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Denise Robitaille


The Night Before...

(with apologies to Clement Moore)

Published: Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 07:00


was the night before Christmas and all through the plant
Not a technician was stirring, no quality rants.

Performance charts were pinned to the cork board with care,
In hopes that, their progress, people would share.

The micrometers were nestled, all snug and encased
Protected from damage or being misplaced.

The QA manager at his desk, and I at my bench
Were tidying up files after calibrating a wrench.

When out on the floor there arose such a clatter
We ran from our lab to see what was the matter.

Away to production I flew like a flash,
Actually, tripped, bringing down a parts’ tray with a crash.

There at the CNC stood a man all in red,
With belt and boots and a cap on his head.

He reached in his sack and brought out stuff so dandy,
Which he placed at each station, yummy bags full of candy.

Next he went to the office and there did the same
Putting goodies on desks next to each person’s name.

He went to the board and looked at our charts
And nodded as if enjoying Renaissance art.

Finally, we watched him head into our lab,
Where he (gasp) plunked his sack onto our granite slab.

Into his sack he reached one more time,
And brought forth a bell with a beautiful chime.

Spotting us spying, he turned with a smile
And said, “Quality folks, I do like your style.

"In this plant, everyone has truly done great,
And they deserve the chance to really celebrate,

"But you, here in quality, keep it all together
With your ISO stuff in both fair and foul weather.

"So, this bell I give. Let it ring for all here,
But, into your reliable hands, I entrust its care.

"Continue to champion your quality system
Helping people to see the potential within them."

Then he nodded, winked, and went out to his sleigh
And, called to his reindeer to soar away.

And I heard him exclaim (it was really quite clear),
“Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year.”


About The Author

Denise Robitaille’s picture

Denise Robitaille

Denise Robitaille is the author of thirteen books, including: ISO 9001:2015 Handbook for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses.

She is chair of PC302, the project committee responsible for the revision to ISO 19011, an active member of USTAG to ISO/TC 176 and technical expert on the working group that developed the current version of ISO 9004:2018. She has participated internationally in standards development for over 15 years. She is a globally recognized speaker and trainer. Denise is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality and an Exemplar Global certified lead assessor and an ASQ certified quality auditor.

As principal of Robitaille Associates, she has helped many companies achieve ISO 9001 registration and to improve their quality management systems. She has conducted training courses for thousands of individuals on such topics as auditing, corrective action, document control, root cause analysis, and implementing ISO 9001. Among Denise’s books are: 9 Keys to Successful Audits, The (Almost) Painless ISO 9001:2015 Transition and The Corrective Action Handbook. She is a frequent contributor to several quality periodicals.



Very Nice, Congratulations and the best for 2010
Fred Hermann
Caracas, Venezuela

Here's the Six Sigma Marketing version

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the plant
All the Black Belts were musing - the CEO began to rant
The charts were all hung on the war room’s bare walls
All hope was focused on stopping the sales fall.

The Black Belts were claiming huge cost savings
“That’s not the issue” the CEO was raving.
The CEO continued his loud and wheezing cant,
“Find a way to grow share or get out of my plant”.

When in the next room there came a soft patter
“I think I see what’s at the bottom of this matter.
Our focus on cost is not the right thing,
We need to bring in Six Sigma Marketing.”

“I’ve been reading a great blog on SixSigmaiq
Old Reidenbach’s got the right idea on exactly what to do.
He talks about growing share with superior value
Let’s follow his advice – it’s what we need to do.”

“First we need to understand who we choose to serve
Knowing this puts us way ahead of the curve.
Our markets know exactly what they value
For us to grow share we must know this too.”

“If we grow our value we will grow our share
No competitor can beat us, no one would dare.
Value is all about the mix of quality and price,
Being best in market sure would be nice.”

“Use the voice of the market – build a model
Identify CTQs – there’s no time to dawdle.
Examine our value gaps find where we’re weak
Examine our quality and give it a tweak.”

“Make improvements to people, product and processes
And watch the strong growth of our top line grosses.
Monitor the changes with great analytic care
Leverage our strengths and grow that darn share.”

“Let’s think like a buyer and not like an engineer
Understanding customers means we’ve nothing to fear.
Quality is not simply ours alone to create
We’ve got to get dealers to step up to the plate.”

The room was hushed and with expectation aglow
The Black Belts all knew the line they had to toe.
“Six Sigma Marketing is now our new creed
With value as our goal our markets we will lead.”

The Black Belts were all stunned with the clarity of the plan
The Belts knew this stranger was now their main man.
They all saw the brilliance of how to grow their share
And all vowed to pursue value right then and right there.

As the raucous tumult began to slowly subside
There followed a hush which none dared to defy.
And they heard him exclaim as he walked into the night
“Six Sigma Marketing is now our bright guiding light”.

Merry Christmas To All!

Thanks Denise for the cute poem.