Tag: qa

Recognizing Quality: World Quality Month 2017

World Quality Day is approaching and is recognized on November 9th this year.  Throughout November, the international community recognizes the importance of quality.

“The purpose of World Quality Month is to promote the use of quality tools in businesses and communities. Quality tools, such as flowcharts and checklists, reduce mistakes and help produce superior products. Quality principles could reduce headline-making errors, like food safety, toy recalls, and financial disruptions. World Quality Month calls on people who use quality tools to share their knowledge by submitting their stories to illustrate the value of quality principles.” (ASQ)

“The purpose of World Quality Day is to promote awareness of quality around the world and encourage development and prosperity” (CQI)

Did you know?

  • Japan has celebrated World Quality Month in November since 1960.
  • China originally recognized World Quality Month in September starting in 1978.
  • North America started raising awareness in 1988 and originally celebrated in October.
  • First promulgated by the United Nations in 1990, World Quality Day aims to raise international awareness of the important role quality plays in ensuring nations’ prosperity. Now it is celebrated annually on the second Thursday of November.

This year, we’re sharing a few suggestions for contributing to awareness and continuous improvement throughout the month and beyond.

Week 1 – Spread awareness.

  • If you work in quality, tell your friends, family and co-workers more about what you do and why you do it.  Ask them what they think quality is and open a discussion about its importance.
  • Host a special team meeting (celebration) at work and recognize World Quality Month. Talk about what the organization has done throughout the year to support quality and what future goals/objectives include.
  • If you are unable to host a special meeting for World Quality Month, add it to the agenda of a regularly scheduled meeting and encourage employees to submit quality improvement suggestions or learn more at links such as those provided at the end of this post.
  • Send out an organization-wide email reinforcing the importance of quality and including additional references such as those listed below and other training opportunities that may be available.

Week 2 – Look inward.

  • Brainstorm ideas for improving quality within the organization. Get everyone involved.  If you gave everyone an index card and asked them to write suggestions for improvement, imagine what the value of that information could turn into when you consider the potential cost savings and team support.
  • Perform an internal systems evaluation/audit to identify areas of improvement.  Evaluate and plan for corrective action.  Communicate support.

Week 3 – Use the tools.

  • Take the opportunity to incorporate a new quality tool into your regular mix.  You’ll likely see an ongoing issue in a new way.
  • Setup training for staff that may not usually use quality tools and show them how they can be incorporated into the the efficiency of their work and personal lives.
  • Purchase a copy of the Quality Toolbox for all managers.

Week 4 – Keep it going.

  • Quality isn’t something we should only recognize for one month during the year. Continuous improvement is, in fact, the core of what quality means.
  • Continue with regular training of all staff in various quality principles and keep everyone in the organization informed regarding quality initiatives and progress.
  • Setup a World Quality Month planning committee to organize events for next year.

How will you help spread awareness? Share your ideas and suggestions.  

 

5W2H of Process Audits: What You Should Know

We’ve used 5W2H to discuss Product Quality Control before, and now we’re using this popular tool to provide insight regarding process audits.

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Who?

Quality auditors are often certified and/or have other applicable training specific to the types of audits they perform.

Quality auditors must be professional, ethical and objective. They must be able to select appropriate quality and auditing tools and techniques and use them effectively in a variety of applications. In addition, they must verify, document and communicate results.

Pass the exam! Certification study tips…

passExamWe place significant value on industry certifications and actively look for engineers that have various quality related designations.

I recently volunteered to assist others during a local ASQ certification exam study session and noted the following tips to help ensure success:

Take the pre-test. Assess your strengths and weaknesses ASAP.

Most certification exam study guides offer example tests. Taking this as early as possible provides a realistic assessment of what you know and don’t know. It’s easy to be overconfident about how much you think you know, or get caught in the trap of focusing your studies on what you’re comfortable with.

Work out a study schedule to take you through to the exam date.  Set reminders in your calendar.

Most times, trying to “fit” studying in doesn’t work for people who already have a busy schedule.  But, setting appointments for yourself to study and organizing all of your efforts through to the exam will alleviate some of the anxiety caused by not being able to make time.  Use the exam’s body of knowledge and your pre-test results to organize your efforts.

Organize your study materials.  

Many exams allow you to use study materials during testing.  This can be a weakness to some who feel it will be an easier test.  Rather than highlighting and putting tabs on too many things, only make standout a few key areas where you know you’ll need help.  Also, remove the index.  Putting this next to you during the exam will save time and frustration from flipping back and forth.

Spend time reviewing the information with others.  Organize a study session.

Studying with others is beneficial for many reasons.  A big one is that it’s a motivator.  That alone is worth it.  But, also allowing yourself to openly discuss the body of knowledge for the exam and go over example questions requires work from more areas of your brain, which ultimately helps with understanding and retention. Organize a study group with your coworkers that may also be taking the exam, through the local association section/chapter, or even LinkedIn.

Review sample exam questions during scheduled periods of time.  

Don’t use all of your allocated study time to read the study guides.  Spend more time answering example questions so you can understand how they are asking the question and how they determine what the right answer is.  Many industry certification exams require much more than memorizing terms.  It’s the application of the concept that’s important to understand.

Take care of yourself.

It may sound obvious, but it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of things and cram the few nights before the exam or skip a meal here and there right before.  Exercise, sleep, and nutrition play a critical role in the brain’s ability to do its job.  Research supports that even 20 minutes of exercise right before an exam can boost your score.

Have fun.

It’s all about perspective.  And, it can be said that perspective does play a role in the result.

Top 5 – Quality Resources that Educate & Inspire

We’ve given some thought to quality resources we find particularly useful and that both educate and inspire…  Here are our top five:

American Society for Quality > Quality Tools

  • ASQ offers comprehensive content relating to various quality tools, conveniently organized by function.  You’ll find everything from histograms to stratification.  Regularly browsing through the tools is a great way to get inspiration for data analysis or better understand an existing collection.  The Knowledge Center is invaluable!

Chartered Quality Institute > Knowledge Hub

Lean Enterprise Institute > Webinars

  • LEI’s website offers a great deal of content relating to all things lean… They proclaim to try and answer the simple question of every manager, which is “What can I do on Monday morning to make a difference in my organization?”

Khan Academy 

  • This site has an amazing collection of videos… over 3000 in fact! While topics range from science to humanities, the math videos relating to statistics and probability are particularly helpful for those in the quality industry.

The Quality Toolbox

  • This is the one quality book you can’t do without.  It’s everything you need… and more.

And, we’ll add one extra invaluable resource to the mix…

Pro QC International > Quality Resources

  • We’ve tried to organize  resources accessible directly from our site.  We’ve incorporated quality terms, sampling and defect classification information and more. We are also working on a collection of educational videos addressing the most common questions we receive.