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Departments: First Word

 

  
   

Staying Topical

Thoughts on article selection

by Dirk Dusharme

 

We know that some of our readers (and advertisers and, well, heck, even us) wonder how we choose the articles that we print in Quality Digest. It's not entirely random, you know. Using this month as an example, let me show you what goes through my mind when reviewing an article topic for applicability to our audience. Potential writers, take note.

"Ensuring Color Integrity"--Crucial technology. Color is critical to many companies for branding purposes or sales appeal, and it's incredibly difficult to communicate color correctly throughout the entire supply chain. As anyone who has taken a picture with their digital camera, looked at it on their monitor, and then printed it on their color ink-jet will tell you, color in does not always equal color out. But who cares, right? If your sister's obnoxious boyfriend prints out looking a little jaundiced, so much the better. But imagine a textile manufacturer trying to communicate a dye color to a mill for fabric to be used in this year's fall lineup. The final fabric color must match what the designer sees on his monitor, or millions of dollars in sales could be lost.

"Short Reins for Manufacturers" --Quit your whining. There are two ways to look at laws, standards, mandates, etc. You can either grit your teeth, cuss the SOBs who foisted them onto you and then do the minimum work required to comply so that you can get on with your real work; or, you can leverage these rules to gain real value from them. Although the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act is largely an exercise for financial guys to provide shareholders a clearer view into a company's financials, it can be tied into your manufacturing system to provide automatic reporting of manufacturing events that might affect a company's financial standing and enhance the manufacturing process as well. It's all in how you use it.

"Controlling Heavy Metals (and Other Nasty Stuff)" --Keep your eyes on this topic; we think it's going to be very big. QC 080000 IECQ HSPM, generally referred to as IECQ HSPM, provides a comprehensive, common-sense approach to ensuring that production processes are managed pursuant to achieving hazardous-substance-free (HSF) operations and finished products. Which is another way of saying a process-management approach to help ensure you meet Restrictions of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directives, California state bill no. 50 (SB-50), Japan Green Process Supplier Survey Initiative (JGPSSI) and similar green regulations. A must-read if you manufacture or distribute anything that contains hazardous substances--which, it turns out, is pretty much anything electronic.

"RFID Tunes Into Supply Chain Management" --Fast-track technology. Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a hot topic, particularly since the Department of Defense and large retailers such as Wal-Mart have mandated its use for their suppliers. Why should you care? Because if you're involved in lean endeavors, the ability to easily monitor and control your supply chain could be a critical step. Unfortunately it's expensive, and, although I believe that mandating a costly technology to your suppliers is heinous, it will probably have the positive effect of driving down costs.

"Improving Pharmacy Service" --A no-brainer. Our readers have a lot of interest in health-related issues, and this case study of how a large hospital pharmacy implemented lean to cut down on medication errors and improve delivery times was just too good to pass up. It's a good example of applying lean to service