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The System Is the Solution

by Schultz, John R.

Organizations function as systems—collections of interdependent processes, events and resources. Failure to embrace systems thinking can cause serious consequences for an organization....


Open Access

No Weak Links

by Bailey, Bill D.; Alter, Howard

A global telecommunications organization decided to use the lean tool value stream mapping, along with the eight rights and seven supply chain wastes to better understand its complete supply chain and to help avoid suboptimization....


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....


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....


Improving on Excellence

by Buckman, Jim; Buckman, Mary Beth

With the changing face of healthcare in the 1990s, the Mayo Clinic started to measure more thoroughly the results of its efforts to track quality. So it enlisted the help of the Juran Institute to begin a full-fledged quality improvement program....


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....


Is Six Sigma Dead?

by Weeks, J. Bruce;

There are reports from the field about the death of Six Sigma. The word is that it has been overused, has not brought its expected benefits and that newer methodologies, such as the theory of constraints and systems thinking, are replacing it....


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....


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....


Time to Align

by Pietenpol, David

Culture drives leadership behavior and expectations. It can knock down barriers to prosperity or create obstacles that threaten future success. It defines whether an organization embraces or resists change....


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....


Statistics Roundtable: Closing the Gap

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

The philosopher Thomas Kuhn showed that a way of thinking (a paradigm) lasts until the problems no longer adequately addressed by the paradigm are so important that a new paradigm is needed to deal with that list of unsolved problems....


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....


Open Access

Get the Whole Picture

by Sherman, Peter

Most Americans have experienced our healthcare system directly. For the last three years, I’ve acted as my father’s primary caregiver. In this role, I’ve seen firsthand the shortcomings of our healthcare system in many ways....


Standards Outlook: Remaining Relevant

by West, John E. "Jack"

Without changes, ISO 9001 risks becoming irrelevant on the world stage. So, what new ideas should be included in the next edition?...


In a Perfect World

by Krzykowski, Brett

During an interview with QP, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill speaks about the U.S. healthcare system, the signs of economic calamity everyone ignored, and the U.S. government's resistance to the quality way of thinking....


Open Access

Career Corner: Survive and Thrive

by Lindborg, Hank

No sector is immune. Manufacturing, IT, finance, healthcare, education, publishing and retail are being affected by conditions that range from slowdown to slow-motion collapse....


Open Access

What's Up?

by Sanders, Seiche

Study participants outlined the forces, four scenarios in which they might play out, and the implications to quality, organizations and the profession. Study participants were asked to envision the implications of the key forces and scenarios for quality ...


Open Access

Online Sidebars Sanders

by Sanders, Seiche

Increasing movement from quality of product to quality of management and the organization. The systems approaches the quality profession has evolved through ISO 9000 and other management system standards will be valued by organizations looking to bring qu...


Open Access

Futures Study

by QP Staff

Forces of Change From All ASQ Futures Studies Table 1 1996 1999 2002 2005 2008 Changing values Partnering Quality must deliver bottom- line results Globalization Globalization Globalization Learning systems Management systems will increasingly absorb the...


Starting From Scratch

by Radziwill, Nicole; Olson, Diane; Vollmar, Andrew; Lippert, Ted; Mattis, Ted; Van Dewark, Kevin; Sinn, John W.

Graduate students studying quality developed the Quality Systems Development Roadmap to help organizations do this, using application templates from the Lean Six Sigma Quality Transformation Toolkit. However, new companies, organizations without an enterp...


From the President: Quality and the Three Conversations

by Saco, Roberto M.

For generations of authors, that intimidating D-word—deadline—makes even the bravest among us cringe. So when QP’s editor reminded me at a recent board meeting that the due date of this column, my first as ASQ president, was quickly approaching...


Standards Outlook: Hazardous to Your Health

by Reid, R. Dan

One hospital chain in my area has a snappy ad saying your selection of a hospital could be the most important choice you will ever make. This might be true—going into the hospital these days can be hazardous to your health....


Open Access

Conflict and Complexity

by Dettmer, H. William

Fourteen years before the space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after launch in 1986, NASA unknowingly set in motion a series of events that culminated in the tragic disaster that stunned the proud space agency and rocked a nation....


Exercise a Process Improvement Approach for Your Own Personal Wellness

by Harvey, Jean

The human body can be viewed as a system of processes in which the output of one process is an input to another. One quality practitioner applied the concepts of systems thinking, process thinking and process management to improve his own health,...


Reach for the Stars

by Van Loon, Han

CelsiusTech Australia, a systems and software supplier, has long had a commitment to quality, but believes there is always room for improvement. The company decided to create an improved approach to the plan-do-check-act cycle to help new employees...


Quality in the First Person: What Comes First--People or Process?

by Mathias, John F.

The respective roles of people and processes form one of the more intriguing relationships in quality work: Quality improvement efforts frequently reveal viewpoints emphasizing either people or processes, which can be challenging to......


Selling Quality Ideas to Management

by Palmer, Brien

Many great ideas fall by the wayside because management does not accept them. This may be because the idea must compete with other priorities or the owner doesn't do enough to sell the idea to management. Three effective ways to enhance an idea are to...


Open Access

Engaging Physicians in Lean Six Sigma

by Caldwell, Chip; Brexler, Jim; Gillem, Tom

Healthcare is one of the most difficult industries in which to install a quality system because of the confusing role of physicians, yet few process changes can be fully optimized without engaging physicians. One reason physicians resist change is that...


ISO 9000 In Service: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

by Scott, John

When the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began requiring ISO 9001 certification for its new business contracts, claims processing contractor Palmetto GBA decided to pursue certification for its existing contracts as well. Getting a...


Quality Attitudes Start in Childhood

by Dedhia, Navin S.

My beliefs and behavior have had four major influences: my parents' teachings, stringent requirements during elementary and middle school years, the basic principles of my religion and IBM's corporate culture....


Sarbanes-Oxley: Pain or Gain?

by Cobb, Charles G.

The Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) regulatory requirements passed by Congress in 2002 ensures investors are provided with accurate and reliable financial data on all publicly traded companies. Implementation of these requirements can be expensive and difficult....


Watergate's Deep Throat – A Systems Thinker

by Crawford-Mason, Clare

The White House insider dubbed Deep Throat used systems thinking to link the events leading to the Watergate scandal. System thinkers transcend the tunnel vision of most thinkers to encompass the linear and tangible aspects of the big picture. History...


Statistical Leadership

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

Statisticians, as we have known them for almost half a century, may become an endangered species....


Stoplight Charts (With SPC Inside)

by Prevette, Steven

Many balanced scorecards use stoplight charts to track defects. Colors for the chart are set by comparing current results with target thresholds. Software that automates the process results in an operation that is quick and efficient, but which may be...


Open Access

Can the Gurus' Concepts Cure Healthcare?

by Nielsen, Don M.; Merry, Martin D.; Schyve, Paul M.; Bisognano, Maureen

Representatives of the movement for quality in healthcare present the views of four quality gurus as they apply to managing cost and improving the quality of healthcare. Don M. Nielsen says Philip Crosby's emphasis on prevention and zero defects has led...


Lean and Six Sigma – Synergy Made in Heaven

by Bossert, James

The combination of Six Sigma and lean enterprise work can enhance the production experience. Workers have the empowerment and skill to recognize a problem and, if it cannot be resolved, shut down the line to eliminate the root cause. Six Sigma and lean...


ISO 9000 Makes Integrated Systems User Friendly

by Shipley, David

Organizations need management systems that are based on processes or activities that help personnel understand what is essential to achieving continual improvement on a consistent basis....


Systems Thinking – An Uncommon Answer

by Prevette, Steven S.

Some of the common problems to be found in many business failures include too much focus on short-term gains, too much focus on quarterly profit statements, and a prevalence of long-term losses. One possible solution to these problems is systems...


QOS – A Simple Method for Big or Small

by Keller, Carl W.

Although there are many quality initiatives in the marketplace, many of them involve a degree of hype. Ford Motor Company’s quality operating system (QOS) is recommended as one offering the most value for the money. A QOS assessment looks at...


Open Access

An Integrated Approach System

by Kubiak, Tom

What’s the best quality system? How would you answer this question? How would your colleagues?...


Open Access

Baldrige: It's Easy, Free and It Works

by Crownover, Dale

While many people consider the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria to be difficult, a harder task is learning how to manage opportunities for improvements instead of managing known strengths. While Baldrige may not have the answers, it...


Open Access

Complexity Theory Simplifies Choices

by Okes, Duke

Many business management and improvement methodologies provide finite structures for achieving success. Examples include the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award; the ISO 9001 standard; W. Edward Deming, who provided 14 points; and Six Sigma....


Open Access

Quality Management Multiple Choice: What’s the best quality system?

by Shipley, David; Keller, Carl W.; Bossert, James; Prevette, Steven S.; Okes, Duke; Crownover, Dale; Kubiak, Tom

Monitoring and recording the extent of transition experienced within a designated area assure Procedure ( general) Priority Reviewed Completed Record control Document control Internal audits Management review Corrective action Preventive action Monitorin...


Open Access

Rx for Excellence

by Daniels, Susan E.

SSM Health Care (SSMHC), the first healthcare winner of the Malcolm Baldrige Award, has been showing the world that a focus on continuous improvement can help the ailing healthcare sector. SSMHC operates as a private, not-for-profit system that owns,...


An Integrated Operations Performance Metric

by Reid, Richard A.

A case study demonstrates that a firm can improve customer satisfaction and increase its market share by initiating both quality and productivity improvements. The firm manufactures gift shop items in a major metropolitan area in the Southwest and...


Deming and Me

by Crawford-Mason, Clare

Faced with a personal healthcare crisis involving major surgery, the author turned to the philosophy of her former mentor, W. Edwards Deming, for guidance. Deming had noted that it is inadvisable to make important decisions based on a single data point,...


Measure for Six Sigma Success

by Pearson, Thomas A.

Measurements, despite their proven historical significance, are still viewed as the cost of doing business and as production bottlenecks. In the new "measure for Six Sigma" world, measurements become a direct production activity resulting in a true...


Developing a Learning Organization In the Public Sector

by Hassounah, Jamil

Juran Trilogy used as project model

The combination of those statements motivated the deployment of a quality improvement project within the Health Care Department (HCD) of the city of Campinas in Brazil. The need for this is strengthened by the World Health Organization's recent report on ...


Quality Management Hits the Road

by La Lopa, Joseph M.; Marecki, Richard F.

The future for quality practitioners may lie with General Systems Theory. GST was developed by researchers who observed how living organisms interacted within an environment, but it has since been applied to concepts including systems thinking. GST...


Quality in Nonprofits: No Longer Uncharted Territory

by Oosterhoff, Renee

Anixter Center is a nonprofit human-service organization that has experienced the 11 challenges faced by nonprofits. As a large rehabilitation agency serving people with disabilities through more than fifty programs, Anixter Center received a...


On Leaders and Leadership

by Edgeman, Rick L.; Dahlgaard, Su Mi Park; Dahlgaard, Jens J.; Scherer, Franz

Systemic leadership is based on core values and competencies as well as on more tangible elements of business excellence. Systemic leadership requires that everyone be responsible for leadership. However, the models embedded in international quality...


Measurements and the Knowledge Revolution

by Pearson, Thomas A.

Real-time delivery of valued knowledge provides strong support for enterprise operations. In the knowledge revolution, organizations can improve knowledge delivery with the right measurement and information systems. Successful organizations must use...


Open Access

The Call of Quality: Doing Right Things Right

by Jacques, March Laree

Models of excellence and doing the right thing are found in codes of ethics, certification programs, and award criteria. In this era of competitiveness and complexity, people and their organizations are challenged to understand the multiple aspects of...


The Critical Role of Quality in the Tourism System

by La Lopa, Joseph M.; Marecki, Richard F.

A systems approach to understanding the tourism industry reveals four components: output, feedback, input, and throughput. Inputs to the tourism system are those found in the typical Ishikawa diagram: methods, money, materials, and manpower....


Open Access

Measuring Up in a Cincinnati Suburb

by Quattrone, David F.

The Indian Hill public school system has used the framework of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) to improve itself. Indian Hill participated in a 1995 Baldrige Award pilot program for educational organizations. Only 19 applications...


Applying Quality Concepts to Community Issues

by Jacques, March Laree

Communication and process are keys to overcoming political barriers in community improvement efforts. In Tacoma and Pierce County, WA, the ideas of W. Edwards Deming are coming to life in a partnership between Tacoma and the Deming Institute. The...


Open Access

What Higher Education Should Be Teaching About Quality - But Is Not

by Weinstein, Larry B.; Petrick, Joseph A.; Saunders, Paula M.

A survey of colleges and universities revealed inadequate correlation between quality-related topics taught in schools and topics identified as important by winners of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The teaching of quality is vital in...


What a Wonderful World It Could Be

by Schulz, Dan

A community quality council (CQC) brings the principles of total quality management (TQM) into daily community life. It is a forum through which all elements of the community can use TQM principles to maintain leadership, create a vision, establish a...


How to Teach Others to Apply Statistical Thinking

by Britz, Galen; Emerling, Don; Hare, Lynne; Hoerl, Roger; Shade, Janice

An interactive session on statistical thinking involved realistic scenarios worked on by teams of conference attendees and a panel of experts. Unlike statistical methods, statistical thinking is a learning and action philosophy. It is based on...


Open Access

Using the Baldrige Award Criteria in College Classrooms

by Ensby, Michael; Mahmoodi, Farzad

Customer focus and continual improvement are applicable to higher education. Support for such concepts comes from education-adapted Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria. Distractions to using these criteria in colleges and universities...


Cause-And-Effect Diagrams Alone Don't Tell the Whole Story

by Turner, Ronald E.

Feedback loops increase the power of cause-and-effect diagrams. The usual cause-and-effect diagram is a linear display of an effect and its possible causes. The enhanced version incorporates balancing and reinforcing feedback loops. Balancing loops...


Open Access

Can U.S. Schools Be Managed for Improvement?

by Cummings, Leonard; Lunsford, Jim

Systems thinking and the principles of quality management can improve education. "System" can be operationally defined so that it applies to public schools. The public school system must become stable enough to bring its processes into control while...


Creativity and Improvement: A Vital Link

by Provost, Lloyd P.; Sproul, R. M.

Tools for creative thinking enhance quality improvement activities, which typically employ only critical thinking tools. Improvement requires change, and creativity reveals a variety of options, some not obvious, for implementing change. Creativity in...


Open Access

What Should Higher Education Be Teaching About Quality?

by Evans, James R.

Customer-supplier relationships, continuous process improvement, interpersonal skills, and teamwork are keys for those who plan to work in quality organizations. These are among the survey findings from seven 1988-1994 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality...


Where Will They Fit In?

by Silverman, Lori L.; Propst, Annabeth L.

As organizations change, quality is becoming less of a department and more of a paradigm. The agile, customer-sensitive organization is moving away from the traditional quality assurance department. Instead, quality functions may be dispersed...


How TQM Can Work in Education

by Sharples, Kathleen A.; Slusher, Michael; Swaim, Mike

A new strategic plan introduced total quality management (TQM) to the Conroe Independent School District. The plan was linked to a vision of quality and ten goals, one of which was to implement TQM. The first stage of implementation was commitment...


Open Access

The Journey Might Wander a Bit. . .

by Bemowski, Karen

As winners of the 1995 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA), Armstrong World Industries' Building Products Operations (BPO) and Corning's Telecommunications Products Division (TPD) have much in common. Both have adopted quality principles...


Relearning the Learning Process

by Cleary, Barbara A.

Quality learning applies learning research and total quality to education. Learning research finds, for example, that people learn through a continuum of experiences from data to information to knowledge to understanding to wisdom. Other research...


Open Access

15 Years and Still Going . . .

by Rau, Herbert

At National Semiconductor, the total quality effort is in its third stage. The first stage started about 15 years ago. Programs introduced during this stage included: quality circles, total preventive maintenance, statistical process control, design...


Pennsylvania Builds Tomorrow's Work Force

by Faylor, Connie R.

School-business partnerships have brought quality improvement to the Lehigh Valley. The eighteen partnerships use an enhanced version of the Koalaty Kid program. Cross-functional project teams and project-by-project improvement have built on the...


Total Quality in K-12 Education

by Smialek, Mary Ann

Transformational change in U.S. schools is necessary for continuous improvement. A TQM (total management quality) culture in K-12 education requires a new organizational structure in which everyone is responsible for quality. In such an environment,...


Quality and the Theory of Constraints

by Dettmer, H. William

To achieve quality, companies must understand the impact of local actions on the whole system. The Theory of Constraints (TOC) fosters this understanding by focusing on the elements of a system that limit the system's improvement. TOC was introduced...


The Role of Statistical Thinking in Management

by Hare, Lynne B.; Hoerl, Roger W.; Hromi, John D.; Snee, Ronald D.

Managers, as well as statisticians, can employ process thinking, an understanding of variation, and data analysis. This mindset of statistical thinking has four requirements. First, managers must know why statistical knowledge is important. For...


The Five Drivers of Total Quality

by Grahn, Dennis P.

Service to customers, employees, and the business itself is the mission of the Menasha Corporation. A hierarchy of five drivers of quality implements this mission. People quality is the driver with the most influence. This requires selecting the...



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