The article "The Basics of Internal Auditing" (Denise Robitaille, June 2007) is one of the best on auditing I have ever read. It was well laid-out with a logical flow, and the information provided took me back to the basics of my original training in auditing. It was, in a condensed form, almost verbatim of that training. Every critical point of an audit was covered in a concise and focused manner.
I have printed it out and put it into my audit folder as a quick and handy reference to each step in the audit process.
—Andrew M. Brody
Thanks, Denise, for taking us back to the basics. Your very practical and helpful advice is much appreciated.
Regarding "The Mother of (5S) Invention" (Mike Micklewright, QualityInsider, http://qualitydigest.com/IQedit/QDarticle_text.lasso?articleid=12138): Try applying any management or quality theory to your private life and you will end up living alone or with your parents (if they will have you.) Clutter in one's personal life fulfills psychological needs and is not necessarily a bad thing. Many of us feel connected to our past, whether we organize the materials or not. I keep my old Boy Scout badges because they evoke pleasant memories. Where does the human experience live without mementos? We might as well banish poetry and music. Creativity frequently requires multiple simultaneous attempts at expression—at least, that's the way I see it from my overloaded downstairs office with the 1890s school desk with original inkwell. This is where I come for inspiration.
While you are cleaning up and throwing out your TQM materials, you might want to reread page 1 of Deming's "Out of the Crisis," where he talks about waste reduction. 5S, like Six Sigma, is trendy, but it misses the full picture as taught by Deming.
James Harrington's article ("Phony Express," June 2007) was mind-opening and made me think about my own organization's shortcomings when it comes to communication in all forms. I have set a goal for my team to find ways to improve upon our communication style because, as Mr. Harrington states, it "is our personal mark of excellence."
I enjoyed the article. Please continue to share your ideas and opinions. I find them very useful.
I couldn't agree more about the low level of e-mail quality and the overabundance of junk out there. Considering its importance to the functioning of today's business world, one would think that e-mail would merit a little more care. If everyone would just slow down a little bit and do things right, we'd all be better off.
Editor's note: In May's "Do the Math," the solution to the puzzle included the equation for calculating percent increase/decrease. The equation was taken from a Web site and incorrectly transcribed at the last minute, resulting in the misplacement of a critical parenthesis. Readers, of course, gleefully flooded us with sarcastic barbs.
In thanks, we are sending the first four of those gleeful readers a little gift—an MP3 player. In Paris Hilton pink. With only 512 MB of memory, and what we understand to be an almost impossible-to-use interface. Well… they like puzzles. They'll figure it out.
And if that wasn't enough…
Your May issue had an ironic twist on page 11. Next to the "Do the Math" column was a box titled "The War Over Health." The text reported that 85 percent of respondents listed the cost of health care as their "top concern," 80 percent listed rising fuel costs as their "main worry," 79 percent reported the war in Iraq as their "top concern," and "The threat of global warming was cited by 61 percent of respondents."
The terms "top concern" and "main worry" imply that each respondent had only one choice, and that the total of those choices should add up to no more than 100 percent. The article lists 305 percent of survey respondents with a specific "top concern." A total of more than 100 percent with a unique item such as "top concern" is a mathematical indication that something is wrong.
Editor's note: Good catch, Walt. We agree that the sentence should have been more clearly worded. Rather than using definitive terms such as "top" or "main," we should have said something along the lines of "among their top concerns."
Editor's note: In the June 2007 article "The Traits of a Healthy Control Chart" by Matthew J. Savage and M. Stephen Daum, the authors described Lloyd Nelson as having been editor of "Technometrics." Actually, according to the American Society for Quality, in the 1960s, as the editor of ASQ's Industrial Quality Control, Nelson proposed dividing the magazine into two publications, the general-interest magazine, Quality Progress, and the more technical quarterly, Journal of Quality Technology, of which he was the founding editor.