Mark Albert’s picture

By: Mark Albert

Many shops have implemented computerized systems to gather data for production reporting, quality control, statistical process control (SPC), and tool management. Stephen Birman, president of High Tech Research Inc. of Deerfield, Illinois, believes one knowledge-based system that integrates all of these functions can create a level of operational control that delivers otherwise unattainable benefits. Not surprisingly, this holistic concept is behind the Micronite software that his company offers.

Patrick Sweeney’s picture

By: Patrick Sweeney

A work instruction is a tool provided to help someone do a job correctly. This simple statement implies that the purpose of the work instruction is quality and that the target user is the worker. Unfortunately, in many workplaces, today’s work instructions have little connection with this fundamental focus. Factories have encumbered work instructions with content that has been added to satisfy auditors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, and yes, even quality managers. We’ve piled on so much extraneous material that we’ve lost sight of the intended purpose of work instructions.

Instead of providing a simple tool to do a job right, we’ve buried the work instruction under a cascade of specifications, contract requirements, revision history, references, controls, licensing provisions, and engineering theory. The person who uses the work instruction has become an afterthought in favor of satisfying a licensing or certifying auditor.

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

Story update 6/03/2011: The first two paragraphs following the subhead "ISO 22000 users" were changed.  

Regulatory and standards compliance is a requirement that meets with regular resistance from CFOs and CEOs who must justify the expense. Brand protection from recalls and costly litigation is essential; ultimately avoiding catastrophic business outcomes proves less of a driver for actionable traceability than seeking enhanced profitability.

The paradigm has shifted from traceability as a necessary evil to a quantifiable lean-enhanced profitability process.

With food safety at the highest levels of concern by the average customer, the ISO 22000 (and Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 220) standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization, complying with food safety regulations has never been more important than it is today. Communication in the food chain is essential to ensure that all relevant food safety hazards are identified and adequately controlled at each step within the food chain.

This interactive communication is the first step in the ISO 22000 international standard, which specifies the requirements for a food safety management system includes system management and utilizes hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) principles.

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

Story update 6/03/2011: The first two paragraphs following the subhead "ISO 22000 users" were changed.  

Regulatory and standards compliance is a requirement that meets with regular resistance from CFOs and CEOs who must justify the expense. Brand protection from recalls and costly litigation is essential; ultimately avoiding catastrophic business outcomes proves less of a driver for actionable traceability than seeking enhanced profitability.

The paradigm has shifted from traceability as a necessary evil to a quantifiable lean-enhanced profitability process.

With food safety at the highest levels of concern by the average customer, the ISO 22000 (and Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 220) standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization, complying with food safety regulations has never been more important than it is today. Communication in the food chain is essential to ensure that all relevant food safety hazards are identified and adequately controlled at each step within the food chain.

This interactive communication is the first step in the ISO 22000 international standard, which specifies the requirements for a food safety management system includes system management and utilizes hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) principles.

Peter J. Sherman’s picture

By: Peter J. Sherman

For the record, I’m a registered Independent voter. With that said… Recently, President Obama’s nominee for commerce secretary, Sen. Judd Gregg, unexpectedly withdrew from the position. Was it because of skeletons in his closet: unreported nanny taxes, inappropriate personal lifestyle, questionable business practices? No, the reason evidently had to with a disagreement over who would take control of the Census Bureau—the Commerce Department or the Obama Administration. At the center of the debate, however, was how the census would be conducted. Would it use the traditional actual count method or statistical sampling techniques?

Before explaining the differences between both approaches, I need to share some background information on the census. Every 10 years, our nation conducts the ritual of counting the population. The purpose of the census is more than just reporting it in high-school textbooks. The census determines how many seats each state gets in the House of Representatives and helps to determine where the district lines are drawn within each state. Literally, billions of dollars are at stake because these population-driven financing formulas can determine where federal spending is allocated.

Steve Rogers’s default image

By: Steve Rogers

Today’s manufacturers must develop products quickly and inexpensively to meet the demands of a competitive marketplace. Rigorous testing to meet North American product certification requirements may prove to be a time-intensive process. If not properly planned, third-party approvals can inadvertently delay product launch plans and increase overhead costs.

In one common example, a third-party testing lab finds a problem with a product, and must ship the faulty item back to the manufacturer for review and modification. Once corrected, the manufacturer ships the product to the lab again for additional testing. If another issue is found, the product returns to the manufacturer for yet another round of review and changes. This process continues until the lab approves a product that meets quality standards. With a certified in-house lab, the development team can bypass this back-and-forth process and make product adjustments accordingly and without delays.

Kurt Boveington’s picture

By: Kurt Boveington

With all of the quality lingo over the years, “right-the-first-time,” “prevention vs. detection,” “total quality,” “Six Sigma,” “ kaizen, ” and “continuous improvement,” Intermec Media, a label converter in Fairfield, Ohio, has taken this to another level and applied these concepts to their own internal audit process. As with any process, it’s better to do it right the first time; hopefully the process will prevent problems from reoccurring, and allow itself to be continually improved so that it can adapt to an ever-changing business.

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) is an iterative four-step problem-solving process typically used in business process improvement. It’s also known as the Deming Cycle. When W. Edwards Deming postulated this process, there was no such system as e-commerce.

PDCA has been rarely applied to web sites or to the quality of the enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation, which is often the backbone of the e-commerce web site.  This is particularly true in SAP ERP implementations. Sam Bayer, Ph.D., founder of b2b2dot0 suggests, “The e-commerce web site provides the ultimate ‘check’ of the quality of the ERP configuration, business rules, and data. Real-time integrated e-commerce web sites can provide a positive effect on overall order entry quality. If they are standalone web sites that are separately maintained, they will inject defects into the process.”

William A. Levinson’s picture

By: William A. Levinson

Carbon dioxide emissions are symptomatic of energy consumption in manufacturing, especially in transportation. Therefore initiatives to reduce them often cut supply chain costs as well. However, the exaggerated focus on carbon emissions is dysfunctional and it may overlook other cost-reduction opportunities.

Costs and benefits of greenhouse gas reduction

One of the most discussed environmental benefits of greenhouse gas reduction is mitigation of global warming. The costs related to greenhouse gas emission reduction are associated with sequestration of carbon dioxide, wind, and solar generation techniques that cannot pass a managerial economic analysis on their own merits, and non-value-adding carbon credit trading programs. Serious questions must be asked as to whether it’s worth hundreds of billions of dollars for marginal mitigation of rising sea levels, desertification, and so on.

Daniel M. Smith’s default image

By: Daniel M. Smith

Why would anyone start a new metrology business in this economic climate? Why would they do it in Michigan, the epicenter of the automotive industry recession? The short answer is that if you can identify a clear need in the marketplace for your product and have the ability and expertise to bring it to market, then the risk is minimal, manageable, and worth it. That was the thinking that lead FixLogix, an Olivet-based CMM fixture manufacturer, to develop and market a new product in the middle of a recession.

Modular-fixture systems for coordinate measuring machines (CMM) were introduced in the late 1980’s. Since then, there have been tremendous advances in CMM technology. Advances in computer systems and software led to the development of new machine designs. Software-based 3-D error compensation allowed for simpler, less expensive machine structures. Graphical user interfaces simplified software-based alignments, reducing the need to square the work-piece up to the machine axis. Meanwhile, modular fixture systems for CMMs remained relatively unchanged, based on the obsolete concept of building the holding fixture to gauge tolerances. As time went on, and CMM prices declined, the cost of a modular fixture system became a much greater percentage of the total solution.

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