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By Blaine Clapper

The need for control over manufacturing processes has never been higher than in today's environment. As this need has increased, so too has the requirement for better management of the equipment used to measure and control manufacturing processes. Fundamental to managing this equipment properly is ensuring that it's correctly calibrated and maintained.

Unfortunately, while many managers are faced with managing a growing number of instruments and increased responsibility, their resources are being reduced. One popular method for minimizing the resources necessary is the implementation of commercial off-the-shelf calibration-management software (CMS).

Desirable CMS Features

 

Maintains and retrieves master equipment, calibration history and measurement data records

 

Automatically schedules future calibration due dates

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By Kevin Cacioppo

“The gulf between satisfied customers and completely satisfied customers can swallow a business.” —Harvard Business Review, November/December 1995

As markets shrink, companies are scrambling to boost customer satisfaction and keep their current customers rather than devoting additional resources to chase potential new customers. The claim that it costs five to eight times as much to get new customers than to hold on to old ones is key to understanding the drive toward benchmarking and tracking customer satisfaction.

Measuring customer satisfaction is a relatively new concept to many companies that have been focused exclusively on income statements and balance sheets. Companies now recognize that the new global economy has changed things forever. Increased competition, crowded markets with little product differentiation and years of continual sales growth followed by two decades of flattened sales curves have indicated to today's sharp competitors that their focus must change.

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By Lisa Renda

"You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” The sage who authored this axiom must have had call centers in mind.

Clearly, maintaining quality is critical in every aspect of a company’s operation, but in few areas is it more important than in the call center. The reason is simple: It is often the initial customer “touch point”--that is, one of the first areas of a business with which a customer makes contact. Accordingly, the call center carries the burden of providing a company’s first impression. Whether that impression is positive or negative can help advance the relationship with the customer or prospect--or end it before it ever really begins. Consequently, managing quality in the call center has to be considered a top priority.

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By Quality Digest

 

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Of all the quality control methodologies over the years, one practice that has endured is statistical process control. Its staying power has much to do with the fact that SPC is based on the permanence of mathematics. SPC is one of the most logical and practical ways to monitor, control, and improve your processes.

There’s only one directory in this section, but it’s an important one—the SPC Software buyers guide. In this guide, you’ll find a list of companies that provide SPC software to help with data gathering, statistical analysis, problem-solving, design of experiments, real-time charting, root cause analysis, Pareto charts, hypothesis testing, and more. Each company’s offerings differ in functions, ease-of-use, format and add-on applications, so it’s best to contact them directly for more information and demonstrations.

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By Quality Digest

 

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Welcome to Quality Digest’s 2009 Registrar Buyers Guide. This handy resource includes more than 50 listings of companies that provide registration and auditing services on several standards, from the ubiquitous ISO 9001 for the overall management of quality management systems to any number of sector-specifics.

Included in each description, you’ll find the company name, location, phone and fax number, web site, and abbreviations representing the standards for which each company provides registration services. A key defining these abbreviations is included below.

Be sure to check this buyers guide online at www.qualitydigest.com/content/buyers-guides for additional information on these companies.

Tom Pyzdek’s picture

By Tom Pyzdek


In 1988, Motorola Corp. became one of the first companies to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The award strives to identify those  excellent firms that are worthy role models for other businesses. One of Motorola's innovations that attracted a great deal of attention was its Six Sigma program. Six Sigma is, basically, a process quality goal. As such, it falls into the category of a process capability (Cp) technique.

The traditional quality paradigm defined a process as capable if the process's natural spread, plus and minus three sigma, was less than the engineering tolerance. Under the assumption of normality, this translates to a process yield of 99.73 percent. A later refinement considered the process location as well as its spread (Cpk) and tightened the minimum acceptable so that the process was at least four sigma from the nearest engineering requirement. Motorola's Six Sigma asks that processes operate such that the nearest engineering requirement is at least plus or minus six sigma from the process mean.

Motorola's Six Sigma program also applies to attribute data. This is accomplished by converting the Six Sigma requirement to equivalent conformance levels (see Figure 1).

Craig Cochran’s picture

By Craig Cochran

The most significant change in the upcoming revision to ISO 9001 is probably not what you'd expect it to be: It's not customer satisfaction, continual improvement or even the process-model structure of the standard. The most significant change is the requirement for quality objectives. ISO 9001:2000 requires that quality objectives be established at each relevant function and level within the organization (i.e., just about everywhere). The manner in which quality objectives are established and managed will have an enormous impact on the organization's performance. The quality objectives will either drive strategic improvements throughout the organization, significantly elevating the importance of the quality management system, or they'll simply become a meaningless exercise in data collection. It all depends on how the task is carried out.

 The basic requirements for quality objectives are quite simple:

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By Thomas Harpointer

Whether you’re a retailer or a supplier to retailers or other businesses, this article is for you. This is the time of year when retailers look at making their web sites more customer-friendly, building traffic and getting them tweaked and tuned for the Christmas season. But the same rules apply to business-to-business operations. We all want our web sites to help us make money, and the methods that work for online retailers will work for nonretailers as well. Consider that according to comScore, $29.2 billion was spent online during the 2007 holiday season, marking a 19-percent gain vs. the same period the year prior. According to a recent National Retail Federation survey, more than 40 percent of shoppers say that they will start the 2008 holiday shopping before Halloween.

Retailers are already deeply involved in the 2008 holiday shopping season. The fourth quarter is vital to a retailer’s overall yearly success, with anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of sales coming during this time frame. Considering that business-to- business sites look for steady income all year long and not just during the holiday season, the following tips are even more relevant.

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By Quality Digest

 

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Test and measurement equipment and service providers are the lifeblood of the quality profession. Without them, quality professionals wouldn’t have the tools they need to accurately measure, test, or inspect vital parts, components, and direct-to-consumer products. Gauge manufacturers and nondestructive testing equipment providers provide the industry with thousands of general-use and specialized tools, including micrometers, thread, height, plug and depth gauges, and digital indicators, to name a very few. Calibration service providers, on the other hand, make certain that the devices used to measure quality in your shop are accurate and working properly.

The three directories in this section are the Gauge Manufacturers buyers guide, the Nondestructive Testing buyers guide, and the Calibration
Services and Software buyers guide.

Craig Cochran’s picture

By Craig Cochran


Because information in document form drives nearly every action in any organization, the ability to control this information usually means the difference between success and failure. Thus, document control remains the single most critical quality assurance discipline. As with many other systems, document control is more successful if it's simple, intuitive and user-friendly. And the first step toward this end is deciding exactly which documents need to be controlled.

Documents requiring control

 "Do I need to control this document?" is one of the most frequently asked questions in organizations working toward, or maintaining, a formal management system. Given the universe of documents possibly requiring control, the question is understandable. Besides, most people would rather not control a document if they don't have to.

 The ISO 9001:2000 standard provides a quick answer to the question of what must be controlled. The first sentence of section 4.2.3 on document control states, "All documents required by the quality management system shall be controlled." This means that if a document addresses or relates to any of the issues in ISO 9001:2000, it must be controlled. Here are some questions to ask when determining whether a document should be controlled: