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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....

Solid Base

by Ahmed, Afaq;

A petroleum and petrochemical plant consists of equipment such as pumps, valves, motors, flanges, pipes, turbines, tanks and pressure vessels. Typically, such plants rely on a global supplier base to procure such equipment....

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

A Place to Call Home

by Leonard, Denis; Zajicek, Gary

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

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....

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....

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....

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

At Your Service

by Schmidt, Megan

Servant leadership is a timeless concept that is especially relevant for quality organizations because of its relationship with continuous improvement. Organizations benefit from servant leadership because it creates more effective and innovative teams....

Get There Faster

by Andell, Jonathon L.

While traditional value stream maps, 5S workplace organization and spaghetti diagrams are crucial tools for the lean practitioner, they do not lend themselves readily to quantifying waste associated with transporting things throughout a facility....

Standards Outlook: Regulatory Nightmares

by Schnoll, Les

“Do it right the first time” is a mantra often used by quality professionals. In the associated world of regulatory affairs and compliance, this adage also represents an appropriate mindset....

Open Access

Career Corner: The Gift of Growth

by ReVelle, Jack

For both mentors and mentees, mentorship is an invaluable experience....

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....

Open Access

To All Corners of Kenya

by Darabi, Tiffany

Effective supply chains deliver products on schedule and within budget to customers. Those customers shouldn’t have to think about the behind-the-scenes process or worry about whether the goods will be delivered on time....

Open Access

Balancing Act

by Montgomery, Eda Ross; Neway, Justin

With common quality methods and standards in place, manufacturing organizations share a daunting challenge: an increased volume of electronic and paper-based data collected during process development and manufacturing....

Standards Outlook: World View

by Liebesman, Sandford

The global economy has provided organizations with many opportunities that didn’t exist even 10 years ago. On the other hand, the internet and extensive outsourcing have “flattened” the Earth, presenting organizations with many new risks....

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....

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

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

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....

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....

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....

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....

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....

Eradicating Inconsistency

by Udell, Mark; Buffington, Mike

When most people imagine the Orkin man, they visualize a uniformed technician driving a white truck from house to house. What’s probably not as widely known is that the technicians stop at many places other than homes....

3.4 per Million: Know What You Want

by Carnell, Mike

Having learned Six Sigma in the 1980s now creates an interesting box to live in today. Six Sigma was a strategy to achieve the corporate vision of total customer satisfaction....

Open Access

Safe and Secure

by Scott, Bill; Krempley, Mark

Organizations everywhere are expected to do more with less in all areas of business. Safety and risk management are not necessarily immune when organizations must make difficult decisions about cuts in personnel and funding....

A Decade of Distinction

by Thompson, Matias Gadda; Rosanó, Verónica

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

Natural Selection

by Chakravorty, Satya S.

It is mind-boggling to find widely contradictory reports of improvement programs from companies using the same improvement methods. Executives don’t know what to believe. Two similar Six Sigma implementations can have two very different end results....

Online Tables Standards Outlook

by Liebesman, Sandford

Developed the following business process measures: 4 � documented results of management review meetings 5 � Customer satisfaction measures 5 � Measurable objectives used in product or service improvement 1 � balanced scorecard ( please indicate measures ...

The Secret to Sustainment

by Lindquist, Russell

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

Pushback Prevention

by Schultz, John R.

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

3.4 per Million: We Are Different

by Carnell, Mike

A few months ago, I was speaking with a prospective client about continuous improvement, and I mentioned another organization that I helped. “I can see how it worked for them,” he said. “But, we are different.”...

Online Sidebar Statistics Roundtable

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

In making such calculations for times beyond the next 24 months, the in-service months that exceed a total exposure over 36 months (adding the months to date to the number of future months) are excluded. Moreover, the estimated expected number of failures...

Statistics Roundtable: Predicting Problems

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

Manufacturers must frequently predict the number of future field failures for a product using past field-failure data, especially when an unanticipated failure mode is discovered in the field....

Open Access

Taking the Reins

by Kelley, Lynn

To stay in front of the competition, successful organizations know they can never stand still. There are always ways to innovate and improve the way they do business....

Open Access


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....

Open Access

Back to Basics: Get to the Root of It

by Rucker, David M.

We’ve all been there before—an elusive field failure sparks customer complaints and warranty claims and threatens to curtail future orders. Ambiguous, conflicting field reports of failure modes and products affected pour in....

Open Access

All Ears

by Sherman, Peter; Vono, Jim

Imagine you are presenting the analysis and findings of a critical operational issue or proposed improvement project to senior management. You feel confident because you’ve thoroughly measured and analyzed the data....

Take a Bite Out of Inefficiency

by Nuhfer, Dina; and Walters, Thomas

Providing consistent and effective service or product requires a consistent and effective framework for implementing, maintaining and improving tactical and strategic operations. Dentistry is no different....

The Power of Balance

by Su, Qiang; Shi, Jing-hua; Lai, Sheng-jie

Many organizations face tremendous challenges in calculating trade-off relationships and the point of balance when determining their cost of quality. Experts don’t always agree, compounding the difficulty....

A DMAIC Makeover

by Stauffer, Rip

Define, measure, Analyze, improve and control (DMAIC) is the common roadmap for Six Sigma projects. But there are potential weaknesses in this roadmap that could be addressed with a simple, proven adjustment to DMAIC....

Smooth Approach

by Morris, Jon

Traditional internal audits fulfill a need for companies with fresh ISO 9001 implementations. But for organizations with mature systems, an innovative approach called an appreciative internal quality audit can take them beyond compliance to excellence....

Flip the Switch

by Jing, Gary G.

Have you found the root cause yet? We frequently ask or hear others ask that question. Root cause analysis is a familiar subject. You might assume that quality professionals would have a clear understanding of the technique. But many don't....

Standards Outlook: Ensuring Supplier Quality

by Schnoll, Les

I've worked in the medical device and pharmaceutical/biotechnology industries, and I've concluded that when it comes to quality, the medical device world is at least 20 years ahead of its drug-world cousin....

Open Access

A Dose of DMAIC

by Mukherjee, Shirshendu

Ruby hospital, a multispecialty for-profit facility in Calcutta, India, was the first in Eastern India to embrace ISO 9001 and is the only one in the country to have successfully deployed a Six Sigma improvement program....

Helping Ease the Transition

by Schultz, John R.

Six Sigma and process improvement projects include implementation steps that typically alter workflow and deployment of labor to create a more effective and efficient process. New connections and relationships are established that reinforce new methods....

Open Access

Strong Foundation, Solid Future

by Leonard, Denis

In the wake of the scandals five years ago that shook consumer confidence in business leaders and the economy, I co-wrote an article about the resurgence of social responsibility on the corporate landscape and increased public awareness on the topic....

Educating Engineers

by Viles, Elisabeth; Martin, Cristina

Statistics is an indispensable tool for solving engineering problems. But many engineers are not exposed to problems that require the use of statistical methods until they start their professional careers....

Open Access

Back to Basics: Building a Quality Team

by Logan, Terry

A series of simple yet effective actions can help you, the quality leader, direct change and build momentum by tying company objectives to operating profit....

Open Access

Agency Files Away Inefficiency, Saves Taxpayers a Bundle

by Daniels, Susan

Caseworkers for the SunCoast Region of the Florida Department of Children and Families won a silver medal in the 2007 International Team Excellence Competition by redesigning its paper based document filing and retrieval system and bringing it into...

Quality in the First Person: Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

by Foster, Ronnie

Shortly after retiring from the business world, I had the opportunity to spend several semesters as an adjunct instructor in the school of business at a small, local private college....

Six Sigma and Baldrige: A Quality Alliance

by Mellat-Parast, Mahour; Jones, Erick C.; Adams, Stephanie G.

The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award has evolved from a way to recognize the best quality management practices to a comprehensive framework for world-class performance....

Open Access

Avoid Random Acts of Improvement With Baldrige

by Werner, John

Organizations can use the best project execution methods, such as Six Sigma and lean, but be disappointed with the results if key strategic goals are not addressed. Improvement efforts should begin by first considering the characteristics of the...

Open Access

Retrospective Analysis of a Designed Experiment

by Yadav, Bhupinder

Design of experiment (DOE) techniques have been successfully used by India’s Department of Defense Production to optimize the process parameters for a plastic injection-molded part used in the manufacture of tank deterrents. The goal was to get...

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....

Open Access

It's in the Genes at Cummins

by Daniels, Susan

When asked why diesel maker Cummins used Six Sigma to explain new health insurance benefits to its employees, the response was that Six Sigma is part of Cummins' DNA. Six Sigma methods helped ensure a smooth enrollment process, particularly for union...

Switching From Improvement to Innovation on the Fly

by Harvey, Jean

Proceeding with an improvement methodology when it becomes obvious the process lacks the potential to achieve the desired capability can be damaging to an organization's continuous improvement initiatives. Goals will not be reached, and the resulting...

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...

Don't Forget the People

by Iyer, Srijayan N.

Standard practice in quality management has been focused on establishing good systems for quality, but many organizations see these efforts fall short of objectives. The problem is the lack of linkage between the way the workforce perceives and...

How to Fail the ISO 9001 Driver's Test

by Palmes, Paul

An ISO 9001 audit can be likened to the process of getting a driver's license when you think of the auditor as a department of motor vehicles tester who must examine your vehicle and its key operators before granting certification. ISO 9001 requires...

Standards Outlook: Do Environmental Management Systems Improve Performance?

by Briggs, Susan L.K.

The debate regarding the value of environmental management systems arises from a lack of comparable, quantifiable data demonstrating companies with a formal EMS produce less environmental emissions, discharges and waste than companies without one....

New Frontiers in the Design of Experiments

by Kenett, Ron S.; Steinberg, David M.

Statistically designed experiments enable businesses to reduce time to market while achieving quality product performance that is critical to survival and success. R.A. Fisher first introduced them in the early 20th century to evaluate the results of...

Open Access

Career Corner: Three R's for Quality Professionals

by Kulisek, Diane

While talking with the president of a growing service company, I learned he had some painful connections to the concept of quality professionalism. The words he associated with those who had "quality" in their job titles were overwhelmingly negative....

Statistical Engineering: A Case Study

by Steiner, Stefan; MacKay, Jock

The statistical engineering algorithm can be used to reduce variation in manufacturing and assembly processes, and is particularly useful in improvement systems such as Six Sigma. A case study illustrates how a team used the SE algorithm to reduce...

Standards Outlook: QMSs and EMSs Support Financial Management Systems

by Liebesman, Sandford

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) was adopted in 2002 in response to scandals, such as the ones at Enron and WorldCom, and other misuse of corporate resources. In 2003, Paul Palmes and I started an effort to integrate...

Open Access

Improve Schools With Empowerment Based Models

by Westfall, John E.; Peltier, James W.; Sheehan, Joseph

Most school administrators have been slow to adopt the quality practices mandated by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. Only three school districts have received the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award since the sector's entry. Top-down approaches for...

Two Controls, One Result

by Hofmann, Andy

In the three years since the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), implementing organizations have begun to realize that operating with separate SOX controls is expensive, and they are now looking for a way to integrate SOX controls into their...

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?...

Open Access

A Bare Bones Look at the Bottom Line

by Townsend, Pat; Gebhardt, Joan

A basic premise of the quality revolution is that quality increases profits. While customers generate profit in the traditional way, quality focuses on money not spent as the result of improved practices. Quality alone, however, does not guarantee...

Better Processes = Better E-Commerce

by Reijers, Hajo A.; Jansen-Vullers, Monique H.

Successful e-commerce (EC) requires customer and supplier interaction to be seamlessly integrated with existing business processes. Quality professionals must keep this in mind when redesigning business processes, particularly in the service industry....

Open Access

The Growth of Risk Management

by Gould, Greg

The quality profession and ASQ were very successful during the l980s and '90s. ASQ surged ahead in membership, national prominence and public policy influence....

Open Access

Simplify Baldrige for Healthcare

by Leonard, Denis; Reller, M. Katherine

The growing number of applicants for the Baldrige award in healthcare points to the need for a set of tools to help organizations assess themselves. A healthcare self-assessment matrix and opportunity for improvement worksheets are provided to help...

What Do CEOs Think About Quality

by Weiler, Greg

Quality professionals can count on the support of the American Society for Quality when justifying the cost of quality to upper management. ASQ has conducted a survey of top executives in manufacturing, service, healthcare, and education to determine...

Quality Practitioners and Effective Corporate Governance

by Liebesman, Sandford

Last October, Paul Palmes and I wrote an article describing how quality and environmental management systems (QMSs and EMSs) can help top management maintain effective corporate governance and satisfy the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) law....

From Conflict to Collaboration

by Gupta, Anirban

The relationship between a customer and supplier helps determine a product or service’s quality. The stronger the relationship, the more value it can offer....

Offense and Defense

by Land, Thomas T.

To improve its quality, an enterprise must fight two battles. It must prevent new problems, such as wear and tear on equipment, increasingly stringent customer requirements, new product introductions and employee turnover, from affecting its processes....

Open Access

Translate Know-What Into Know-How

by Chaplin, Edward; Akao, Yoji

Organizational change is a much more difficult challenge than we've been led to believe....

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?...

Open Access

Applying an Excellence Model to Schools

by Saraiva, Pedro M.; Da Rosa, Maria Joao Pires; D’Orey, Joao Lagoa

Students, parents and society are demanding much more of schools as education becomes more and more important for national economic competitiveness, growth and even survival....

Improve Service And Administration

by Bothe, Davis R.

Variation in business activities is unacceptable and undermines quality. Statistical methods can be applied to all types of business processes to understand relationships between processes, then document and reduce variation. The several strategies...

Managing Supplier Relationships

by Kumar, Sameer; Bragg, Richard

Effective supply chain management (SCM) can provide companies the competitive edge by adding stability and predictability to their supply stream. Manufacturers can identify vendors that provide high quality service and developing close,...

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....

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....

Speedier Reliability Analysis

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

Customers demand high reliability in new products. The fact that product development usually lasts no more than one year, from design to production, means that accelerated life tests (ALTs) are critical. ALTs are one element of a reliability assurance...

Augmented Ruggedness Testing to Prevent Failures

by Anderson, Mark J.

Ruggedness testing, a form of design of experiments (DOE), can prevent failures in the processing and use of products by challenging the process, product, or method, then revealing how inputs change as variables fluctuate over ranges encountered during...

Open Access

Lean and Six Sigma -- A One-Two Punch

by Smith, Bonnie

To keep profits growing in these days of flat revenues, manufacturers are paying more attention to the advice of Poor Richard (a.k.a. Benjamin Franklin): A penny saved is a penny earned....

Open Access

Better Supply Chains with Baldrige

by Vokurka, Robert J.; Lummus, Rhonda R.

Demand for customized products with shorter life cycles requires companies to develop supply chain management concepts to help them maintain competitive advantages. The traditional competitive model that favored mass production has give way to a model...

13 Steps to Certification in Less Than a Year

by Landon, Tammy

Ultratech Stepper (UTS), a manufacturer of photolithography equipment, became both ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14000 certified in less than a year at a cost under $200,000, using only two employees to manage the effort part-time. UTS's quality steering...

Open Access

Toe the Line: No More WorldComs

by Faltin, Donna M.; Faltin, Frederick

Revelation of mismanagement at WorldCom, Enron, Adelphia and other companies have led to an unprecedented erosion of confidence in corporate America....

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...

A Global Approach to ISO 9000

by Mercier, David J.

The implementation of quality management standards across multiple sites within an organization presents unique challenges. Johnson Controls' Government Systems and Services (GSS) changed its ISO 9000 approach and turned it into a model system for its...

Column: Emerging Sectors: Industry Education Council gets ISO 9001 certificate

by Palmer, Ted

Result is a stronger, more efficient customer focused organization

As an umbrella organization funded by multiple sources and responsible for facilitating and delivering a wide variety of programs, the Business Education Council (BEC) of Niagara faces complex obligations in terms of...

Open Access

Reduce Human Error

by Rooney, James J.; Vanden Heuvel, Lee N.; Lorenzo, Donald K.

Human error is most often determined to be the cause of events leading to death or serious injury at healthcare facilities. When the responsible person is coached, disciplined, or perhaps even fired, managers and team leaders feel fairly confident...

Process Mapping's Next Step

by Greenfield, Mathew

The sophisticated technology of process simulation is explained from a nontechnical viewpoint. Simulation technology enables the accurate analysis of complex business processes. The key benefit is that all the analysis and testing take place in a...

Should You Transition to ISO 9001:2000?

by West, John E.; Haworth, Greg; Arter, Dennis R.; Harvey, Kathy; Naish, Phyllis; Green, Joseph W.

With the deadline little more than a year away, indications are that fewer than 20 percent of organizations whose business and quality objectives include compliance to the ISO 9000 standards have made the transition. Six ISO 9000 experts present their...

Education and the Future of Quality

by Sinn, John W.

As education goes, so goes quality, since the leadership derived from the educational process provides direction for the future. How ASQ can use student branches and other key resources more effectively to improve quality and education systems for the...

Reliability Analysis by Failure Mode

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

Reliability improvement should be a major consideration when conducting product life data analysis. One method of determining the failure mode responsible for failure is to perform separate analyses for each mode and combine the results, as opposed to...

ISO 9001:2000 and Customer Satisfaction

by Vavra, Terry G.

One of the most important changes in ISO 9001:2000 is the inclusion of customer satisfaction data as an indicator of the value of processes adopted by an organization. Three of the most significant improvements are provisions that: Require registrants...

Open Access

From Quality to Business Success

by Taormina, Tom

Quality professionals have made little progress in communicating how to convert quality tools and methods into a foundation for sound business management. The model "quality as a profit center (QPC)" makes the case that every facet of a quality...

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