Jennifer Simcox’s picture

By: Jennifer Simcox

One of the key additions to the R5 version of the telecommunications quality management system standard, TL 9000, is the addition of a risk management requirement. While the requirement is only a single sentence, it is followed by a bulleted note that adds guidance as to the intent. Managing risks that may affect your ability to provide a product or service requested by a customer should be a common business activity; however, recent experiences in our global economic environment have demonstrated that this effort is not as well managed as it should be. To enhance the standard, TL 9000 has taken what has long been a part of the automotive standard—ISO/TS 16949—to manage their supply chain, and also borrowed from Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), to best manage projects.

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By: Denis Leonard

So much is written in the field of business and management about leadership, strategy, dynamic change, Six Sigma, and improving our skills and abilities. But let’s face facts—in the majority of cases we by no means measure up to these levels of achievement. Do you ever read these books and journal articles and then think, "This is great, I’m trying to do this." Do you wonder whether the managers and leaders you encounter ever read this stuff? If they do, do you wonder if they learn from it, or do they see themselves as the ideal manager about whom such books written?

We can learn from books and articles, however, we often too easily and incorrectly recognize ourselves as having already accomplished all of that self-improvement already. Too often, we look in the mirror and see what we want to see. But how do we really act, are we being honest with ourselves?

We can also learn from negative examples... what not to do. Take the test below. Be open, honest, reflect on the questions, and begin to focus on how you can ensure that you learn the lessons needed to improve your organization, leadership, and the lives of your employees and colleagues.

GKS Global Services’s picture

By: GKS Global Services

Litigating in the aftermath of accidents is big business in the United States today. The costs of the lawsuit system are estimated to be several billion dollars a year. With such large sums of money riding on the outcomes of lawsuits every year, tools are needed to ensure that the cases are decided correctly and fairly and that frivolous suits do not waste the resources of the judicial system.

To accurately record and investigate every detail of an accident scene, laser scanning may be the biggest breakthrough since digital photography. Unlike two-dimensional photographs, however, noncontact laser scanning records the scene in three dimensions, capturing every detail, measurement, and placement without disturbing any evidence. Happily, it is gaining popularity with investigators and was even used to recreate a crime scene on a popular television drama recently.

Michael Raphael’s picture

By: Michael Raphael

3-D digitizing technologies have been utilized in the industrial world for the last 20 years but are increasingly used in many other fields. One of the exciting, but unanticipated, uses of 3-D measurement tools has been their adoption by museums for sculpture conservation, research, and interactive exhibits.

3-D scanning is a perfect fit for documenting museum pieces. Museums, for example, typically have pieces that cannot or should not be touched, yet present tremendous opportunity for study, documentation, interactive presentation, or scaled for one-to-one reproduction. The great news is that with one scan, all of the above can be achieved without any physical contact with the work of art.

Direct Dimensions Inc. (DDI) first became involved with scanning sculptures for research purposes in 2004 when they were approached by the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) to scan two castings of Antoine Louis Barye’s “Tigre qui Marche” (The Walking Tiger). The BMA was interested in dimensionally inspecting and comparing two of the (many) existing castings. Direct Dimensions laser scanned the two tigers with a Faro Scan Arm and overlaid the two resulting 3-D models to compare them.

Akhilesh Gulati and Ravi Chawla’s default image

By: Akhilesh Gulati and Ravi Chawla

At a time when the world banking system is still fragile and most global companies are cutting costs in customer service, one UK company is investing seriously in its customers.

In an article that appeared in the Times on Jan. 16, in London, Andrew Higgins, CEO of Tesco Personal Finance, sent a £500 shopping voucher to every one of the bank’s customers who lost their home in the Cumbrian floods in November 2009 and a £100 voucher to those whose homes were damaged. The action may have cost Tesco money, but Higgins hopes that it will boost the Tesco Bank brand and cement customer loyalty. Tesco plc is a UK-based international grocery and general merchandising retail chain that has been making a foray into the financial industry since 1997.

“I don’t think that receiving a letter like that constituted success in itself. We genuinely did it because they were loyal Tesco customers who had suffered hardship. But it is clear that it was a gesture of a magnitude that people could recognize,” says Higgins.

The vouchers are a good illustration of how Tesco is seeking to capitalize on the backlash against high-street banks by trying to offer a different, more positive banking and insurance experience.

Stephen J. Marshall’s picture

By: Stephen J. Marshall

Printed circuite board (PCB) manufacturing is moving rapidly up the technology ladder. Keeping internal processes current (and compliant) with new requirements, without disrupting existing customer demands, presents ongoing risks. To minimize potential failures, it is necessary to identify and manage these risks. The new version of the aerospace quality management system standard AS9100:2009 (Revision C) requires companies to assess and manage the risks involved with providing their product or service. Risk is defined in the standard as “an undesirable situation or circumstance that has both a likelihood of occurring and a potentially negative consequence.”

Risk identification

Risk management consists of identifying those potentially undesirable situations, assessing their probability of occurring, understanding what the impact may be should the event happen, and determining what to do if the risk level is too high. Situations can be defined as failures and defect rates can be used to identify risk potential. The situations with the greatest defects are audited using a failure mode effects analysis (FMEA) rating system shown in figure 1. The results rate the level of risk, the likelihood of occurrence, and the consequence.

Jane Martinsons’s default image

By: Jane Martinsons

With or without health care reform, health care quality professionals know that change is already a new reality for U.S. health care, transforming the industry, their own organizations, and their professional roles on what seems a daily basis.

“With all the changes that we’re facing in health care in the next five to 10 years, we’re going to have to develop a whole new skill set,” says Carrie Donovan, risk management coordinator at 40-bed Spearfish Regional Hospital, in Spearfish, South Dakota. “It’s not going to be enough anymore to just be technically competent. You’re going to have to be a leader. You’re not going to have a choice because our hospitals are going to be fighting to survive. [Health care organizations] are going to be relying on quality and patient safety and patient satisfaction to do so.”

Jennifer Sprance’s picture

By: Jennifer Sprance

The molecular diagnostics industry is a relatively new territory that offers much promise for early disease detection and personalized patient care. When analyzing samples at the molecular level, there are serious consequences for errors, and tests must be highly accurate and precise. For example, molecular diagnostics may be used to detect the presence of DNA in samples collected at a crime scene, or to determine whether parents carry a genetic mutation that causes inherited diseases, such as cystic fibrosis.

While quality molecular test results are essential, standardized quality control materials for molecular diagnostic tests were rare until recently, when Maine Molecular Quality Control Inc. (MMQCI) was founded to fill this market need. The company manufactures and sells the first FDA-approved quality control materials for genetic testing and is on a mission to help companies that use or manufacture molecular diagnostics enhance their data integrity.

Quality is the company’s mantra and MMQCI practices what it preaches. As pipetting is one of the most ubiquitous and important processes in the development and manufacture of its quality control materials, MMQCI has a stringent liquid handling quality assurance program.

Steve Moore’s picture

By: Steve Moore

The purpose of this article is to give you an appreciation of the Quincunx as an educational tool for teaching some of the theory behind the tools and concepts of so-called modern quality management. The Quincunx is often seen in the possession of organizations practicing in-house education of statistical process control (SPC); however, it is seldom utilized for anything beyond a demonstration of the normal distribution. Indeed, the literature itself is virtually devoid of references to the Quincunx beyond this use.

Sir Francis Galton (1822–1911) invented the Quincunx in the 1870s to demonstrate the law of error and the normal distribution. He was a prolific inventor, scientist, and mathematician and was knighted in 1909. Beyond the Quincunx, Galton conceived the standard deviation, invented the use of the regression line, and was the first to describe the phenomenon of the regression toward the mean.

Dan Adams’s picture

By: Dan Adams

If you’re like most business-to-business (B2B) suppliers, you’re probably making certain predictable mistakes that can greatly affect your ability to compete. Unless your company has smarter employees, some inherent unassailable advantage, or a markedly different approach to satisfying customers, those competitors always seem to throttle your growth. But what if you and your competitors were committing some serious mistakes that stunt organic growth—and you corrected them? Wouldn’t that be enough to propel you to the front of the line?

You already know that organic growth makes for a stronger company. It just makes sense to grow from within by developing outstanding products and services that win over new customers and keep current ones coming back. The alternatives are to grow via debt financing or an army of flush-with-cash buyers on a spending spree—and clearly, neither is easy to come by these days. The problem is, your competitors are playing by the same rules. But you can outwit them simply by putting a halt to the mistakes you (and they) are making right now.

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