What Advice Would You Give a Quality Rookie?

Paying it forward

Quality Digest

November 24, 2021

As part of QD’s 40th anniversary hoopla, we’d like to hear from you. Tribal knowledge is real and valuable. What you’ve learned as a quality professional can help others starting out in the field. So tell us what you think newcomers should know. Give us a sentence or three of your best, boiled-down advice, and we’ll publish it in our second 40th anniversary issue coming out early next year.

Please send your comments, along with your name and job title, to comments2us@qualitydigest.com by Dec. 10, 2021. Please put “Newcomer advice” in the subject line so that we can easily flag it.

To prime the pump, here are some classics from quality experts and QD authors:

“The descriptive statistics taught in introductory classes are appropriate summaries for homogeneous collections of data. But the real world has many ways of creating non-homogeneous data sets.” —Donald Wheeler

“All processes should have a defined customer whose needs and expectations are understood and are being met.” —H. James Harrington

“A few weeks ago during a training session on root cause analysis, one of the attendees asked: ‘Can we use the same technique to figure out why something worked really well?’ We’re too eager to ask, ‘Why did something go wrong… and who should we blame?’ instead of, ‘Why did everything go so well, and who can we thank?’” —Denise Robitaille

“Engineers belong in factories and laboratories. Black Belts and Green Belts belong in the dojo.” —Tom Pyzdek

“I’m often asked, ‘What do we work on first, tools or culture?’ I answer, in context of the Toyota Production System, that neither has substance without the other. They are two sides of the same coin. We need to learn them together.” —Bruce Hamilton


“All others bring data.” —W. Edwards Deming

“Working in an environment without visual information sharing is like trying to reach a destination by driving 100 miles without a map, on a road with no road signs, no traffic signals, and no lines down the center of the road. You can probably make it, but you are likely to pay a terrible price.” —Gwendolyn Galsworth

“The only prerequisites needed for the statistics that will solve 85 to 90 percent of your problems? An ability to count to eight, sort a list of numbers, and do basic arithmetic. It’s about a mindset, not a tool set.”
Davis Balestracci

“When you issue an NCR, you are doing it to track and quantify the nonconformances, defects, or issues causing your production or service operations to lag. But the story should not end there. The biggest benefit of tracking NCRs is the ability to see how your operation’s performance is changing from week to week, month to month, and from product to product.” —Miriam Boudreaux

“Many companies are so eager to create an easy-to-understand measurement system that they forget that if it is useless, it doesn’t matter who understands it.” —A. Blanton Godfrey

“The smart CEO uses the brand promise to align all of the activities of the organization; that promise guides people, processes, products, and systems.” —Annette Franz

“Management’s product is the entire organization.” —Phil Crosby

“Any material we purchase that does not emerge from our process as a saleable product is waste, regardless of whether it is an environmental aspect. Henry Ford looked for ways to use everything—as but one example, waste wood became Kingsford charcoal and other wood distillation products—even though he could have legally thrown into the nearest river whatever wouldn’t go up his smokestacks.” —William Levinson


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Quality Digest

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.