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Open Access

A Place to Call Home

by Leonard, Denis; Zajicek, Gary

Builder leverages quality toolbox, culture to construct house for "Extreme Makeover" TV show....


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....


Safety in the Skies

by Odigie, Michael; Martin, Royce A.; Courbat, Michael; Sinn, John W.

Embracing the notion of continuous improvement, the aviation industry is endeavoring to redefine and fine-tune the way safety is managed....


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....


Open Access

Will to Live

by Csikos, Brian

How one quality professional confronted a life-threatening diagnosis....


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....


Open Access

Probing Probabilities

by Hooper, William

Let's do a little experiment from an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1978. Suppose you are tested for a rare disease that occurs in the population at about 1%. The test is 95% accurate....


Open Access

A Pathway for Patients

by Dean, Mark L.

The clear success of lean in other sectors has stimulated its adoption in healthcare. Reaping its benefits are a growing number of progressive healthcare organizations, including the Mayo Clinic, ThedaCare, Jewish Hospital and Virginia Mason....


Open Access

Back to Basics: Calculated Risk

by Sherman, Peter J.

A formula for balancing the cost of risk and uncertainty....


Open Access

Career Corner: Bounce Back

by Whitacre, Teresa

Perseverance pays off for boomer after brutal job search....


Hoist Help

by Chadha, Rajeev

Overall equipment effectiveness and waterfall analysis are proven continuous improvement analysis tools that have been used in the manufacturing world for many years....


Choose Wisely

by Sharma, Mohit

How to select the right metrics to ensure process improvement success....


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

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....


Statistics Roundtable: Assessing Analytical Equipment Accuracy

by Hare, Lynne B.

Much ink and training time have been devoted to measurement systems analysis (MSA)—the adopted child of Six Sigma—and other statistical training programs that continue to add great value through improvements in quality and productivity....


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....


Back in Service

by Chakravorty, Satya S.

Machines have evolved from prehistoric tools to sophisticated 21st century devices. Man has been and always will be fascinated by machines and will continue to dream about building something that does what everyone thinks is impossible....


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

Career Corner: Putting Pen to Paper

by Conklin, Joseph D.

Task management tips for the digitally unhip....


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....


3.4 per Million: The Best of Both Methods

by Breyfogle, Forrest W.

Many organizations have deployed both business process management and lean Six Sigma. The similarities and differences between these two methods could be illustrated using a Venn diagram, shown in Figure 1....


Open Access

Salary Survey 2013: Behind the Results

by Hansen, Max Christian

The 2013 Salary Survey was sent to ASQ 44,945 members. There were 7,504 individual responses, for a response rate of 16.7%....


The Service Quality Platform

by Swersey, Arthur J.

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


Open Access

Salary Survey 2013: Read Their Minds

by Hansen, Max Christian

The quality profession is helping the world economy pull out of its long slump. And the professionals who responded to this year’s QP Salary Survey seem to be experiencing their own recovery—be it ever so slight....


2013 Salary Survey: Part 2, Section 23. Base Earnings by Education and Training

by Hansen, Max Christian

The independent consultants who respond to QP’s Salary Survey are, of course, a smaller group than the regular employees. This year in the United States, 62 consultants reported working part-time and 109 full-time....


2013 Salary Survey: Part 1, Section 18. Salary by Exemplar Global Certification

by Hansen, Max Christian

Worldwide, 14.2% of the surveyed quality professionals have at least one Exemplar Global certification. Canadian and U.S. respondents held 49 of the 72 certifications listed as choices in the salary survey, which are divided into two tables....


2013 Salary Survey: Part 1, Section 5. Salary by Six Sigma Training

by Hansen, Max Christian

Year after, QP’s salary survey shows that it pays to get Six Sigma training. As Figure 1 shows, U.S. respondents who’ve completed any level of Six Sigma training earned $16,826 more on average than those without any Six Sigma training....


2013 Salary Survey: Part 1, Section 4. Salary by ASQ and Exemplar Global Certification

by Hansen, Max Christian

In North America, 58.2% of respondents to QP’s salary survey held at least one ASQ certification. As Table 1 shows, the two certifications held by most respondents are certified quality auditor (23.9% of respondents) and certified quality engineer (22%)....


Open Access

Words to Work By

by QP Staff

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


Open Access

Quality in the First Person: Career Traveler

by Hermenitt, Chris

Determination helps machine operator soar to the top....


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....


Open Access

Perspectives: Action Required

by Veenstra, Cindy P.; Walters, Glenn

IN ITS EFFORT to advance ideas, research and practice in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and workforce, ASQ’s Education Division co-sponsored the third annual Advancing the STEM Agenda Conference earlier this year....


Open Access

Back to Basics: Tell Me About It

by Radziwill, Nicole

Plan-do-study-act-export (PDSA-X) supports the collaborative pursuit of excellence across organizational boundaries, geography and time....


Open Access

5S Shakeup

by Casey, John

There are secrets about 5S that lean experts often overlook because nobody ever clued them in. Before revealing the secrets, however, there are a few questions to answer: What is 5S? Why is 5S important to implement?...


Open Access

Quality in the First Person: Get a Job

by Cote, Murray

Professor encourages students to seek certification....


Open Access

Career Corner: Put Yourself in the Hot Seat

by Whitacre, Teresa

Auditing is a big part of many quality professionals’ careers. We audit our suppliers and we perform internal audits. Some of us even participate in third-party audits. How many of us, though, have audited our career paths?...


Open Access

Perspectives: Getting It Right

by Kennedy, Bob

One of the surest ways to lose credibility is to issue some edict, mantra or slogan that is silly to the extreme. Consider the phrase, “Do it right the first time.” What a load of nonsense. Has anyone achieved such a feat—other than by accident?...


Open Access

Back to Basics: According to Plan

by Port, Jonathan

Regardless of the purpose, audits must be properly planned so they’re successful and valuable. Often, this crucial step receives scant attention. The audit process should be divided into three equal parts: planning, execution and follow-up....


3.4 per Million: Operational Definitions

by Kubiak, T.M.

If your organization is like most when it comes to data collection or metric development, little thought is actually given to these processes. I mean, after all, how difficult can it really be?...


Dig Deeper

by Chadha, Rajeev

Sort,store, shine, standardize and sustain (5S) is a lean process for creating and maintaining an organized, clean, safe and high-performing workplace....


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....


Raising the Bar

by Bertels, Thomas; Buthmann, Arne

Many large organizations have invested in operational excellence initiatives. Some organizations are motivated by potential cost savings, while others are looking for culture change or a common language for solving problems....


Reinventing Excellence

by Buckman, Jim; Buckman, Mary Beth

How Corning used quality to maintain its legacy of innovation for 160 years....


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....


Open Access

Expert Answers: July 2013

by QP Staff

Micrometers ... Quality indicators ......


Open Access

Career Corner: An Age-old Problem

by Conklin, Joseph D.

When coaching younger generations in the workforce, one size does not fit all. Career Corner columnist Joseph Conklin provides tips for navigating a multigenerational workforce....


Open Access

Back to Basics: Light Bulb Moment

by Force, Scott

NEWLY CERTIFIED Six Sigma Black Belts often struggle with understanding how the various quality tools work together. It took me a few projects before I began to see linkage. As I teach and mentor new Belts, I use an analogy that hits close to home....


Open Access

Career Corner: Stake Your Ground

by Lindborg, Henry

Stakeholder analysis has become standard practice among quality practitioners....


Parts of the Process

by Aguirre-Torres, Victor; López-Alvarez, Maria Teresa

Repeatability and reproducibility studies are based on the concept of variance components estimation. This is a remarkable achievement of statistical science because people usually think in terms of means and trends, not variation around a mean....


Open Access

Quality in the First Person: It's a Process

by Jennings, John

I have been a Type 2 diabetic for 40 years—about as long as I’ve been in the quality field. Currently, there is no cure for diabetes. But it can be managed....


The Power of Prediction

by Kruger, Gregory A.

Inconsistent supplier delivery can negatively impact an organization’s ability to serve its customers. Using quality and statistical methods can help predict demand and minimize the impact of supplier inconsistency....


Expert Answers: June 2013

by QP Staff

Auditee refuses nonconformance report ... Customer service quality in the banking industry...


Mood Righting

by Thor, Scott

U.S. organizations face monumental challenges as a global economy has emerged. Arguably, the global economy is driving competitive forces to levels unimaginable only a few decades ago....


Open Access

One Good Idea: Act the Fool

by Levinson, William

Almost every workplace has a few heyokas and they are vital to the organization’s survival....


Expert Answers: May 2013

by QP Staff

Lean case studies from IT organizations...


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: Roundabout Estimation

by Conklin, Joseph D.

THE IDEAL IN Six Sigma is to directly measure your inputs and outputs. What can a quality practitioner do when that’s not possible or practical?...


Heart of the Matter

by Aba, Eli Kofi; Hayden, Michael A.

The goal of most processes in the manufacturing and service industries is to produce products or services that exhibit little to no variation. Variation is defined as “where no two items or services are exactly the same.”...


Open Access

Back to Basics: Winning Them Over

by Becker, Jr., Steve

You’re the new quality manager. You meet the management team and it seems committed to quality and fulfilling regulatory requirements. You’re relieved. Obtaining buy-in is half the battle....


Tool Time

by Liu, Shu

“Does everybody know what time it is? It’s ‘Tool Time’!” On “Home Improvement,” one of the most watched TV sitcoms in the U.S. in the 1990s, Tim and his assistant, Al, demonstrated to their television audience what tools they had and how to use them....


Open Access

Apples to Oranges?

by Surak, John G.;

Consumers around the world demand safe food. Through the years, retailers and food companies have pushed their suppliers to have food safety systems and improve on them. The drive started with suppliers being required to have third-party good GMP audits....


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

Career Corner: Out of Hiding

by ReVelle, Jack B.

While I was the senior statistician for a manufacturing division of a major aerospace firm, I shared the concept of the hidden factory with a statistical quality control (SQC) training class composed entirely of senior and middle management....


Open Access

The Right Ingredients

by Zaidi, Syed Wasi Asghar;

In Out of the Crisis, W. Edwards Deming writes, “Everyone doing his best is not the answer. It is first necessary that people know what to do.” To ensure people know exactly what to do, all activities within the organization should be system oriented....


Open Access

Know the Why

by Ramsay, Owen

One of the primary reasons improvement projects fail is a lack of alignment with an organization’s vision, mission, goals and objectives. In an attempt to avoid that issue, a government agency in Guyana deployed a multi-tool method for improvement....


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

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....


Open Access

Career Corner: Who's Responsible?

by Whitacre, Teresa

One factor not often discussed in career development is career level of the individual. A 20-something-year-old manager often has different goals and career satisfaction levels than a 40-something-year-old manager....


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....


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.”...


Expert Answers: February 2013

by QP Staff

Root cause analysis...


Online Figures - Ramsay

by Ramsay, Owen

Year Verct( dys) # Rpts FinRpts InvTech #_ Staff 2003 296 31 13 1.00 216 2004 829 24 11 2.24 190 2005 309 22 12 1.65 210 2006 222 22 9 2.35 225 2007 171 17 5 3.58 247 Verct( dys) = verification of claims cycle time # rpts = number of reports for the boar...


Open Access

Career Corner: In Shape for Quality

by Conklin, Joseph D.

I first met A.H. when my personal growth shifted to a more horizontal direction. He has since gone solo, working as a self-employed personal trainer. When I learned he had gone solo, I wondered if his perspective on managing for quality had changed....


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....


Open Access

One Good Idea: Ultimate Originality

by Sundararajan, K.

When developing products for a new market, innovative ideas are essential. A tool that can be used to spark innovative new product ideas is the ideate, define, design and validate (IDDV) method....


Open Access

Quality in the First Person: Failure of Inspection

by Austin, Alan L.

Inspection often occurs at the end of the production line. As a result, the information gained from identifying problem pieces comes too late to make adjustments in the process, let alone isolate places in the process that are causing the problem....


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....


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....


Expert Answers: January 2013

by QP Staff

Six Sigma staffing ... Calibration vs. verification ......


Salary Survey 2012: Crunching the Numbers

by Hansen, Max Christian

The 2012 survey was sent to 54,337 members. Of the 6,857 individuals who started the survey, 6,857 completed the questionnaire for a response rate of 11.2%....


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

Quality in the First Person: Who Is the Customer?

by Smith, Julian D.

The Christmas season is a good time to study processes because shopping provides a prime example. During this time, men tend to revert to a “hunter-gatherer” state, while women are diligently searching for the optimum gift....


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

Salary Survey 2012: Part 1, Section 5: Salary by Six Sigma Training

by Hansen, Max Christian

S. employees, Canadian employees, international employees Salary by highest level of Six Sigma training for Canadian respondents / Figure 3 115,929 170,000 133,600 91,538 89,811 79,511 84,000 87,750 103,314 92,094 84,608 77,523 65,000 94,000 105,062 84,8...


Volviendo a los Fundamentos: Lo Descomponemos

by Ayulo, Alberto

El pensamiento A3 está basado en el método de planificar-hacer-verificar-actuar. Esta potente forma de pensamiento se transcribe en un pedazo de papel que un equipo de empleados puede usar para producir un resultado deseado para un proceso propuesto....


Salary Survey 2012: Part 1, Section 4: Salary by ASQ and RABQSA International Certification

by Hansen, Max Christian

Percentage of respondents holding aSQ certifications / Table 1 2012 2010 2008 Certified quality auditor 22.9% 24.1% 24.2% Certified quality engineer 20.4 23.7 21.6 Certified manager of quality/ organizational excellence 12.6 13.7 12.6 Certified Six Sigma...


Salary Survey 2012: Part 1, Section 6: Salary by Number of Work Hours

by Hansen, Max Christian

117,746 105,228 99,432 93,146 80,680 72,965 56,449 0 $ 20,000 $ 40,000 $ 60,000 $ 80,000 $ 100,000 $ 120,000 More than 60 hours ( 1.8%) 56- 60 hours ( 6%) 51- 55 hours ( 10%) 46- 50 hours ( 26%) 41- 45 hours ( 39.9%) 36- 40 hours ( 15.2%) 35 or fewer hou...


Salary Survey 2012: Part 1, Section 14: Salary by Organizational Quality Infrastructure

by Hansen, Max Christian

Salary by quality department membership for U. S. respondents / Table 3 Part of a quality department Not part of a quality department Percentage Average salary Percentage Average salary All respondents 80.7% $ 84,445 19.3% $ 96,346 analyst 63 64,330 37 7...


Salary Survey 2012: Part 1, Section 18: Salary by RABQSA International Certification

by Hansen, Max Christian

Part 1. Regular Employee Results Section 18. Salary by RABQSA International Certification Details on RABQSA Certifications Salary by RABQSA certifications for U. S. respondents / Table 1 Aged care professional APIQ auditor AS9100 aerospace experience aud...


Salary Survey 2012: Part 2, Section 23: Base Earnings by Education and Training

by Hansen, Max Christian

1 28,000 28,000 Certified manager of quality/ organizational excellence 20,000 275,000 86,193 9 112,391 100,000 Certified quality auditor 12,000 180,000 56,553 17 87,066 96,521 Certified quality engineer 12,000 214,245 71,048 10 96,625 82,500 Certified q...


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....


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....


Volviendo a los Fundamentos: ¿DMAMC o no DMAMC?

by Berardinelli, Carl F.

Definir, medir, analizar, mejorar y controlar (DMAMC) es un método estructurado de resolución de problemas. Cada fase de DMAMC se basa en la fase anterior, y el objetivo es implementar soluciones a largo plazo a los problemas....


Open Access

Quality in the First Person: Pursuing Excellence

by Scullin, Brian

This is the story of my journey from lackadaisical and passive performance to data-driven dominance during my collegiate football career as a punter....


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.”...


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....


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

Perspectives: Added Structure

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

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



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