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Quality vs. Luxury

I'm surprised that such an eminent authority as Mr. Harrington has become confused over the definitions of quality vs. luxury ("Performance Improvement," January 2006).

It's nice that Emirates Airlines plans to offer private suites and dining tables on its new planes. It's great that Lufthansa whisked him through security in an S-class Mercedes after fixing his computer problem, and that EOS plans to fly 757s with only 48 passengers and presumably make a profit. That's luxury.

Quality would reflect on how well the less affluent but far more numerous customers have their needs met. How many lost bags they endure, how many botched reservations, how many hours in cramped seating, how many bags of stale peanuts and so on are better measures of true quality than how a company treats the privileged few that can afford to pay the highest prices.

--John P. Leslie


Customer Service Demise

Editor's note: We received several comments about "The Demise of Customer Service" (William J. Kalmar, www.qualitydigest.com/qualityinsider). The article details the writer's experiences in an unsuccessful attempt to exchange a $20 item at an unnamed national department store.

What's the name of that store? I need to place it on my list of places not to shop.

--Michael P. Nolan


Good article, written in clear, common-sense language!

--Ian Hannah


Statistics and Six Sigma

Regarding the article "Statistical Software and Six Sigma Projects" (Praveen Gupta, www.qualitydigest.com/sixsigma), I completely agree with the author. Many Six Sigma practitioners rely heavily on the statistical software for "all" the answers. It simply isn't that easy. If it was, wouldn't everyone be a Six Sigma guru?

To understand a process, you must ask questions and stay open and unbiased. If you can't wait to get to the statistics software, I suspect you haven't done your due diligence. A team leader has the responsibility to dig deep, without rushing. You might just find that the answer to your question lies with another functional area or subprocess.

--Grieg Chapian


This article addresses one of the major problems in what I call the "people-process-analysis" triangle. Being a Six Sigma expert, by itself, doesn't solve a problem. Statistical and process knowledge, without the knowledge of the people who have to make the results of these analyses work, will always yield suboptimum results.

--Gerald Raines