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Holding Up the Roof

What a great article ("The Five Pillars of Organizational Excellence," H. James Harrington, August, 2006). In 25-plus years of management, I don't think I've seen this information presented so simply and succinctly. Harrington offered us a gold mine in this one!

--David K. Smith


This is an excellent article on managing for success and organizational excellence. I suggest it may have been a stronger article if it had also demonstrated alignment with the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. For example, change management aligns well with categories of leadership (Baldrige criteria No. 1), strategic planning (No. 2), customer and market focus (No. 3), human resources (No. 5) and process management (No. 6). At the same time, project management also aligns with the Baldrige core values of customer-driven excellence, organizational and personal learning, valuing employees and partners, agility, management by fact, focusing on results and creating value, and systems perspective.

I enjoyed this article and thank the author for reminding me to look for these important linkages.

--Ron Marafioti


Tottering Quality

I was very offended by the article "Tottering Quality Management" ( Quality-Insider, Ajith Kumar; view online at www.qualitydigest.com/qualityinsider ). I am a corporate director of quality assurance for a successful and growing manufacturing company. Most hard-working quality assurance managers wear two hats, quality assurance and quality control. We lead our companies through the maze of standards as a side job while we make sure that customer needs are met or exceeded, and the costs of quality are minimized.

This author should walk a mile in my shoes, and he would change his opinion on the subject. Perhaps he should step down from his ivory tower and see what it's like in the trenches as a real quality assurance manager who adds value to the organization daily.

--Debra Taylor


Your statement about ISO standard registration being a requirement to sell products in Europe is only correct in a few cases. Compliance to European norms for certain product categories such as toys, medical devices, heavy machinery, protective clothing, electronic devices, gas appliances, etc., is required. This resulted in the CE identification mark that appears on the labels of many products today. Compliance to these norms is self-declared after sufficient product testing is performed and results are documented. Conformance to ISO 9001 came about as a supplement to CE conformance to ensure that products were consistently made to the same specifications as the products that were tested and determined to meet CE requirements.

I agree with many of the author's comments about how consultants have taken advantage of management's ignorance regarding ISO standards and the registration process to create a dependency on outside support. There are some of us, however, who seek to help our clients achieve effective management tools that are appropriate to their businesses and management philosophies. There is, after all, a quality aspect to every job, and each employee has the responsibility to understand what the quality of his or her work should be. This is what a management system should be: A tool for communicating the appropriate information and providing the necessary resources to qualified people for the purpose of achieving desired results.

--Ken Willis


Of Beads and Egos

I much prefer Deming's original to "An Alternative to the Red Bead Experiment" ("Real World SPC," Davis Balestracci, August, 2006). It better describes a process in a more intuitive way. I wonder why the author tried to reinvent a wheel that works so well.

--Don W. Creger


I appreciate the points the author made in "TQM, Six Sigma, Lean and… Data?" ("Real World SPC," Davis Balestracci, July, 2006). From my perspective, much of what he describes as process improvement "tools" really falls under the category of industrial engineering. Being a student of the late Frank Gryna, I was taught many years ago to believe that quality is a subset of industrial engineering. I am delighted that we are finally using data to help manage processes. It is high time that we break with the EOE (egos, opinions, emotions) method of decision making and managing.

--Larry Aft



The article "AS9110 Keeps 'Em Flying" (Sidney Vianna, August, 2006) mistakenly states that AS9110 was developed by SAE. In fact, it was developed by the International Aerospace Quality Group. In an error within an error, we also mistakenly referred to the acronym SAE as the Society of Aeronautical Engineers. It is, of course, the Society of Automotive Engineers. Thanks to Wayne Johnson of The Boeing Co. for pointing out the errors