Memorial Day Weekend – Clearwater Beach, Florida

Memorial Day is celebrated in the United States as a national holiday on the last Monday each May.   Once known as Decoration Day, the holiday weekend is traditionally “a day of reflection and recognition commemorating all U.S. Service Members who have died in military service.”  Today, Americans really dedicate the day to all those who have or are serving in the military.

The holiday weekend is also considered the start of summer for Floridians, which means plenty of sunshine, backyard BBQs and beach adventures.  Our Sales & Marketing Director, Jeffrey Moellering, is based in Clearwater, Florida.  He’s also a talented photographer that’s been taking some great local shots lately!  Here are a couple we would like to share with everyone abroad… Memorial Day 2011, Florida style…

In 5 words or less, describe what you do…

I posted this inquiry to the ASQ LinkedIn Group some time ago and have seen an overwhelming number of responses from a variety of industry perspectives… Over 450 as of right now! Some of my favorite posts so far include:

  • “Extend and improve lives”
  • “Plan, measure, analysis, approve, repeat”
  • “Stop bad things from happening”
  • “Create joy through quality”
  • “Building bridges between quality and leadership”

I’ve enjoyed the responses in this discussion so much that I reached out to a few people on the Pro QC team in the US and Taiwan to see how they would respond. It’s no surprise that their responses mirror that of the organization very nicely… We really do have a passionate group of quality professionals!

Michael L. Hetzel (VP/Americas, USA) – “Reduce global supply chain risks”

Jeffrey Moellering (Sales & Marketing Director, USA) – “Drive complete customer success”

Nancy Barroso (Account Manager, USA & Mexico) – “Reduce risk and cost”

Weiwei Lin (Regional Operations Manager, USA) – “Your QC partner”

Fernando Rodriguez (Account Manager, Taiwan) – “Manage client accounts at Pro QC”

Russ McClay (IT Manager, Taiwan) – “Direct the Pro QC IT team”

Joanne Tseng (Office Manager, Taiwan) – “Providing best cooperation and cooperation”

Bruno Singier (Sales & Marketing Director Europe, Middle East/Africa & Asia, Taiwan) – “Business development for Pro QC”

I’ve found LinkedIn to be an excellent resource for discussion within the quality community.  Join us in the Pro QC International group.  We frequently participate in many of the other quality related discussion groups as well, including ASQ’s.

Quality tools beyond Pareto, PDCA and root cause analysis…

If asked what your favorite quality tools are, you’d likely tell me Pareto, flowcharts, PDCA or root cause analysis.  I know this because I’ve recently reached out via Pro QC’s social network to get some insight.  It seems these tools are also the very same ones I’m most often working with… And, I know there’s more out there and wanted to expand my repertoire through an ongoing effort of trial and error.

I’ve reviewed the Quality Toolbox in the past and do believe this is the ultimate source on the topic.  And, anything not immediately understandable there can easily be Googled.   It’s really just a matter of taking an extra moment or two to pick the best tool for the specific problem.  It’s that “extra moment” that gets you when there’s a to-do list screaming for attention on the other side of the desk!

Dedicating some time to rediscovering existing quality tools that I can use in new ways has given me a few new favorites.  These include:

Fishbone Diagram (Ishikawa) – One of the Seven Basic Tools of Quality, this is a popular choice for identifying as many possible causes for an effect or problem.  Our engineers use it quite often in the field, but I’ve only recently realized there are so many more applications than originally thought.  I’ll admit the feature I favor most is its simplicity.  It mirrors a customizable checklist that adds the additional benefit of direction.  Focusing on people, methods, machines, materials, measurements and environment organizes information very well.  Rather than sticking too long on one topic, I’ve found just getting it all there at first and then attacking them individually generates more ideas. Try it as a tool for identifying the root cause of a reoccurring product defect.

5W2H Method (5 Why Analysis) – I love this method of asking questions about a process or problem! I’ve noticed its return to many of the business textbooks and can’t think of a more fun way of getting some really constructive brainstorming going.  I’ve seen it work brilliantly now both in the classroom and during professional meetings.  I’ve also started using it to help me organize and research articles. I think there’s something reminiscent of grade school that’s fun to get us thinking who, what, when, where, why, how and how much/many! Try it as a tool for developing inspection criteria.

Affinity Diagram – Any large whiteboard just screams for sticky notes, so this is perfect.  I’ve even heard of people putting the sticky notes on the door to organize the information (ideas) into what’s been described as their “natural relationships.”  I’ve used this tool in the past but quite honestly think my initial attempts were disorganized and maybe even missed the point. I decided to give it a try again not too long ago and have had much different results.While I had used the tool as a group effort in the past, I’ve found individual application is much better and removes some of the chaos I had associated with it before.  What’s great about it is that it works really well at something you’re trying to figure out and can keep hanging around for as long as necessary.  So, I add sticky notes to that big whiteboard whenever I think of something on my pending issue… Or, I’ll move them around after something I figured out during an entirely separate event.  It’s the best visual device I can think of that’s also tangible.  Try it as a way to evaluate supplier performance.

Any other recommendations and/or applications of those mentioned are welcome and appreciated!

Spend $5… Get Quality Improvement Made Simple & Fast

I finally had an opportunity to unpack all of the books I scored from the Quality Press booth at the World Conference on Quality & Improvement this past week.  I’m hoping to include a master list of recommendations in the next newsletter but couldn’t resist posting something here about a little gem I found.  For $5, I picked up a book called Quality Improvement Made Simple & Fast, written by Matthew J. Maio.  I couldn’t resist spending $5 on something that claimed to “help ordinary people make extraordinary contributions to their organizations.”  Right?

With 44 pages, don’t let the length of the book fool you!  In fact, I thought the KISS approach worked brilliantly here.  I read the book on the flight back and have referenced it several times since.  Even reading over material you’re knowledgable about can spark inspiration… certainly an indicator of a good book!

Maio is no stranger to quality and knows his stuff… A bio full of ASQ certifications and industry experience that incorporates Honeywell and Raytheon is impressive.  More impressive is that someone that could have very easily made the topic too technical or dare I say boring, instead produced a to-the-point and entertaining guidebook complete with comical illustrations and a chapter full of forms you can incorporate however you like!

So, get a copy… Start understanding your customers, planing, doing, studying and acting now…  “The learning will come from doing. If you follow this simple guide, you will know whether the changes you make, are, in fact, real improvements.”

What is the future of quality?

As an Influential Voice for the American Society for Quality, I recently posted a response to Paul Borawski’s vlog regarding the ASQ Futures Study on my personal site.  However, I also evaluated the study’s identified forces from more of a Pro QC centered perspective.

Here’s what I discovered…

The future of quality is obviously something of great concern to us as an organization, but not for the reasons one might think.  At Pro QC, we truly believe that commitment to quality and increased awareness through education will drive remarkable results for generations to come .  Being proactive and delivering results-driven solutions to issues facing the future of quality is supported throughout the fabric of our organizational strategy.

The forces facing quality directly impact us as an industry provider.  We have representatives located in over 30 countries, so we see first-hand the many benefits and challenges organizations face as a result of globalization. Experience and collaboration has delivered  proven strategies that we’ve successfully implemented for clients throughout the world.

We have a very real understanding that the workforce of the future is something we have to be proactive about as a business.  As an organization, we are able to recruit and retain quality professionals and as a result experience significantly lower turnover than competitors. Training is key when considering employee growth and overall potential. Creating a truly international team environment poses certain inherent challenges, but not impossible with genuine  collaboration and shared knowledge.

Global responsibility is something our organization has supported through ongoing training and auditing for over a decade.  We are committed to helping our businesses assess and achieve their social responsibility objectives.  A current trend we hope to see continue is the understanding of the triple bottom line and it’s overall impact on all functions. TheSRO has posted several excellent articles and resources on topic.

As organizations continue to grow, change, innovate and respond to customers’ needs and wants, we will continue to support the quality that reduces risks and cost!