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Open Access

No Weak Links

by Bailey, Bill D.; Alter, Howard

A global telecommunications organization decided to use the lean tool value stream mapping, along with the eight rights and seven supply chain wastes to better understand its complete supply chain and to help avoid suboptimization....


Speaking in Code

by Kaiser, Randy

Manufacturers spend time and money creating products for market, yet all of that hard work can be wasted if coding errors affect product quality....


Open Access

Learning From Experience

by Behling, David

Seven thought leaders offer their take on lean’s impact, opportunities and challenges....


Open Access

One Good Idea: Mind Your Metrics

by Hartmann, Thomas

Add customer value to your overall equipment effectiveness formula....


Open Access

Expert Answers: August 2013

by QP Staff

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


Avoiding an Avalanche

by Milliken, Greg

Organizations that make products with rigorous quality requirements face numerous challenges associated with meeting objectives—ranging from complying with standards to operating in highly-regulated and frequently audited environments....


Statistics Roundtable: One Size Does Not Fit All

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

The need to improve is ever present in all endeavors and will continue to be so. We live in a dynamic world. As predicted in the second law of thermodynamic and entropy, the world will continue to change....


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....


Lasting Impression

by Stauffer, Rip; Owens, Debra

A recent paper found that quality initiatives have made significant contributions to three primary indicators of economic well-being: gross domestic product, corporate tax revenues and employment....


Open Access

Tangled Mess

by Schonberger, Richard J.

Many of the world's factories are designed in ways detrimental or unhealthy to product quality. The typically complex and lengthy flow times multiply process variables, which can obscure and delay the discovery of defects and nonconformities....


Open Access

Quality in the First Person: Quality Assurance at Home

by Moon, Lula

Quality assurance 5S principles—sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain—benefit my home life in the same ways that quality assurance principles benefit the workplace....


Wasted Words

by Patra, Pradeep; Paul, Avijit

Lean tools are embedded with elements that encourage effective communication. Whether it’s color-coded work spaces or transparent parts bins, these tools foster an environment in which cycle times are reduced while raising quality....


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....


Not Your Normal SOP

by Brewton, Oliver; Culbreth, Tim; Groeger, Hans

To ensure business activities are performed correctly and consistently, it is vital to be compliant to numerous quality, safety and regulatory requirements. One way to do so is to understand and develop thorough procedures—and then follow them....


Open Access

Getting on Track

by Bowers, Dorothy P.; West, John E. “Jack”

ISO 26000 is here. Are you ready? Maybe the better question is: Do you care? You should. ISO 26000 Guidance on Social Responsibility has been touted as the new standard that can help manage social responsibility issues at your organization....


Open Access

One Good Idea: Number Nine

by Navetta, Jim

Keeping the eight lean wastes in mind when creating a process flowchart is a great way to target improvement opportunities. But during the course of several projects, I’ve come across another form of waste....


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....


Open Access

Career Corner: Rise to the Top

by Whitacre, Teresa

We all hope 2010 brings better economic times. What has the economic bust taught organizations and quality professionals about weathering the storm? It’s shown us we have the tools to survive down times, restructures and reorganizations....


Acquiring Assets

by Kirscht, Ron

Manufacturers face a growing threat to quality and productivity. The coming wave of baby boomer retirements, alongwith a projected decline in the number of new recruits, poses the threat of a gap in skilled workers that are critical to success....


Online Sidebar Creasy

by Creasy, Todd

The evolution to 6TOC includes its predecessors, Six Sigma, lean manufacturing, lean Six Sigma and the theory of constraints...


Pyramid Power

by Creasy, Todd

The next evolutionary step for Six Sigma could be a method called 6TOC (pronounced “six-tock”) that combines principles of lean Six Sigma with the theory of constraints....


Open Access

Back in Circulation

by Vincent, Chad

As the applications for lean expand, organizations must realize lean’s usefulness goes beyond environmental efforts. But first, we must look at the history of lean and to understand how its future fully complements social responsibility....


A Simple Plan

by Kukor, Kreg

For more than 100 years, U.S. manufacturers have advanced equipment and manufacturing technologies to constantly monitor progress and drive process improvement....


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...


Open Access

Keeping Current Online Table

by QP Staff

Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award: National Institute of Standards and Technology ( NIST) in partnership with ASQ Award criteria are built on seven core values: leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, information analysis, human ...


Building Blocks

by Armstrong, Michael

Like many other countries around the world, Canada offers a national quality award to recognize and encourage organizations to attain outstanding levels of quality performance....


3.4 per Million: After the Low-Hanging Fruit

by Mader, Douglas P.

There are four major approaches for organization-wide improvement efforts that fall under the label “lean Six Sigma,” as evidenced by current practices at many industrial organizations, service organizations and consulting firms....


Expert Answers: August 2008

by QP Staff

Flushing out flatness ... Corrective vs. preventive actions....


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...


A Gold Medal Solution

by Adrian, Nicole

By using quality tools, a team from Boeing came up with solutions that eliminated the unsafe conditions that occurred during installation of the details in aircrafts' tailcones....


Open Access

Expert Answers: February 2008

by QP Staff

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


Lean Six Sigma's Evolution

by Mader, Doug

When Motorola rolled out its initial Six Sigma system in 1987, there were no Green Belts, Black Belts, Master Black Belts, Champions or any of the infrastructure or focused training we have come to associate with modern practices in Six Sigma....


Quality in the First Person: From Pizza to Quality

by Ashworth, Bill

I was hired as a quality technician at TexTek Plastics, and the quality manager, who had vast experience in quality applications, was impressed with my diverse education and experiences. One of the absolutes I have learned in my journey is that the compan...


Open Access

Achieve Compliance Through CI

by Chow, Alan F.; Bowman, Ronald; Wittenberg, Leonard C.

Using Six Sigma tools for continuous improvement (CI) is a proven method for meeting or exceeding FDA requirements for medical devices. Optical Integrity Inc., a manufacturer of medical devices, used the Six Sigma define, measure, analyze, improve...


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...


Lean Lessons: Using Lean to Meet Quality Objectives

by Gordon, Dale

For many years, proponents of lean and Six Sigma methodologies have worked to achieve a marriage of convenience. For the most part this has fared well....


A Second Look at 5S

by Van Patten, James

While Six Sigma has largely replaced 5S (lean), that doesn't mean that 5S doesn't have the potential to deliver benefits beyond cleaning up the shop floor. 5S is an idea that can change the perception of the workplace and provide a foundation for all...


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...


One Size Does Not Fit All

by Foster, S. Thomas Jr.

It has been said that academia has lagged behind practice in the development of quality management methods and philosophies, yet academia has done a good job of propagating these concepts. Now academic research has developed two new concepts that will...


Open Access

Bringing Lean To the Office

by Tischler, Len

Lean methods produce quicker results than other quality methods, and they readily apply to office work. Lean uses three principles to create more value while reducing waste and cost. A team of college students gained hands-on lean experience with two...


Open Access

Make Healthcare Lean

by Manos, Anthony; Sattler, Mark; Alukal, George

The principles of lean manufacturing are as applicable to healthcare as they are to the automobile industry. However, unlike manufacturing, healthcare management structures are not usually hierarchical, and hospitals generally are not-for-profit. Value...


Open Access

Simple Tools for Complex Systems

by Thiraviam, Amar Raja

Complex problems don't always require complex solutions. Pareto analysis and process mapping are examples of simple tools that can reduce the defects of a complex manufacturing process. A high-tech manufacturer of electromechanical devices put these...


Open Access

Standards & Registrars Directory

by ASQ

TS TR TL RS QS MD 9KS 14K 9K CR CE AU AS TR CS SPC QS 9KS 14K 9K CS VD6 TS TR TL SPC QS MD 9KS 14K 9K CS CE AU AS TS TR SPC 9KS 14K 9K CS AU AS TS QS MD 9KS 14K 9K CSD AU AS 9KS 9K CR AU VD6 TS TR SPC QS MD 9KS 14K 9K CS VD6 TS RS QS 9KS 14K 9K CSD CS AS...


Open Access

Lean Lessons: All About Lean

by Alukal, George

Lately, lean has been receiving a lot of attention from quality professionals, management and the media. After getting its start in manufacturing, it has now migrated to nonshop floor activities in sales, customer service, accounting, HR......


Your Customers Are Talking, But Are You Listening?

by Westcott, Russ

Few companies have a process to listen to their customers and act on the information. Without a method to measure how satisfied customers are, the door is left open to the competition. The listen, collect, analyze, learn, improve (LCALI) process can...


After Six Sigma - What's Next?

by Bisgaard, Soren; De Mast, Jeroen

A systematic scientific approach is fundamental to dealing with problems of variability that cause costly defects and quality problems. This idea has remained the foundation of numerous incarnations of quality management and is the basis of the current...


Open Access

Get a Lean Certification

by Hutchins, Greg

Here is possibly the most important career tip you will hear this year: Get lean - certification, that is....


Improve Profits With Standards

by Dawes, Edgar

The goal of CEOs and business managers is to make products that please customers and produce a profit. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) provides a roadmap for profit gains through its standards and technical reports. Used in...


Genentech Error Proofs Its Batch Records

by Bottome, Robert; Chua, Richard C.H.

Like other firms subject to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation, Genentech must provide complete and accurate documentation of processes. In September 2003 an error-proofing project was launched by the good manufacturing practices core team at...


Lean Glossary

by Rooney, Steven A.; Rooney, James J.

A glossary defines terms commonly associated with lean...


Opportunities Are Everywhere

by Sayle, Allan J.

As the distinction between quality management and business management fades, an unprecedented confluence of trends and forces offers unique opportunities for quality professionals. Sporadic cost cutting campaigns are being replaced by business...


Volunteer Trains Black Belts in Romania

by Lochner, Robert

A retired quality management consultant relates his experiences as a volunteer trainer of Black Belts in Romania, Europe's poorest country. Under the sponsorship of NCH Advisors, a management company that administers investments made in Romania by...


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...


Quality in the First Person

by Nix, Robert; Simonis, Matthew J.; Smith, Olin K.; Slane, William; Townsley, Rick

Five authors provide personal accounts of their quality experiences. In A Hunger for Quality, Robert Nix tells how a temporary job organizing files for a quality control manager turned into a permanent career in quality management. Certified Quality...


Open Access

Annual Quality Awards Listing

by Funk, Valerie, Compiler

The annual Quality Awards guide to automotive, government, international, national, and state quality awards lists the type of award, award name and sponsor, criteria, contact information, and notes. To be listed, awards must be quality related, must...


Open Access

The Image and Reality of Excellence

by Daniels, Susan E.

Medical device manufacturer Medrad Inc. was the only company in the manufacturing sector to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for 2003. The company has been involved with Baldrige since the award’s inception fifteen years ago....


Good Supplier Management Aids New Products Launch

by Balasubramanian, Raj; Baumgardner, Steve

Unisys Corporation, once a vertically integrated company that designed and manufactured most of what was needed to support its products, has changed its focus to providing cost effective solutions to its customers. Since this change requires reliance on...


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

Your Gateway to Quality Knowledge

by Nelsen, Dave

For the past decade, the Quality Information Center (QIC) at ASQ’s Milwaukee headquarters has collected and compiled material from quality professionals in academics, manufacturing and service to create a definitive quality body of knowledge....


Open Access

The Triple Top Line

by Smith, Larry R.

Quality and sustainability are intertwined and provide win/win/win solutions for both the short-term and long-term effects of design on social responsibility, environmental performance and business results. These elements comprise a triple bottom line....


Open Access

Match the Change Vehicle and Method to the Job

by Harvey, Jean

Processes are at the core of continuous improvement, and improvement happens when a process is changed in one way or another....


Lean and Six Sigma – Synergy Made in Heaven

by Bossert, James

The combination of Six Sigma and lean enterprise work can enhance the production experience. Workers have the empowerment and skill to recognize a problem and, if it cannot be resolved, shut down the line to eliminate the root cause. Six Sigma and lean...


ISO 9000 Makes Integrated Systems User Friendly

by Shipley, David

Organizations need management systems that are based on processes or activities that help personnel understand what is essential to achieving continual improvement on a consistent basis....


Systems Thinking – An Uncommon Answer

by Prevette, Steven S.

Some of the common problems to be found in many business failures include too much focus on short-term gains, too much focus on quarterly profit statements, and a prevalence of long-term losses. One possible solution to these problems is systems...


QOS – A Simple Method for Big or Small

by Keller, Carl W.

Although there are many quality initiatives in the marketplace, many of them involve a degree of hype. Ford Motor Company’s quality operating system (QOS) is recommended as one offering the most value for the money. A QOS assessment looks at...


Open Access

An Integrated Approach System

by Kubiak, Tom

What’s the best quality system? How would you answer this question? How would your colleagues?...


Open Access

Baldrige: It's Easy, Free and It Works

by Crownover, Dale

While many people consider the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria to be difficult, a harder task is learning how to manage opportunities for improvements instead of managing known strengths. While Baldrige may not have the answers, it...


Open Access

Complexity Theory Simplifies Choices

by Okes, Duke

Many business management and improvement methodologies provide finite structures for achieving success. Examples include the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award; the ISO 9001 standard; W. Edward Deming, who provided 14 points; and Six Sigma....


Open Access

Quality Management Multiple Choice: What’s the best quality system?

by Shipley, David; Keller, Carl W.; Bossert, James; Prevette, Steven S.; Okes, Duke; Crownover, Dale; Kubiak, Tom

Monitoring and recording the extent of transition experienced within a designated area assure Procedure ( general) Priority Reviewed Completed Record control Document control Internal audits Management review Corrective action Preventive action Monitorin...


Open Access

Create a Lean, Mean Machine

by Alukal, George

"Lean" has been defined as a systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste through continuous improvement. Lean focuses on value added flow of resources from the customer’s point of view. To compete in today’s economy a company must...


5S for Suppliers

by Bullington, Kimball E.

Lean supply implies that the supply chain is appropriate for lean production. The 5S program, derived from the Japanese words for sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain, provides a proven model for organizing and maintaining a production...


Column: Standards Outlook: Quality Management System vs. Quality Improvement

by Gordon, Dale K.

What should we tell the CEO?

A column by James Harrington, a former company COO began, "All quality programs, whether TQM, Six Sigma or ISO 9000, require an organization to shift away from the status quo."

The article was about resistance to change, but the choice of words of a...


Use Symbols Instead of Words

by Stocker, Gregg

Symbols and visual cues are widely used today to present information in a simple, straightforward manner. They are more effective than words because they are more quickly interpreted and can overcome language barriers. However, we tend to overlook these...


Open Access

A Quality Major

by Sinn, John W.


The doctorate in technology management program offered by the School of Technology at Indiana State University is unique because it is a consortium of seven universities, with ISU being the degree issuing institution. The program provides...


Big Results With Less

by Nystuen, Tamara

Recent world events have put pressure on companies involved in security-related technologies and systems to rapidly increase their production. Garrett Metal Detectors was able to respond to a 300 percent increase in orders for its handheld and...


How to Achieve Operational Excellence

by Bigelow, Madeline

Quality improvement systems can contribute to operational improvements, but they cannot eliminate operational costs arising from deviations and nonconformances caused by human error. In order to grow in today's competitive business environment,...


College and University Programs in Quality

by Johnson, Corinne, Compiler

A list is provided of more than 100 colleges and universities offering courses, programs, and degrees in quality related fields. The list is both alphabetical and geographical and indicates the type of institution and certificates or degrees offered....


Strive to Win the Game

by Kinnear, Rob

Many companies successfully certified in quality standards are having difficulty getting the most from their new product development (NPD) process. Automotive companies, in particular, are struggling to improve their bottom-line results. College sports...


Open Access

Annual Quality Awards Listing

by Johnson, Corinne N.


Quality Progress' Quality Awards Listing is a guide to automotive, government, international, national, regional, and state quality related awards and awards programs. Awards listed must be quality related, eligibility cannot be limited to members...


Open Access

Quality Glossary


A handy reference is provided of quality terms, acronyms, and key people in the history of quality. Information is derived from a variety of sources and compiled by the editorial staff of the American Society for...


Delivering Quality, Safety and Security in Aviation

by Brong, Jerry

Aviation is one of the most regulated industries in the world. Procedures are standardized for use of airspace, aircraft manufacture, and pilot certification. Regulations are multinational, and yet aviation is an industry in which free enterprise and...


ASQ's Black Belt Certification - A Personal Experience

by Cochrane, Don; Gupta, Praveen

Together with the growing interest in and use of Six Sigma techniques comes the need to assess the qualifications of those seeking quality leadership roles in organizations. The ASQ certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB) exam is a practical and cost...


Column: Career Corner: How To Work With Recruiters

by Conklin, Joe

(pages 85 and 87)
[abstract from article]

As quality professionals assume more personal responsibility for developing their careers, asking how recruiters can help is a natural question. Bill, Dave and Paul, three recruiters who place quality...


Column: Career Corner: Supply Chain Management: A New Opportunity

by Hutchins, Greg

In a recent survey of more than 200 companies, Deloitte Consulting found that while 91% of manufacturers rank SCM as either critical or very important to their company's success, only 2% rank their supply chains as world class. This...


How To Compare Six Sigma, Lean and the Theory of Constraints

by Nave, Dave

Many process improvement methodologies appear to conflict with each other, making it difficult to decide which best fits an organization's needs and culture. Three improvement methodologies - Six Sigma, Lean thinking, and Theory of constraints - are...


Open Access

Simplify Your Quality System

by Godwin, Pat



It is usual in the automotive industry for companies to coordinate their quality management standards to the QS-9000 manual, the automotive sector derivative of the ISO 9000 series. The organization of ISO 9000:2000 is different, however, and...


A Road Map to Six Sigma Quality

by Gross, John M.

Many business executives interested in trying Six Sigma Breakthrough Strategies fail to realize that to be successful Six Sigma programs must become cultural revolutions that involve every member of the organization. What is needed is a road map that...


Open Access

Journey to the Baldrige

by Phillips-Donaldson, Debbie, editor

The year's Baldrige winners are profiled. They include Operations Management International Inc. (OMI), Spicer Driveshaft (SD) (an operating unit of Dana Corp.), Karlee Co. Inc., and Los Alamos National Bank (LANB)....


Column: Standards Outlook: From Deming to ISO 9000:2000

by Reid, R. Dan

Lip service isn't enough; management must understand and carry out its obligations to achieve sustainability and growth

For quality programs to be successful, management must take an active role in their implementation. Plenty of guidelines are available in the work of quality leaders such as W. Edwards Deming and in more recently developed standards and programs such...


Learning From Mistakes

by Lathin, Drew; Mitchell, Ron

As U.S. companies strive to compete globally, they face increasingly rigorous quality standards that are difficult to meet, even for the most able companies. As a result, more firms are seeking to implement the lean production system developed at the...


Quality health care--a path forward.

by Reid, R. Dan

ASQ Division, AIAG and accreditation bodies develop guidance document based on ISO 9004

This document is the result of intensified efforts this year by the ASQ Health Care Division, more than 2,000 health care practitioners and the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), including GM, Ford, DaimlerChrysler and the United Auto Workers, with ...


Different Roads to Auto Quality: The Experts Speak Out

by Owens, George; Casey, John; Taguchi, Shin; Goeser, Louise; Mitchell, Scott; Bransky, Joseph R.

Product quality has become increasingly important in the automotive industry, but the definition of the term and the best ways to achieve product quality remain subjects of debate. Quality has been defined in a number of ways in the rapidly changing...


Can Single Sourcing Work in R&D?

by Osmond, Robert; Coleman, Garry D.

Research and development (R&D) organizations can benefit from long-term relationships with single suppliers for material purchasing and especially for contract research. The principle of single sourcing is linked to the fourth of W. Edwards Deming's 14...


Six Sigma and the Future of the Quality Profession

by Hoerl, Roger W.

A lean quality organization that performs supporting roles is a trend in the quality profession. It already has appeared in businesses like General Electric and the now defunct Scott Paper Company. The supporting roles are management of the quality...


The Control Chart Dilemma

by Wise, Stephen; Fair, Douglas

Group target X bar and group range charts are control charts appropriate for statistical process control (SPC) in today's complex manufacturing environment. These charts overcome three shortcomings of traditional SPC methods. These limitations are:...


Continuous Process Improvement the Quick Step Way

by Schroer, Bernard J.; Adams, Mel; Stewart, Steve; Componation, Paul J.

Eliminating waste and reducing the time between order receipt and payment receipt characterize the Quick Step method of continuous process improvement. Quick Step principles include: implementation of simple, small projects via quick and creative...



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