Paul W. Ingallinera’s default image

By Paul W. Ingallinera

Imagine that you oversee the quality control department for a small lug nut manufacturer that supplies the major U.S. automakers. One night, as you're watching the news, the station features a story about a car that lost one of its wheels while traveling more than 55 miles per hour. The car hit a guard rail, and all persons in the vehicle were badly injured. The ensuing investigation determines that the wheel failed because its lug nuts sheered off.

The problem ultimately is traced to a torque wrench, used during the lug nut manufacturer's final inspection, that hadn't been calibrated in more than 10 years. Consequently, it displayed incorrect torque values. You can't understand how this could have happened because your company is registered to ISO 9000 and recently achieved QS-9000 compliance. Upon reflection, however, you realize that the wrench never was entered into the calibration system and therefore never addressed during the audit.