Roundup–Quality In Unexpected Places

We all know that quality exists outside the office. We encounter products and systems created through quality every day, in our home, during our commute, at lunch, at our kids’ schools, in restaurants, and stores, and sports events. I could go on.

Last month, I asked ASQ’s Influential Voices bloggers to share their experiences with quality outside the office—and no surprise that there were plenty of stories to tell.

Schools are natural places for quality tools.  Tim McMahon blogged about his children’s elementary school classroom, which is run very much like a lean factory, he says. Dr. Robert Burney shared an example of a quality mission in his grandson’s elementary school.

Nicole Radziwill wrote about using Pareto charts for personal finance, and also contributed stories of quality tools in books, music, weather forecasting, and yes, elementary schools.

Speaking of children, Guy Wallace thought of systematic performance improvement as he watched kids toss around a football on the beach.

In fact, quality and kids was a common theme. Jimena Calfa wrote about common situations where we use quality tools, including using 5 Whys to answer a child’s question.  And Rajan Thiayagarajan wrote his entire post on using 5 Why analysis when talking to his son.

Jennifer Stepniowski used grid analysis to come to a decision as to which bicycle to buy for her son.  Aimee Sigler blogged about how she used quality tools in her kids’ gymnastics club. (She also wrote about ASQ’s new interest group, Quality in Athletics.  For many, sports are probably an unexpected place for quality tools.)

Dr. Michael Noble wrote about positive examples of unintentional “drive-by quality,” such as PDCA being inadvertently used by college students.

We often talk about the voice of the customer, but what if your “customers” include criminals? John Hunter wrote an interesting post on the use of quality tools—including voice of the customer analysis–by the police. And Bob Mitchell discussed quality tools in a related field, forensics.

Dan Zrymiak wrote about quality methodologies in a popular cooking show. Cesar Diaz Guevara blogged about a family business that makes biscuits–and inadvertantly uses quality to produce an excellent product. Dr. Manu Vora wrote about the use of quality by an elaborate lunch delivery system in India. Anshuman Tiwari praised the remarkable efficiency of the Indian Railways ticketing system.

Lotto Lai uncovered the use of quality by designers of popular mobile phone games such as “Candy Crush.”  And Kerrie Ann Christian wrote about quality tools and popular social media platforms.

Finally, John Priebe and Scott Rutherford gave two slightly contrarian opinions. John writes that we should be seeing quality tools in action everywhere, rather than being surprised by the unexpected uses of quality.  And Scott warned us not to assume that everyone knows how to properly use advanced quality tools. “You have to teach the nuances and risks,” he wrote. I agree–let’s get to it!

(Last month the ASQ bloggers also talked about quality in local governments. Deborah Mackin gave some insights on the unique challenges of implementing quality tools in government. Aimee Siegler wrote about local governments and quality in Wisconsin, U.S., and Bob Mitchell wrote about quality improvement in Hutchinson, Minnesota. Jennifer Stepniowski wrote about excellence and quality in Tampa, Florida, where she lives.)

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