Paul McNamara’s default image

By: Paul McNamara

Brutally competitive markets are driving companies to design, build and improve their products faster and at lower costs. Faced with this economic climate, companies are understandably intent on freeing up resources—capital, engineering time and even plant space—that can be reallocated to high-growth, high-margin endeavors.For companies in high-tech electronics, testing is a mission-critical part of the new product development cycle. In these companies, test-related functions—and the engineers who perform them—consume enormous amounts of resources and company time.

Robert F. Hart, Ph.D., and Marilyn K. Hart, Ph.D.’s default image

By: Robert F. Hart, Ph.D., and Marilyn K. Hart, Ph.D.

A steel mill had a quality problem in the manufacture of cold-rolled steel for use in applications such as automobile hoods. Several hot-rolled coils were welded end-to-end to form a long continuous band. The band included the welds that were made to join the original coils together. Unfortunately, many of these welds were failing under tension, causing damage and extreme danger as the coils flailed about.A functional test was performed at the weld station to discover why these coils were failing. After removing the long ridge of previously molten metal, the weld was removed in a 12 in.

Barbara A. Cleary’s picture

By: Barbara A. Cleary

Donald Trump’s dramatic, “You’re fired!” on the reality show “The Apprentice” is just entertainment to most people. To teams of summer interns at PQ Systems Inc. in Dayton, Ohio, however, it meant a challenge for the ensuing work week.

Shellye Archambeau’s picture

By: Shellye Archambeau

"Quality is never an accident, it is always the result of an intelligent effort"
—John Ruskin (1819-1900)

Robert Nix’s default image

By: Robert Nix

My first experience with the word “culture” comes from my high school science class. We grew a living organism on a nutrient base, which the teacher called a culture.

Philip Crosby Associates’s default image

By: Philip Crosby Associates

Ask employees at any financial institution to pick two words to describe a typical core system conversion, and "major headache" is likely the nicest description you’ll hear. Ask that question at $1 billion South Carolina Federal Credit Union, North Charleston, South Carolina, and prepare to hand over a quarter. The "C word" was retired from acceptable office language in the aftermath of a stressful 1996 conversion project, and just uttering it within that credit union’s halls will earn you a 25-cent fine.

Why such visceral reactions?

Craig Cochran’s picture

By: Craig Cochran

Editor’s story update 6/15/2017: This article was originally published on our site in 2004. Although it references ISO 9001:2000 rather than the current version of the quality management standard, Cochran’s 10 questions remain useful for organizations preparing for an audit.

All experienced auditors accumulate favorite audit questions, and I’m no exception. I have a short, punchy list of queries I invariably ask while evaluating a management system. Favorites aside, though, what are truly the most important audit questions? What questions will reveal a system’s effectiveness and an organization’s overall performance? I compiled a list of the top 10.

1. How do you contribute to achieving your organization’s objectives?

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