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Necessary Measures

by Johnson, Louis; Deaner, Maureen;

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


Open Access

Back to Basics: Curve Your Enthusiasm

by Phillips, David

Microsoft Excel includes built-in functions that make drawing OC curves easy. This column focuses on attribute (pass/fail) single sampling plans that can be modeled with the binomial distribution....


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....


Statistics Roundtable: The Quality Practitioner’s Friend

by Borror, Connie M.

On Aug. 28, 2013, the quality and statistics communities lost one of their biggest champions: Lloyd S. Nelson. Nelson was an honorary member of ASQ, the founding editor of the Journal of Quality Technology and wrote the Technical Aids column for JQT....


3.4 per Million: Knowing the Drill

by Conklin, Joseph D.

In the quest to solve quality problems, drilling down into data is a time-honored strategy that serves Six Sigma practitioners well....


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

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....


Expert Answers: January 2014

by QP Staff

Selecting KPIs ... Controlling multiple processes...


Expert Answers: November 2013

by Laman, Scott A.

Sampling plans for reliability testing...


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?...


Measure for Measure: Into the Unknown

by Shah, Dilip

For estimation of measurement uncertainty, both Type A and B uncertainty contributors may need to be considered, depending on the parameter that is being estimated....


Statistics Roundtable: Wanderlust and Memory

by Hare, Lynne B.

Pop quiz. Question one: How do you derive Shewhart (X-bar and R, or X-bar and S) control chart limits?...


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

Don't Lose Patients

by Creasy, Todd; Ramey, Sarah

Clinch Valley Medical Center—a for-profit, 175-bed hospital operating in western Virginia and part of a healthcare organization with operations in 18 states—has been undertaking lean Six Sigma initiatives for approximately three years....


Standards Outlook: Keeping Watch

by Russell, J.P.

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


Rain Gauge

by Fulton, Lawrence V.

The Six Sigma define, measure, analyze, design and verify process is appropriate for exceedingly complex engineering construction problems that require the use of simulation and design of experiments....


3.4 per Million: No Specification? No Problem

by Breyfogle, Forrest W. III

In a column earlier this year I referenced a nine-step approach for determining an organization’s long-lasting operational metrics and how to decide where to focus improvement efforts so the entire enterprise benefits....


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....


Open Access

Back to Basics: Smart Charting

by Sherman, Peter J.

Control charts are at the foundation of Six Sigma. They serve as the primary tool to filter out the probable noise (inherent variation or common cause) from the potential signals (nonrandom variation or special cause)....


Open Access

Back to Basics: Solid Proof

by Suedbeck, John G.

In general, the audit process is similar across most industries. To effectively evaluate risk, we need an understanding of the reliability of the audit evidence obtained. But how do we best assess the reliability of audit evidence?...


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.”...


Practice Makes Perfect

by Rich, David

Significant problems can occur during full-scale production when new manufacturing processes are poorly conceived. Therefore, it is incumbent on R&D organizations to employ effective procedures that ensure sound manufacturing process development....


Measure for Measure: Student Teaching

by Shah, Dilip

While assisting laboratories with their measurement uncertainty estimation for ISO 17025 accreditation, I am frequently asked the question of when to use Student’s t-distribution....


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....


Expert Answers: December 2011

by QP Staff

Survey struggles ... ISO 9001 vs. ISO 22000....


Statistics Roundtable: Not Significant, But Important?

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

In March 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that even if a result from a controlled clinical trial was not statistically significant, it still might be important....


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,...


Expert Answers: May 2011

by QP Staff

Calculating limits for three processes....


Open Access

For Starbucks, It's in the Bag

by Johnson, Louis; Burrows, Sarah

When voice-of-the-customer data showed Starbucks Coffee Co. needed to improve the packaging of its one-pound coffee product, it set out to learn the effects of process parameters on the key packaging quality characteristics....


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?...


Expert Answers: February 2011

by QP Staff

Knowing what to document ... prediction vs. tolerance ... Breaking down ANOVA....


Open Access

Salary Survey 2010: Revealing Answers

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

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


Salary Survey 2010: Part 2, Section 24: Base Earnings by Geography

by Hansen, Max Christian

T This is the only section in this year.s salary survey report in which it is nearly impossible to discern any trends or make any valid generalizations because of the small number of respondents. Mountain Denver, boulder and Greeley ( CO) 76,875 227,256...


Salary Survey 2010: The Complete Report

by QP Staff

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


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: A Sample Plan

by Anderson-Cook, Christine M., Lu, Lu

Often, there are situations in which you might want to draw a representative sample from a finite population to characterize some aspects of its distribution....


Expert Answers: August 2010

by QP Staff

Interval approach to random samples......


Statistics Roundtable: Poisson Power

by Hare, Lynne B.

The Poisson distribution may be the Rodney Dangerfield of statistics. It doesn’t get the use—and respect—it deserves. Yet, when applied properly, it can aid the decision-making process considerably....


3.4 per Million: An Everyman's Guide to Handling Data

by Conklin, Joseph D. ;

I have been an applied statistician for many years. Regardless of the industry or project I encounter, the most common request I get is, “How big a sample size do I need?” That one is usually fairly straightforward, but not always....


Statistics Roundtable: A Matter of Trust

by Anderson-Cook, Christine M.

Every day, we constantly balance having trust that things will work and protecting against things that might go wrong....


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....


Expert Answers: January 2010

by QP Staff

Examining risk ... The right conditions...


3.4 per Million: Insight or Folly?

by Breyfogle, Forrest W.

In lean Six Sigma, much training effort is spent on conveying the importance of having a measurement system so that consistent and correct decisions are made relative to assessing part quality and process attributes....


Open Access

Salary Survey 2009: Lingering Effects

by Bemowski, Karen

Like almost everyone, quality professionals are feeling the effects of the economic recession. In all, 4.9% of respondents to QP’s 23rd annual salary survey indicated they are unemployed, retired or laid off....


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...


Statistics Roundtable: Interval Training

by Anderson-Cook, Christine M.

Choosing the right type of interval provides a means of supplementing an estimated quantity with an appropriate calibration of the uncertainty associated with that value....


Expert Answers: September 2009

by QP Staff

Accountability ... defining cost reduction ... honing in on confidence intervals....


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?...


New Frontiers

by Kenett, Ron; Salini, Silvia

Self-declared or interview-based surveys are a prime research tool in many application areas, such as risk management, customer satisfaction tracking and social science research....


Expert Answers: June 2009

by QP Staff

Auditing management systems ... ISO 9001 trouble ... Crunching the numbers for product specifications....


Open Access

Back to Basics: Sample Wise

by Niles, Kim

Selecting the correct sample size is often the most difficult aspect of any project. Rules of thumb are important because they promote discussion that facilitates the selection of a more optimum sample size....


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...


Expert Answers: March 2009

by QP Staff

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


Statistics Roundtable: Predicting Success

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

Considering that a phase three efficacy clinical trial for a potential new product could cost nearly $100 million, spending time in simulation activities before fully committing to developing a new product has proven to be worthwhile for more companies....


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

Building From the Basics-Online Figures

by Edmund, Mark

com 3 Fishbone diagram example / ONLINE FIGURE 4 Measurement Lab error Improper calibration Calculation In lab Supplier Supplier Calibration Not followed Dirty bottles Iron tools At reactor E583 E470 At sample point In lab AKW- 2 DBT Water Analyst Solven...


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...


Open Access

Salary Survey 2008: Looking at the Numbers

by Bemowski, Karen

Mean salary: The mean salary is the average salary for that particular group. Manager: Ensures the administration of the company’s quality, process and business improvement efforts within a defined segment of the organization. Quality engineer: Designs, i...


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...


Statistics Roundtable: More is Not Always Better

by Anderson-Cook, Christine M.

All other things being equal, if offered a choice between small or large sample sizes, the larger sample size is preferred. Or is it?...


Expert Answers: October 2008

by QP Staff

Sample size of 30 ... DFMEA dilemma....


Open Access

10 Auditing Rules

by Kausek, Joe

All auditors receive training in the basics of planning, conducting and reporting audits. Unfortunately, this is the only training many ever receive....


Expert Answers: June 2008

by QP Staff

Calculating DPMO ... Origins of sampling plan....


Statistics Roundtable: A Preference for Parity?

by Hare, Lynne B.

You rarely hear coaches encourage their teams to get out there and tie. So why do banks, restaurants, consumer goods companies and others try so hard to match their competition?...


Just the FAQs

by QP Staff

Some of the basic questions are covered about how ASQ's annual salary survey was conducted and how the information is presented....


Salary Survey-Regular Employee and Self-Employed Consultants Results

by QP Staff

45 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 of Quality Experience and Highest Level of Education Online Section 9 Salary by Number of Years in Current Posit...


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...


Statistics Roundtable: Reliability Assessment by Use-Rate Acceleration

by Necip Doganaksoy, Gerald J. Hahn, William Q. Meeker

Statistical evidence is often needed to show that a proposed product meets or exceeds its reliability goals. Many times, such evidence must be obtained in a compressed time period....


Statistics Roundtable: Dependent Univariate Observations and Statistical Control

by Mason, Robert L.; Young, John C.

Have you ever wondered why your process control procedure doesn't work just right? It might be that the underlying assumptions are not completely valid....


Statistics Roundtable: Superiority, Equivalence and Non-inferiority

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

Most statistical tests are performed to show whether two measurements, processes, products or treatments are significantly different from each other and whether we can reject the null hypothesis....


Statistics Roundtable: The Ubiquitous Cpk

by Hare, Lynne B.

A colleague and I were discussing his long-term role at his company. He explained he was in charge of maintaining the computer banks of key process indicators KPIs), Cp, Cpk and so on....


Open Access

Consultants' Style: Sometimes Less Is More

by Iossifova, Albena; Sinha, Kingshuk K.

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


Lean Inspection Through Supplier Partnership

by Ericson, Joel

Incoming inspection is a nonvalue-added activity that does not improve a product, but only identifies products that do not meet standards. One way to reduce incoming inspection is to move from traditional sample inspection to a system in which the...


Statistics Roundtable: Different, Equivalent or Both?

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

In conventional tests of statistical significance, the investigator tries to reject the null hypothesis of no difference between two groups. If the investigator fails, then the hypothesis groups cannot be rejected....


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....


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....


How to Choose the Appropriate Design

by Anderson-Cook, Christine

When planning an experiment, you can consider many possible sets of observations. Choosing the combinations of factors at which to collect data to make up the best design involves balancing multiple goals and objectives....


The Power of Dynamic Illustrations

by Levin, Wayne J.

As more organizations embrace statistical methods and thinking, a useful new tool can help quality professionals and their students meet the challenges of learning statistical methods. Dynamic illustrations are software applications that combine...


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...


Planning Reliability Assessment

by Meeker, William Q.; Hahn, Gerald J.; Doganaksoy, Necip

Let’s say you have designed a new metal spring and want to estimate the time by which 10% of such springs will fail. How many units do you need to test and for how long?...


Ghosts in Your Process? Who Ya Gonna Call?

by Duncan, John

Even when using the DMAIC process, root causes of poorly performing processes can be extremely difficult to find and eliminate. In his book Manufacturing Solutions for Consistent Quality and Reliability, Robert Traver proposes a nine-step process for...


Cumulative Meta-Analysis

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

Meta-analysis is a set of statistical procedures designed to integrate and synthesize experimental results across independent studies into an overall summary statistic....


Design of Experiments for Dummies

by Vandenbrande, Willy

Design of experiments (DOE) is not as widely applied in industry as it should be because it appears complex and confusing to newcomers. In reality, most test performed are one-factor two-level experiments that show how a system, product, or process will...


Beyond Sample Size

by Anderson-Cook, Christine

As a statistical consultant who works with scientists and researchers in a number of areas, the question I have answered most frequently is, “How big a sample do I need?”...


Planning Life Tests for Reliability Demonstration

by Meeker, William Q.; Hahn, Gerald J.; Doganaksoy, Necip

How many units do I need to test and for how long to demonstrate high reliability? Engineers and managers ask statisticians this question all the time because they need information about reliability before making important decisions....


Planning life tests for reliability demonstration.

by Meeker, William Q.; Hahn, Gerald J. ; Doganaksoy, Necip

How many units do I need to test and for how long to demonstrate high reliability?? Engineers and managers ask statisticians this question all the time because they need information about reliability before making important decisions....


Column: DOE and Six Sigma

by Conklin, Joseph D.

Design of experiments (DOE) is a powerful tool for improving processes as part of a Six Sigma program....


Improving an Unstable Process

by Hunter, J. Stuart

When an EVOP program is proposed, you may hear the argument that the process is too unstable or hectic and should be brought under statistical control before any experimental procedure is tried....


Eight Essential Tools

by Snee, Ronald D.

The broad use of Six Sigma since its introduction in the 1980s has taught us much about how to make the best use of Six Sigma tools. Now we need to take a look back and reflect on what we’ve learned...


Open Access

Move From Product to Customer Centric

by Ricci, Robert

Can a 50-year-old manufacturer of industrial products become a customer centric organization? How can a traditionally product centric company learn to listen systematically to its customers?...


Gain a Competitive Edge By Preventing Recalls

by White, Tavor; Pomponi, Renata

Product recalls are a serious problem for consumer products companies. Each year, thousands of products representing hundreds of millions of product units are recalled in the United States for safety reasons....


Open Access

SPC: From Chaos to Wiping the Floor

by Hare, Lynne B.

Physicist Walter Shewhart, in tackling the problem of process control, began with the definition of control and went on to distinguish chance causes from assignable causes of variation. He believed that assignable causes could be found and eliminated....


Capability Analysis of Complex Parts

by Vermani, S.K.

Several years ago, Military Aircraft and Missile Systems Group (A&M), a division of the Boeing Company in St. Louis, made a strategic decision to focus on its main business—aircraft and missile assembly....


Column: Frontiers of Quality: Smart Project Selection

by Conklin, Joseph D.

If proposed projects are evaluated numerically from 1 to 100, selecting the very best projects may lead into a situation where outliers must be identified. The author discusses a graphical tool known as a box and whisker plot and a version of a test...


Smart Project Selection

by Conklin, Joseph D.

Narrow your list of improvement projects with outlier techniques

There are many statistical techniques for identifying outliers, but the two I will discuss here are a graphical tool known as a box and whisker plot and a version of a test called Dixon's outlier test. (Note: Box and whisker plots are often drawn to show ...


Column: Frontiers of Quality: Golf and Six Sigma

by Breyfogle, Forrest W., III

Use Six Sigma metrics to drive proper process behavior

When creating a Six Sigma infrastructure, you need to be careful with the metrics and their interpretation. Otherwise, practitioners may feel pressured to play games with the numbers. The measurements used in a Six Sigma infrastructure need to drive the...


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...


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...


Mooooving Toward Six Sigma

by Tylutki, Thomas P.; Fox, Danny G.

A modern dairy farm is a complex, highly integrated system that is capital and labor intensive with low profit margins. One of the largest expenses is purchased feed, yet current quality management practices on these farms fail to make use of analytical...



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