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Open Access

Blog Boom

by Calfa, Jimena; Graban, Mark; Hunter, John; Stepniowski, Jennifer J.; and Zrymiak, Daniel

Back in the late 1990s—well before 140-character Tweets, before Facebook posts and before LinkedIn discussions—there was the blog. Register at any number of blogging sites and you could set up your own personal or professional website....


Expert Answers: July 2014

by QP Staff

Building an effective QMS ... understanding medians...


Statistics Roundtable: Don’t Be Discrete

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

When planning an analysis, the type and quality of data will have the biggest impact on the robustness and validity of the results....


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

Career Corner: Opening Doors

by Conklin, Joseph

Career Corner columnist Joseph Conklin interviews a counselor at the Prince George’s One-Stop Career Center in Laurel, MD, during the second week of the October 2013 government shutdown to look into training and retraining programs for displaced workers....


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....


Measure for Measure: Calculating Uncertainty

by Grachanen, Christopher L.

In metrological circles, there are many different statistics and figures of merit used to gauge the quality of measurement data....


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....


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

Catching Fire

by Liu, Shu

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


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....


Open Access

Will to Live

by Csikos, Brian

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


Statistics Roundtable: Unraveling Bayes’ Theorem

by Anderson-Cook, Christine M.

Many of us have a love-hate relationship with conditional probabilities. Yet they are a function of our daily lives. We update our knowledge with new information, and what we believe evolves as new information gets integrated into our thought processes....


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....


Measure for Measure: Assessing Performance

by Grachanen, Christopher L.

For many calibration and testing laboratories, routine proficiency testing is a requirement for obtaining and maintaining accreditation status....


Open Access

Standards Outlook: Change Ahead

by West, John E. “Jack”; Hunt, Lorri; Cianfrani, Charles

The revision of ISO 9001:2008 brings opportunities and challenges....


Statistics Roundtable: Listening to Sentiment

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

What do you do if you just bought a new computer and it now makes some weird clicking sounds? Or if the airline lost your luggage, but representatives refuse to help recover it or provide compensation?...


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....


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....


2013 Salary Survey: Part 1, Section 9. Salary by No. of Yrs. in Crnt Position and in Quality Field

by Hansen, Max Christian

Section 8 shows that quality professionals don’t seem to be strongly rewarded for staying in one position for a long time. Table 1 of this section shows that respondents don’t tend to stay in one position for too long....


Open Access

Words to Work By

by QP Staff

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


Statistics Roundtable: Providing Better Insights

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

In an earlier Statistics Roundtable column, we advocated for the use of degradation testing (that is, monitoring change in a quality or performance characteristic) instead of time to failure....


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....


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....


Open Access

Quality in the First Person: Quality Couple

by Mouradian, George

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


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?...


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?...


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

Measuring Up

by Hankel, Amanda

What is, and what does it mean to your organization and your industry? What does continuous improvement mean for your country, region and community, now and in the future? These are questions that, until recently, hadn’t been answered on a global level....


Full View

by Richardson, Robb

As quality professionals, we are comfortable in discussing both the health of a process and how to improve it using the tools of our trade. Yet, when it comes to applying those same approaches to our own performances, many of us are far less comfortable....


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

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....


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....


Getting a Good Read

by Bruns, Todd; Bai, Rendong

The internet has forced libraries to focus on enhancing customer service through quality management. LibQUAL+ is a tool to evaluate library customer service and engage patrons as partners to close the gap between experienced and expected service....


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....


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....


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

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?...


Statistics Roundtable: Getting Graphical

by Borror, Connie M., White, T. Kevin

A company has six manufacturing processes critical to its business success. Management recently required each area manager to provide quarterly reports on the performance of their particular process....


Expert Answers: April 2013

by QP Staff

Root cause analysis tools ... Calibration data for a fee ......


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?...


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

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

Back to Basics: Minimizing Chaos

by Gojanovic, Tony

Much has been written about document control and management. But applying these basic principles can help transform a nightmare into a well-managed system....


Statistics Roundtable: Group Effort

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

Cluster analysis is being widely used in disciplines as diverse as marketing, genomics and climate change. The technique lends itself to large data sets and small, focused data sets....


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....


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....


Statistics Roundtable: Follow the Rules

by Hare, Lynne B.

Despite appearances to the contrary, I am not old enough to have participated in the first discussions of control chart rules....


Statistics Roundtable: Inquiry on Pedigree

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

THE MEDIA FREQUENTLY report on examples of situations in which results from statistical studies are not reproducible. A recent article in the New York Times reported how a sophisticated study went wrong because of poor data quality....


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....


Salary Survey 2012: Part 1, Section 1: Salary by Job Title

by Hansen, Max Christian

Figure 1 includes results for: x Full- time employees, part- time employees, x U. S. employees, Canadian employees, International employees Salary by job title for U. S. respondents / FIgUre 1 46,884 50,558 53,970 56,246 57,718 69,279 70,094 72,261 74,13...


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....


Statistics Roundtable: Improve Your Evaluations

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

In an earlier Statistics Roundtable column, we described how the conclusions you can draw from statistical analysis of limited life data can be bolstered by appropriately incorporating engineering knowledge and experience into the analysis....


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....


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....


A Service Framework

by Tyagi, Rajesh; Piccotti, Jen

To help service quality professionals negotiate the unique challenges they encounter, the ASQ Service Quality Division envisaged the Service Quality Body of Knowledge as an umbrella framework....


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....


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....


Clever Combination

by Flori, Albert

As software use increases in safety-critical applications, we must implement quality improvement tools and techniques to identify software failures before they have a critical effect on the completed system or a fatal effect on the end user....


Statistics Roundtable: Fleshing Things Out

by Borror, Connie M.

Recently, a colleague asked me to review some data that a student had gathered on cannibalization in spiders. They had 10 families of spiders, and each family had 14 members. We’ll call the families A, B, C, etc. The families were randomly paired off....


Rethinking Treatment

by Muzenjak, Diane; Carboneau, Clark; Galagan, Robert

Changing and improving complex processes in healthcare settings are no easy tasks. They require a systems approach using a variety of quality improvement methods and tools....


Follow the Signs

by Palmer, Brien

Many change models have been proposed, but one stands out: the transtheoretical model, also known as the health behavior change model. The model originates from directly observing how people really did or didn’t change in response to urgent medical needs....


Standards Outlook: Game of Chance

by Russell, J.P.

Risk is a popular word being added to the standards and procedures lexicon, but it’s a massive topic that can be confusing. It can get even more complicated when you try to put risk in a box....


Statistics Roundtable: Go With the Flow

by Hare, Lynne B.

Years ago, while on my way to conduct a statistical process control short course at a local ASQ meeting, I was stopped by a man who told me he had attended my short course the previous year and got a lot out of it....


The Brand Named You

by Breitbarth, Wayne

An all-expense paid week in Cancun, Mexico. An extravagant home entertainment system. Professional sports team season tickets. And, of course, a gold watch. These are all expensive luxuries, but what do they have in common?...


Open Access

Statistics Roundtable: Words of Caution

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

Suppose you have a study with one identified response. Take QP’s salary survey, for instance, and the many predictors, such as age, sex, education, years of experience, type of employment and number of people supervised....


Open Access

Career Corner: Turn, Turn, Turn

by Conklin, Joseph D.

In the quality world, I have seen my share of heated conversation about why (fill in the quality technique of your choice) works or doesn’t. The passion usually does not run as deeply as on a soap opera, but it comes close on occasion....


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?...


Expert Answers: June 2012

by QP Staff

Continuous vs. discrete data ... Get IT under control ... You must measure ......


3.4 per Million: The Significance of Simulation

by Kubiak, T.M.

The certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt body of knowledge, introduced in 2010, included the subject of simulation and, specifically, digital process simulation. This is refreshing because this tool is often omitted from lean Six Sigma training....


Measure for Measure: On Average

by Shah, Dilip

Averaging measurements is useful. It’s better to take more than one measurement and report the average of the results. But reporting the measurement average has certain flaws....


Statistics Roundtable: Going on Feel

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

Customers consider consistent quality to be one of the most important product and service attributes. Often, it’s the most important....


Open Access

Fair or Foul?

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

After Moneyball was published nine years ago, Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane was hailed as a genius for adopting analytics in baseball. His goal was to create a small-budget MLB team that could compete with big-spending teams in the American League....


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....


Open Access

One Good Idea: Complicated Comparison

by Bower, Keith; Germansderfer, Abraham

Limited data availability complicates an assessment of whether two populations are comparable. A statistical tolerance interval (TI) can be used to set the comparability criteria....


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: On Overlapping

by Borror, Connie M.

While teaching a workshop for a small manufacturing firm, two of the participants approached me to discuss what seemed to be a simple problem they had encountered at work....


Open Access

Perspectives: Theory of Evolution

by Gojanovic, Tony

Thumbing through W. Edward Deming’s timeless classic Out of the Crisis, it’s striking to see how the current economic crisis can be attributed to the factors he pointed out so many years ago as roadblocks to quality and productivity....


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

One Good Idea: Branch Out

by Landauer, Edwin G.

It can be difficult to identify the appropriate discrete distribution to use when attempting to determine probabilities in a particular situation. The decision tree can help you determine the appropriate distribution....


Heavy Mettle Victory

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

After 23 years of service, I retired from Heavymet. Heavymet is a colossus: 65,000 employees in 55 plants in six business units in six countries. I lived in interesting times there. Many asked how I felt about our progress in process management....


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....


Online Conklin: Baker’s Loaf

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

When recounting Plant Able’s successful struggle to implement process management, we compared it to raising children. That sums up the story when implementation is in your home plant....


Open Access

Career Corner: Hand It Over

by Conklin, Joseph D.

No matter how much you like a task, at some point you can count on passing the baton. When this happened to me following an agency reorganization, the handoff to a new hire went especially well, thanks to this 12-step process....


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....


Open Access

Perspectives: Perfection Is Possible

by Godfrey, A. Blanton

Bob Galvin did more to change the way we manage quality in the United States today than any other executive leader. We will truly miss him, his ideas and his leadership....


Tribal Quest

by Dew, John

The continuing abundance of news stories about quality failures in the manufacturing, food, pharmaceutical, healthcare and education sectors is a reminder that award-winning organizations are islands in a sea of quality indifference....


Salary Survey 2011: Part 1, Section 2: Salary by U.S. Regions and Canadian Provinces

by Hansen, Max Christian

South Carolina 1.6% 96.8 North Carolina 3.6% 95.7 Tennessee 2.4% 90.5 Kentucky 1.2% 91.6 WV 0.2% 99 Virginia 2.9% 96.9 Maryland 2.1% 123.7 Delaware 0.4% 106.9 D. C. 0.1% 144.4 New Jersey 2.4% 129.1 Connecticut 1.6% 133 RI 0.5% 124.6 MA 3.9% 139.7 Maine 0...


Statistics Roundtable: Use What You Know

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

Engineers and managers often must make important decisions in situations in which there is substantial uncertainty because of limited data. In some such cases, the data analyses can be bolstered by incorporating engineering knowledge and experience....


Statistics Roundtable: Under the Limit

by Mason, Robert L.; Keating, Jerome P.

Engineers often encounter a wide spectrum of issues pertaining to the data they collect from experiments. A particular problem of concern arises when the quantity to be measured falls below the detection limit of the measuring apparatus....


Growth Chart

by Olson, Diane J.; Sinn, John W.;

Globalization, as well as demands from people, business and technology, require organizations to deliver high-quality performance to remain competitive. Quality methods can allow alignment with rapidly changing and increasing customer expectations....


Open Access

Site Seeing

by Yu, Louis W.; Urkin, Esther; Lum, Steve; Kenett, Ron S.; Ben-Jacob, Ron

Assessing exposure to risk events and initiating proactive risk mitigation actions must be a priority of organizations worldwide. Fortunately, there’s a conceptual and methodical approach to conducting a risk-based quality audit....


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....



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