Mary F. McDonald’s picture

By Mary F. McDonald

 

Our process improvement consulting company was contacted by a new design client requesting assistance in improving its quality management system (QMS). The company had used an existing system for several years, but it was still experiencing difficulties in making on-time delivery of designs; it had a higher-than-industry average, and missed customer requested dates in some cases. The designs themselves were sometimes nonconforming, having a higher-than-industry average for errors or missing a promised function. We agreed to work with the designers to identify areas of their QMS that could be strengthened, and to develop and implement a comprehensive quality plan to address these concerns.

Closing the Loop on CAPAs with Quality Management Software

by Mike Jovanis

 

Peter Schulz’s picture

By Peter Schulz

 

The idea of mixing optics and measurement has its origins hundreds of years ago in the realm of pure science, i.e., astronomy (telescopy) and microscopy. Manufacturing first adopted optics for routine inspection and measurement of machined and molded parts in the 1920s with James Hartness’ development of instruments capable of projecting the magnified silhouette of a workpiece onto a ground glass screen. Hartness, as longtime chairman of the United States’ National Screw-Thread Commission, applied his pet interest in optics to the problem of screw-thread inspection. For many years, the Hartness Screw-Thread Comparator was a profitable product for the Jones and Lamson Machine Company, of which Hartness was president.

Horizontal vs. vertical instrument configurations

 

William A. Stimson, Ph.D.’s default image

By William A. Stimson, Ph.D.


One of the most important objectives of an internal quality audit is measuring the effectiveness of an organization's quality management system. For this to happen, executive management must first meet its overriding responsibility of establishing and maintaining a system regarding quality policy, goals, resources, processes and effective performance--including monitoring and measuring the system's effectiveness and efficiency.

ISO 9001:2000 delineates this responsibility into three distinct areas: 4.1 General requirements, 4.2 Documentation requirements and 4.3 Quality management principles. If an organization's executive management isn't active in these three areas, then they won't be addressed and the quality system will be ineffective. Let's look at them one at a time, first in terms of their meaning and then as auditable characteristics.

S. Bala’s picture

By S. Bala

The United States spends 16 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care, more than any other nation. Although that investment has produced medical experts and breakthroughs envied the world over, a great majority of U.S. citizens are unhappy with the end results. When the nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund conducted a poll of U.S. health care consumers last year, 69 percent expressed strong dissatisfaction with the current health care system. In a 2007 survey, the same group found U.S. respondents twice as likely to support a complete overhaul of their system than those from Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Great Britain, and Australia--all nations that spend half as much GDP as the United States on health care.

Mike Richman’s picture

By Mike Richman

Cummins Inc. designs, manufactures, distributes, and services engines and related technologies, including fuel systems, controls, air handling, filtration, emission solutions, and electrical power generation systems. Cummins serves customers in more than 160 countries through its network of 550 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 5,000 dealer locations. Cummins reported a net income of $739 million on sales of $13.05 billion in 2007.

 

Editor’s note: This is the second in a two-part series looking at how companies can share best practices such as Six Sigma across the supply chain. The first part of this series, which focused on heavy-duty truck manufacturer PACCAR, appeared in Quality Digest’s October 2008 issue. You can view that article online at www.qualitydigest.com/magazine/2008/oct/article/partnering-change-part-1.html.

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.

Mark Ames’s picture

By Mark Ames

The last few years have provided ample evidence that control of food safety is critical. Recent media reports have clearly documented supply chain shortcomings that have threatened consumers’ health and safety. These ongoing problems and the need for consumer safety cry out for additional tools to dramatically reduce or eliminate risks.

Milestones in U.S. Food and Drug Law History

 

1883
Dr. Harvey W. Wiley becomes chief chemist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Campaigning for a federal law, Dr. Wiley is called the “Crusading Chemist” and “Father of the Pure Food and Drug Act.”

 

1906
The original Pure Food and Drug Act is passed by Congress on June 30 and signed by President Theodore Roosevelt. The Meat Inspection Act is passed the same day.

 

Jeff Bibee’s default image

By Jeff Bibee

Optical measurement, when clearly understood and applied, can bring huge benefits. It can also be an investment disaster. To avoid the latter, we need to start with an understanding of the basics--the capabilities and limitations of optical measurement. Then, we can consider the applications where it might provide a better solution over current methods, such as touch probes, optical comparators, hand gauges, or microscopes. Digging deeper, we can discover the challenges that those applications present to optical measurement, the limitations, and the potentials for failure. In this article, we will investigate the optical tools and software strategies that have been developed to meet those challenges. With a deeper understanding, the right technology can be applied to the task, and the investment dollars will make sense.

The basics

The diagram in figure 1 below illustrates the basics of optical measurement: lighting, optics, XY Stage, and a Z axis that handles the focus.

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By Mario Perez-Wilson


The process potential index, or Cp, measures a process's potential capability, which is defined as the allowable spread over the actual spread. The allowable spread is the difference between the upper specification limit and the lower specification limit. The actual spread is determined from the process data collected and is calculated by multiplying six times the standard deviation, s. The standard deviation quantifies a process's variability. As the standard deviation increases in a process, the Cp decreases in value. As the standard deviation decreases (i.e., as the process becomes less variable), the Cp increases in value.

By convention, when a process has a Cp value less than 1.0, it is considered potentially incapable of meeting specification requirements. Conversely, when a process Cp is greater than or equal to 1.0, the process has the potential of being capable.

Ideally, the Cp should be as high as possible. The higher the Cp, the lower the variability with respect to the specification limits. In a process qualified as a Six Sigma process (i.e., one that allows plus or minus six standard deviations within the specifications limits), the Cp is greater than or equal to 2.0.

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By John Klustner

 

With multiple personal-technology devices morphing into a single product, the telecommunications industry is experiencing a quantum leap in technical evolution. The comparatively primitive cell phone of just a few years ago must now be a music-playing, video-recording, web-browsing, photo-taking, and e-mailing personal accessory that you can still use to make a phone call. Why is it, then, given all this innovation, that when you have a question about your bill it takes so long for customer service to answer?

The processes and technology found in many call centers define their customer service, and unfortunately they haven’t kept pace with the quickly changing industry and its customers’ expectations.