Letters to Quality Digest
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Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

Through an oversight, the co-author of the Quality Digest October cover article, "Quality Turf Wars" [Oct. 1997], was not credited in the byline. As much as I would like to take sole credit for the article, the fact is Annette Simmons of Group Process Consulting in Greensboro, North Carolina, contributed more than half of the article's content. Additionally, the intellectual content, summarized by the territorial games chart depicted on page 30, is a product of her research. The merit of Annette's work has been recognized by many, including the American Management Association, which recently published her book, Territorial Games: Understanding and Ending Turf Wars at Work, through their publishing arm, AMACOM Books.

--J. Michael Crouch

We apologize for leaving Annette Simmons' name out of the byline. --Ed.


SPC vs. Paper and Pencil

I enjoyed "Using Excel for Data Analysis" [Oct. 1997]. I was a bit surprised, however, about the negative comments aimed at tools designed to make SPC data collection and processing fast, easy and uniform.

Most companies in Indiana use professionally designed collectors and SPC software to monitor their parts and processes for consistency and capability. They find that such systems pay for themselves very quickly when implemented correctly and used religiously.

Several advantages are associated with automated SPC data collection and processing vs. paper and pencil collection techniques:

Nonattended data collection eliminates the need for roving inspectors; real-time SPC data collection and processing identifies problems immediately; automatic or digital data collection saves time and eliminates transcription errors; database capabilities efficiently associate key characteristics and appropriate sample sizes with specific product numbers or process parameters; analysis of data from certified collectors and software are uniform and correct from company to company.

--Mark Veith
Rockwell Automation/DataMyte

Fruits of the Spirit

I am a 23-year-old QS-9000 facilitator for Dana Corp. in Anniston, Alabama, where my facility has recently been recommended for ISO 9002 certification. The articles you produce have been very informative and educational for me.

I was very impressed with Ken Blanchard's recent column that said companies should have spiritual grounding ["What Makes an Organization Successful," Sept. 1997]. I firmly agree with this. Having come from a Christian home, I understand what a spiritual base provides: traits of commitment, loyalty, hard work, honesty, integrity and respect. When a company begins to function as a family unit and develops common goals through cohesive efforts at achieving them, the real benefits of spiritual grounding become obvious.

--Nathan J. Payne

Good SPC, Bad SPC

It has been my experience that the real problems with using traditional SPC charts have little to do with finding a better method, as stated by Udler and Zaks in their editorial, "SPC: Statistical Political Correctness?" [Nov. 1997]. Rather, they are caused by ineffective and weak implementation of most SPC programs. Lack of management support and interest, ineffective training, poor subgrouping techniques, inconsistent measurement methods, excessive measurement roundoff, confusing product specs with process limits, and process monitoring vs. process improvement are just some of the issues I have seen as major obstacles to effective SPC use.

As SPC practitioners, our focus should be improving SPC implementation. Before we criticize the traditional (X-bar, R) chart, let's first learn to use it better.

--Rich DeRoeck

The Way of the Eager Beavers

We would like to let you know how much we appreciated Ken Blanchard's column, "The Way of the Beaver" [Nov. 1997]. We wholeheartedly agree that the beaver's attributes exist in the independently driven, yet cohesive, office setting.

We are employed as RNs in an HMO. Some time ago, we came to refer to ourselves as the "QM Beavers." Our area is often looked on with envy by others in our company due to our tight-knit clan. We all pull together to complete the necessary tasks at hand, albeit in different ways depending on each individual's skill sets. We have the utmost respect for each other and look out for one another both professionally and personally.

The only point of clarification we would offer is beavers are hard to herd--it takes nearly an act of God to get everyone ready to go out to lunch!

--Stacey, Debbie, Ken, Kim, Sue, Elsa, Kathleen and Suzette

Kudos to Ken Blanchard

I have enjoyed and been encouraged by Ken Blanchard's recent columns in Quality Digest. "Profit as a Means, not an End" [Aug. 1997], "What Makes an Organization Successful" [Sept. 1997] and "Spirit of the Squirrel" [Oct. 1997] by Ken Blanchard make no apology for the Judeo-Christian worldview of the business world and work. I commend him for his courage and convictions for doing this in a widely read publication and risking the ridicule of colleagues and subscribers. I pray that many business leaders will read his column and adopt some of the principles he has expounded upon in their own corporations and businesses.

--Shaun K. Blackburn
Bluffton, Ohio

A Control Chart Worth a Thousand Words

I was very disappointed to read the article on customer satisfaction on the rise [News Digest, Oct. 1997]. It was full of references to single-point increases in the satisfaction index, insignificant changes and relatively stable ACSI scores. I would expect run charts of the data at a minimum. It would have been an opportunity to demonstrate the uses of individual value moving-range charts to show the difference between a change and a detectable difference. Next time, please include some historical data or control charts so we can see the significance of the changes--rather than "relatively" misunderstood adjectives.

--Mike L. Anderson

Because of space and time limitations in creating News Digest, the use of run charts for such a small story would be prohibitive. --Ed.


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