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ISO 9001 and China

Regarding “The Future of Quality” by Scott Paton (“Quality Curmudgeon,” September 2007): My concern for the future of quality regards the wide proliferation of ISO 9001 in China. Considering their national penchant for shortcutting and lip service to quality and safety, is the ISO standard in danger of becoming nothing more than a pretty certificate on the wall that any business can buy through the right registrar?

What is ISO doing to ensure that the registrars are rigidly adhering to and demanding compliance to the standards?

Having seen a definite decline in the quality of registrar auditors in this country, I wonder how ethical and compliant they will be where there is a governmental push to register everyone?

--Paul Sanford


China’s Quality Fade

Regarding “Quality Fade” by Paul Midler ( QualityInsider, http://qualitydigest.com/IQedit/QDarticle_text.lasso?articleid=12256): How can we talk about the quality fade of products without talking about the fading of the quality control system? The first job of any quality control system is to have due diligence. Due diligence in supplier quality is the effort made by a quality control professional to validate conformance of product provided by the seller to the purchaser. Failure to make this effort may be considered negligence. The aim of a quality control system is to prevent quality fade regardless of the root cause.

The lessons to be learned from these unfortunate events is that the quality control system should function without lowering the due diligence, and that accidents happen even when there are no bad intentions. If I am paid to control the quality in every stage of production, it is my duty to make sure that quality fade does not pass through the door.

--Joe Gariplerden


Even More Not-So-Fine China

I found Judy DeLude’s article to be a well-written piece (“A Strategic Approach to HSPM,” August 2007), and I have no gripe against her hard work, but I find it rather ironic that on the same day I received my copy of Quality Digest I also received a copy of Small Biz by Business Week with a feature story about China exports. Which is why I have a hard time swallowing the reference in DeLude’s article about how “…in the People’s Republic of China, you could face the removal of your products from the market by the Ministry of Information Industry…” should one’s products not meet the new hazardous-substance-free (HSF) requirements in the global marketplace.

What irks me, as a U.S. consumer, is why [HSF] is such a big to do, when no one in the People’s Republic is doing anything about ensuring that untainted pet food is shipped to the United States and elsewhere, that toys are not painted with lead paint, and that food products are also free of any hazardous chemicals or products.

What’s more important as a potential, immediate threat to human health: HSF electronic components, or food products for our ingestion and toys that our toddlers may put into their mouths, thus ensuring the quickest pathway to ingesting hazardous chemicals?

I have directed my family not to purchase anything made in China, including my hand tools. For me, it’s Craftsman or anything else made in the United States from good U.S. steel.

--Gabe Crognale


WOWing Your Customer

Regarding “8 Ways to Wow Your Customers” by Scott Deming ( QualityInsider, http://qualitydigest.com/IQedit/QDarticle_text.lasso?articleid=12307 ): I’ve always believed that the real meaning of customer satisfaction is much more personal than I have found in the manufacturing environment. I always preferred face-to-face or phone connections instead of other electronic connections. I want to see and/or hear what my customer has to say.

Besides my job as a quality manager for a manufacturing plant, I also have a small blended-seasoning business. Through that small business I have learned the value of listening to my customer, trying to give them quality product, and changing with their needs and wants.

--Stephen Marconi


Child’s Play

Great article (“First Word,” “Kindergarten Quality,” Dirk Dusharme, September 2007). I am in facilities maintenance for a metallurgical test lab. I work in and with the quality department a lot. We have very strict guidelines to follow and I have found that my kindergarten rules fit in very nicely (just a lot of paperwork to go along with it).

Thanks for reminding me how well they work.

--Bill Metcalf


Great article and very well-put. The reason I like being in the quality profession is like you said, “Quality is just common sense. The rest is just tools.”

--Bob Kem


Six Sigma Gets Personal

This was one of the greatest articles I’ve read so far that was practical enough to apply to my everyday life (“Six Sigma for Weight Loss,” Praveen Gupta, InsideSixSigma, http://qualitydigest.com/IQedit/QDarticle_text.lasso?articleid=12311). I’ve been struggling with weight all my life, but this article has put losing weight into terms that I can understand and that are logical to me through Six Sigma. Thank you for this article.

--Shantelle Williams