Mark Graban’s picture

By: Mark Graban

A couple of Sundays ago, I read this New York Times article about Apple's "App Store" for the iPhone and iPod Touch (I've been a pretty happy iPhone user for the past three months after switching over from BlackBerry).

I'm going to try to use this example to teach about two concepts that can be used in virtually any process—takt time and cycle time—including some questions for health care.

Some details of Apple operations came out through filings made in response to the controversy over Apple not carrying the "Google Voice" app and a Federal Communications Commission investigation. The article unveils:

Neil McLeod’s default image

By: Neil McLeod

If ever there was an industry in which time compression is the name of the game, it’s Formula 1 Grand Prix motor racing.

Scuderia Toro Rosso, owned by the Red Bull Co., is among the Formula 1 teams looking for new and better ways to compress development and production times, while increasing the reliability of its racing cars.

One advantage Scuderia Toro Rosso has over the competition is Geomagic Qualify 3-D inspection software, used at the company’s headquarters in Faenza, Italy. Geomagic Qualify has reduced the time required to inspect new parts by an average of 30 percent. It has also given Scuderia Toro Rosso the ability to inspect parts that previously could not adequately be inspected within the demanding time frames of Formula 1 racing.

The software enables fast, easy-to-understand graphical comparisons between 3-D CAD models and as-built parts, or between parts from different production runs. It saves time and increases accuracy for first-article and in-process inspection and enables trend analysis, 2-D and 3-D dimensioning, geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T), and automated reporting in a variety of formats, including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, PDF, and VRML/HTML.

Quality Digest’s picture

By: Quality Digest

Developing and refining the advanced processes for its manufacturing and assembly operation is no small task for Irvine, California-based Coast Composites Inc. The company makes large, precise tooling for the aerospace industry. The scale and accuracy requirements of their product creates quality control issues that were addressed using a combination of FARO Laser Tracker and Verisurf software.

“Some of the high-precision tooling we produce for customers is really huge, up to 100 feet long," says Steve Anthony, Coast Composites IT manager. Size creates its own set of challenges and opportunities, and has also led Coast to its recent plant expansion from 85,000 square feet to more than 200,000 square feet. “When you build huge tooling you need lots of room,” Anthony explains.

Even though the molds it produces are extremely large (typically 2- to 60-feet long), Coast still must meet precise tolerance requirements to satisfy its customers’ specifications. “We’re talking fine finishes and tolerances of four to five thousandths over a 50- to 60-foot length,” Anthony explains. “And, like any other QC requirement, we have to be able to prove to our customers that we have met or exceeded their specs. To do that has taken us into some interesting new technologies.”

Thomas J. Duesterberg Ph.D.’s default image

By: Thomas J. Duesterberg Ph.D.

In the worst economic climate since the 1930s, and at a time of intensified political change, manufacturers are experiencing difficulties in articulating a clear and strong message about the health of their sector and how policy change might affect it. What follows are 10 summary points intended to convey an accurate picture regarding the current state of U.S. manufacturing and some of its key issues. These talking points barely scratch the surface; suggestions are provided for further reading on some crucial points1.

1. Despite perceptions that U.S. manufacturing is disappearing, the quantity of manufactured goods produced in the United States has kept pace with overall economic growth for the last 90 years. Since 1947, value added in manufacturing has grown sevenfold, the same as gross domestic product (GDP). While employment has steadily declined in the sector, one in six private sector jobs are still in or directly tied to manufacturing.

Minitab LLC’s picture

By: Minitab LLC

Story update 8/27/2009: An error was spotted and corrected by author in paragraph starting with "The population mean for a six-sided die..."


Mark Twain famously quipped that there were three ways to avoid telling the truth: lies, damned lies, and statistics. The joke works because statistics frequently seem like a black box—it can be difficult to understand how statistical theorems make it possible to draw conclusions from data that, on their face, defy easy analysis.

But because data analysis plays a critical role in everything from jet engine reliability to determining the shows we see on television, it’s important to acquire at least a basic understanding of statistics. One of the most important concepts to understand is the central limit theorem.

In this article, we will explain the central limit theorem and show how to demonstrate it using common examples, including the roll of a die and the birthdays of Major League Baseball players.

Defining the central limit theorem

A typical textbook definition of the central limit theorem goes something like this:

Multiple Authors
By: Michelle Paret, Eston Martz

Story update 8/27/2009: An error was spotted and corrected by author in paragraph starting with "The population mean for a six-sided die..."

Mark Twain famously quipped that there were three ways to avoid telling the truth: lies, damned lies, and statistics. The joke works because statistics frequently seem like a black box—it can be difficult to understand how statistical theorems make it possible to draw conclusions from data that, on their face, defy easy analysis.

But because data analysis plays a critical role in everything from jet engine reliability to determining the shows we see on television, it’s important to acquire at least a basic understanding of statistics. One of the most important concepts to understand is the central limit theorem.

In this article, we will explain the central limit theorem and show how to demonstrate it using common examples, including the roll of a die and the birthdays of Major League Baseball players.

Defining the central limit theorem

A typical textbook definition of the central limit theorem goes something like this:

As the sample size increases, the sampling distribution of the mean, X-bar, can be approximated by a normal distribution with mean µ and standard deviation σ/√n where:

Miriam Boudreaux’s picture

By: Miriam Boudreaux

Even after many years of hearing the words ISO 9000 and seeing many organizations achieve registration to ISO 9001, there are still companies who are skeptical when it comes to going for ISO 9001 registration. For some, a misconception about the objectives of the ISO 9001 standard or a lack of knowledge may steer them off this path. For others, it may be financing this goal plus the long-term costs associated with maintaining compliance. Whatever your fears may be, allow me to explain the fundamental benefits and try to demonstrate the reason why ISO 9001 is the best management tool that was ever created.

ISO 9001 as a foundation

When we look at how houses are built all over the world, you will find various construction techniques. Whatever the architectural preference may be, there is one thing that most houses built to code have and that is a foundation. The better the foundation, the better the house will stand the test of time, regardless of how many families pass through its doors.

International Electrotechnical Commission IEC’s picture

By: International Electrotechnical Commission IEC

To come to the brow of a hill and see on the horizon a line of giant wind turbines, their arms turning majestically, never fails to take one’s breath away. These are awesome structures, imposing in their size, their grandeur—and their simplicity.

World wind power capacity

Wind turbines are becoming ever more familiar as environmental concerns drive forward the agenda for renewable energy policies. In terms of world wind power capacity, 2009 figures quoted by the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) show that China is currently the fourth-largest wind power producer after the United States, Germany, and Spain.

In terms of world wind power capacity, 2009 figures show that China is currently the fourth-largest wind power producer after the United States, Germany, and Spain as quoted by the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA).

Brenda Bence’s picture

By: Brenda Bence

All you have to do is look around you to know that brands are powerful. In fact, most people are so loyal to certain brands that they stick with them for life. If brand-name products can evoke that kind of loyalty, why can't people? Well, they can!

The truth is that we all have a personal brand whether we like it or not. Simply by being ourselves in the workplace, others perceive, think, and feel about us in a certain way. The question is whether we have created the personal brand we want.

This is especially important for those who hold leadership positions. If you lead others, the way they perceive, think, and feel about you as a leader, in relation to other leaders, can make or break your short-term and long-term success. These "others" might consist of your subordinates, colleagues, superiors, or even entire divisions or corporations.

Your leadership personal brand affects your image, your reputation, your relationships, and your performance. As a result, it will also affect your overall career and your finances. So, unless you create your desired leadership personal brand consciously, negative perceptions can undermine your best efforts.

Belinda Jones’s picture

By: Belinda Jones

Robert James had what it takes to start a manufacturing company focused on oil-free air and gas compressors—history, expertise, and the willingness to take a second chance on a business he knows well. Nearly 40 years ago, his father William James, began producing oil-free air compressors under the trade name Aeroflow Industries. Aeroflow compressors quickly gained a reputation for longevity and dependability, and soon oil-free gas compressors were introduced to their product line. The company was sold by the James family in 1990 and the name changed to Hycomp.

In 1997, Robert James purchased Hycomp back. As a young boy, he worked on the shop floor of the family business and had a “feel” for the business. James began to reassess the marketplace, and moved to expand the business to include the production of air boosters. The company teamed up with key manufacturers of onsite nitrogen generation systems, and began a hard push to develop and add nitrogen boosters to their product line. Today, Hycomp has a global clientele, and serves a wide range of industries such as pharmaceuticals, oil and natural gas production, laser cutting, and food and beverage

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