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Open Access

Clues About Culture

by Hankel, Amanda

When it comes to building a culture of quality, each organization must develop its own approach. It can be helpful, however, to learn what other organizations around the world are doing and to see how your organization compares....

Standards Outlook: Revision Runway

by Cressionnie, L.L. "Buddy"

Revision activities on AS9100—Quality management systems—Requirements for aviation, space and defense organizations continue....

Open Access

Making the Rounds

by Volland, Jennifer

Executive leader rounding helps organization leaders connect with the voice of the customer and understand day-to-day procedures to identify needs or shortcomings in service delivery....

Standards Outlook: Into the Future

by Reid, R. Dan

During the past 30 years or so, there has been a lot of content in this column and in QP dealing with management system standards (MSS). Well, get ready. ISO MSSs as you know them are about to change, starting as soon as next year....

Expert Answers: December 2013

by Wagoner, Keith; Pylipow, Peter E.

Measuring customer experience ... SPC for low-volume assembly....

Open Access

Paving the Way

by Anderson-Cook, Christine M.; Borror, Connie M.

Data and information are at the heart of good investigations and decision making, but are all kinds of data the same? What are the major categories and types of questions to ask to collect and analyze data?...

Open Access

Quality in the First Person: Show and Tell

by Weeden, Marcia M.

I have a confession to make. One of the most frustrating things I have encountered during the course of my quality career is trying to explain what I do for a living to people who have no idea what quality is or what it does....

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

Perspectives: The Unending Search

by Stuke, Kurt

Recently, Stephen K. Hacker wrote that “many of our organizations remain mired in their current states, frozen in old mindsets.”...

Salary Survey 2012: Part 1, Section 1: Salary by Job Title

by Hansen, Max Christian

Figure 1 includes results for: x Full- time employees, part- time employees, x U. S. employees, Canadian employees, International employees Salary by job title for U. S. respondents / FIgUre 1 46,884 50,558 53,970 56,246 57,718 69,279 70,094 72,261 74,13...

Healthy Returns

by Kennedy, Denise; Caselli, Richard J.; Berry, Leonard L.

The future of any enterprise depends on the quality of its customer service. All organizations—even those manufacturing products—are service organizations because all create value for customers by performing services....

Open Access

Hearing Aids

by Brandt, D. Randall

Today, hundreds of organizations regularly conduct surveys and focus groups, solicit comments and complaints, scour social media and gather data from other sources....

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....

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

One Good Idea: Finding the Gaps

by Armstrong, Michael J.

The gaps model of quality can help an organization take a big-picture look at its processes. There are five potential quality gaps, which are be described in this article using examples from a passenger airline service....

Open Access

Back to Basics: The Big Picture

by Bautista Smith, Janet

Business competition is an unending race with multifaceted measurements of success. One success factor is productivity: the ratio of value added—such as service rendered or products produced—versus the associated cost....

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?...

The Audit Answer

by Estrada, Angel; Sinn, John W.

Graduate students at Bowling Green State University studied the Quality Systems Educational Collaboration, a program that addresses workforce and technical assistance needs for organizations, and disclosed areas for improvement using Six Sigma methods....

Statistics Roundtable: Going on Feel

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

Customers consider consistent quality to be one of the most important product and service attributes. Often, it’s the most important....

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....

Taking the Wheel

by Goodman, John

Customer experience has become the mantra of senior management looking to enhance revenue and margins. In fact, more companies are trying to differentiate themselves not only on product quality but also on total customer experience....

3.4 per Million: Know What You Want

by Carnell, Mike

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

Open Access

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....

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....

Growth Chart

by Olson, Diane J.; Sinn, John W.;

Globalization, as well as demands from people, business and technology, require organizations to deliver high-quality performance to remain competitive. Quality methods can allow alignment with rapidly changing and increasing customer expectations....

Online Tables Olson

by Olson, Diane; Sinn, John W.

Globalization, as well as demands from people, business and technology, require organizations to deliver high-quality performance to remain competitive. Quality methods can allow alignment with rapidly changing and increasing customer expectations....

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

Career Corner: Wowing the Boss

by ReVelle, Jack B.

No matter the organization, type of job or department size—everyone has a boss. Even if you have your own company, there's always someone to whom you are responsible and to whom you report. CEOs and board chairmen all report to their boards of directors....

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....

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....

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....

Open Access

Trial and No Error

by Adrian, Nicole

For years, the Veterans Affairs Cooperative Studies Program Clinical Research Pharmacy Coordinating Center has been working its way toward earning a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. In 1996, the center first started looking at the Baldrige...

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....

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....

Online Figure 3.4 per Million

by Breyfogle, Forrest W. III

Voice of the customer ( VOC) Develop product Market product Sell product Produce and deliver product Invoice and collect payment Report financials Labor relations Human relations Safety and environment IT Enterprise process management Legal Finance Perce...

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

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....

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....

Top This

by Liedtke, Charles A.; Schroeder, Roger G.; Linderman, Kevin; Rickard, Jim

Besting your competitors means outdoing them when it comes to quality, safety, service, productivity and financials. The question is how to stay on top after you’ve planted your flag at the apex of your industry....

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...

Online Tables Fedotowsky

by Fedotowsky, Alex

Corporate main office BSC structure / ONLINE TabLE 1 Corporate BSC perspectives Strategic objective Action plans Measures Financials Lagging KPI KPI = monthly operating costs and reported profits . bSC = balanced scorecard KPI = key performance indicato...

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....

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 ...

Open Access

Safe Landing

by Jeppsen, Bryan

Paramount to improving customer service is better understanding what the customer deems to be important and implementing the changes. To meet that challenge, JetBlue Airways used text analytics software....

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....

High Priority

by Caruso, Bob; Hamilton, Marc

ASQ DEFINES voice of the customer (VOC) as “the expressed requirements and expectations of customers relative to products or services, as documented and disseminated to the providing organization’s members.”...

Social Graces

by Burdick, Babette

Social networking is old hat by now, and most people dabble in it or participate with little impact. But social networking is an important means of branding yourself, your skill set and your company’s capabilities, products and services....

Cover Your Bases

by Rowe, Matt; White, Brent

Recently, we were asked to give a presentation to a graduate-level organizational development (OD) class comparing process focused management (PFM) to OD. The request led us to conclude the complementary nature of PFM and OD is not well understood....

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....

Open Access

Don't Just Talk the Talk

by Adrian, Nicole

Many companies and organizations talk big about knowing the best way other businesses and groups can work to drive continuous and process improvement. Often, these businesses don’t take their own advice. Once in a while, however, a group comes along...

Take a Bite Out of Inefficiency

by Nuhfer, Dina; and Walters, Thomas

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

Standards Outlook: Dynamic Duo

by Liebesman, Sandford

Lean and Six Sigma are two methods aimed at improving the quality of an organization’s operations and its financial results. Both concentrate on customer satisfaction and improved business performance....

3.4 per Million: Control and Grow Your Enterprise

by Breyfogle, Forrest

To achieve maximum efficiencies and financial results in turbulent business and financial markets, executives and senior managers must revisit their business models to make certain measurements lead to the right behaviors....

Open Access

Contacts That Count

by Daniels, Susan E.

A team dedicated to improving member contact rates at Healthways Inc. pulled just about everything from its lean Six Sigma toolbox while working on a project and was recognized in ASQ’s International Team Excellence Award competition....

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....

Open Access

Customer Servicemen

by Krzykowski, Brett

Customer Feedback is a key component of improvement. The challenge has always been finding the most effective way of procuring it....

Lean Six Sigma's Evolution

by Mader, Doug

When Motorola rolled out its initial Six Sigma system in 1987, there were no Green Belts, Black Belts, Master Black Belts, Champions or any of the infrastructure or focused training we have come to associate with modern practices in Six Sigma....

Quality in the First Person: Quality Principles and Alzheimer's

by Carrico, Robert

The author, a volunteer advocate with the Alzheimer's Association, shares how quality tools, such as failure mode effects analysis, can be used when caring for someone suffering from Alzheimer's disease....

Open Access

Achieve Compliance Through CI

by Chow, Alan F.; Bowman, Ronald; Wittenberg, Leonard C.

Using Six Sigma tools for continuous improvement (CI) is a proven method for meeting or exceeding FDA requirements for medical devices. Optical Integrity Inc., a manufacturer of medical devices, used the Six Sigma define, measure, analyze, improve...

3.4 per Million: Use DMAIC to Make Improvement Part of the Way We Work

by Snee, Ronald D.

Faster, better, cheaper. That’s what organizations across almost all major industries must now do to remain competitive....

Open Access

One Good Idea: Under One Roof

by Sedlock, Ronald

Quality function deployment (QFD) is a great tool for designing a business based on the voice of the customer. Many quality tools are multifaceted....

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...

Benchmarking Goes to School

by Armstong, Michael J.

In 2004, Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, started a benchmarking project to improve the quality of its housing allocation services. A multi-functional team began its work by mapping existing residence application processes to establish a baseline,...

Six Sigma at Cigna

by Daniels, Susan

In 2002, Cigna Corp., a provider of employee healthcare and insurance benefits, launched a grass-root driven quality program based on Six Sigma. Leadership made it clear that the approach would be holistic and would require behavioral changes and a...

Standards Outlook: Six Lessons Learned From QS-9000

by Reid, R. Dan

The sun sets on QS-9000, the U.S. automotive standard.

My version of the old joke goes: "When’s your birthday?" "Dec. 15." "What year?" "Every year, so far."...

Deliver Great Service By Listening and Adapting

by Goodman, John; Collier, Crystal D.

The customer service systems of most companies worldwide are seldom adaptable enough to handle diverse situations. To avoid giving customers the impression that their contacts are a waste of time, an organization must have an actionable voice of 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

Hospital Reduces Medication Errors Using DMAIC and QFD

by Benitez, Yani; Forrester, Leslie; Hurst, Carolyn; Turpin, Debra

The medication error rate at Illinois' Alton Memorial Hospital was low when compared to national statistics, but the hospital knew cost savings would be significant if this statistic was lowered even further. A multidisciplinary team sought the help of...

Market Focused, Value Driven - It's All About Gaps

by Reidenbach, Eric; Goeke, Reginald

Value is a leading indicator of market share and profitability. Six Sigma is a tool organizations can use to increase their value leadership. Because value gaps among competitors are defined by customers of all competing organizations, it is the voice...

3.4 Per Million: Deploying the 'D' in DFSS

by Mader, Douglas P.

As Six Sigma initiatives at many organizations have matured, the switch from reactive improvement - based on the DMAIC methodology - to proactive improvement - based on design for Six Sigma (DFSS) - has become pervasive....

Open Access

Steady Does It For DynMcDermott

by Turner, Andy

DynMcDermott Petroleum Operations (DM) holds the maintenance and operations contract for the Department of Energy's strategic petroleum reserve. High DOE expectations prompted DM's Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award journey ten years ago when DM...

Faster Turnaround Time

by Pellicone, Angelo; Martocci, Maude

In 2004, North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) used Six Sigma to reduce bed assignment delay turnaround time that made it difficult to balance capacity needs. A capstone project revealed incorrect use of the hospital's bed tracking system. The goal was...

Your Customers Are Talking, But Are You Listening?

by Westcott, Russ

Few companies have a process to listen to their customers and act on the information. Without a method to measure how satisfied customers are, the door is left open to the competition. The listen, collect, analyze, learn, improve (LCALI) process can...

Manage Complaints To Enhance Loyalty

by Goodman, John

Every customer complaint represents a chance to correct a flawed process, educate a customer, and strengthen loyalty. But unless management can quantify the return on investment of complaint handling, they won't see the link between complaint handling...

Six Sigma Delivers On-Time Service

by Johnson, Kristen

Six Sigma success isn't limited to manufacturing organizations alone. ServiceMaster's American Residential Services (ARS) Service Express improved customer satisfaction by a unique application of Six Sigma techniques. After an initial learning period,...

QFD in a Managed Care Organization

by Omachonu, Vincent; Barach, Paul

The application of quality function deployment (QFD) in the healthcare industry has been limited because the healthcare product is intangible and ill defined. Recently, however, a managed care organization used QFD to redesign its member handbook. QFD's...

Open Access

Baldrige - Just What the Doctor Ordered

by Nelsen, Dave

The Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) University Hospital Hamilton's commitment to quality has won it the 2004 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in the healthcare category. Part of the hospital's existing quality program is its five pillars of excellence...

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....

Does Six Sigma Work in Service Industries?

by Patton, Fred

Service and manufacturing organizations have much to learn from one another when it comes to serving customers. While in manufacturing the focus on product quality distracts employees from customer service quality requirements, in the service sector the...

What Do Online Customers Value?

by Tamimi, Nabil; Sebastianelli, Rose; Rajan, Murli

Burgeoning e-commerce sales point to the pivotal role of the Internet as an effective marketing tool. An online survey was used to determine which website design features have the strongest consumer appeal. One section of the survey gathered background...

People Equity: The Hidden Driver of Quality

by Kostman, J.T.; Schiemann, William A.

ASQ members, customers, and Quality Progress readers representing more than 30 industries participated in a survey to determine the impact and effectiveness of quality principles, practices, and techniques. Survey results clearly show the success of...

Opportunities Are Everywhere

by Sayle, Allan J.

As the distinction between quality management and business management fades, an unprecedented confluence of trends and forces offers unique opportunities for quality professionals. Sporadic cost cutting campaigns are being replaced by business...

Open Access

Driving Organic Growth at Bank of America

by Cox, Daniel; Bossert, James

The American Customer Satisfaction Index has shown that customers view banks and other financial institutions as a commodity, and consequently, they have no reason to establish a relationship with any one bank. In 2001 executives at Bank of America saw...

Are Your Hearing Voices?

by Becker, Karen

For a company to succeed in today's marketplace, it must listen to the voice of the customer (VOC) so it can provide the products and services that inspire an enthusiastic customer response. One effective way to collect VOC input is through a customer...

What's Wrong With Six Sigma?

by Goodman, John; Theuerkauf, Jon

Many organizations experience disappointment with the results of their Six Sigma deployment efforts. This is because they may be applying Six Sigma on too grand a scale, when, in fact, its tools may be used separately or combined with other techniques....

Make No Mistake

by Smith III, Edwin B.

Mistake proofing tools provide low cost, effective defect prevention and operator feedback. They can stop mistakes from being made or make mistakes obvious at a glance....

A Midstream Career Change

by Heimbach, Jim

I began my life in the real world with a new engineering degree, a new job with a major aircraft manufacturer and a new baby. My first brush with the quality industry was after two years as an intern for the Boeing Co....

Juran, Japan and the Profession

by Lindborg, Hank

Celebration of Joseph Juran's 100th birthday (Dec. 24, 2004) began in early May with an event sponsored by the Juran Institute. Quality Progress also ran a cover story profiling his contributions in its May 2004 issue....

Open Access

Juran, Japan and the profession.

by Lindborg, Hank

Celebration of Joseph Juran?s 100th birthday (Dec. 24, 2004) began in early May with an event sponsored by the Juran Institute. Quality Progress also ran a cover story profiling his contributions in its May 2004 issue....

Selecting Design for Six Sigma Projects

by Mader, Douglas P.

Every organization maintains and constantly changes its portfolio of existing and future development projects. Portfolio management is about allocating resources within the organization to minimize risk and meet strategic goals....

The Where and Y: A 1-2-3 Model for Project Success

by Torok, James

A Six Sigma project may take longer to establish if key players fail to provide Green and Black belts with appropriate definitions of problems and goals for improvement projects. While the purpose of a Six Sigma improvement project should be focused on...

Measurement Capability

by Stein, Philip

Measurements are made all the time: in processes, to see how well work is progressing and in commerce. Most of the time, we trust these measurements are adequate for the task....

Faster Test Results

by Godin, Eric; Raven, Dennis; Sweetapple, Carolyn; Del Guidice, Frank R.

Southside Hospital used Six Sigma to reduce test turnaround times from 68 hours to an average of 32 hours. The use of quality tools helped the hospital improve the sigma level for stress test turnaround....

Six Sigma in Metaphor: Heresy or Holy Writ?

by Edgeman, Rick L.; Bigio, David

We begin by assuming everyone knows what Six Sigma is. Even in this forum of quality professionals, we know this to be untenable, although it seems likely this is not the first time readers have heard the term...

Open Access

Translate Know-What Into Know-How

by Chaplin, Edward; Akao, Yoji

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

Open Access

Move From Product to Customer Centric

by Ricci, Robert

Can a 50-year-old manufacturer of industrial products become a customer centric organization? How can a traditionally product centric company learn to listen systematically to its customers?...

Column: Frontiers of Quality: DFSS and Your Current Design Process

by Mader, Douglas P.

Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) is not intended to replace an organization's current design process. Instead, DFSS methodology should be used as a framework at the macro level for deliverables and performance criteria for the design process already in...

Lean and Six Sigma – Synergy Made in Heaven

by Bossert, James

The combination of Six Sigma and lean enterprise work can enhance the production experience. Workers have the empowerment and skill to recognize a problem and, if it cannot be resolved, shut down the line to eliminate the root cause. Six Sigma and lean...

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