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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....


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....


Quality Curriculum

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

Does quality exist as an entity independent of business? Are the business of quality and the quality of business simply two sides of the same coin? No matter—the quality discipline has become inextricably woven into business....


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....


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...


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....


Expert Answers: June 2011

by QP Staff

Cleaning up your flowcharts ... Building a control chart....


Perspectives: Regain Your Footing

by Weisbrod, Stu

The presence of warning signs that quality may be slipping doesn’t mean an organization is doomed. Instead, it can be redeemed with a three-step approach to reinvigorate quality....


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....


Online Sidebar Watson

by Watson, Robert Q., Leeson, Kenneth

Inova Mount Vernon Hospital’s first change activity focused on the front-end processes of getting a patient triaged and into a bed, as shown in the highlighted boxes in the emergency department (ED) process flow in Online Figure 1....


What Do You Say?

by Krzykowski, Brett

With the help of an arsenal of lean tools, Boeing homed in on the root cause of its troubles, created equipment to address the issue and saw drastic improvements that earned it a bronze award at the 2009 International Team Excellence Awards....


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 ...


The Next Chapter?

by Reidenbach, R. Eric

A new version of Six Sigma shifts focus from reducing defects and cutting costs to growing an organization’s market share by identifying targeted products and markets and creating customer value....


Open Access

Leaning Toward Green

by Chapman, Christopher D.; Green II, Newton B.

Lean practitioners have long challenged employees to question why a process is performed in a particular way, whether it is necessary, and to shift their paradigm to implement a simpler, more efficient way to provide value to the customer....


Moving Right Along

by Cartia, Robert

Art is knowledge kept in the artist’s mind. Science is knowledge that is documented. The goal of any lean organization is to transfer art to science: tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge. Applying lean to aid in the process of control is vital....


3.4 per Million: Digging the Holistic Approach

by Snee, Ronald D.

Few will argue we live in a dynamic world where change is accelerating. What often goes unnoticed is that along with this rapid change, there is the opportunity and the need to improve....


The Right Mix

by Bhalla, Aditya

Six Sigma offers a framework for process improvement based on objective data. W. Edwards Deming once said, “In God we trust: All others bring data.” For many Six Sigma practitioners, that’s become their undying motto....


Statistics Roundtable: Grab the Brass Ring

by Snee, Ronald D.

Remember going to the amusement park and riding the carousel or merry-go-round? During the ride, there was sometimes a brass ring you could grab from a dispenser.It took some dexterity to snatch the ring from the dispenser as the carousel rotated....


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...


Expert Answers: March 2009

by Kubiak, T.M.; Leonard, Jim; Allen, I. Elaine

Return policy ... restructuring activities ... sample size....


Open Access

Perspectives: Adapting to Troubled Times

by Nichols, Michael D.; Houry, Karim

Quality personnel should recognize the economic climate as an opportunity to demonstrate the impact quality can have. It’s up to them to adapt their skills, techniques, tools and leadership styles to help their companies navigate the troubled waters....


3.4 per Million: After the Low-Hanging Fruit

by Mader, Douglas P.

There are four major approaches for organization-wide improvement efforts that fall under the label “lean Six Sigma,” as evidenced by current practices at many industrial organizations, service organizations and consulting firms....


Expert Answers: August 2008

by QP Staff

Flushing out flatness ... Corrective vs. preventive actions....


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....


Open Access

Incredible Journey

by Adrian, Nicole

In response to personnel’s safety concerns and rising workers’ compensation costs, a team at Boeing’s C-17 site developed a solution to thwart injury and save money....


A Gold Medal Solution

by Adrian, Nicole

By using quality tools, a team from Boeing came up with solutions that eliminated the unsafe conditions that occurred during installation of the details in aircrafts' tailcones....


Open Access

Army Aviation Depot Does an About Face

by Giddens, Jamey

A few years ago the Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD), which provides maintenance, repair, and overhaul of the Air Force Pave Hawk helicopter, was in danger of losing the contract because of problems with turnaround time and cost overruns. CCAD’s...


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...


3.4 Per Million: How to Identify and Select Lean Six Sigma Projects

by Mader, Douglas

Lean Six Sigma is a powerful method for improving existing products, processes and services. Six Sigma was developed by Motorola in 1987. Motorola’s Six Sigma yielded significant financial results...


Quality Glossary

by Nelsen, Dave

Five years after it published its first glossary of quality terms, ASQ has revised that glossary with updated definitions and new entries, many from the lean glossary published in 2005. This reference of terms, acronyms, and prominent figures in the...


Merging Quality Cultures in Contract Manufacturing

by Jones, David M.

When EPIC Technologies acquired the Siemens Electronic Manufacturing Center operations in Johnson City, Tennessee, it became necessary to merge its quality culture with those of its new subsidiary while continuing to keep its original customers happy....


Open Access

You Can Go Home Again

by Daniels, Susan

Jamie Houghton's love for Corning brought him out of retirement and back to the company when it was fighting for survival, due to the decline of the telecommunications industry and decreased demand for Corning's fiber optics. When Houghton returned to...


Open Access

Career Corner: Map Your Career Through Value Streams

by Whitacre, Teresa

When we embark on our chosen career paths, we are often told to map where we see ourselves five or 10 years down the line. By mapping our talents, knowledge base and training, we might get a clear picture of what our future careers hold....


Open Access

Lean Lessons: Moving and Controlling the Flow of Quality

by Malhotra, Iqbal

Batch size reduction and rigorous inventory management are important in controlling costs and improving throughput. This can be achieved readily by converting a traditional manufacturing layout to a lean cellular/flow configuration....


Open Access

Building Quality at Veridian Homes

by Leonard, Denis

Veridian Homes in Madison, Wisconsin uses several quality methods to improve productivity while reducing impact on the environment. To achieve its goal of promoting and coordinating quality throughout the company, the company employed the National...


Open Access

Measuring the Cost of Quality for Management

by Cokins, Gary

Over the years, few organizations have adopted a reliable method for measuring and reporting cost of quality (COQ) and used it to improve operations. Since the avoidance of reduced profits from quality initiatives is seldom measured or reported by...


Open Access

Make Healthcare Lean

by Manos, Anthony; Sattler, Mark; Alukal, George

The principles of lean manufacturing are as applicable to healthcare as they are to the automobile industry. However, unlike manufacturing, healthcare management structures are not usually hierarchical, and hospitals generally are not-for-profit. Value...


Open Access

Lean Lessons: Value Stream Mapping--an Introduction

by Manos, Tony

Value stream mapping (VSM) can be an extremely powerful tool, combining material processing steps with information flow as well as other important related data. VSM is arguably one of the most powerful lean tools for an organization......


Open Access

Lean Lessons: Building Blocks

by Alukal, George

Is your organization wasting its valuable resources? Waste can directly impact your organization’s costs, quality and delivery, and may lead to excess inventory, unnecessary movement, unintentional waiting time, untapped......


Open Access

Lean Lessons: All About Lean

by Alukal, George

Lately, lean has been receiving a lot of attention from quality professionals, management and the media. After getting its start in manufacturing, it has now migrated to nonshop floor activities in sales, customer service, accounting, HR......


Quality Pros Break Through the Healthcare Barrier

by Vnuk, Dan

Many quality professionals have been denied access to quality jobs in the healthcare sector because they lack medical backgrounds. One exception is Wisconsin's Marshfield Clinic, which has established a central department dedicated to helping the clinic...


When Worlds Collide: Lean and Six Sigma

by Snee, Ronald D.

Facing unprecedented pressure to improve performance across the board, organizations cannot afford to forego the benefits of either Six Sigma or lean....


Genentech Error Proofs Its Batch Records

by Bottome, Robert; Chua, Richard C.H.

Like other firms subject to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation, Genentech must provide complete and accurate documentation of processes. In September 2003 an error-proofing project was launched by the good manufacturing practices core team at...


Clean House With Lean 5S

by Chapman, Christopher D.

Lack of organization in the workplace wastes time and lowers productivity. By implementing a lean 5S system – sort, set in order, shine, standardize, sustain - organizations can create a clean, well ordered, and disciplined work environment. Many...


Lean Glossary

by Rooney, Steven A.; Rooney, James J.

A glossary defines terms commonly associated with lean...


What Makes a Six Sigma Project Successful?

by Voelkel, Joseph G.

Suppose you just completed a Six Sigma project on which you were either a Champion, a belt (Master Black Belt, Black Belt or Green Belt) or a team member. You are now in a lessons learned meeting and have been asked to give your opinion on the project....


Open Access

Create a Lean, Mean Machine

by Alukal, George

"Lean" has been defined as a systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste through continuous improvement. Lean focuses on value added flow of resources from the customer’s point of view. To compete in today’s economy a company must...


Big Results With Less

by Nystuen, Tamara

Recent world events have put pressure on companies involved in security-related technologies and systems to rapidly increase their production. Garrett Metal Detectors was able to respond to a 300 percent increase in orders for its handheld and...


Customers: A Love/Hate Relationship?

by Westcott, Russ

We are all customers of many organizations and individuals, and as such, are almost daily subject to indifference, neglect, poor service, and failed products. The American Customer Satisfaction Index trend line, which hovers in the low 70s, shows little...


Open Access

Quality Glossary


A handy reference is provided of quality terms, acronyms, and key people in the history of quality. Information is derived from a variety of sources and compiled by the editorial staff of the American Society for...


Learning From Mistakes

by Lathin, Drew; Mitchell, Ron

As U.S. companies strive to compete globally, they face increasingly rigorous quality standards that are difficult to meet, even for the most able companies. As a result, more firms are seeking to implement the lean production system developed at the...



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