tend to measure process performance more intensely than the outcomes customers experience. The 8 Dimensions of Excellence expand and balance the definition of success, beginning with the...


Open Access

Measure for Measure: Improved Gage R&R Measurement Studies

by Ermer, Donald

Many manufacturers are using tools like statistical process control (SPC) and design of experiments (DoE) to monitor and improve product quality and process productivity. However, if the data collected are not accurate and precise, they do not...


Statistics Roundtable: What and When To Randomize

by Anderson-Cook, Christine

One of the most highly stressed principles of statistical design of experiments is the need for proper randomization. Unfortunately, it is sometimes misunderstood and misapplied....


Are You Making Decisions in a Fog?

by Snee, Ronald D.

Just as water makes up two thirds of the world's surface, measurement constitutes an enormous part of the scientific method and scientific problem solving....


Use Distribution Analysis To Understand Your Data Source

by Barrows, Matthew

Distribution analysis - the process of examining a data set to understand its characteristics - uses a variety of tools that are often not used to their fullest extent. A procedure is presented as a guide to performing distribution analysis while...


Open Access

Crosby's 14 Steps to Improvement

by Crosby, Philip B.

In order to be successful, a company quality improvement effort must be well thought out and implemented according to plan over a long period of time. It requires management to stay at it constantly. Philip Crosby's 14-step quality improvement program...


Open Access

Engaging Physicians in Lean Six Sigma

by Caldwell, Chip; Brexler, Jim; Gillem, Tom

Healthcare is one of the most difficult industries in which to install a quality system because of the confusing role of physicians, yet few process changes can be fully optimized without engaging physicians. One reason physicians resist change is that...


The Write Stuff For Quality

by Campanizzi, Jane

Effective writing is a powerful skill that can add value to your organization. The more you utilize basic language techniques, the easier it will be for your readers to interpret and understand your workplace writing. This article, adapted from...


Open Access

Time Management Using Quality Tools

by Courtney, Patrick M.

Quality tools are useful in personal life. The Six Sigma concept of process improvement, specifically the DMAIC tools, has been moved from product to process, and is now applicable for personal performance improvement. Random time checklists, frequency...


Seven Steps To Measure Supplier Performance

by Gordon, Sherry

Most organizations use some type of supplier performance measure, yet few are satisfied with their supplier assessment capabilities and results. Quality professionals are under increasing pressure to avoid supplier problems and retain high performers....


FMEA--Something Old, Something New

by Reid, R. Dan

Managing risk is not optional for organizations. Clause 0.1 of ISO 9004 mentions risk management in the same breath with cost and benefit considerations as being important to an organization, its customers and interested parties....


Back to the Future at Ford

by Smith, Larry R.

The U.S. automotive industry, and U.S. industry in general, have seen significant change over the past thirty years, and the results haven’t always been positive. While specific details differ, Ford Motor Company's experience with the major system...


Training : It's Not Always the Answer

by Stetar, Bill

Employers need employees who perform well, and while training is one way to achieve this goal, it isn't the only way. A training needs analysis assesses current performance and defines desired performance, with the gap between the two states...


A Statistician Looks at Inventory Management

by Kuger, Gregory A.

A major problem facing companies today is how to promptly deliver products to customers without tying up too much capital in the form of inventory buffers. The incorporation of statistical models into supply chain management tactics helps in sizing and...


Let's Get Statistical

by Gordon, Dale K.

Many of us who spend considerable time working with and implementing quality management system (QMS) standards are usually in a mode I like to call “system think.”...


Open Access

How To Handle References

by Westcott, Russ

Should references be provided when making your initial contact with a prospective employer? In almost all situations the answer is, no....


The Metamorphosis of the Quality Professional

by Westcott, Russ

Over the next decade, quality professionals can expect to see their roles increasingly absorbed into project management and other areas. To survive in this environment, quality professionals will have to acquire new competencies....


Tips for Automotive Auditors

by Reid, R. Dan

ISO 9000 has taken more than its fair share of criticism, largely due to the variation in international third-party conformity assessment....


What Do CEOs Think About Quality

by Weiler, Greg

Quality professionals can count on the support of the American Society for Quality when justifying the cost of quality to upper management. ASQ has conducted a survey of top executives in manufacturing, service, healthcare, and education to determine...


Open Access

Translate Know-What Into Know-How

by Chaplin, Edward; Akao, Yoji

Organizational change is a much more difficult challenge than we've been led to believe....


Column: Career Corner: The Personal 360

by Conklin, Joe

I remember the time I volunteered for a 360-degree performance review. That's a formal dialogue in which you get feedback about your job style and effectiveness from peers, subordinates and supervisors. "Normal performance reviews are scary enough," you...


Quality, Not Quantity, of Management

by Feigenbaum, Armand V.; Feigenbaum, Donald S.

This article is from the book The Power of Management Capital: Utilizing the New Drivers of Innovation, Profitability, and Growth in a Demanding Global Economy, available through Quality Press, item number


Ethics, Auditing and Enron

by Arter, Dennis; Russell, J.P.

Were quality auditors to blame for the Enron scandal? No. Do quality auditors face ethical dilemmas such as those faced by the Enron and Arthur Andersen employees? must decide whether or not to...


Beating the Roulette Wheel

by Juran, Joseph M.

In an excerpt from his book "Architect of Quality: The Autobiography of Dr. Joseph M. Juran," Juran describes an experience from his early years working near a clandestine gambling house run by Al Capone. Studying the gambling operations, Juran soon...


Open Access

FMEA - the Cure for Medical Errors

by Reiling, John G.; Knutzen, Barbara L.; Stoecklein, Mike

St. Joseph’s Community Hospital in West Bend, WI, will close in the next few years to make room for a new hospital. This replacement facility will represent a breakthrough in hospital design. Inspired by the Institute of Medicine report To Err Is Human...


Augmented Ruggedness Testing to Prevent Failures

by Anderson, Mark J.

Ruggedness testing, a form of design of experiments (DOE), can prevent failures in the processing and use of products by challenging the process, product, or method, then revealing how inputs change as variables fluctuate over ranges encountered during...


Open Access

Lean and Six Sigma -- A One-Two Punch

by Smith, Bonnie

To keep profits growing in these days of flat revenues, manufacturers are paying more attention to the advice of Poor Richard (a.k.a. Benjamin Franklin): A penny saved is a penny earned....


How To Scope DMAIC Projects

by Lynch, Donald P.; Bertolino, Suzanne; Cloutier, Elaine

Training materials supporting Six Sigma provide excellent background material and address some of the tools and steps needed for successful implementation of the Six Sigma define, measure, analyze, improve, and control (DMAIC) process. However, many...


Open Access

Effective Strategic Planning

by Cascella, Victor

Many business leaders have difficulty translating their strategic planning strategies into business results. One reason is that carefully devised strategies are often poorly deployed and implemented. To successfully launch a business strategy, an...


Should You Transition to ISO 9001:2000?

by West, John E.; Haworth, Greg; Arter, Dennis R.; Harvey, Kathy; Naish, Phyllis; Green, Joseph W.

With the deadline little more than a year away, indications are that fewer than 20 percent of organizations whose business and quality objectives include compliance to the ISO 9000 standards have made the transition. Six ISO 9000 experts present their...


Open Access

Column: Back to Basics: A good problem description is key

by Raub, George R., III

You can cause more difficulties if you don't get off to the right start

A good problem description is the key to the corrective action process described by Kepner-Tregoe. Corrective action teams use the initial problem description as their starting point, but the initial reports are often spotty...


How to Estimate the Parameters of a Weibull Distribution

by Locks, Mitchell O.

Quality professionals often must determine time to failure and reliability of a product from a life test that may be incomplete. A method is described that demonstrates how the Weibull parameters can be estimated when the incomplete life test is...


Peter F. Drucker: Delivering Value to Customers

by Watson, Gregory H.

Before Peter F. Drucker published his seminal book defining management as a formal discipline, there was no coherent body of knowledge addressing management issues. Drucker rejects the commonly held belief that the purpose of business is to make a...


What Do Customers Value?

by Gardner, Bob

Businesses frequently rely on customer surveys as a means of promoting an increased focus on customer outcomes and of stimulating improvements in the work practices and processes used within the company. Although customer surveys can be an invaluable...


Column: Statistics Roundtable: Chicken Soup for Processes

by Hare, Lynne B.

Understanding process variation is a prerequisite to using SPC

SPC can help hold onto gains once they are attained by being used for Shewhart's originally intended purpose -- to detect the entry of assignable cause variation....


Column: Standards Outlook: Auditing ISO 9001:2000.

by Russell, J. P.

Challenges arise because some of the requirements aren't specific or traceable

Because many of its clauses are nonprescriptive--they don't contain specific or traceable requirements--some quality professionals are expressing concern about the auditability of ISO 9001:2000, the new quality management standard. Without...


Column: World View: How to find the correct balance between standardization and differentiation.

by Conti, Tito

For system and management standards such as the ISO 9000 series, even more than for product standards, a correct balance between standardization and differentiation is important for the benefit of the free market. The value added by having a standard -...


How To Find the Correct Balance Between Standardization and Differentiation

by Conti, Tito A.

No generalized quality model can fit all organizational needs

I believe, in fact, that for these standards, even more than for product standards, a correct balance between standardization and differentiation is important for the benefit of the free market. Success led ISO 9000 to break down the barriers separating c...


Open Access

Managing in Uncertainty: Lessons from the Underground

by Spindler, Garold R.

Corporate results can only be improved in the face of uncertainty if the management process itself is defined, developed, and monitored carefully. In some industries, including the mining industry, high levels of uncertainty impact results. In such...


Service Quality and Higher Education Do Mix

by Canic, Michael J.; McCarthy, Patrick M.

In 1996, Indiana University Southeast recognized that it would have to begin competing for students and needed to establish a reputation for providing high-quality experiences for all of its students. The university's first step toward its goal was to...


Calibration buyers, beware!

by Stein, Philip

What to look for when considering a commercial calibration laboratory

The calibration interval is therefore an economic tradeoff in which you balance the frequency of calibration against the cost of calibration and against the potential consequences and costs of not calibrating. In addition, all standards and regulations th...


Obstacles to Implementing Quality

by Salegna, Gary; Fazel, Farzaneh

Organizational performance improves when quality management systems are implemented appropriately. Inconsistencies in the records of companies using Total Quality Management have given rise to debate about the usefulness of TQM programs, however....


Quality tools for metrology.

by Stein, Philip

Many quality professionals need and use measurements every day in their work--from business measurements in quality management to dimensional and electrical measurements in manufacturing, research or design. Measurement assurance is a system of processes,...


Customer Satisfaction Measurement Instruments

by Jeffries, Rella D.; Sells, Patrick R.

In health care, does one size fit none?

The health care industry should be commended for its efforts to measure customer satisfaction with the services provided. Market researchers develop a customer satisfaction measurement instrument for the first identifiable segment within the industry. For...


Open Access

It's All About Improving Performance

by Uhlfelder, Helene F.

Teams should be aware of their problem solving and decision making methods. This meta-problem solving and meta-decision making information can improve team performance of its four basic activities: define the problem; collect data to verify root...


New Quality for the 21st Century

by Feigenbaum, A. V.; Feigenbaum, Donald S.

The worldwide marketplace demands a redefinition of quality in the relentless pursuit of improvement. The 1990s have provided six drivers of this new vitality for quality: fundamental changes in how people think about and act on the need for quality;...


Service Organizations Increasingly Adopt Baldrige Model

by Blodgett, Nancy

Both continuous improvement and marketing benefits

Service-based organizations, such as schools, hospitals and government agencies, are adopting the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) criteria model of high performance for many reasons: to gain a competitive advantage, enhance their image, im...


Statistical process control--a glimpse at its past and future.

by Hunter, J. Stuart

The index Cp = ( USL - LSL)/ 6. = ( specification tolerance)/ 6.., where USL and LSL are the upper specification 54 I Q U A L I T Y P R O G R E S S I D E C E M B E R 1 9 9 9 Statistical Process Control A glimpse at its past and future by J. Stuart Hunter...


New uncertainty method is taking hold.

by Stein, Philip

Refinements to traditional approach

The Type A uncertainty may be calculated (as the standard deviation) from the variation among the many "replicates" (repeats) of the same measurement. Many Type B uncertainties, for example, can be eliminated by calibration (just correct for the known, ca...


On Leaders and Leadership

by Edgeman, Rick L.; Dahlgaard, Su Mi Park; Dahlgaard, Jens J.; Scherer, Franz

Systemic leadership is based on core values and competencies as well as on more tangible elements of business excellence. Systemic leadership requires that everyone be responsible for leadership. However, the models embedded in international quality...


ICSCA wants to become standards, testing watchdog.

by Zuckerman, Amy

Industry Group Wants to Become Standards, Testing Watchdog

A "who's who" of the high-tech, telecommunications, aerospace, automotive, and heavy equipment industries ("Multinationals Question ISO 9000 Registration; NIST Seeks Standards Summit, August 1998, p. 16), the Industry Cooperation on Standards and Conformi...


Two-Location Gauge Evaluation

by Morchower, Neal D.

Comparisons of two testing fixtures at different facilities can be accomplished by separating the tester or location factors from the sequence factors. This produces traditional R&R (repeatability and reproducibility) results while also facilitating...


Using DOE to Determine AA Battery Life

by Wasiloff, Eric; Hargitt, Curtis

Battery factors of cost, connector design type, and temperature were tested for differences in time to discharge and voltage drop. The study examined randomly selected, off-the-shelf AA batteries typically used by remote-control model car racers. The...


Applying Quality Concepts to Community Issues

by Jacques, March Laree

Communication and process are keys to overcoming political barriers in community improvement efforts. In Tacoma and Pierce County, WA, the ideas of W. Edwards Deming are coming to life in a partnership between Tacoma and the Deming Institute. The...


Quality Today: Recognizing the Critical SHIFT

by Silverman, Lori L.; Propst, Annabeth L.

Five inevitable trends in quality exist today and will continue to develop. First, quality goes softer, in that organizations must attend to the emotional, psychological, and social needs of their employees. Only then can teamwork, cross-functional...


Measuring People and Performance: Closing the Gaps

by Morgan, Brian S.; Schiemann, William A.

Quality Progress and Metrus Group surveyed a sample of ASQ members about people metrics and management at their companies. Findings from more than 800 respondents indicate that even though people measures are used in many companies, only about 30% of...



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