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Free Speech Advocates

Libraries deal with this issue all the time (“First Word,” Dirk Dusharme, March 2006). The federal government has asked libraries to return some reports; apparently the current administration doesn’t like what the reports say. Of course, the reason is “national security.” We’re asked to discard books all the time because they express ideas which are now (rightfully) abhorrent. But if you don’t know what those ideas were, how can there be a clear picture of the progress made in civil rights?

—Martha Greene


Please do not allow the freedom of speech to be imparted solely on the basis of possible legal action. We as a country have bowed down to the easy street and allowed B.S. legislation to be passed and rulings made that restrict what should be our God-given rights.

—Matt Smith


I would be very disappointed with Quality Digest if you took the article about the errant company out of your archives. We should all be held accountable for our actions, whether they’re good or bad. Would they want you to take out the good press on them as well?

—Bernadette Ulrich


Harrington’s Health Care Hazing

The conclusion of the article “Just the Facts on Health Care” (“Performance Improvement,” H. James Harrington, March 2006) says that we need an ISO-type standard for health care. I believe that there is such a standard in IWA1 and ISO 9001.

—Bruce Simpson


Look at all the facts presented about health care and [Harrington’s] statement that we need an ISO-type standard for quality in health care. I agree that standards are needed. However, health care is unlike the manufacturing industry because health care deals with so many variables. There are standards of care, but one must remember that each person’s body may react differently to the care and treatment provided. Each person must be treated as an individual while still focusing on the standard of care guidelines.

—Lillie Johnson


As someone who has gone through the entire process of lead auditor certification to ISO 9001, I don’t ever see the medical field going that way. The paperwork would be 10 times worse than it is now and would only add another layer or two or three to the out-of-control costs that we already can’t live with.



Back to the Basics

[Praveen Gupta’s online article, “Six Sigma Basics”] makes sense to me (www.qualitydigest.com/sixsigma). If management doesn’t take Six Sigma seriously and enforce its actions throughout its quality systems, then nothing ever gets off the ground. Convince management and you’re going somewhere. But if investments aren’t presented, sold and satisfied by the head honchos, then we can only go as far as they allow us to go.

—Hattie L. Gilmore


You will be unlikely to find companies that will admit to failures after spending the enormous sums necessary for Six Sigma. If you want failures, simply compare Ford, GM and Toyota. The latter is hugely successful, and guess which one is non-Six Sigma?

—Dr. A. D. Burns


Saved by Zero

I understand the advantages and flexibility of zero position tolerancing at MMC, but as a manufacturing engineer I feel that a few important issues are being glossed over (“What Works,” James Keith, March 2006).

Zero at MMC tolerancing makes traditional capability analysis difficult because size and location are no longer independent. The tolerance for location varies with size. There are some methods to accomplish this (Paul Jackson at Ford has done excellent work in this area), but these methods are not well-known or understood within the manufacturing community. Tolerance allocation for processes with multiple steps (i.e., t-charting) will be difficult to accomplish as well.

I have no issue with the concept of zero at MMC; it’s a technically correct geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) callout to describe product functional requirements, if properly used. As a quality professional and Six Sigma Black Belt, I’m constantly advocating the use of variable data and process control to keep processes on target and reduce variation. The use of zero at MMC makes this a lot more difficult.

—Mitchell D. Komarmy


Future Vision

I definitely agree that a future vision of quality is very important (“Quality Curmudgeon,” Scott M. Paton, February 2006). The bad thing about people who work in quality departments is that they believe that their quality system is a good one. They never envision a better way, and this is when the ship starts to sink.

I believe quality has to be enhanced. Teams and quality systems need reorganization to make everyone participate. I see a lot of the same people making the same quality decisions. If everyone speaks his or her mind, a lot could be learned. A company must be a family with 100-percent communication flows and participation to succeed.

—Rose M. González