SPC Guide
First Word



Vote with your wallet

When Scott M. Paton made the statement in his August column that "[Nice guy syndrome] is a condition that I believe most Americans suffer from--at least as far as tolerating poor service quality is concerned," I was reminded of a correspondence I recently received from a friend.

 My friend quoted Alexander Tyler, who wrote The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Empire two centuries ago. In his writings, Tyler describes the cyclic history of world democracies, none of which lasted more than a few hundred years. A condensation of Tyler's views could be a pattern for America's past, present and future: From bondage to spiritual faith, spiritual faith to great courage, courage to liberty, liberty to abundance, abundance to selfishness, selfishness to complacency, complacency to apathy, apathy to dependence, dependence to bondage.

 It was my friend's opinion that too many people in our country are in the range from apathy to dependence. I concur with his assessment. If we don't speak up and "vote with our wallets," we may become dependent on (or in bondage to) a small number of "providers" who don't really need to care about the quality of services they render. Even more frightening is when "the condition most Americans suffer from" goes beyond their tolerance of poor service. Please don't become mellow. Continue to speak up and encourage others to do so.

--Jim Grizzard


Essential SPC

In response to Gregory P. Ferguson's request in his August 2000 column for guidelines for acceptable measurement error, I may be able to help. I have been working with the ISO 9000 standards and the QS-9000 quality system requirements since the late 1980s. One of the five reference manuals used as tools and guidelines to support the QS-9000 requirements is the Measurement Systems Analysis. In the analysis of a measurement system checking bias, repeatability, reproducibility, stability and linearity, the guidelines for acceptance of gage repeatability and reproducibility are as follows: At less than 10-percent error, the measurement is acceptable; at 10 percent to 30 percent, the measurement may be acceptable depending on the importance of the application, cost of gage, cost of repairs and other factors; and at more than 30-percent error, the measurement system needs improvement. Make every effort to identify the problems and have them corrected. Gage R&R studies are required by all of the Big Three when a production part approval process is needed. There are many different types of gage R&R formulas listed in this manual.

--Lloyd D.Brumfield
Quality Assurance Engineering Specialist
MSX International/Ford Motor Co.


Does your registrar measure up?

My company's registrar is Orion, and I am very pleased with them and proud that they came in first on so many counts in your July 2000 registrar customer satisfaction survey. I also thought the article was well-written and conceived. Consequently, I showed the article to many people.

 However, in sharing this article with others, I was amazed by the almost universal negative reaction people outside the quality profession had to the article.

 After giving the matter some thought, it seemed to me that their comments made a kind of sense. I've paraphrased a few of these comments for your consideration:

* ISO 9000 is self-perpetuating mutual- admiration society between companies that do audits and companies that buy meaningless approvals.

* A city inspector tells a restaurant owner to make changes to improve the health and safety of all of the restaurant's patrons. Have you ever seen a survey of restaurant owners asking which city inspector they like to have come in and check for health and safety violations? Would you rather eat at a restaurant that was inspected by the most loved or the most respected city inspector?

* Companies love outside financial auditors who report no financial problems and fire those who find where the "bodies are buried" and/or let the stockholders know the financial dirt about the company. If auditors do their jobs, they are tough and demanding. Why don't those in the quality profession try to be the most demanding instead of the most liked?

* The relationship between the registrar and the company being audited is self-serving. No registrar is going to give a realistic audit or make their clients really improve; they are only going to try to get along better so they can keep the client and the client's money.

--Jim Parker
Quality Director
Mile High Equipment Co.


Write us!

 Quality Digest welcomes your comments. Letters to the editor or to any of our contributors automatically become property of QCI International. Published letters will be edited for grammar and length. E-mail your letters to or send them to Letters to the Editor, Quality Digest, P.O. Box 1769, Chico, CA 95927.

Menu Level Above 

This Menu LeveL 

Menu  Level Below 

[Contents] [News] [WebLinks] [Columnists]
[Applications] [Software] [SPC Guide] [Letters] [First Word] [Books]

Copyright 2000 QCI International. All rights reserved.
Quality Digest can be reached by phone at (530) 893-4095. E-mail:
Click Here

Today's Specials