Miriam Boudreaux’s picture

By: Miriam Boudreaux

If you have ever found equipment that is out of calibration, then you know it is not something to take lightly. Whether you manufacture children’s toys or automobile tires, you know that the implications and ramifications of the decisions you make can be devastating for your company. Although the requirements from the ISO 9001 standard regarding equipment found to be out of calibration are simple and succinct, this is not something to take for granted. If you ensure that the processes for handling nonconforming equipment are in place and if you take into consideration the steps provided below, you will be ready to handle and perhaps avoid out-of-calibration conditions.

Equipment found out of tolerance

When calibrating your equipment and finding it to be out of tolerance, ISO 9001 requires you to consider the product that was inspected with such equipment as suspect product. Aside from quarantining the equipment for further adjustments and calibration, the first question you need to ask is: Does the calibration data suggest the equipment was broken, minimally out of tolerance, or grossly out of tolerance? Was it out of tolerance in the range in which it was used?

GHSP’s picture


The story of how one Michigan-based automotive supplier, GHSP, embraced the quality circle process and very quickly earned a spot as a leader from one of the most demanding customers in the business 

There’s still a little surprise in Beth Koch’s voice when she talks about the Honda of America Manufacturing’s Fall 2008 Supplier Quality Circle Competition.

“We were very proud of what we had been able to do for our company,” says Koch, a quality facilitator at GHSP’s Hart, Michigan plant. “But we were very shocked when we won. Very shocked.”

She wasn’t the only one who was surprised. GHSP, a supplier of mechatronics to the global surface transportation industry, in its first appearance at the fall event, stormed in and swept the competition away, winning first place in the two main categories—problem solving and project circle—as well as first place for the best display board. It was the first time a supplier had won both categories at the competition, which was attended that year by as many as 100 suppliers to Honda and 600 people.

Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest’s picture

By: Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest

All the talk of health care reform has resulted in many hospitals turning to lean Six Sigma to help improve efficiency and aid in cost cutting. However, health care efficiency expert Ron Wince contends that many of these facilities are not applying the tools properly and therefore will not reap the ultimate benefits. Wince is the CEO of Guidon Performance Solutions and works with hospitals across the country helping them to improve efficiency and quality while reducing costs.

In this interview with Wince we explore the growth of the lean, Six Sigma, and similar programs in the health care industry, and how well those programs have been implemented.

Quality Digest: We have seen a lot of interest in hospitals and other health care facilities in implementing lean, Six Sigma, and the like. Do you see this trend continuing at the same rate, increasing, decreasing?

Michael S. Flynn and Robert E. Cole’s default image

By: Michael S. Flynn and Robert E. Cole

For some time, auto experts have reported that objective quality differences have all but disappeared across most automotive brands. Indeed, the Detroit Three automakers have eliminated or substantially reduced large differences in defect rates after 90 days of ownership—no small achievement.

Yet, surveys continue to show that consumers consider quality an important factor in deciding which vehicle to purchase—and still give the nod to the Japanese and some other foreign automakers because of the power of past quality perceptions.

We are left with an intriguing question: Why has it taken Detroit more than a quarter of a century to close the gap? If we are skeptical about the latest claims, exploring the reasons for Detroit’s long road to quality parity may shed some light on the remaining challenges Detroit faces. It can’t afford to repeat its quality mistakes.

When the Detroit automakers did demonstrate bursts of dedication to quality improvement, these periods were followed by relapses and shifting priorities.

Kimberly Douglas’s picture

By: Kimberly Douglas

If your team members (or you) hear “Meeting at 3:00” and think, “Here comes another waste of my time,” then it’s time for a meeting overhaul at your organization. While meetings can be important team-building and idea-generating opportunities for your employees, the key is knowing how to do them the right way.

It’s Friday afternoon, and your team is filing into the conference room, mumbling and grumbling as they take their seats for yet another meeting. An hour passes and the meeting comes to a much anticipated end, leaving everyone involved wondering why the meeting was held in the first place. After all, the usual suspects dominated the discussion, and the same ideas that came up in last week’s meeting were once again batted around. No one seemed to write anything down, and no one agreed to put anything discussed into action. If this kind of ineffective meeting sounds familiar, you’re not alone. It’s a problem that plagues many organizations—but it’s also one, she adds, that can be remedied.

William Scherkenbach and Mitchell White’s default image

By: William Scherkenbach and Mitchell White

While I have been saying this for decades, and while K’ung Fu-tzu implied it millennia ago when he called for a balance of knowledge and action, it takes a while to sink in. W. Edwards Deming showed how simply taking a pencil with paper and plotting the data makes action possible. Experts in data analysis and statistics, such as John Tukey, made exploring data fun and graphic. Donald J. Wheeler and John M. Chambers have taken data analysis to the next level. It is a moronically simple concept… but is hardly practiced anywhere.

I have made numerous trips to China where I helped some first tier and second tier electronic suppliers improve their processes, and thus their products. In fact, there is so much to do that I moved to Taiwan last year. All of the charts that I will show in this article were plotted from tables of data dutifully documented on paper or stored in a computer database. None of the data were plotted before I liberated them for action with a simple graph.

Patrick Lanthier’s picture

By: Patrick Lanthier

There are several challenges that can arise when you start the process of measuring micro and meso scale parts. Some important factors to consider before you begin the actual part measuring are: part handling, cleaning, and fixturing. Using a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) allows you to accurately measure extremely tiny parts using touch (tactile) and optical techniques. Carefully following certain steps before you begin the measuring process will help ensure you receive the best possible results upon completion.

Part handling

Unless you have inadvertently dropped a micro or meso part on the carpet, you may not truly appreciate the extremely small scale and accuracy needed to correctly measure them. To use a common analogy; dropping one of these parts could be like “looking for a needle in a haystack” since the size of these parts range from uncomfortably small to nearly impossible to physically handle with your own hand.

David C. Crosby’s picture

By: David C. Crosby


ears ago, when I was a field quality rep (source inspector), part of my job was to audit prospective suppliers. The basis of the audits was MIL-Q-9858A, the military quality system. Most audits were simply me sitting across the desk from the head guy or gal asking questions. Do you do this? Do you do that? Of course the answers were always correct.

After the audit, I would tour the facility to get an idea if the person was telling the truth. The tour was actually more effective than the sit-down question and answer period. I became very good at judging the quality of the work we could expect just by looking around. I called it Audit by Looking Around (ABLA). You can actually say ABLA. It has kind of a Latin ring to it. I became very skilled at ABLA and to this day I can spot an outdated calibration sticker at 20 yards. I also discovered that you can learn a lot about a supplier by peeking into the dumpster. One other trick: When visiting a supplier, watch what people are carrying around. It’s probably the problem of the day.

Sidney Vianna’s picture

By: Sidney Vianna

Aviation safety is a very critical issue. For millions of people to fly safely every day around the world, a very large and complex network of business and regulatory agencies have to operate flawlessly, delivering defect-free, on-time parts and hardware to all corners of the globe.

Raissa Carey’s picture

By: Raissa Carey

As auto making evolves and cars increasingly become simply computers on wheels, independent repair shops are facing a new kind of problem: trying to decode and read cars’ on-board computer systems in order to diagnose problems and hopefully repair them.

It’s common knowledge that automakers provide this type of information and the proper repair equipment to their own dealership service centers, yet independent repair shops must sometimes take extra steps to get that same information. This could lead to extra time and cost for consumers who prefer their independent mechanic over a dealer’s service center. 

That’s where the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act (HR 2057) comes in.

If passed, the legislation would require automakers to provide the same service information and tool capabilities to independent repair shops as they do for their franchised dealer networks.

All opposed

But this is already the case, according to Angie Wilson, vice president of marketing and communications at Automotive Service Association (ASA), the leading organization for owners and managers of automotive service businesses.  

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