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First Things First

by Arendall, C. Steven; Tiger, Andrew A.; Westbrook, Kevin W.;

Quality management literature has devoted considerable effort to the task of understanding and measuring process capability. Process capability is defined as the best distribution a process can produce given its present design at a given point in time....

Virtual Voices

by Wigent, Dave; Sinn, John W.; Adams, Mike

Social services departments in seven Ohio counties and a university banded together to serve an influx of applicants and improve service by implementing a virtual call center....

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....

Expert Answers: December 2013

by Wagoner, Keith; Pylipow, Peter E.

Measuring customer experience ... SPC for low-volume assembly....

Statistics Roundtable: Balancing Priorities

by Anderson-Cook, Christine M.;

We live in a complex world in which getting exactly what we want is often difficult or impossible. The notion of a trade-off is something we are forced to confront almost daily....

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....

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: Survey Overload

by Purdy, Derek

Some years ago, I was presented the bill at a restaurant. In addition to the itemized list of charges, the little billfold contained a customer comment card. “Wow,” I thought, “what a great idea. This place is really on the ball.”...

Statistics Roundtable: Let's Be Realistic

by Anderson-Cook, Christine M.

Decision making is all about understanding and comparing trade-offs between choices: What benefits are possible, what are the risks and can they be mitigated, and what will each of the alternatives cost?...

Before the Fact

by Mehta, Bob

The FDA has ratcheted up its surveillance and inspection activities on the suppliers of food and dietary supplements. Growing concern over protection of America’s food chain has been voiced by the FDA’s commissioner of food and drugs....

Open Access

Lessons in Labeling

by Braswell, Nina; Koroseta, Jill; Grogan, Amy

What kind of care would you want for a loved one fighting cancer? This is the question the experts at Cancer Treatment Centers of America ask themselves every day and motivates employees to create a culture where continuous improvement becomes a habit....

Open Access

The Right Blend

by Vanicek, Vera

Faced with cost reductions and scheduling changes, a chemotherapy mixing room (CMR) implemented the define, measure, analyze, improve and control method and lean tools to optimize operations....

Open Access

Online Figures - Vanicek

by Vanicek, Vera

daily volume Total time ( hours) Drug receiving/ reconciliation 0: 51: 00 0: 51: 00 Injectables ( RT) 0: 01: 09 25 0: 28: 45 Pump receiving 0: 01: 32 9 0: 13: 48 Pump assigning ( existing) 0: 01: 43 7 0: 12: 01 Pump assigning ( NP) 0: 07: 00 1 0: 07: 00 ...

In the Crosshairs

by Lindquist, Russell

In 2005, Fairbanks Morse Engine discovered that work content analysis can help clearly define product families and can align improvement activities in a leveraged execution....

Open Access

Quality Around the Clock

by QP Staff

It’s in your DNA. It’s how your mind works. It’s what you do. It’s who you are. When you work in quality, you see things differently. You approach problems and scenarios in certain ways. It happens after you’ve signed off....

Shift Into High Gear

by Hankel, Amanda

When customers of tgestiona began expressing dissatisfaction about the its inefficient service and delivery processes, it began a transport optimization project that earned gold-level status in the 2012 ASQ International Team Excellence Award process....

Statistics Roundtable: Weighing Your Options

by Anderson-Cook, Christine; Lu, Lu

When we are faced with choosing the best solution for a problem, most of us are very good at picking the right solution if there’s only a single quantitative objective over which to optimize....

Open Access

Career Corner: Light Your Fire

by ReVelle, Jack B.

It takes the right team members to create an enabled, empowered, motivated, cross functional, self-directed team capable of selecting the most important tasks, and then efficiently and effectively solving the most critical problems....

Expert Answers: August 2012

by QP Staff

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

Open Access

Learning to Fish

by Bullington, Kimball

The career excellence diagram, a modified version of the fishbone diagram, can be used to create desired results in career development by identifying causes that will ultimately lead to success....

In the Spotlight

by Keathley, Jane

Based on what we know about the skills needed for innovation management, what quality management functions, responsibilities and skills can be applied to manage innovation?...

Open Access

Beyond the Basics

by Duffy, Grace; Laman, Scott A.; Mehta, Pradip; Ramu, Govind; Scriabina, Natalia; Wagoner, Keith

A movie sequel often can be as, if not more, captivating than the original. Essentially, a sequel builds on the original, continuing a journey with familiar characters and settings, developing ideas and unveiling more insight....

3.4 per Million: Next in Line

by Conklin, Joseph D.

In quality, the sequel is what usually makes things better. Who knows how often savings have been left on the table because organizations failed to look ahead to the next project?...

Statistics Roundtable: Right Answer, Wrong Query

by Anderson-Cook, Christine

Recently, I was reminded of one of my favorite statistics-related quotes from John W. Tukey: “Far better an approximate answer to the right question, which is often vague, than an exact answer to the wrong question, which can always be made precise.”...

Open Access

Career Corner: Keep Your Toolbox Full

by ReVelle, Jack B.

Be aware of all the tools at your disposal to excel at your job. Your career as a quality professional depends on your ability to recall a specific quality tool and apply it when necessary....

3.4 per Million: Inputs Into Action

by Breyfogle, Forrest W.

A year ago, I wrote about the nine-step Integrated Enterprise Excellence (IEE) business management system and how it can be used to integrate voice of the customer (VOC) sources with other improvement efforts so an entire enterprise can benefit....

Expert Answers: January 2012

by QP Staff

Cost-of-quality reporting ... Auditing options ......

Natural Selection

by Chakravorty, Satya S.

It is mind-boggling to find widely contradictory reports of improvement programs from companies using the same improvement methods. Executives don’t know what to believe. Two similar Six Sigma implementations can have two very different end results....

Open Access

Quality in the First Person: Chili Topped With Statistics

by Stepan, Paul

My daughter calls me a data nerd, as I am always using Microsoft Excel to document my life. I maintain data on the time my wife’s van arrives in the carpool lot, data on the performance of my investments and data on my various collections....

Open Access

Back to Basics: Bringing Beauty Back

by Bader, Bruce

Little Rapids is a disposable health and beauty aids manufacturer that sells to distributors and consumers. In early 2009, it received a frantic message from one of its largest customers, who said there were several problems with their orders and that...

Risky Business

by Singer, Donald

In highly regulated industries that manufacture pharmaceuticals, foods and cosmetics, quality control scientists have been known to perform sampling and testing to determine the acceptability of finished products. Throughout the last decade,...

Put JIB on the Job

by Hannon, Christine; Grossman, Steven

An organization implemented a proven training program that improved quality and efficiency plantwide during the recession, positioning it to perform at higher levels when demand increased after the economy recovered....

Volviendo a los Fundamentos: Devolviendo la Belleza

by Bader, Bruce

Little Rapids es un fabricante de artículos que favorecen la salud y la belleza que vende a distribuidores y consumidores. A comienzos de 2009, recibió un mensaje frenético de uno de sus principales clientes, diciendo que había varios problemas con sus...

Online (Singer)

by Singer, Donald C.

Media/ incubation time Experiment design tSa/ 3d tSa/ 5d r2a/ 3d r2a/ 5d CFU Product + PW + 2 days 30 10 240 380 Product + PW + 5 days < 10 < 10 < 10 < 10 Product + WFi + 2 days 10 20 160 180 Product + WFi + 5 days < 10 < 10 < 10 < 10 PW = purified water...

Walking the Talk

by Krzykowski, Brett

Frequent service interruptions led Argentina-based Telefónica Group to establish a project that increased the reliability of its network and, in the process, garner gold honors at the 2010 ASQ International Team Excellence Award competition....

No Surprises

by Boveington, Kurt

When it comes to supplier control, having the right information at the right time is key to making a sound decision....

Expert Answers: April 2011

by QP Staff

Size matters when remedying poor quality ... Examining process capability indexes....

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....

Circling Back

by Moen, Ronald D.; Norman, Clifford L.

THERE STILL SEEMS to be much confusion today surrounding W. Edwards Deming’s plan-do-study-act (PDSA) cycle. How did Deming’s PDSA cycle evolve? Did Deming create the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle? Are PDCA and PDSA related?...

Open Access

Guru Guide

by QP Staff

The quality world certainly has its game-changers, and as part of its annual quality basics issue, QP is highlighting six individuals who indelibly altered the course of quality....

No-Hanging Fruit

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

I first met the “no-hanging fruit” problem back in the day when ultrasonic impulse meters (like some quality problems now) were as big as a bread box—or bigger....

More Than Words

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

Mr. Lenz, the CEO of Acme Film was very excited—and contagiously so. “My whole career,” he exclaimed, “has been a rehearsal for this one big moment. The company and my work are riding on whether 3-D photos succeed!”...

Open Access

Sustainable Future

by Scriabina, Natalia; Cort, Gary

The new international standard ISO 9004:2009—managing for the sustained success of an organization—a quality management approach, brings quality management to a new area of sustained success. The standard adds a new term, sustained success...

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....

Statistics Roundtable: Tried and True

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

A review of past Statistics Roundtable columns reveals that statisticians and quality professionals are always looking for better ways to increase the breadth and effectiveness of the use of statistical thinking and methods....

Waste Management

by Prevette, Steven

With the assistance of statistical process control and other quality methods, Fluor Hanford helped ensure all tasks were carried out safely during what has been called the world’s largest environmental cleanup project....

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 ...

Statistics Roundtable: Raise Your Batting Average

by Snee, Ronald D.

Design of experiments has been an effective tool for experimenters, statisticians and quality professionals for years. DoE has evolved since the seminal work of Ronald A. Fisher in the 1920s and George E. P. Box and his colleagues in the 1950s and 1960s....

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....

Get Your Checkup

by ASQ Lean Six Sigma Hospital Study Advisory Committee

For nearly 20 years, lean and Six Sigma improvement initiatives have been in the quality spotlight, helping thousands of organizations in the United States and elsewhere. But, are hospitals truly embracing the lean and Six Sigma movement?...

Open Access

All Ears

by Sherman, Peter; Vono, Jim

Imagine you are presenting the analysis and findings of a critical operational issue or proposed improvement project to senior management. You feel confident because you’ve thoroughly measured and analyzed the data....

Open Access

Don't Just Talk the Talk

by Adrian, Nicole

Many companies and organizations talk big about knowing the best way other businesses and groups can work to drive continuous and process improvement. Often, these businesses don’t take their own advice. Once in a while, however, a group comes along...

Open Access

Career Corner: Are You Recession Proofed?

by Manos, Anthony

An observation I have made over the years is that organizations seem to make cuts in two specific areas when economic times are tough. The first department cut is safety, and the second is quality....

Take a Bite Out of Inefficiency

by Nuhfer, Dina; and Walters, Thomas

Providing consistent and effective service or product requires a consistent and effective framework for implementing, maintaining and improving tactical and strategic operations. Dentistry is no different....

Driven to Succeed

by Bullington, Kimball

Strategic planning is an important element in quality management, as evidenced by the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria. A strategic plan is the aim of an organization that helps to reduce variation related to possible strategic outcomes....

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....

Open Access

Back to Basics: Improve a Nonconforming System

by Pintavalle, Robert

When we think of nonconforming material, we think about scrapped and reworked material or products that directly cut into a company’s bottom line. But a closer look shows that a nonconforming material system can provide a wealth of information....

Volviendo a los Fundamentos: Mejorar un sistema de gestión de no conformes

by Pintavalle, Robert

Cuando pensamos en material no conforme, pensamos en el scrap y material retrabajado o los productos a los que son directamente vinculados a la línea inferior de una empresa....

Open Access

Online (Back to Basics)

by Pintavalle, Robert

registrada en aquellas empresas que han implementado la norma ISO 9001:2000 o tienen un sistema de gesti.n de calidad (SGC ) similar. Dos partes de la informaci.n transforman a un SGC (QMS) que satisface o que contiene los elementos de una norma internaci...

Expert Answers: January 2009

by QP Staff

Indirect measures of customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction can include the number of referrals and recommendations made by customers, market share, sales, repeat sales and customer retention. Some companies can make use of customer satisfaction data p...

A DMAIC Makeover

by Stauffer, Rip

Define, measure, Analyze, improve and control (DMAIC) is the common roadmap for Six Sigma projects. But there are potential weaknesses in this roadmap that could be addressed with a simple, proven adjustment to DMAIC....

Statistics Roundtable: Make Data Matter

by Snee, Ronald D.

Is data analysis an art or a science? Arguments exist for both sides, and many people simply come down in the middle: it’s both....

No Longer Waiting for Answers

by Schooley, John

The emergency department at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, NC is often stretched beyond capacity. Patient volume in the 43-bed ED has jumped 34% in the past four years, and more than 86,000 people are expected to seek care there this year....

Online Figures Schooley

by Schooley, John

Radiology transport w/ o phone calls Map emergency downtime plan for TSystem Midlevel in Triage, Improvement Measurement: # MLP Discharges daily Action Item List from 2/ 6/ 08 National MD goals Room to MD ( 22 min), MD to dispo ( 74 min) Post times in ME...

Flip the Switch

by Jing, Gary G.

Have you found the root cause yet? We frequently ask or hear others ask that question. Root cause analysis is a familiar subject. You might assume that quality professionals would have a clear understanding of the technique. But many don't....

3.4 per Million: Putting It All Together

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

For companies that have been asking themselves how to achieve even more improvement, the answer lies in developing a comprehensive process management system that integrates three critical components....

Driven by Metrics

by Okes, Duke

Performance metrics are a necessary part of managing an organization. However, they have good and bad impacts on individual behavior, so organizations need to find ways to maximize the good while minimizing the potential damage....

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....

Standards Outlook: Ensuring Supplier Quality

by Schnoll, Les

I've worked in the medical device and pharmaceutical/biotechnology industries, and I've concluded that when it comes to quality, the medical device world is at least 20 years ahead of its drug-world cousin....

Open Access

Career Corner: Laugh It Off

by Kulisek, Diane G.

Assuring quality, and laughter, might seem at diametrically opposite sides of the human behavior spectrum. Many studies and articles have been published about the benefits of laughter and humor when managing people or projects, or when trying to overcome ...

Open Access

A Dose of DMAIC

by Mukherjee, Shirshendu

Ruby hospital, a multispecialty for-profit facility in Calcutta, India, was the first in Eastern India to embrace ISO 9001 and is the only one in the country to have successfully deployed a Six Sigma improvement program....

Open Access

Back to Basics: A Call for Improvement

by Coifman, Harry

It’s a common perception that customer phone support is a resource-draining operation. This misconception results in many call center cost reduction projects but few process improvement initiatives. Basic tools can be used to improve a call center....

Open Access

Volviendo a los Fundamentos: Una Llamada Para Mejorar

by Coifman, Harry

Es una percepción común de que la asistencia telefónica al cliente es un gasto de recursos de la operación. Esta idea errónea resulta en muchos proyectos de reducción de costos en Centros de Atención Telefónica....

Open Access

The Architect of Quality

by Edmund, Mark

Joseph M. Juran 1904 - 2008

Pioneer. Teacher. Consultant. Guru. Each of these words describes Joseph M. Juran, the man who became a giant in the world of quality management and changed how companies do business....

A Less Costly Billing Process

by Tatikonda, Lakshmi U.

Applying lean Six Sigma techniques can identify root causes, streamline the billing process and reduce errors. After describing the concepts of lean and Six Sigma, this article illustrates how companies can apply lean Six Sigma techniques to identify root...

Open Access

QMS Certification: Down With Disillusionment

by Gyani, Girdhar

Conformity assessment and international standards that cover products and quality and environmental management systems provide mechanisms to ensure the quality of goods and services, but a recent survey reveals that the various certification bodies...

Open Access

Quality Tools, Teamwork Lead Boeing Team to a System Redesign

by Adrian, Nicole

A team from Boeing, as well as members of the Air Force and suppliers, worked to fix the C-17's inert gas generating system that previously needed constant repairs. Using quality tools, the team identified cause and came up with the best solution for...

Open Access

One Good Idea: Process Optimization for Service Organizations Isn't Rocket Science

by Scott, John

The following is intended for service industry people who are mostly clueless about quality improvement. (You manufacturing people can skip the page because you already get this, right?)...

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...

3.4 per Million: Use DMAIC to Make Improvement Part of the Way We Work

by Snee, Ronald D.

Faster, better, cheaper. That’s what organizations across almost all major industries must now do to remain competitive....

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...

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...

Open Access

One Good Idea: Under One Roof

by Sedlock, Ronald

Quality function deployment (QFD) is a great tool for designing a business based on the voice of the customer. Many quality tools are multifaceted....

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...

Open Access

10 Quality Basics

by Duffy, Grace; Payne, Graeme; Rooney, James; Hare, Lynne; West, John E. "Jack"; Borawski, Paul; Westcott, Russ; Okes, Duke; Guttman, Howard; Foster, S. Thomas; Conklin, Joe

In an overview designed to give quality newcomers a glimpse of the knowledge they need to succeed, ten regular Quality Progress contributors write on 10 basic quality topics that are fundamentals essential to surviving in a quality role. Topics covered...

Open Access

Career Corner: Behavioral Interviewing--Find Your Star

by Teresa Whitacre

One of the newer trends in interviewing job candidates is to use behavioral interviewing techniques. When I was first exposed to behavioral interviewing, I was unsure and skeptical....

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...

3.4 Per Million: The Hard Part: Holding Improvement Gains

by Snee, Ronald D.

You've overcome the obstacles to launch your latest improvement initiative: scarce resources, time pressure, unforeseen glitches at every turn. Now comes the hard part--sustaining the gains....

Using a FMEA in a Service Setting

by McCain, Cecelia

ISO 9001 requires organizations to take preventative action to avoid the occurrence and reoccurrence of nonconformities. A failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) is a tool that allows users to predict potential for failure and plan for control through...

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...

Beyond PDCA - A New Process Management

by Gupta, Praveen

The ISO 9001 quality management standard calls for the use of the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) model for managing processes. The author questions why check is included in the cycle when the goal is to reduce the need for verification activities. Current...

Core Roles in a Strategic Quality System

by Imler, Ken

When establishing and maintaining a strategically viable quality system, senior management defines the roles played by groups, departments, or functions within the organization using risk/benefit analysis to determine the best fit in terms of logistics,...

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...

Statistics Roundtable: If You're Not Keeping Score, It's Just Practice

by Snee, Ronald D.

Despite the fundamental importance of measurement and measurement systems, statisticians and quality professionals engaged in process improvement and quality studies frequently find numerous gaps, including:...

The Cause and Effect Of My Quality Journey

by Ayad, Amine

My first encounter with quality occurred when I was a teenager and read in the newspaper that a human error resulted in a patient's death at a hospital. That incident created a shift in my life....

Open Access

Corral Your Organization's Knowledge

by Okes, Duke

One useful method of determining organizational performance is to assess how well it manages critical knowledge. Definitions of knowledge management may vary, but they generally fit into one of four categories: Information technology, organizational...

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...

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