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Putting on the Ritz

Regarding "The Ritz-Carlton Mystique" by Bill Kalmar
(QualityInsider, http://qualitydigest.com/IQedit/QDarticle_text.lasso?articleid=12186): Thanks for sharing this information with the multitudes. If I may, I will use it to reinforce a course that I facilitate. The course, which is based on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People -- Signature Series by Steven Covey (Audiobook CDs, Franklin Covey, 2006), speaks of the high degree of excellence displayed by each and every employee of the Ritz-Carlton, and this article will absolutely complement the course. Thanks again for the info.

-- Bob Robertson


I have heard similar stories about the Ritz before, and maybe I just experienced a very bad situation. I stayed at the Ritz on Maui, Hawaii, for a few days several years ago based on the recommendations of others. Our stay was nice, but nothing special; the food service was well below par, and I cannot recall ever being asked what we though of our stay or if everything was all right.

I have come to the conclusion that quality is so hard to get all of the time that such lapses just happen.

-- Jim Schlett


I can appreciate the point of the article, and how this hotel chain does what it does so well. However, a quick search of its Web site reveals that its room rates are in the range of $395 to $4,250, and more, per night. I dare say that for these prices, one should expect the ultimate. Most will not experience this sort of luxury. Most cannot afford a Rolls-Royce, either, but more power to you and those who can.

-- C. Greer


Capable Processes

Regarding "Process Capability" by Douglas Fair ( QualityInsider , http://qualitydigest.com/IQedit/QDarticle_text.lasso?articleid=12184 ): True, most people do not produce a control chart along with their Cpk value. In the absence of a control chart, I won’t blindly accept a Cpk value without knowing the Ppk as well.

I know that magazine space is limited, but the idea of sample size is also extremely important whenever you talk about capability indexes. The 95-percent confidence interval of a capability index is extremely wide unless the sample size is pretty large, say 500 or more. Maybe Mr. Fair can discuss this in an upcoming article. A well-written article on this topic could go a long, long way to opening a lot of eyes in the quality field, as well as in purchasing and management.

-- Jim Parnella


Nice article. You may be aware of Donald J. Wheeler’s comments on this topic in chapter 8, "Capability Confusion," of his Advanced Topics in Statistical Process Control (SPC Press, Second Edition, January 2004). In showing how misleading these numbers can be, he gives an example of a process with Cpk = 0.86, with no nonconforming product.

-- Tony Burns


This is a well-written article that addresses a major problem within many companies. Too often process capability at companies consists only of discussions at which terminology is spouted but true process capability is not addressed.

-- John Malloy


ISO 9001 Works

This article by Jack West is great ("Take Advantage of Subclause 7.3," "Standard Approach," June 2007). It’s too bad that many organizations fail to realize the potential effect that ISO 9001 can have on their ability to improve through the use of this wonderful tool.

-- Fred Nelson


Don’t Blame Six Sigma

Regarding "Blaming Six Sigma" by Praveen Gupta ( InsideSixSigma, http://qualitydigest.com/IQedit/QDarticle_text.lasso?articleid=12185):The current adherence to DMAIC dogma upsets me. In any problem-solving situation, you don’t force your actions through a strict, plodding model. That just eliminates the intuitive jumps you can get by skipping steps, such as, "Hey, let’s go from ‘D’ straight to ‘I.’" This process is cheaper than an experiment, and if it doesn’t work you can always follow up with the planned experiment.

-- Tom Gehrke


I agree about Six Sigma’s intent being lost. Good article.

-- Mattie Lawson


Call Center Satisfaction

Regarding "Issue Resolution and Offshoring Affect Call Center Customer Satisfaction" ( QualityInsider , http://qualitydigest.com/IQedit/QDarticle_news.lasso?articleid=12203 ): Great article! It confirms what I have always suspected to be the sentiment with call centers.

When we think of quality control, we often leave out the service sector. It was refreshing to read this article.

Afterward, a thought came to mind. In manufacturing, something like what this article speaks to would be considered a reject. Rejects are relatively easy to identify and normally prompt some form of corrective action, right? Clearly, as your article points out, there is a problem, it’s identifiable, and it’s been identified. It begs the question, "Why, then, is there no apparent corrective action taking place?"

-- Aivars Freidenfelds