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Does Quality Matter?

That was a crisp editorial you wrote about how we evaluate and value quality (First Word, Scott M. Paton, September 2004 issue). There is a quality factor to outsourcing that needs more consideration by manufacturers; that is, what is the real cost of maintaining quality in overseas operations, and what performance do we expect from our products?

A new product design outsourcing study is available from Boothroyd Dewhurst Inc. at www.deskeng.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=68. The study looks at the hidden costs of overseas outsourcing (including quality) and at practical design alternatives for manufacturers who wish to make products just as competitively in the United States.

--Miles Parker


Thank you for the article. I am a firm believer that price is a much less important component than many of us may think. If a customer feels cared for, and the nature of the business transaction is one that lowers their stress (the price may do this), they will do business at that location.

--Greg Parlee



Someone needs to do their homework. In “The Greening of Industry” (October 2004 issue), Joe Dufresne states that the final draft of the revised ISO 14001 standard is expected in November 2005. In the same issue, in your News Digest column by Laura Smith, entitled “ISO 14001 Revisions to Be Published Soon,” she states, “The revised ISO 14001 standard is scheduled to be published by the end of the year.” I’m surprised that the quality department at Quality Digest didn’t catch this contradiction.

--Brent Lank


I believe that there is a typo in the table “26-Month Claim Audit Errors” (“When Statistics Meet Reality,” Davis Balestracci, October 2004 issue). The second entry for March 1999 reads, “Sampled = 1,163, Claims w/Errors = 54, Percent of Errors = 5.08.” However, 54/1,163=4.64%. But if 1,163 is changed to 1,063, this calculation gives 5.08%.



(Editor in chief looks down, shuffles feet.) We made a mistake while editing Dufresne’s article. Laura Smith had it correct in News Digest. Connie Glover Ritzert, chair of the U.S. SubTAG on ISO 14001 and head of the U.S. delegation to the EMS subcommittee of ISO/TC 207, reports that the ISO Central Secretariat plans to publish the draft revisions by December 2004.

In the Balestracci article, we also erred. 1,063 is the correct number. We apologize for the errors, and hope that our readers will continue to help us keep the quality in Quality Digest.