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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....


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....


Expert Answers: May 2014

by QP Staff

Starting a career in quality ... Testing traceability...


Plan of Attack

by Machado, H.F.

Every importaant business project has a logical starting set of conditions, followed by a set of events that lead to a logical completion of defined objectives....


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....


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....


Choose Wisely

by Sharma, Mohit

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


Expert Answers: January 2014

by QP Staff

Selecting KPIs ... Controlling multiple processes...


3.4 per Million: The Best of Both Methods

by Breyfogle, Forrest W.

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


Open Access

Salary Survey 2013: Behind the Results

by Hansen, Max Christian

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


The Service Quality Platform

by Swersey, Arthur J.

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


2013 Salary Survey: Part 1, Section 15. Salary by Extent of Quality Responsibilities

by Hansen, Max Christian

In QP’s quality survey, respondents are asked: “In your company, how many people do you think have quality responsibilities stated in their job descriptions?” In 2009, a majority noted a figure of 25% or less....


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

Inside Job

by Seibert, Jerry H.; Schiemann, William A.

The relationship between business performance and internal service quality is well documented, as are changes in internal service levels over time and the impact of outsourcing on internal service quality....


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....


Measure for Measure: Careful Comparison

by Bucher, Jay L.

Starting a calibration program from the ground floor can be a daunting task. But it also can help an organization realize it has taken only the first steps in ensuring a quality program....


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....


Open Access

Back to Basics: Tell Me About It

by Radziwill, Nicole

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


Open Access

Quality in the First Person: Get a Job

by Cote, Murray

Professor encourages students to seek certification....


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....


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....


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....


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

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....


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....


What Makes You Tick?

by Machado, H.F. Ken

Uncoordinated internal operations create organizational inefficiencies, a lower level of customer service and unnecessary delays in management decisions, resulting in increased costs....


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

Career Corner: Build Your Economic Case

by Westcott, Russell T.

Do you realize that one of the greatest means for professional development is attending a quality industry conference? But first, you need to get there....


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....


Why Certify?

by Laman, Scott A.; Korkuch, Dana; Kohler, Rene; Drobnick, Rudy; Kramer, Robin; Gardner, Pete; DiPuppo, Janet G.; Krothapalli, Sowmya;

These stories are told by people at different stages of their careers. One of the things they have in common, however, is they’ve carefully considered the costs and benefits of ASQ certification....


Open Access

Quality in the First Person: Failure of Inspection

by Austin, Alan L.

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


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....


Salary Survey 2012: Crunching the Numbers

by Hansen, Max Christian

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


3.4 per Million: No Specification? No Problem

by Breyfogle, Forrest W. III

In a column earlier this year I referenced a nine-step approach for determining an organization’s long-lasting operational metrics and how to decide where to focus improvement efforts so the entire enterprise benefits....


Salary Survey 2012: Part 1, Section 17: Salary by Highest Level of Educ. and No. of Yrs. in Quality

by Hansen, Max Christian

Qp 157 Salary by highest level of education and years in quality for U. S. respondents / Figure 1 51,289 64,242 76,781 59,756 65,897 75,339 71,705 89,217 99,561 85,232 103,187 113,211 99,562 109,591 138,626 $ 20,000 0 $ 40,000 $ 60,000 $ 80,000 $ 100,000...


Expert Answers: December 2012

by QP Staff

A better supplier scorecard ... Inspecting your suppliers ......


Open Access

Online Figures - December Back to Basics

by Ayulo, Alberto

alt section Remove engine Critical inspections Hydro cks Adjust 2410 Adjust 2410 TCI/ TCTO Supply Get topics E/ E AFG Fuels A/ V A/ R Egress B/ M NDI Looks Tools Egress Egress flow cks M/ T AFG & lube Remove elevators Weigh elevators AFI Props RFLTS TCR ...


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....


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....


Shift Into High Gear

by Hankel, Amanda

When customers of tgestiona began expressing dissatisfaction about the its inefficient service and delivery processes, it began a transport optimization project that earned gold-level status in the 2012 ASQ International Team Excellence Award process....


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....


Measure for Measure: Measuring Your Worth

by Bucher, Jay L.

I’ve run across this type of situation in which a calibration technician might feel he or she is not as important as others in the organization. Nothing could be further from the truth....


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....


Open Access

Career Corner: Light Your Fire

by ReVelle, Jack B.

It takes the right team members to create an enabled, empowered, motivated, cross functional, self-directed team capable of selecting the most important tasks, and then efficiently and effectively solving the most critical problems....


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....


Open Access

Quality in the First Person: Know No Bounds

by Tingley, Craig

For me, the common denominator in optimal job satisfaction and employment progression nearly always relates to an organization’s people focus—or lack thereof. I began to develop a strategic plan that would prepare me for a major transition....


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

Up and Away

by Owens, Tracy; Fritz, Caroline

Do you want to quickly test your creativity? Take a sheet of paper and draw a big circle on it. Draw a dot on the paper. This exercise is part of a test given to children entering kindergarten to find out their baseline levels of creativity....


Open Access

Tangled Mess

by Schonberger, Richard J.

Many of the world's factories are designed in ways detrimental or unhealthy to product quality. The typically complex and lengthy flow times multiply process variables, which can obscure and delay the discovery of defects and nonconformities....


Open Access

One Size Fits All

by Krzykowski, Brett; Hankel, Amanda

There’s a reason why simple tools endure: They work, regardless of the situation. That’s a characteristic shared by the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence....


Expert Answers: April 2012

by QP Staff

The right way to roll out Six Sigma ... Dealing with troublesome auditees....


Open Access

Back to Basics: Creative Combination

by Force, Scott

I have been facilitating lean Six Sigma projects and coaching other belts through their projects since 2002. Combining tools is a technique I use with teams when potential root cause analysis through a fishbone diagram does not show any obvious direction....


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....


Rethinking Design

by Gattiker, Thomas

Design thinking offers several tools and concepts that can complement problem-solving approaches normally taught and used by quality professionals....


Open Access

Career Corner: Keep Your Toolbox Full

by ReVelle, Jack B.

Be aware of all the tools at your disposal to excel at your job. Your career as a quality professional depends on your ability to recall a specific quality tool and apply it when necessary....


Online (Taylor)

by James B. Taylor, John W. Sinn and William S. Lightfoot

Insights from developing a quality management and continuous improvement curriculum can be applied in an operations management context to teach quality principles to general management....


3.4 per Million: Inputs Into Action

by Breyfogle, Forrest W.

A year ago, I wrote about the nine-step Integrated Enterprise Excellence (IEE) business management system and how it can be used to integrate voice of the customer (VOC) sources with other improvement efforts so an entire enterprise can benefit....


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

Salary Survey 2011: Slow and Steady

by Hansen, Max Christian; Wilde, Nancy J.; Kinch, Eileen R.;

A single organization’s actions may be reported several times if multiple employees of that organization responded to the survey. Director: Oversees all aspects of an organization’s quality or business improvement efforts, such as developing and administr...


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....


Open Access

Career Corner: Add Risk to Your Job Title

by Hutchins, Greg

Add risk to your job title if you’re a quality professional or a senior quality manager. This will enhance your marketability if you’re looking for a job and your chances for promotion if you’re employed....


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....


Open Access

Back to Basics: An Eye for Design

by Cole, Brandon

Six Sigma often comes under scrutiny because some organization leaders believe it stifles innovation. One fundamental misconception companies using Six Sigma often have is that it only focuses on process improvement....


Ford's Focus

by Levinson, William A.

“Triple bottom line” refers to the measurement of a business’s impact on people, planet and profits. These metrics may seem aggressive, but Henry Ford proved their intelligent interpretation and application makes them synergistic and mutually supporting....


HU Goes There

by Harrington, H. James; Fulbright, Ron; Zusman, Alla

After you've identified the root cause of a problem, what tool do you use to fix it? Enter a problem-correcting tool called the harmful/useful (HU) diagram....


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...


Open Access

Certification at Work

by Roberson, Russell L.; McKaig, Brian

Organizations face difficult decisions every day: where to invest, how to focus employees and how to drive a competitive advantage in their markets. A decision to launch employee training cannot be taken lightly....


Perspectives: Wake Up and Smell the Cookies

by Diepstra, G. Keith

MY RECENT TRANSITION from the automotive sector to a company in the food industry held some unusual surprises: • The overall equipment effectiveness, capabilities and yields were shockingly low in the food industry....


The First Step

by Gonnering, Russell S., M.D.

In his penetrating and perturbing 2009 New Yorker article, Atul Gawande explored the huge cost differential between care in McAllen, TX, and care at other spots in the country with similar demographics and medical sophistication. His conclusion was that...


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....


On the Clock

by Watson, Robert Q.; Leeson, Ken

Whatever the business, customers expect timely and efficient service. They expect their phone calls to be answered in two or fewer rings. They loath waiting in long lines and want transactions handled as quickly as possible....


If You Build It, They Will Come

by Levett, James M.; Andringa, Dale J.; Roberts, Peter W.

After decades of rising healthcare costs and individual stakeholder initiatives to cut expenses, annual medical cost trends continue to outpace all other employer economic indicators. The current economic crisis and federal healthcare reform discussions...


A Lean Transformation

by Adrian, Nicole

Sacred Heart Hospital CEO Steve Ronstrom first learned about lean while working on boats in Alaska. There, they didn’t waste a thing—they wouldn’t even throw away a piece of rope. When he later returned home and worked in a hospital, he observed...


The Bright Side of Failure

by Sheffrey, Tom

Nobody wants to be associated with a project that fell short of expectations. But, as any good quality professional knows, failed projects can provide a mechanism for continuous improvement....


Loud and Clear

by Aquino, Glynis; Nichols, Michael D.; Houry, Karim

An company's use of metrics to drive and measure success can help it maintain a leadership position in its industry. A commitment to applying performance management tools has increased efficiencies, reduced cost and improved customer satisfaction scores....


Know More, Do More

by Chang, Nancy S.Q.; Gagliardi, Frank A.

If organizations want to take advantage of a changing landscape dotted with new opportunities, products and services, they need to make a substantial investment in educating and retaining a competent labor force....


Statistics Roundtable: Why Statisticians Model Data

by Hare, Lynne B.

What follows is an apology. Not an apology as in “I’m sorry,” but an apology as a justification or explanation. You might be thinking it shouldn’t be necessary to explain why statisticians model data. It is just their nature....


3.4 per Million: Integrating Inputs

by Breyfogle, Forrest W. III

Obtaining voice of the customer information is always important because a business’s survival depends on a person choosing its products over a competitor’s products....


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....


Salary Survey 2010: Part 1, Section 10: Salary by Number of Employees Overseen

by Hansen, Max Christian

QP 65 Part 1. Regular Employee Results Section 10. Salary by Number of Employees Overseen Rewards for Supervising Others Figure 1 includes results for: x Full- time employees, Part- time employees, x U. S. employees, x Canadian employees, International e...


Open Access

Salary Survey 2010: Not Out of the Question

by Hansen, Max Christian

Every year, QP’s Salary Survey sparks countless questions for quality professionals and gets them thinking about their careers and personal development: How do I compare with others? What can I do get ahead? Are things getting better out there?...


Salary Survey 2010: The Complete Report

by QP Staff

experience by gender / FIGURE 2 More than 20 years 10.1- 20 years 6.1- 10 years 3.1- 6 years $ 6,000 Male Years of experience in quality profession Years of experience in quality profession Female $ 4,000 $ 2,000 0 $ 2,000 $ 4,000 $ 6,000 1- 3 years Less...


Open Access

Tip of the Iceberg

by Ellifson, Valerie

HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS KNOW it’s not enough to treat a patients’ conditions and send them on their way. Often, the patient’s condition and symptoms are simply the tip of the iceberg. Many other factors—including human behaviors and societal conditions...


Circling Back

by Moen, Ronald D.; Norman, Clifford L.

THERE STILL SEEMS to be much confusion today surrounding W. Edwards Deming’s plan-do-study-act (PDSA) cycle. How did Deming’s PDSA cycle evolve? Did Deming create the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle? Are PDCA and PDSA related?...


Open Access

Online Figures Ellifson

by Ellifson, Valerie

Customer relationship management model / ONLINE FIgurE 1 Evaluation and improvement Strategic planning process ( SPP) step 1: Review customer inputs and analyze processes to refine feedback mechanisms, customer relationship strategies, and action plans (...


Open Access

3.4 per Million: Firefighting With DMAIC

by Snee, Ronald D., Gardner, Edgar C.

As quality professionals, we like to solve problems by finding root causes and putting fixes in place. As a rule, we don’t like to fight fires, but sometimes we have to....


Flush with Success

by Grossi, Peter C.

While implementing ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and lean, I’ve worked with a number of companies that use oils and other biotoxic materials. With increasing attention on the environment—through legislation and social pressure—safely disposing...


Expert Answers: September 2010

by QP Staff

Soft-dollar savings ... crisis management's effect on quality....


Open Access

One Good Idea: Number Nine

by Navetta, Jim

Keeping the eight lean wastes in mind when creating a process flowchart is a great way to target improvement opportunities. But during the course of several projects, I’ve come across another form of waste....


Making the Connection

by ReVelle, Jack B.

Connectivity can refer to the predecessor-successor relationship existing between two or more tools for continuous improvement. The output from one tool, such as a Pareto analysis, can become the input to another, such as cause and effect analysis....


3.4 per Million: The Driving Force

by Kubiak, T.M.

Not long ago, I conducted a workshop at a client’s site to help develop a pipeline of meaningful lean Six Sigma projects. Before I had a chance to describe the workshop, members of the client’s team began rattling off project after project....


Statistics Roundtable: Tried and True

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

A review of past Statistics Roundtable columns reveals that statisticians and quality professionals are always looking for better ways to increase the breadth and effectiveness of the use of statistical thinking and methods....



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