S. Bala’s picture

By S. Bala

 

Enterprise resource planning (ERP), and the multimillion-dollar technology platforms that have become synonymous with it, are the stuff of which out-of-this-world management ambitions are born. The excitement generated from testing the technical boundaries of ERP is admirable, if only for what it implies about a company’s passion for innovation. Often, however, the excitement short-circuits rigorous analysis of whether such innovations may be appropriate targets.

My years as a process-reengineering consultant have revealed the danger in this impetuous overreaching. I’ve personally analyzed best-in-class ERP systems that have been online for more than a decade. Each instance--a half-dozen, all told--involved billion-dollar global enterprises, all of which were focused on very different industry sectors. In all those cases, heavy investment in ERP failed to deliver the initial liftoff in organizational transformation that was anticipated.

Robert Morris’s default image

By Robert Morris

Product integrity occurs when performance, schedule, and affordability converge throughout the product life cycle. The first critical stage in realizing product integrity happens early in the product life cycle during design and development; a second and no less critical stage occurs later, during the transition from development to production. Early in the process, the relationship between design intent and process capability must be established and understood. As the design matures and transitions to production, it must be manufactured in a repeatable and affordable way by an extended supply chain. Achieving these seemingly intuitive objectives continues to be elusive for much of the aerospace and defense industry.

Craig Cochran’s picture

By Craig Cochran

So you have a customer complaint. It’s not just any complaint, but a huge one from your biggest customer. The problem affects millions of dollars in business and threatens the survival of your company. Are you going to take action? Of course! You put together a team of top players and attack it head-on.

Team members investigate the problem and perform a detailed 5-Why analysis. They start with the problem statement and ask, “Why did that happen?” repeatedly, drilling down deeper with each iteration:

Problem: There were seven data errors in reports issued to our largest customer in the last month

Why? Because lab reports are getting in the wrong project folders.

Why? Because the project numbers are written illegibly on the folders.

Why? Because the customer service representatives are rushed when preparing folders.

Why? Because there are only two representatives taking calls for all divisions.

Quality Digest’s picture

By Quality Digest


This is how our readers define quality. (Note: these definitions are straight from our database and have not been edited.)

"Quality itself has been defined as fundamentally relational:  'Quality is the ongoing process of building and sustaining relationships by assessing, anticipating, and fulfilling stated and implied needs.'

"Even those quality definitions which are not expressly relational have an implicit relational character.  Why do we try to do the right thing right, on time, every time?  To build and sustain relationships.  Why do we seek zero defects and conformance to requirements (or their modern counterpart, six sigma)?  To build and sustain relationships.  Why do we seek to structure features or characteristics of a product or service that bear on their ability to satisfy stated and implied needs?  (ANSI/ASQC.)  To build and sustain relationships.  The focus of continuous improvement is, likewise, the building and sustaining of relationships.  It would be difficult to find a realistic definition of quality that did not have, implicit within the definition, a fundamental express or implied focus of building and sustaining relationships."

Robert Palumbo’s default image

By Robert Palumbo

Making sure that measuring instruments are properly calibrated is critical to quality manufacturing operations. A gauge that doesn't read accurately and repeatably can compromise the integrity of quality control and quality assurance documentation, and destroy confidence in measuring results. At their worst, inaccurate gauges can result in the production of nonconforming parts.

Gauge calibration represents an important, if not fully appreciated, manufacturing discipline. It should be viewed as an investment. Gauge calibration is the foundation upon which a quality program can be built.

More than simple adjustment

Gauge calibration determines the deviation from the true value of the indication supplied by a measuring instrument. The results of the calibration process can be used for gauge adjustment. Calibration goes beyond simple adjustment, however. A calibrated gauge can be traced back to a master source. Traceability provides the value added to the calibration process.

Gary Nesteby’s default image

By Gary Nesteby

Tough economic times are upon us. The leaders of the Big Three automakers have to stoop to driving their own cars, our nation’s leaders have to separate themselves into two parties, and the people affected by the layoffs have to go home and lead their families through troubled times. Which do you think is the toughest job and requires more leadership?

We all accept the role as leaders of our families, churches, the neighborhood association, or perhaps the local school board. Those roles are more important to us as individuals than the roles played by Congress or the car manufacturers’ officers. It is a choice that we make personally, and this decision requires us to question not only our time commitment, but also the alignment of our personal belief system with that of the organization.

Michael W. Metzger’s default image

By Michael W. Metzger

Visual Dimensional Metrology

Essential in quality control, vision-based multisensor metrology allows supplied components and materials to be quality-checked before, during, and after incorporation into a final product. It can also provide an audit trail enabling a point of failure to be accurately pinpointed in time as well as providing a means of early detection and diagnosis of the problem. Early correction can save time, reduce waste, save money, and most important, safeguard a company’s reputation for reliability and quality.

Bretta Kelly’s picture

By Bretta Kelly

Standards such as ISO 9001 mandate documentation requirements as part of a company’s compliance with the standard. Although the requirements are intentionally broad-based and open, many organizations tend to over-document their systems. ISO 9001:2008 requires a manual and six documented procedures. AS9100 requires seven, and ISO 14001 requires one. Yet companies continue to write additional procedures, often for the wrong reasons. Let’s end the confusion about implementing a management system vs. documenting one.

A common belief is that the standards’ requirements are satisfied if detailed procedures exist to define a system. Additionally, many managers and executives think that a documented procedure for every element in the company results in better control and accountability. Although no requirements are enumerated in these standards for procedure format, more emphasis is placed on this than on the information contained within the procedures.

Roderick A. Munro, Ph.D’s default image

By Roderick A. Munro, Ph.D


As more companies embrace Six Sigma, the need to hire and train employees in the methodology grows. One issue facing beleaguered managers and human resource departments is how to determine whether an applicant truly possesses the Six Sigma skills required by the company. If he or she has a certificate, does it have any value? If not, how does your organization verify employees' Six Sigma skills? Once you get beyond the marketing hype of Six Sigma, what will really help your organization eliminate or even prevent problems?

These questions and many more based on your particular needs should be addressed as you review what you and your organization will accept as qualified certification.

This article presents commentary on important items that apply to the value (or lack thereof) of Six Sigma certification in your organization.

Understand your needs

Whether you decide to grow your own Six Sigma practitioners or hire from the outside, management must understand the role that it wants Six Sigma to play in the organization. Just stating in a job posting that a person must be Six Sigma-certified is meaningless unless the organization knows what it really wants.

Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest’s picture

By Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest

Here's the nightmare: You arrive at work to find your best customer has just returned $10,000 worth of precision ceramic parts. They are all neatly boxed and sitting on the inspection room floor with a nasty note saying that they are all out of tolerance. You stand to lose one of your best contracts, not to mention your job, unless you get to the bottom of the problem right away.

So you immediately go to your tool crib and remove your precision digital micrometer from its padded box where it lay with its anvils neatly closed.

First, you check the calibration sticker. The micrometer has a six-month calibration schedule and was calibrated five months ago. No problem there. You check the absolute zero setting on the micrometer. It reads 0.00000". Exactly where you set it when you put a fresh battery in last month. So the micrometer should be OK. The micrometer and the parts have been at the same temperature for several hours, so you should be OK there, too. It's time to check the parts. You remeasure every one of them. They're in spec. All of them.

The customer must be wrong.