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Quality Digest Top Stories for 2019

Here’s a sample of some of the stories our readers found most interesting in 2019

Published: Tuesday, December 24, 2019 - 12:01

As usual with Quality Digest’s diverse audience, this year’s top stories covered a wide range of topics applicable to quality professionals. From hardware to software, from standards to risk management, from China trade to FDA regulations. It’s always fun to see what readers gravitate to, and this year was no different.

Below are five articles that garnered a lot of interest from our readers. As you can see, the topics are quite diverse.

Improve Risk Management and Quality Across the Value Chain by Increasing Visibility
by Kelly Kuchinski

Imagine building a brand over decades. Hundreds of millions of dollars invested in design and development. Sponsorships with celebrity athletes and professional and college teams. Leading-edge marketing making your company one of the top 20 brands in the world. It only takes one incident to unravel all this investment.

Nike found that out the hard way when Duke University superstar Zion Williamson ripped through the sole of his Nike sneaker 33 seconds into the grudge match with North Carolina. Williamson ended up leaving the game with a knee sprain, Duke went on to lose the game, and millions of viewers were left wondering if Nike’s quality was up to par. The immediate reaction by investors the next day was a more than 1-percent drop in shares, equating to $1.1 billion in market value.

Understanding, tracking and visualizing everything that contributes to product quality is key understanding and managing risk.

ISO 9001: It’s About the Records, Not the Documents
by Bretta Kelly

Back in January 2009, Bretta Kelly wrote an article for Quality Digest titled “ISO 9001 Documentation Is Like a Box of Chocolates.” Here we are, almost 10 years later, all of the ISO 9001 and related standards have been updated, yet companies still misunderstand what to document, how to document, or why to document procedures for their quality management systems (QMS).

This article offers examples and explanations of where QMS are over-documented and describes ways in which they can be simplified. The purpose is to illustrate how far off many companies are from understanding the difference between implementing and documenting a QMS. When you are getting registered to ISO 9001:2015 (and this includes any standard that is based on ISO 9001:2015), the emphasis should be entirely on the records (i.e., outputs of your processes) showing compliance to the requirements of the standard, not how the system in question is documented. The length of your quality manual and the number of procedures a company has are irrelevant; the primary focuses when getting registered to the standard should be whether the records meet the requirements of the standard, and what the measurable objectives defined by your company may be.

Ensuring Food Safety With Quality Management Software
by Nicole Radziwill

In 2013, thousands of consumers in the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland bought, prepared—and ate—beef lasagna, hamburgers, and frozen dinners. What they didn’t know is what they were actually putting in their mouths.

Although a burger is only required by law in that region to contain 47-percent beef, some meat products contained up to 80-percent horsemeat, and 85 percent of products contained traces of pork. In addition to potential health incidents due to allergic reactions, religious dietary guidelines and restrictions may also be violated when labels are incorrect.

Cases like the horsemeat scandal, involving deliberate food fraud, are not the only scenarios that an organization in the food supply chain must protect against. In addition to accidental violations of food safety regulations and targets such as failure to clean equipment between product changeovers, replacement of high-quality ingredients with lower cost (and lower quality) alternatives can adversely impact food quality and safety as well. Green vegetables such as romaine lettuce, which is particularly vulnerable to E. coli 0157 contamination during both production and processing, are frequent culprits in this area.

Quality systems provide the structure needed to ensure compliance and reduce the risk associated with these possibilities.

Boeing’s 5S Problem
by Morgan Sliff

Boeing has been rife with issues lately. While the Ethiopian Airlines crash dominated headlines and elicited an FBI investigation into the company, another federal body has stated it will be keeping a closer eye on Boeing’s safety shortfalls.

One would imagine that the world’s leading aerospace company, responsible for designing and manufacturing more than 10,000 of today’s commercial airliners, would have rigorous quality control protocols in place. Not surprising, recent revelations have presented grave concerns about Boeing’s internal management and highlight the need to keep workplace standards in the spotlight.

So where does the nation’s largest manufacturing exporter begin to resolve its endemic process standardization issues?

How QA Consulting Saved a Software Project
by Boris Shiklo

About 10 years ago, software testing was perceived as the only possible quality assurance (QA) measure for software, according to the World Quality Report 2018–2019. However, QA has since outstepped these boundaries. The QA process now implies that all stakeholders have a direct interest in software quality during the entire project life cycle. But how should you establish such a comprehensive QA process?

Let’s consider what obstacles you may face while setting it up and explore a real-life example of how software QA consulting can solve QA problems.

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For 40 years Quality Digest has been the go-to source for all things quality. Our newsletter, Quality Digest, shares expert commentary and relevant industry resources to assist our readers in their quest for continuous improvement. Our website includes every column and article from the newsletter since May 2009 as well as back issues of Quality Digest magazine to August 1995. We are committed to promoting a view wherein quality is not a niche, but an integral part of every phase of manufacturing and services.