Learn How to Master the Remote Audit

Within the past two weeks, the state of the world looks much different. People around the globe are working from home, including quality professionals. This pivot to virtual quality means that doing a remote audit, or e-audit, will become crucial to doing business. We’ve rounded up some free resources to help prepare professionals to lead organizations through successful remote audits.

Explaining E-Audits

In this classic ASQTV in-depth episode, auditing expert Shauna Wilson explains how organizations can utilize remote auditing.

Ask the Standards Experts

ASQ’s Ask The Standard Experts blog is designed to provide answers to technical questions about international and American national standards, facilitated or developed and supported by ASQ. Experts answer questions about remote auditing and Computer Assisted Auditing Techniques (CAAT).

Mastering Communication for Auditors

In this webcast, Six Sigma Black Belt and auditor Kaiwen Cheng shares tips for effective communication throughout the audit process, from gathering your findings to presenting them successfully using the 5 Whys.

Setting Up a Remote Audit

Quality Management tool Qooling released some helpful tips to setting up e-audits for the first time. Summit CPA Group also wrote about 5 Traits of Successful Remote Audits.

Managing Virtual Team Meetings

In this ASQTV episode, past ASQ Innovation Division chair Peter Merrill shares his advice on hosting successful virtual meetings.

QMS: Prove Your Worth

In this 2018 Quality Progress article, author and professional engineer Govind Ramu walks readers through ways to prove the value of quality management systems, and clear misconceptions about what quality professionals do. Being able to speak to the value of quality is as important now as it has ever been.

ASQ Audit Division

ASQ’s Audit Division is a team of more than 7,000 professionals interested in learning more about and advancing auditing as a profession. The Audit Division publishes newsletters, webinars, and discussion boards on a variety of auditing topics.

As we all adjust to this changing professional landscape, ASQ will work hard to continue to provide accurate industry-specific resources to help the quality community continue to excel.

Be sure to follow us on social media (@ASQ) for more quality news and resources, and let us know what you would like to see on our blog in the future.

Excellence through quality

Applying Organizational Excellence at Lean Six Sigma Conference

Six Sigma Escape Room winners
Six Sigma Escape Room winners

Building off the success of the 2019 event, over 500 quality professionals came together in Phoenix at the Lean and Six Sigma Conference where they focused on applying lean and Six Sigma for organizational excellence.

Quality professionals are uniquely positioned to lead their organizations through today’s ever-changing landscape of disruption and transformation, and this year’s conference featured sessions, workshops, and speakers aimed to help attendees optimize excellence and growth though change management, data analytics, strategic alignment, and more.

I have been able to meet people from all over the globe and from a variety of industries all focused on the same thing–continuous improvement.

Lindsay Lapatinsky
Keynote Speakers

Monday morning kicked off with Dr. Gregory Watson’s keynote address on the art of leading change in the age of Quality 4.0. As an ASQ Fellow and past chair, Watson brought his breadth of knowledge on Six Sigma to the presentation where he walked the audience through the development and popularization of Six Sigma. Organizational excellence in Quality 4.0 cannot be created and sustained by statistics alone, Watson explained. It must also be nurtured and fostered through strategic decisions and executive team buy-in. Watson discussed Deming’s profound knowledge and the quality imperative to rethink the profession and its methods to adapt to the age of Quality 4.0. For those interested in continuing to learn about the role of quality in executive leadership, Watson is currently working with the Quality Management Division on a free 12-part webinar series on managing for quality. Register for this webinar at https://my.asq.org/communities/events/28.

Award-winning illusionist Stuart MacDonald provided a completely unique look at quality at his Monday evening keynote address. MacDonald began his presentation by performing his signature magic act, much to the crowd’s delight. His performance, which fooled famous magicians Penn and Teller, was improved by lean processes. He led the audience through his professional introduction to lean and process improvement and his strategies to implement a 30-day continuous improvement plan that allowed him to improve his act by 100%. The audience left with practical tools for applying continual improvement—and a few magic tricks up their sleeves.

conference presenter
Stuart MacDonald’s keynote session

Founder of The Kaplan Mobray Leadership Institute and award-winning author of The 10Ks of Personal Branding Kaplan Mobray welcomed attendees to the second day of the conference with his address on the role of passion and creativity in organizational excellence. After energizing the audience with his saxophone skills, Mobray got specific on how quality professionals can use personal performance improvement to achieve operational excellence. By using interactive and creative exercises, Mobray engaged the audience to explore new ways to solve problems and create problems to solve. “Improve the experience,” Mobray said, “and you elevate the result.”

Closing out the 2020 Lean and Six Sigma Conference was speaker and coach Gregory Offner. Offner focused his presentation on the benefits of proactive change management. Beginning his presentation by playing the piano, Offner guided attendees through his experience with damaging his vocal cords and nearly permanently losing his voice. Offner provided insight on how to disrupt effectively while maintaining daily business operations. He used his personal story of disruption and transformation, along with 16 years of sales and consulting experience, to discuss the value of micro-disruption and continuous self-improvement.

Between concurrent sessions, workshops, and Gemba walks, there were plenty of opportunities for attendees to learn about a variety of topics. A few of the standout sessions focused on artificial intelligence, escape rooms, and process observation.

One of the most buzzed about sessions was the Lean and Six Sigma Escape room. Hosted by ASQ Six Sigma Forum members Jessica Colon and Bob Kollm, this interactive session put participants’ lean and Six Sigma skills to the test through a series of clues and puzzles. Participants were split into teams and rooms where they used quality tools, strategies, and even a chi square to unlock the answers to the puzzle first.

Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt Grace Duffy led the concurrent session “The Importance of PLAN in PDC/SA or DMAIC”. Highlighting the importance of effective planning, Duffy explained how a Modular Kaizen approach uses concepts of lean and Agile to fit process improvement into manageable daily work activities. Attendees particularly enjoyed the former NASA Quality Manager’s example of the importance of pre-team initiation preparation.

This year’s Gemba Walks, hosted by Master Black Belt Chad Smith and Management Consultant Bob Kollm, focused on the Ohno-Inspired Way of Truly Understanding the Current State. In this interactive session participants learned about process observation and put their learning into action. Other conference participants may have noticed the gemba walk happening, as the group traveled around the resort and conference to observe hotel staff cleaning guest rooms and “flipping” hotel space.  

Attendees in hotel room
Gemba Walk participants observe a hotel room cleaning.
ASQ Divisions

This year’s conference would not have been successful without the support and sponsorship from the Lean Enterprise Division and the Six Sigma Forum.

The Lean Enterprise Division is a global network of professionals helping individuals and organizations apply proven and leading edge lean principles and practices to achieve personal and organizational success.

“Not only are the sessions and keynotes fantastic year after year, the Lean and Six Sigma conference is one of my favorite networking events. The conference is the one opportunity a year I have to network with LSS professionals face to face. I have had the pleasure of meeting mentors, coaches, teachers, colleagues, and friends at this conference that have helped me grow professionally and personally throughout the years.”

                -Lindsay Lapatinsky, ASQ Lean Enterprise Division Chair

The Six Sigma Forum increases the use and impact of Six Sigma globally by building relationships, learning collectively, and advancing knowledge.

Sponsors and Exhibitors

Nova Southeastern University

Park Avenue Solutions

ASQ Six Sigma Forum

ASQ Lean Enterprise Division

Creato Performance Solutions



TRACtion Service

Minitab LLC

Gemba Academy

University of Tennessee

QI Macros for Excel


ASQ Pheonix Section

The 15 Quality Books You Should Be Reading

See what books our readers found the most valuable.

Quality Press is having a book sale! Members and nonmembers can receive an additional 10% off member prices on all titles published by Quality Press, May 1–May 31, with promo code MAY2020.

To celebrate the beginning of a new decade, we’ve picked our most popular books, chosen by quality professionals from around the world and put together this guide. Organized by topic, this mix of new releases and timeless classics offers something for every quality professional. Review this list and grab the books that are missing from your quality library.


The Journey

Charles A. Clanfrani et al.

To sustain success in today’s competitive environment, organizations must meet the needs and expectations of all relevant parties. This book covers both the “what” and “how” aspects of achieving sustained success and is a guide for top managers ready to embark on this journey.

Unleash Quality

Arron S. Angle

The power of quality comes from actions that stem from behaviors—behaviors that apply to every department within a company. In other words, a company’s culture. This is where most organizations fail in their deployment of quality—by not treating quality as a cultural imperative.

The Joy of Lean

Dodd Starbird

As it attracts more attention as a philosophy, lean is still sometimes misunderstood as a method for just cutting expenses. That doesn’t sound very joyful. This book will show leaders how to cultivate a positive Lean Culture of Excellence that creates value for customers and employees.

Problem Solving

Root Cause Analysis, 2nd Edition

Duke Okes

This best-seller can help anyone who needs to find specific causes for failures. It provides detailed steps for solving problems, and it focuses on the deep analytical process involved in finding the true causes of problems. The book accomplishes this through visuals, figures, diagrams, and tools to make the reader see what is truly significant.

Handbook of Investigation and Effective CAPA Systems, 2nd Edition

José Rodriguez-Pérez, Ph.D.

The second edition of this handbook dealing exclusively with CAPA systems emphasizes root cause analysis as the necessary preceding step of any effective corrective and preventive action system. These concepts apply to many sectors, including automotive, aerospace, service, and more.

The ASQ Pocket Guide to Root Cause Analysis

Bjørn Andersen and Tom Natland Fagerhaug

When organizations experience unintended variation, it can cause a range of problems, from minor nuisances to the loss of customers and revenue. This pocket guide provides accessible knowledge about problem-solving, with a specific focus on identifying and eliminating the root causes of a problem.

Quality Management

The Art of Integrating Strategic Planning, Process Metrics, Risk Mitigation, and Auditing

J.B. Smith

This book promotes auditing beyond compliance to identify additional improvement opportunities, such as the discovery of hidden factories and risks. The scope also extends to an organization’s vision and strategy, which must align with the audit. Concepts and models are clearly illustrated using real-life examples.

Performance Metrics

Duke Okes

Which performance measures should you use? How do you sort through a variety of possible metrics and decide which are best? Performance Metrics provides a clarifying perspective for those who know that metrics need to be developed but are unsure as to the steps to follow in developing and deploying them.

Senior Management and Quality

Fin Rooney

Fin Rooney dives into quality concepts and how to apply them strategically to your organization. In his thorough approach, he begins by revisiting the question, “What is quality?” Full of helpful questions and thought-provoking ideas, this book will ensure interesting conversations with managers about how they view quality.

Quality Tools

The Quality Toolbox, Second Edition

Nancy R. Tague

The Quality Toolbox is a comprehensive reference for a variety of methods and techniques. It includes tools for brainstorming, evaluating ideas, analyzing processes, determining root causes, planning, and basic statistics. The book is thoughtfully designed both for self-learning and for teaching others.

Business Process Improvement Toolbox, Second Edition

Bjørn Andersen

Filled with quality tools and applications, this book provides readers with practical insight into how they can create a coherent business process improvement system. Consistently improving various aspects of how things are done, large and small, is the key to success for any organization.

Mapping Work Processes, Second Edition

Bjørn Andersen et al.

This best-seller is a hands-on, step-by-step workbook of instructions on how to create flowcharts and document work processes. This edition also includes organizational examples and case studies from many different industries to help readers understand real-life applications of the material presented.


Data Quality: Dimensions, Measurement, Strategy, Management, and Governance

Rupa Mahanti, Ph.D.

Good data is a source of myriad opportunities, while bad data is a tremendous burden. This book provides guidance on strategies and tactics for data quality. It balances technical details and higher-level qualitative discussions with case studies, illustrations, and real-world examples throughout.

Quality Experience Telemetry

Alka Jarvis et al.

Telemetry is an automated way to collect and transmit data from remote sites to receiving sites for monitoring, analyzing, and driving improvement. This book explains the telemetry infrastructure and associated details. It will enable readers to implement a telemetry program that improves the customer experience.

Data Integrity and Compliance

José Rodriguez-Pérez, Ph.D.

This book consolidates data integrity expectations from several regulatory sources and provides implementation guidance. It applies data management principles and procedures to the manufacturing of medical products throughout the whole supply chain.

Is your favorite book missing from this list? Let us know! Comment below, or tweet us @ASQ. To find more books on everything to do with quality, visit the ASQ bookstore.

Thriving in Disruption, Driving Toward Quality 4.0: The 2019 Summit


More than 200 quality professionals convened in Dallas for the third Quality 4.0 Summit, where they explored the impact of people, process, and technology on the ability to thrive in disruption.

Over two days, sessions on key issues including robotic process automation, IoT, cybersecurity quality culture, and voice of the customer shed light on emerging trends. One term—“digital”—was heard in practically every session.

Throughout the event, discussions centered on establishing a successful path toward Quality 4.0. Attendees at various stages of progress shared their perspectives on shaping an enterprise-wide strategy, celebrating quick wins, and communicating effectively to ensure their organizations’ initiatives were equally successful and sustainable.

For those who joined us at this year’s Summit, thank you for being a part of this growing event! If you were unable to attend, read on to learn about key trends and discoveries from the week in Dallas. We look forward to seeing you at our 2020 Summit and will have additional details in the coming weeks.


Dave Ryeson, Boston Consulting Group, and Elmer Corbin, ASQ, co-presented the Quality 4.0 Takes More Than Technology research report’s findings and perspectives on requirements for successful Quality 4.0 implementation to a packed room at the Summit. In this highly anticipated session, Ryeson and Corbin discussed the global online survey and deep-dive interviews with key manufacturing industry leaders and practitioners in the field of Quality 4.0. The survey evaluated the 200+ survey participants’ views on Quality 4.0 today and in the future to understand critical use cases, current and future impact, major challenges, and roles and skills needed to evolve. This report was created collaboratively by Boston Consulting Group, ASQ, and the German Association for Quality (DGQ).   


Attendees at the 2019 Quality 4.0 Summit had the unique opportunity to hear from leaders in innovation, technology, and transformation at three exceptional keynote addresses at the event.

Rick Smith, founder of Fast Radius, Inc., kicked off the conference. His presentation began with the story of Arie Kurniawan, a young Indonesian man who participated in an open innovation challenge. The challenge was to redesign a bracket that attaches an airplane’s jet engine to its wing. Despite having little manufacturing experience, Kurniawan’s design beat out over 1,000 other submissions, thanks to his use of a new design technique enabled by industrial 3D printing technology.  This story provided a background for a deeper dive into the changes in the quality community. Smith said Quality 4.0 would disrupt practically every industry, but would also create new jobs, roles, and opportunities for quality professionals.

The next morning, futurist and Pendio Group CEO Todd McLees continued the examination of challenges and opportunities related to digital disruption, the exponential rate of innovation, workforce of the future, and digital ecosystems. McLees offered insights into the rate of change in innovation, the challenges it presents, and the need for new levels of collaboration to re-skill, up-skill, and “new-skill” the workforce of the future. He also encouraged attendees to visit the website willrobotstakemyjob.com to better understand roles and positions susceptible to disruption.  His parting advice: Connect with stakeholders in your organization to build and work within ecosystems that will increasingly become a key competitive advantage.

The Summit’s closing keynote was provided by Elmer Corbin, former head of cloud and artificial intelligence solutions delivery for IBM Watson Health and 2018 ASQ Board of Directors Chair, who looked back on transformative moments in his education and career, and revealed the vital role quality played in fostering innovation in each phase. Corbin offered a compendium of lessons learned throughout the conference, urging attendees to prepare for the future by expanding their multipurpose soft skills and comprehensive digital roles. By developing digital enablers for Quality 4.0 implementation, Corbin noted, quality professionals can build an effective common data architecture foundation. He concluded his address by reminding the audience to celebrate the wins along the way and focus on proof of concept use cases that bring value and solve real pain points.


Quality Conversations offered attendees the chance to sit in on interviews with seven leaders from different industries and roles to ask them about their experiences with Quality 4.0. The participating quality leaders shared their insights on Quality 4.0, focusing on getting started, prioritizing data handling, and the need for good communication skills. They are summarized below.  

Getting Started With Quality 4.0

  • Start small, or with a pilot project to test an idea or a technology.
  • Begin with a quick win to demonstrate the value and possibilities to get buy-in.
  • Be adaptive and learn as you go.
  • Start now! Learn the capabilities of different options and how to think about them.

Big Data

  • Prioritize the data and getting a handle on it first−data needs cleaning before using.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) initiatives should come after knowing your data, the problems you’re solving, and your business objectives. When it comes to big data you need a plan; you must be prepared and malleable.
  • Comprehensive, real-time data and massive datasets can tell you things you weren’t expecting, and that may come with new opportunities, immediately actionable decisions, and risks. This can be disruptive, but it’s better to disrupt your own organization before your competitors disrupt you.

Communication Skills

  • All types of communication skills are imperative to successful Quality 4.0 implementations. Machines and systems need to be able to communicate with each other. Humans need to be able to communicate with the machines and the systems. Humans need to communicate about the machines and systems with other humans, particularly those in other departments and top management.
  • Quality professionals need to be able to navigate the various communication streams and effectively explain why Quality 4.0 matters to each stake holder and describe the role they play in the bigger picture, the bottom line, and strategic plans.
  • Change management is Critical


There were numerous engaging and innovative sessions available throughout the entire conference. Based on attendees feedback, three sessions stood out from the crowd.

Leading Through Change & Ambiguity: Overcoming Barriers With Better Management Strategy

Speaker: Matt Meuleners, FOCUS Training.

Significant change creates ambiguity that can lead to low morale, anxiety, and risk avoidance behaviors. Understanding the steps to change management increase the chances that your organizational change will be successful. This module focused on tactics learners can use to navigate through emotional and technical challenges that accompany significant change. Participants discussed with peers and develop a plan for engaging their own teams.

People and Process Skills for Industry 4.0

Speaker: Peter Merrill, Quest Management  

The World Economic Forum report, the ‘Future of Jobs’, Identifies 3 critical competencies, and 3 vital areas of knowledge. The vital competencies are Emotional Intelligence which supports Creativity, an imperative in the future, and Creativity, in turn, essential for Complex Problem Solving. Three vital areas of knowledge for a future career are, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning which merge one into another. In this session, attendees discussed the importance of these skills and knowledge areas in the workforce.

Motivational Drivers: Which Ones Exist on Your Teams?

Speaker: Matt Meuleners FOCUS Training

In this session, attendees explored motivation and what drives it from a biological, social, emotional, or cognitive perspective. Participants were introduced to the wide range of motivational drivers through an interactive demonstration called Money Jump, in which volunteers push themselves to reach progressively higher targets. They engaged in a “live case study” method to teach each of four sets of theories on motivation. In this approach, participants used a real-world situation from their own work or personal life as a sample to apply each framework and its best practices. 


A highlight of the Summit was “Quality 4.0 @ Work”, a collaboration session guided by table captains Puneet Dhillon, Kerri Clifton, and Pablo Romo, who are members of our Emerging Quality Leaders Program. Attendees gathered in focused tabletop groups to discuss the factors driving their company’s move toward a Quality 4.0 implementation, vital roles in the pursuit of Quality 4.0, barriers to execution, and identifying key stakeholders in the process. Some of the Discussion highlights were captured by the table captains:

Is your company spending more time or money on Quality 4.0 efforts today than in recent years? If so, what impact has this had on your role in the organization?

All participants agreed that there has been an increased spend on Quality 4.0 efforts, but the ways in which this has affected them−and their organization−differed.  

  • Quality 4.0 changed my job by making more important data more accessible, raising quality awareness within all functions in the company.
  • The introduction of new data measurement and telemetry into consumer products has made possible the making of better decisions faster.
  • After the collapse of oil prices in 2015, my company realized they had to automate. Production yields and profits needed to be improved. The quality department was cut, and engineers were brought in to meet the end user’s needs. A cloud-based application was Implemented to collect structured data. We are still looking into next steps.

What drives your company’s move toward a Quality 4.0 implementation?

Participants believed that their company’s driving force was that Quality 4.0 initiatives will lead to more efficient performance.

  • My company’s goal was to improve processes to improve margins.
  • We would like to use data more efficiently and to show clients the benefits of quality in helping growth. Data being collected varies in usefulness. I am at this Summit to collect ideas.
  • Formerly, many of our solutions were operated without an overarching data strategy. This resulted in isolated technologies. Now it is time to bring them together with Quality 4.0 to be more effective.

What role(s) within your company has been identified as vital to ensuring Quality 4.0 success?

The roles identified differed due to industry and organizational goals.  

  • We decided to bring in more data analysts and data scientists to make sense of data for better implementation. Quality Engineers will then make changes based on the data.
  • IT programmers, system validators, data scientists, data base gurus, and UI designers have been identified as vital roles. 
  • The biggest challenge is for management to get people within the organization on the same page. Operations leaders are needed to align and bring consistent QMS that can affect all divisions within an organization.

What prevents or slows your organization’s progress of Quality 4.0 implementation(s)?

Participants cited that many of the hindrances to progress were regarding buy−in, overall understanding of initiatives, and maintaining high levels of engagement across several departments. 

  • Internally, getting people involved and aware of changes. Assigning roles so they are a part of the implementation. These are both roadblocks I’ve faced.
  • Quality 4.0 is a new concept and not fully understood. It is critical to understand the depth that is needed to communicate the need, as well as the benefits of implementation.
  • Building confidence to work with a diverse group of backgrounds, and from companies with very different levels of Quality 4.0 deployment, is challenging. It was necessary to ensure the conversation remained relevant for all participants.



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