Denis Leonard and Bill Denney’s default image

By: Denis Leonard and Bill Denney

For nearly 20 years, the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence have proven themselves time and again to be a path to exceptional organizational performance. Used in more than 70 countries around the world, the seven categories of the criteria are often seen as essential for excellence.

What’s so brilliant about the criteria is that they can have an immediate effect on an organization. Once you do a self-assessment and organizational profile, you know exactly what to change and improve, and that points you toward a range of methods and tools that may be applicable. It’s different for everyone. Every organization will find and follow its own path. As a living, changing document that may adapt to each organization, the criteria will endure.

While the categories have evolved over the years, how they’re viewed and the relationships among them have changed little.

Craig Cochran’s picture

By: Craig Cochran

A few years ago, I had the good fortune of doing some consulting with B&C Specialty Products in Hopeulikit, Georgia. B&C does light manufacturing, primarily plastic molding and assembly, and they also distribute imported products produced by companies in the Far East. They have about 150 employees and are the biggest employer by far in Hopeulikit.

B&C was a perfect place to learn about managing and quality. Every day presented a new lesson. Usually the lessons were hard-learned, and those are the ones that really stick with you. B&C was gracious enough to allow me to interview their personnel about things that came up during my time there. Here is an interesting lesson: Engage top management. It accurately depicts the pitfalls of embarking on a quality journey without the full engagement of top management. The scenario is described by the people who actually lived it.

Prasad Nair’s default image

By: Prasad Nair

Quality and customer focus have always been topmost strategic weapons in the arsenal of successful corporations, which nurture strategic initiatives like a gardener looks after a garden. It’s quite an imaginative thought to see the resemblance of the deployment of a quality system to the blossoming of a flower.

Each petal of this flower must be cared for and nurtured to ensure that the blooming flower gives you all the beauty of which it is capable. The first and the last petals are about culture building and the softer aspects of any change initiative. The third, fourth, and fifth petals are about the quality of the leaders, especially those heading such an initiative. The second, sixth, and seventh petals are about the overall structure, texture, and color of this initiative. As the flower blooms, these petals give us several benefits.

Quality Digest’s picture

By: Quality Digest

I recently got a call from the owner of a local manufacturing company asking my advice on whether to implement SAP.  This is a single-site, $5 million operation with one nice, big, contiguous manufacturing floor, making rather uncomplicated widgets that have a raw material lead time of a couple days and a manufacturing cycle time of a couple of hours.  The next sound he heard was the bam-bam-bam of my head banging against the wall.He obviously hadn’t read my post on the False God of the Almighty Algorithm or he could’ve guessed my opinion.

Of course, SAP is not designed for companies of that size, and the cheapest implementation I’ve heard of is in the $500,000 range.  The same can be said for almost all enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.  Some form of system may be needed for large multisite or complex operations, but they’re often not appropriate for smaller companies, and they’re almost always overly relied upon at larger ones.

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

Customer relationship management (CRM) usually refers to sales activities, and CRM software is commonly purchased, and occasionally used, to track potential customers, existing customers and sales activities.

“Contract manufacturing is unquestionably a relationship business. CRM must manage the relationship bringing maximum value to both parties; CRM is and has been key to successful long-term partnerships. Customers rely on their contract manufacturer for the core of their business, and quality validation, corroboration, open communications and the supplier-customer relationship are critical for success,” says Larry Caretsky of Commence Corp.

According to ISO 9001, manufacturing companies seeking a product definition or answers to service and marketing questions must get such information from their customers. The ISO standard requires companies to establish processes for identifying customer requirements and communicating those requirements throughout their organization, as well as processes for tracking and analyzing customer satisfaction. The standard has direct application for CRM, particularly for contract manufacturers.

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

Customer relationship management (CRM) usually refers to sales activities, and CRM software is commonly purchased, and occasionally used, to track potential customers, existing customers and sales activities.

“Contract manufacturing is unquestionably a relationship business. CRM must manage the relationship bringing maximum value to both parties; CRM is and has been key to successful long-term partnerships. Customers rely on their contract manufacturer for the core of their business, and quality validation, corroboration, open communications and the supplier-customer relationship are critical for success,” says Larry Caretsky of Commence Corp.

According to ISO 9001, manufacturing companies seeking a product definition or answers to service and marketing questions must get such information from their customers. The ISO standard requires companies to establish processes for identifying customer requirements and communicating those requirements throughout their organization, as well as processes for tracking and analyzing customer satisfaction. The standard has direct application for CRM, particularly for contract manufacturers.

Craig Cochran’s picture

By: Craig Cochran

Last year, I had the good fortune of doing some consulting with B&C Specialty Products in Hopeulikit, Georgia. B&C does light manufacturing, primarily plastic molding and assembly, and they also distribute imported products produced by companies in the Far East. They have about 150 employees and are the biggest employer by far in Hopeulikit.

B&C was a perfect place to learn about managing and quality. Every day presented a new lesson. Usually the lessons were hard-learned, and those are the ones that really stick with you. B&C was gracious enough to allow me to interview their personnel about things that came up during my time there. Here is an interesting lesson: Don’t fail to strategize. The scenario is described by the people who actually lived it.

—J. T. Ryan, president

Peter Tzaklev’s default image

By: Peter Tzaklev

The quality level of Bulgarian companies is far from the six sigma level, but so far they have been satisfying requirements. Many manufacturing firms in Bulgaria are registered to ISO 9001, especially those that are working for foreign customers in a sort of outsourcing.

Every year, quality improves because requirements increase, but this improvement is not by 10 percent, as H. James Harrington recommends in the article “Managing Quality in a Global Economy,” by Amy Zuckerman, published in the March 2005 issue of Quality Digest magazine. A lot of Bulgarian firms are deep in financial and marketing crises, and the only way for them to save themselves is to manufacture cheaper goods with higher quality.

The cheapest goods in the world are made in China, and we can not compete with them. But as for quality, we are certainly competitive. Why do I think so? Because we have a surplus of highly educated and skilled specialists and workers. Our manufacturing facilities in Bulgaria are not bad. We are currently open to the whole world, and we know we can manufacture a lot of things, just as do the Germans, French, English, Italians and others.

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

Food quality and safety are priorities for consumers, and from Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) to the Bioterrorism Act to lot traceability, food manufacturers are responding. Reputations and brands are at risk when safety concerns and product recalls are front-page news. There are many recent examples from spinach to pet food; the cost of low quality can be brand-killing.

As the Jewish population continues to decrease, kosher foods are migrating into the mainstream. According to a recent Mintel report on kosher foods, more than 55 percent of respondents who buy them feel that kosher products meet a higher standard of safety and health than nonkosher items.

Although different religious practices guide the diets of Jews and Muslims, the high-quality standards applied to kosher and halal foods are remarkably similar.

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

Food quality and safety are priorities for consumers, and from Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) to the Bioterrorism Act to lot traceability, food manufacturers are responding. Reputations and brands are at risk when safety concerns and product recalls are front-page news. There are many recent examples from spinach to pet food; the cost of low quality can be brand-killing.

As the Jewish population continues to decrease, kosher foods are migrating into the mainstream. According to a recent Mintel report on kosher foods, more than 55 percent of respondents who buy them feel that kosher products meet a higher standard of safety and health than nonkosher items.

Although different religious practices guide the diets of Jews and Muslims, the high-quality standards applied to kosher and halal foods are remarkably similar.

Kosher food products

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