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Open Access

Career Corner: Career Compass

by Whitacre, Teresa

Use basic quality tools to avoid navigating professional development blindly....


Open Access

One Good Idea July 2014 - Online Figure

by Goffnett, Sean

Template of an individual development plan....


Open Access

Making Connections

by Brown, Marshall

Whether you’re searching for a job or not, building a network of professional connections is important for career development....


Expert Answers: June 2014

by QP Staff

Driving service quality ... Evaluating equipment...


Statistics Roundtable: Solving Jigsaw Puzzles

by DiBenedetto, Alexa; Hoerl, Roger W.; and Snee, Ronald D.

We all face problems in business, as well as in our personal lives and relationships. Despite the need for effective ways to address problems, there is surprisingly little agreement in quality or scientific literature on approaching problems in general....


Need for Speed

by Spencer, Karen; Helfer, Steve

Organizations must focus on key indicators and achieve optimal performance levels. They must define quality as it relates to customers and modify quality to achieve and sustain quality levels that maximize supply chain performance and quality management....


Plan of Attack

by Machado, H.F.

Every important business project has a logical starting set of conditions, followed by a set of events that lead to a logical completion of defined objectives....


Open Access

Catching Fire

by Liu, Shu

Teams can use the seven creativity strategies and their related tools to develop creativity to solve quality improvement problems....


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....


Innovation Imperative: Innovation Toolbox

by Merrill, Peter

There is a core set of tools from which innovators can choose. Generally, innovators should select one primary tool and perhaps one secondary tool to use in each stage of the innovation process....


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....


Open Access

Learning From Experience

by Behling, David

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


3.4 per Million: The ‘Initiative’ Olympic Games

by Carnell, Mike

It seems that the business world has experienced a fairly rapid transition in focus to “innovation” as the next initiative or the next big thing. Meanwhile, leadership teams wander the vast Serengeti Plain of performance improvement....


Open Access

Fresh Perspective

by Radziwill, Nicole M.; Owens, Tracy;

The relationships among technology, innovation and quality are based on creating new value and sustaining the ability to continue creating it. Leveraging these relationships can help in releasing your creative spirit....


Follow the Fundamentals

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

New technology for acquiring, storing and processing data is being introduced at an ever-increasing pace. In 2012, the White House launched a national “Big Data Initiative.” According to IBM, 1.6 zettabytes of digital data are now available....


Open Access

2013 QP Salary Survey Webcast Powerpoint Presentation

by Hansen, Max Christian

View a PowerPoint presentation to accompany the webcast summarizing and discussing the 2013 QP Salary Survey, featuring author Max Christian Hansen....


Open Access

Words to Work By

by QP Staff

Readers shared their favorite quality quotes and reflected on the wisdom of the words....


Show of Hands

by Liu, Shu

“How many think this process is capable of meeting the specification?” Students sitting in a basic quality class in Asia were asked this question while they looked at a long-term normal process variation curve well within the specification range....


Ready, Set, Go

by Lawson, Edward

Organizational progress is generally driven by the identification of goals and objectives. Strategic planning, which defines goals and objectives, is a formal process in organizations, regardless of size....


Open Access

Quality in the First Person: Quality Couple

by Mouradian, George

Husband and wife use quality tools to sweeten union...


On the Map

by Schmidt, Megan

The City of Irving, TX, engages the hearts and minds of its employees to drive world-class performance. It became the second municipality to receive a Baldrige award in the program’s 25 year history in 2012....


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....


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....


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....


3.4 per Million: Box Paradox

by Carnell, Mike

Without any data to support this, I’m willing to wager that anyone who has been employed in a manufacturing or transactional environment for five years has either been directed to or heard someone direct others to “think outside the box.”...


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....


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....


Innovation Imperative: Put It on Paper

by Merrill, Peter

Last year, the ASQ Quality Management Division’s Innovation and Value Creation Technical Committee conducted its first evaluation of ASQ readiness for innovation certification....


Get Them in the Game

by Walker, Carlotta S.

The key to developing a high-performance, quality-oriented workforce is maintaining a high level of employee engagement....


Open Access

Back to Basics: Breaking It Down

by Ayulo, Alberto

A3 thinking is based on the plan-do-check-act cycle. This powerful way of thinking is transcribed on a piece of paper (the A3 report) a team of employees can use to produce a desired outcome for a proposed process....


Open Access

Online Figures - December Back to Basics

by Ayulo, Alberto

alt section Remove engine Critical inspections Hydro cks Adjust 2410 Adjust 2410 TCI/ TCTO Supply Get topics E/ E AFG Fuels A/ V A/ R Egress B/ M NDI Looks Tools Egress Egress flow cks M/ T AFG & lube Remove elevators Weigh elevators AFI Props RFLTS TCR ...


Open Access

Back to Basics: To DMAIC or Not to DMAIC?

by Berardinelli, Carl F.

Define, measure, analyze, improve and control is a structured problem-solving method. Each phase builds on the previous one, with the goal of implementing long-term solutions to problems. Most problem-solving efforts benefit from a disciplined method....


Open Access

One Good Idea: Keep Moving

by Robinson, Jeffrey A.

Many decision makers do not properly distinguish uncertainty from risk. When this occurs, there’s a tendency to spend too much time studying the problem, leading to a phenomenon often called “analysis paralysis.”...


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....


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....


Innovation Imperative: A Question of Balance

by Merrill, Peter

Many people say that mentioning standards and innovation in the same breath is a contradiction in terms. Evidence from the real world says otherwise....


Innovation Imperative: Time for a Change

by Merrill, Peter

A quality manager’s career is far from predictable. It depends on the attitude of an organization’s leadership toward quality and, perhaps more importantly, leadership’s understanding of what quality is....


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?...


Quality for Tomorrow

by Merrill, Peter

The work of the quality profession has evolved over the years from quality control to quality assurance to quality management. But what is the next stage of evolution from quality management?...


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

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....


Rethinking Design

by Gattiker, Thomas

Design thinking offers several tools and concepts that can complement problem-solving approaches normally taught and used by quality professionals....


Quality Curriculum

by Taylor, James B.; Sinn, John W.; Lightfoot, William S.

Does quality exist as an entity independent of business? Are the business of quality and the quality of business simply two sides of the same coin? No matter—the quality discipline has become inextricably woven into business....


Open Access

The Power of Positive

by Johnston, Frank C.; Beck, Duane P.

In his 2006 book, The World is Flat, Thomas Freidman cites the many challenges globalization puts on corporate life: changing political realities, social entrepreneurship and the effects of the internet....


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....


Online (Taylor)

by James B. Taylor, John W. Sinn and William S. Lightfoot

Insights from developing a quality management and continuous improvement curriculum can be applied in an operations management context to teach quality principles to general management....


Online Conklin: The Road More Traveled

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

After being part of a great team that implemented process management at Plant Able in the XYZ division of Heavymet, I took the show on the road to our sister facility Plant Baker....


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....


Open Access

Career Corner: Add Risk to Your Job Title

by Hutchins, Greg

Add risk to your job title if you’re a quality professional or a senior quality manager. This will enhance your marketability if you’re looking for a job and your chances for promotion if you’re employed....


Open Access

Back to Basics: Turning 'Who' Into 'How'

by Thomas, Kenneth

When things go wrong, the goal should be to move away from trying to determine “who” was at fault and quickly transition into a problem-solving mindset of “how” to make things better....


A Decade of Distinction

by Thompson, Matias Gadda; Rosanó, Verónica

In the first six months of 2010, Telefónica Group launched 60 simultaneous quality improvement projects. These 60 projects represent nearly 30% of the total number of improvement projects conducted in the company during the last decade....


Open Access

40 New Voices of Quality

by QP Staff

When QP set out to find the individuals who will give a voice to the new generation of quality professionals, one of the hopes was that the group’s makeup would lend insight into what the future holds....


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....


Statistics Roundtable: Taking Stock

by Anderson-Cook, Christine M.

Recently, there has been exciting discussion about statistical engineering and its potential to redefine the role of statisticians and increase our influence in business through expanded participation in decision-making for high-impact problems....


Standards Outlook: How Will You Manage

by Schnoll, Les

While the required skill sets of quality and regulatory professionals constantly change, and capability upgrades must be ongoing to ensure success, it was hard to predict that branching out into project management would be the next hurdle....


HU Goes There

by Harrington, H. James; Fulbright, Ron; Zusman, Alla

After you've identified the root cause of a problem, what tool do you use to fix it? Enter a problem-correcting tool called the harmful/useful (HU) diagram....


Open Access

Back to Basics: Behold the Bullet List

by Dearing, Jack, and Stavrakas, Jenny

When using a cause and effect diagram to find root causes, beware of clutter. Using a list instead of a diagram makes the cause and effect tool easier to use and allows more flexibility. But whether you use the traditional diagram or a bullet list, put...


The Secret to Sustainment

by Lindquist, Russell

Of all the problems and projects encountered by most continuous improvement professionals, the most challenging is making change last. In fact, sustaining change tends to be an afterthought for many....


Pushback Prevention

by Schultz, John R.

“Our quality program doesn’t seem to be working.” This statement, or a similar one, is frequently repeated by executives and managers who believe quality-focused projects are not meeting expectations. Such perceptions are often reinforced by published...


The First Step

by Gonnering, Russell S., M.D.

In his penetrating and perturbing 2009 New Yorker article, Atul Gawande explored the huge cost differential between care in McAllen, TX, and care at other spots in the country with similar demographics and medical sophistication. His conclusion was that...


Statistics Roundtable: Proper Blending

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

Since we proposed the idea and theory behind statistical engineering, we’re often asked: “Is it just another term for traditional applied statistics?” That’s a legitimate question....


Are You A Good Problem Solver?

by Gano, Dean L.

If you are like most people, you probably think you are a pretty good problem solver and have a good overall understanding of problem-solving practices. Yet, because you are reading this article, you also understand the value of continuous learning to...


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....


Go With the Flow

by Theiss, Brandon R.

In an effort to implement lean Six Sigma initiatives, many companies forget that data flow and material flow are two sides of the same coin. This starves the Six Sigma methods of data, which causes the enterprise to run at a suboptimal level....


Standards Outlook: Righting the Wrongs

by Schnoll, Les

Most organizations do not have a clue when it comes to root cause determination, and their inability to meet the requirement can be disastrous from regulatory and business perspectives....


Time for Action

by Kovach, Jamison; Hutchins, Holly M.

Action learning is a simple yet intricate problem-solving strategy that engages participants in issue analysis, reflective questioning, listening and feedback. Its premise is that the answers to most problems lie within individuals....


Doomed to Fail

by Caffrey, Noel G.; Medina, Candace G.

Ben looked around his new office, happy to still have a job but apprehensive about his new position. He had just been reassigned after his boss’s boss, the CEO, decided the continuous improvement initiative he had been leading was just not working out....


Statistics Roundtable: Further Explanation

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

The purpose of a roundtable is to facilitate discussion. Here, we want to facilitate discussion on statistical engineering....


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

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....


Dealing With Disconnect

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

"Tips" was retiring. He was smiling, and with good reason. I was not, and with equally good reason. As the company’s senior auditor, his leaving meant things would never quite be the same....


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....


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....


Open Access

Bull's-eye

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....


What's the Big Idea?

by Bhalla, Aditya

In the knowledge economy, agility in rolling out a stream of innovative products and services will be the determination of continued success. But how do you make innovation a way of life that isn't restricted to new product launches?...


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....


Breaking From the Pack

by Watson, Gregory H.

Russ Ackoff's life story is instructive for quality professionals as they trace the development of systems thinking during its 60-year migration....


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 ...


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 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....


Open Access

One Good Idea: Stir Up Trouble

by Annamalai, V.E.

There are many problem-solving tools at our disposal, whether it’s reverse brainstorming or a TRIZ technique that instructs the user to “do it in reverse.” I’ve used a similar tool, which my former company called “creating the trouble.”...


Salary Survey 2009: The Complete Report

by QP Staff

52 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...


Salary Survey 2009: Part 1, Section 4: Salary by ASQ and RABQSA International Certification

by QP Staff

In all, 57.8% of those surveyed have at least one ASQ certification, and 13.3% have at least one RABQSA International certification....


Expert Answers: November 2009

by QP Staff

The TOPS way of getting to the root cause ... Repair vs. rework...


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....


Volviendo a los Fundamentos: Probando, Probando, 1, 2, 3

by Carrico, Robert J.

Así como es importante que un producto funcione correctamente, el manual del producto también debe funcionar. Propietarios o usuarios de productos deben ser capaces de encontrar fácilmente la información que necesitan para utilizar...


Open Access

Back to Basics: Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3

by Carrico, Robert J.

Just as it is important that a product function properly, the product manual must also work. Owners or product users must be able to easily find the information they need to use an item effectively. To achieve this objective, the content and organization...


Open Access

Career Corner: Risks, Relationships and Rewards

by Whitacre, Teresa

Employers, employees and independent contractors alike have been affected by the turbulent economy. We see it all around us, whether at firms we own, organizations at which we work or businesses we patronize. Nonprofits are experiencing the same types...


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....


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....


Statistics Roundtable: Grab the Brass Ring

by Snee, Ronald D.

Remember going to the amusement park and riding the carousel or merry-go-round? During the ride, there was sometimes a brass ring you could grab from a dispenser.It took some dexterity to snatch the ring from the dispenser as the carousel rotated....


Practice What You Teach

by Pumilio, John; Wettstein, Jason

Many education institutions do not have a foundation conducive to sustainability efforts. For many, change will be cumbersome. Opportunities exist, however, and persistence will be an ally....


3.4 per Million: Control and Grow Your Enterprise

by Breyfogle, Forrest

To achieve maximum efficiencies and financial results in turbulent business and financial markets, executives and senior managers must revisit their business models to make certain measurements lead to the right behaviors....


Cause and Effect

by Rooney, James J.; Vanden Heuvel, Lee N.; Lorenzo, Donald K., and Jackson, Laura O.

Cause and effect tree analysis—also known as fault tree analysis—begins with a known event, referred to as the top event, and describes possible combinations of events and conditions that can lead to this event....


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....


Salary Survey 2008: Part 1, Section 5: Salary by Six Sigma Training

by QP Staff

Putting down that you completed Six Sigma training looks good on a résumé, but does it result in higher pay? There’s a good chance it will....



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