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3.4 per Million: Understanding the Data

by Breyfogle, Forrest W. III

At the end of business quarters, many people spend precious time and effort preparing to satisfy management’s need to know how the business is faring....


Open Access

Rock Solid

by Creasy, Todd

The 6TOC improvement method employs elements of Six Sigma, lean and the theory of constraints (TOC) to zero in on process bottlenecks and eliminate waste and variation....


Open Access

Quality in the First Person: Lasting Impression

by Howze, Yvonne Simmons

A tribute to one woman’s quality role model—her grandmother...


Salary Survey 2014: Part 4, Section 30. Culture of Quality—Expanded Results

by Hansen, Max Christian

The way an organization embraces quality affects how it manufactures products and serves customers. But can an organization’s culture of quality (or lack thereof) affect employee satisfaction—specifically, toward their jobs and salaries?...


Open Access

Quality in the First Person: Slow Burn

by Smith, Scott

Despite twists and turns, a passion for quality never cooled....


Bank on It

by Monier-Vinard, Isabelle; Grant, Adrian

Credit Agricole Group's investment banking arm recently launched a lean Six Sigma initiative and identified its cash payments process as one area ripe for substantial improvement....


Open Access

Multipronged Approach

by Patil, Prashant Ramakant; Mishra, Nandkumar

In the last few decades, several improvement frameworks and practices have evolved to help organizations extinguish burning business issues. These frameworks and practices are not always enough when implemented alone....


Finding Harmony

by Kennedy, Bob

Creating a universally accepted definition of quality can help in achieving quality globally to make this the century of quality....


Grant-Online Figures Tables

by Monier-Vinard, Isabelle; Grant, Adrian

Credit Agricole Group's investment banking arm recently launched a lean Six Sigma initiative and identified its cash payments process as one area ripe for substantial improvement....


Expert Answers: October 2014

by Rico, David F.; Aston, Bill

Cost of quality of agile methods ... Employee qualification audits...


Take Care of Your 'Ugly Baby'

by Bush, Gwen

Identifying symptoms of a dysfunctional quality management system, understanding possible causes and implementing corrective actions can help organizations address their biggest problems....


Defining Your Role

by Russell, J.P.

With titles such as quality engineer, technician, auditor, quality manager, supply quality engineer, Black Belt and software quality engineer, quality professionals’ roles within organizations are generally invisible to those on the outside....


Getting It Right the First Time

by Vashisht, Sagar; Kumar, Krishan; Gaba, Narender

A tier-one automotive shock absorber supplier faced dwindling productivity because of a high rework rate. It applied Shainin methods, including component search and paired comparison, to identify the cause, reduce rework and save money....


Open Access

Step It Up

by Grigg, Alfred; Hirt, Michael; Laman, Scott A.; Marmon, Jerry; and McShane Vaughn, Mary

SITTING IS THE new smoking. The more you sit and stagnate, some doctors say, the poorer the outlook is on your health and even life expectancy—regardless of how fit you think you are....


Open Access

Career Corner: Making the Jump

by ReVelle, Jack

Should you quit your day job and become a consultant?...


Expert Answers: September 2014

by QP Staff

Leadership, culture and quality ... Traceability in calibration validation...


Onward and Upward

by Thomas, Donna

Operational excellence has been a long-time focus for Xerox, the international document management corporation. Before joining Xerox, Affiliated Computer Services shared that same focus....


Open Access

Quality in the First Person: Road Warrior

by Coleman, Lance

Why conferences are your secret career weapon....


Open Access

Volviendo a los Fundamentos: Controles y Equilibrios

by Bautista Smith, Janet

Spanish translation of August 2014 Back to Basics column describing how to integrate organizational vision and strategy....


Open Access

Back to Basics: Checks and Balances

by Bautista Smith, Janet

A technique to sync organizational vision and strategies using the auditing beyond compliance approach....


Open Access

The Ripple Effect

by Schmidt, Megan

The 2013 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipients said their use of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence was their catalyst for achieving strategic goals and higher levels of quality....


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....


Open Access

One Good Idea: Steer Your Career

by Goffnett, Sean

An individual development plan (IDP) focuses on developing a quality talent pool by allowing each individual to create a systematic strategy to improve skills and overall performance....


3.4 per Million: Conducting FMEAs for Results

by Kubiak, T.M.

Today’s world is fraught with risk. A failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) is a prevention-based, risk management tool. Its real value is reflected in its use as a long-term, living document....


Expert Answers: June 2014

by QP Staff

Driving service quality ... Evaluating 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....


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

Quality in the First Person: Pay It Forward

by Ramu, Govind

Helping professionals on their ASQ certification journeys and improving their careers gives this ASQ member a sense of fulfillment....


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....


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....


Speaking in Code

by Kaiser, Randy

Manufacturers spend time and money creating products for market, yet all of that hard work can be wasted if coding errors affect product quality....


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

Learning From Experience

by Behling, David

Seven thought leaders offer their take on lean’s impact, opportunities and challenges....


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

Quality in the First Person: Super Powers

by Schmidt, Megan

In honor of National Engineers Week, QP took a closer look at what makes engineers and the profession super by asking the global engineering community to weigh in with its thoughts....


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....


Open Access

Volviendo a los Fundamentos: Riesgo Calculado

by Sherman, Peter J.

Equilibrar el coste del riesgo y la incertidumbre....


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....


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....


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

Career Corner: Switch Gears

by Westcott, Russell

Beat job boredom and burnout with reinvention....


Open Access

Perspectives: Be a Trendsetter

by Kraft, Debra

Quality professionals should consider expanding their networking efforts into the business realm. Why? Our organizations expect us not only to eliminate the costs of poor quality, but also help optimize profitability....


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....


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....


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

One Good Idea: Mind Your Metrics

by Hartmann, Thomas

Add customer value to your overall equipment effectiveness formula....


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....


For the Greater Good

by Badrick, Tony; Kehrer, Sue; Reid, Elizabeth

When the Coffs Harbour Laboratory of Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology in Australia implemented an environmental management system, it realized financial savings, reduced waste and improved operational efficiencies, and saw increased staff engagement....


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....


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....


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....


Innovation Imperative: The People Principle

by Merrill, Peter

Successful innovation does have a secret sauce—people. For successful innovation, we need to involve everyone in our organization....


Open Access

Expert Answers: August 2013

by QP Staff

Correction vs. corrective action ... Identifying and eliminating waste...


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

Expert Answers: July 2013

by QP Staff

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


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....


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....


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....


Open Access

Volviendo A Los Fundamentos: Momento de Iluminación, Inspiración Súbita y Repentina Comprensión

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...


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....


Avoiding an Avalanche

by Milliken, Greg

Organizations that make products with rigorous quality requirements face numerous challenges associated with meeting objectives—ranging from complying with standards to operating in highly-regulated and frequently audited environments....


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....


Open Access

One Good Idea: Form by Design

by Coleman, Lance B.

Filling out simple forms should be easy, right? Yet, how many of us have had the experience in which a simple and easy-to-follow form took more than one time to fill out 100% correctly?...


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

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....


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...


Expert Answers: January 2013

by Kubiak, T.M.; Vaks, Jeffrey E.

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


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....


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....


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....


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 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...


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....


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....


Making Contact

by Metz, Brian

For an organization to be able to truly understand how well it’s meeting customer expectations, more concrete, measureable metrics must be used....


Open Access

Back to Basics: Team Effort

by Cascella, Victor

By paying attention to these six critical success factors, process management teams can deliver value and earn a position of influence in any organization’s performance management and improvement efforts....


Open Access

Volviendo a los Fundamentos: Esfuerzo en Equipo

by Cascella, Victor

Los equipos de gestión de procesos desempeñan un papel vital al promover responsabilidad para procesos multifuncionales transversales, que estructuras tradicionales de gestión la organización basadas en modelos descentralizados silos luchan proporcionar....


Pick Your Spots

by Sherman, Peter J.

In the rush to achieve results, lean Six Sigma programs can get derailed because projects are pushed through the organization, leading to the selection of the wrong projects and suboptimizing the entire enterprise’s goals....


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....



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