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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....


Strength in Numbers

by Clark, Peter

To refresh his résumé after a job loss, the author sought ASQ certifications because of their reputation for relevance and rigor....


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....


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....


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

One Good Idea: Mix It Up

by Barsalou, Matthew

Combine exploratory data analysis and strong inference to generate and verify hypotheses....


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....


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....


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

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....


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: Quality Couple

by Mouradian, George

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


Open Access

Measuring Up

by Hankel, Amanda

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


Open Access

Quality in the First Person: Looming Memory

by Taylor, William D.

As quality professionals, we pride ourselves on our ability to get to the root cause of any problem and correct it. To our credit, we usually have numerous success stories. But I wonder how many of us are haunted by an unsolved problem?...


Reinventing Excellence

by Buckman, Jim; Buckman, Mary Beth

How Corning used quality to maintain its legacy of innovation for 160 years....


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....


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

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?...


Tool Time

by Liu, Shu

“Does everybody know what time it is? It’s ‘Tool Time’!” On “Home Improvement,” one of the most watched TV sitcoms in the U.S. in the 1990s, Tim and his assistant, Al, demonstrated to their television audience what tools they had and how to use them....


Before the Fact

by Mehta, Bob

The FDA has ratcheted up its surveillance and inspection activities on the suppliers of food and dietary supplements. Growing concern over protection of America’s food chain has been voiced by the FDA’s commissioner of food and drugs....


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....


Standards Outlook: Corrective Action Challenge

by Reid, R. Dan

The purpose of corrective action is to prevent the recurrence of the problem. There are usually many actions that can be taken to address the problem, ranging from incremental changes to innovative solutions....


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....


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....


Standards Outlook: From the Trenches

by Liebesman, Sandford

ISO 9001 and the COSO internal control guidance document used by financial organizations that must comply with the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act don’t have a lot in common, but one thing they share is the need to update the current version....


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....


Open Access

Quality in the First Person: When Is a Cappucino Not a Cappucino?

by MacDonald, Diane

Understanding unspoken customer needs is a 10 on the Richter scale of customer satisfaction. How can we understand the unspoken needs of customers, when customers themselves are unaware?...


A Service Framework

by Tyagi, Rajesh; Piccotti, Jen

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


Open Access

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....


Open Access

Quality in the First Person: Shaping Your Life

by El-Din, Mohamed Nour

When I graduated from Cairo University’s College of Pharmacy in 2006, I was full of hope and ready to hit the market. I imagined that organizations were waiting for me, ready to welcome me into their ranks....


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....


In the Spotlight

by Keathley, Jane

Based on what we know about the skills needed for innovation management, what quality management functions, responsibilities and skills can be applied to manage innovation?...


On the Right Course

by Nejati, Mehran; Ghasemi, Sasan

In today's competitive business environment, organizations do not always limit their concerns to those of shareholders and customers....


Open Access

Beyond the Basics

by Duffy, Grace; Laman, Scott A.; Mehta, Pradip; Ramu, Govind; Scriabina, Natalia; Wagoner, Keith

A movie sequel often can be as, if not more, captivating than the original. Essentially, a sequel builds on the original, continuing a journey with familiar characters and settings, developing ideas and unveiling more insight....


Open Access

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....


Get on Board

by El Tigani, Omer Abdel Aziz

Although it is difficult to find a universally accepted definition of what it actually means, quality management is still the dream of every organization on the planet—or at least it should be....


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....


Fail-Safe FMEA

by Rodríguez-Pérez, José; Peña-Rodríguez, Manuel E.

The appropriate use of quality risk management can help organizations comply with regulatory requirements, such as good manufacturing practices or good laboratory practices....


Practice Makes Perfect

by Rich, David

Significant problems can occur during full-scale production when new manufacturing processes are poorly conceived. Therefore, it is incumbent on R&D organizations to employ effective procedures that ensure sound manufacturing process development....


Open Access

Quality in the First Person: Quality at Its Core

by Coleman, Lance

After leaving the manufacturing sector for 12 years and then returning, I found quality was still what drew me to the industry. Quality has carried me through my professional life, as well as my personal life, in ways I never realized were possible....


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....


Open Access

40 New Voices of Quality

by QP Staff

When QP set out to find the individuals who will give a voice to the new generation of quality professionals, one of the hopes was that the group’s makeup would lend insight into what the future holds....


Surf's Up

by Edmund, Mark

In essence, a disconnect within the Telefónica Group was throwing off and disconnecting its customers from the internet....


Standards Outlook: The Missing Link

by Liebesman, Sandford

In most organizations, quality and finance behave like independent silos, resulting in excessive costs and unhappy customers and investors....


Supporting Role

by Stimson, William A.

The ANSI/ISO/ASQ Q9000 Series of Quality Management Standards consists of three component standards. Taken together, the standards are components because they form a complete tactical approach to quality management....


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....


Open Access

Quality in the First Person: Quality Helps Kick Cancer

by Roberson, Russell L.

As a quality professional, I can’t help but look for ways to use quality tools in anything from correction to prevention, from work to everyday life. I have two examples of how quality tools and processes can help people overcome life-changing challenges....


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....


Risky Business

by Singer, Donald

In highly regulated industries that manufacture pharmaceuticals, foods and cosmetics, quality control scientists have been known to perform sampling and testing to determine the acceptability of finished products. Throughout the last decade,...


Walking the Talk

by Krzykowski, Brett

Frequent service interruptions led Argentina-based Telefónica Group to establish a project that increased the reliability of its network and, in the process, garner gold honors at the 2010 ASQ International Team Excellence Award competition....


Open Access

Back to Basics: Make a Choice

by McCain, Cecelia

A selection matrix, also known as a prioritization matrix, is a ranking technique used to evaluate potential projects, problems, alternatives or remedies based on specific criteria or quality dimensions. The selection matrix has many uses, such as when...


Open Access

What Have We Learned?

by Reid, R. Dan

In a general way, the disaster in Japan provides us with a good context to see what lessons can be learned from fundamental quality management science....


3.4 per Million: Sum it Up

by Conklin, Joseph D.

The future of the quality profession is a perennially popular topic of conversation whenever my colleagues gather at the water cooler, the monthly section meeting or the annual ASQ conference....


Climb to the Top

by QP Staff

Who said it’s lonely at the top? For only the second time since the Baldrige program began in 1988, seven organizations were recognized last year with the nation’s highest presidential honor for performance excellence—the Baldrige Award....


Open Access

Leveling the Playing Field

by Wawrzyniak, Linda

I would never have guessed I had something to offer professional athletes from a quality professional’s perspective. I was proven wrong, however, after a little experiment with a simple quality tool....


Best of Both Worlds

by Granowicz, Gene

Combine flowcharts and turtle diagrams to simplify the presentation of information and clarify process interactions, making employee training and quality management system auditing easier....


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....


Standards Outlook: Revisionist History

by Liebesman, Sandford

The latest version of ISO 9001 was published in December 2008. Since then, ISO/TC 176 has created a task group to consider concepts for inclusion in the next revision, which is scheduled for publication in 2015....


Open Access

One Good Idea: TREAT Your Customers

by Sedlock, Ron

The missing piece to the quality puzzle is service quality. It is the catalyst needed to activate the quality ingredients that produce the results you want....


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...


Open Access

Guru Guide

by QP Staff

The quality world certainly has its game-changers, and as part of its annual quality basics issue, QP is highlighting six individuals who indelibly altered the course of quality....


Open Access

Career Corner: Quality's New Role

by Hutchins, Greg

When was the last time you were at ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement (WCQI)? If it has been several years, it is worth considering attending the 2011 conference in Pittsburgh. It will be a really great event....


No-Hanging Fruit

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

I first met the “no-hanging fruit” problem back in the day when ultrasonic impulse meters (like some quality problems now) were as big as a bread box—or bigger....


Open Access

Jersey Score

by Krzykowski, Brett

For most, it takes years to reach a point at which an organization can expect to be seriously considered for the Baldrige award. But that didn’t deter New Jersey-based healthcare provider AtlantiCare, one of five award recipients for 2009....


Quality in the First Person: Share the Wealth

by Marchetti, Carol E.

When I received my doctorate in statistics in 1997, I had never heard of quality control in a statistical context. But by 2002, I was teaching statistical quality control (SQC) at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York...


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....


On the Mark

by Adrian, Nicole

It’s really no wonder that an organization that subscribes to the vision “To be the best-run business in American for the benefit of its customers” received a 2009 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. MidwayUSA, a 2008 Missouri Quality...


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....


Open Access

Where to Start

by Hayes, Bob E.; Goodden, Randall; Atkinson, Ron; Murdock, Frank; Smith, Don

Companies are viewing the Toyota situation as a cautionary tale rife with lessons that can benefit all organizations. To help drive those lessons home, QP recruited five quality experts, each of whom broke down one aspect of the fallout....


Open Access

One Good Idea: What's the Plan?

by McCain, Cecelia

Launching a project without a plan is a blueprint for disaster. So, when ER-One needed to transition the management of newly acquired hospital emergency departments to its organization, it turned to advanced implementation quality planning....


Seamless Transactions

by Adrian, Nicole

Customer service is certainly important to any business, in any industry. But when a company’s purpose is to process millions of financial transactions on behalf of its customers—who depend on the company’s speed, accuracy and professionalism...


Customer Focus Sparks Invention

by Ellifson, Valerie

To reduce customer complaints and remain profitable, Littelfuse’s facility in the Philippines designed a voice of the customer (VOC) project. The executive team or project champion and project sponsor help the team set goals and expectations, and provide ...


In It for the Long Haul

by Edmund, Mark

When organizations experience rapid growth, the most important part of the business—the customer—can sometimes get lost in the shuffle....


Test Run

by Ramu, Govind

In 2008, 14,906 people took ASQ certification exams, and 9,394 of these people—or 63%—passed. So how can you avoid being one of the certification exam takers who will not pass this year?...


Open Access

Career Corner: Where Have All the CQOs Gone?

by Hutchins, Greg

Two weeks ago, I got a call from an acquaintance who said he’d have to find a new job during the next six months or so. He is the chief quality officer (CQO) of a major company. He’s getting a great severance package, but it was still unexpected...


Open Access

Spring Into Action

by Feigenbaum, A.V.

Last year, I was presented the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. It was a great honor for all of us at General Systems Co.—and for all of us in the quality profession—to be recognized for our efforts related to total quality and innovation....


Statistics Roundtable: Divide and Conquer in Reliability Analyses

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

All product is not created equal. Some units are more likely to fail in service than others. Thus, in reliability evaluations, you need to identify subpopulations with different failure susceptibility....


Managing Expectations

by Westcott, Russell T.

One condition is vital for initiating, implementing and sustaining a viable quality initiative: management support. Surprisingly, very few articles and books on quality even mention this need, let alone what to do if support isn’t there....


Attitude Shift

by Young, Marc

In a used-car dealership group based in Richmond, VA, a lean culture change took place that started with a redesign of its process for reconditioning used cars and ended with numerous benefits, some of which it didn't expect....


Open Access

PDSA Leads to Top Accolades

by Adrian, Nicole

Force field analysis. Two-way communication. SWOT analysis. These terms are likely familiar to quality professionals in the manufacturing, service and possibly even healthcare fields. But to those in education? It’s unlikely....


Critical Stage

by West, A.H. "Jack"

Has Six Sigma been a good thing? While this is a straightforward question, there isn’t a simple answer....


Open Access

Watershed Moment

by Krzykowski, Brett

Cargill Corn Milling North America approached its Baldrige site visit in 2008 with the same level of preparation any organization would, but with the unique perspective that comes with rebuilding your operation after surviving a natural disaster....


Progress Report

by He; Park; Hu; Knod; Yue

Six Sigma has been a hot topic discussed and implemented globally in the business world, nonprofit organizations and even governments. There is comparatively less research, however, into how to assess the maturity of Six Sigma implementation....


Quality in the First Person: Quality Isn't a 9-to-5 Job

by Miller, Christopher

As a quality professional, I often think about how quality is embedded in people’s everyday lives. Looking back at my own life, I was shocked to learn how long and how much of an impact quality has had on me—especially outside of work....


A Frank Discussion

by Palmer, Brien

The Pittsburgh section has been an ASQ stalwart. It was one of a handful sections that co-founded ASQ in the 1940s. Because of the concentration of manufacturing in the area, Pittsburgh has always been home to many ASQ members—and a hotspot for quality....


It Doesn't Add Up

by Sloan, M. Daniel

Bewildered economists offer many theories as to what ultimately led to today’s financial woes. Analysts attempt to untangle how so many factors and variables—banks, mortgages and government oversight—contributed to the mess....


Keep on Truckin’

by Adrian, Nicole

In July 2005, a transportation representative at Bayer MaterialScience identified a potential problem with the way the company chose its shipping carriers. Bayer, a global manufacturer of polymers used as raw materials for products such as compact...


Keeping Score

by Benjamin, Steve

Like most of you, I’ve seen the “latest, greatest thing” introduced in organizations — repeatedly. We observe initial excitement for the new strategy, bursts of employee training, spotty implementation and eventual abandonment of the new approach....


Off the Ground

by Edmund, Mark

None of the 4,000 fasteners that were hand drilled into the fuselage of any C-17 cargo plane was misaligned or had gone missing. For years, Boeing has been building these top-notch planes. It just wanted to build them better....


Open Access

Building From the Basics

by Rooney, James J.; Kubiak, T.M; Westcott, Russ; Reid, R. Dan; Wagoner, Keith; Pylipow, Peter E.; Plsek, Paul

Quality control is about models, methods, measuring and managing. It’s about uncovering a problem and finding the solution. It’s about using the right techniques at the right time to make things better....


Open Access

On the Same Page

by Chircop, Jeanne Nickerson

Memorial Hermann’s first priority has always been to deliver quality healthcare (see sidebar, "About Memorial Hermann"). Every hospital in the Memorial Hermann system also has developed self-directed Medicare action plans. For hospital systems like Memori...


Open Access

Career Corner: Something Worth Catching

by Westcott, Russ

CAGS stands for capability + adaptability + growthability + sustainability. It’s a formula for success in any field....


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 ...


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....


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...



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