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By Heero Hacquebord

 

Decision-making with respect to improving performance is a matter of prediction. So is leadership. For example, was the energy crisis a rational, predictive event 30 years ago? Or was it random, unpredictable, and unpreventable? If it’s the latter, then we must believe that we are morons with no theory, knowledge, or predictive capability, and are powerless to influence our environment or future. No reasonable person accepts that.

Tom Pyzdek’s picture

By Tom Pyzdek

We’ve heard it before: “______ won’t be around long. It’s the flavor of the month.” Fill in the blank with the latest management fad: zero defects, quality circles, SPC, TQM, systems thinking, balanced scorecards, reengineering, and most recently, Six Sigma and lean. What exactly is meant by tagging something the flavor of the month (FOM)? Should practitioners even care when their special initiative is the target of this unwelcome label?

H. James Harrington’s picture

By H. James Harrington

I believe that most manufacturers have mistakenly focused on initial quality and reducing cost and cycle time during the production and delivery cycle. This has come at the expense of reliability.

Customers buy for the following reasons, listed by top priority:
Features
Cost
Availability
Quality

Scott Paton’s picture

By Scott Paton

Quality professionals obsess about processes. We are so focused on processes that we sometimes forget that people who aren’t directly involved in quality don’t understand the importance of them. When we see process failure or processes that don’t make sense, they stick out like sore thumbs. Everything that gets done is the result of some sort of a process. There are, however, poorly designed processes, poorly implemented processes, inefficient processes. . . you get the idea.

Donald J. Wheeler’s picture

By Donald J. Wheeler

I recently received a data set consisting of the number of major hurricanes in the North Atlantic from 1940 to 2007. (Major hurricanes are those that reach Category 3 status or higher at some point during their existence.)

Denise Robitaille’s picture

By Denise Robitaille

As some of you know, quality “speak” and concepts have been known to bleed into my everyday life. This is not uncommon for quality professionals. The only difference between some of us and the rest of you is that many of you are still in denial. You won’t admit to the occasional slip of the quality tongue (e.g., “I need to see the objective evidence that you’ve done your homework.”)

Tom Pyzdek’s picture

By Tom Pyzdek

Steve McDowell, CEO of TechDyno, looked quizzically at the smiling young woman standing at the front of the room. Lorraine Whitcombe finished her presentation by enthusiastically declaring, “That’s how my group will ‘Go for the O!’” That’s when Steve’s expression changed from interested to something resembling a layman at a particle physics convention.

Scott Paton’s picture

By Scott Paton

If you’ve been paying attention, it’s probably no surprise to many of you that magazines and newspapers are struggling to survive. Daily newspapers are getting smaller and smaller; magazines are getting thinner and thinner. This issue of Quality Digest is the smallest we’ve ever produced. The long-predicted “end of print” seems to have finally materialized. The recession, the high price of fuel last year, and the popularity of the internet have all radically changed the balance sheet for traditional print media.

H. James Harrington’s picture

By H. James Harrington

Given all the campaigning by Barack Obama and John McCain, including the many promises they’re making that I believe won’t be kept, I recall my own predictions and visionary assurances a decade ago concerning the quality profession in the 21st century. When I was asked during the mid-1990s, “How do you see the quality profession changing to meet the needs of the 21st century?”, this is how I responded:

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By Denise Robitaille

On several occasions while conducting a third-party surveillance audit, I’ve gotten the following query--or a variation thereof: “One of our customers called us last week and wants to come in to do an audit in three weeks. Why can’t they just accept the results of the audit that you’re doing? After all, they’re auditing us to the same requirements. Isn’t registration to ISO 9001 supposed to stop these multiple customer audits?”