Content By Quality Digest

William A. Levinson’s picture

By: William A. Levinson

Almost half of Americans work in low-wage jobs despite the nation’s low unemployment rate. Aimee Picchi, writing for CBS News, cites a Brookings study that says “44 percent of U.S. workers are employed in low-wage jobs that pay median annual wages of $18,000.”1 A Bloomberg story adds, “An estimated 53 million Americans are earning low wages, according to the study. Their median wage is $10.22 an hour and their annual pay is $17,950.”2

These wage levels are not consistent with the United States’ industrial and technological development or its standard of living, but this is far from the only issue. Executives with profit-and-loss responsibility should realize that low wages are also often symptomatic of low profits. Purchasing managers should recognize that a supplier’s low wages are often symptomatic of excessively high prices, even though this seems counterintuitive. The reason is that low wages, low profits, and high prices all have the same root causes: waste (muda) and opportunity costs. Recognizing this simple fact, for which there are proven, off-the-shelf, and simple remedies, opens the door to almost limitless wealth for all stakeholders.

Randall Goodden’s picture

By: Randall Goodden

The manufacturing industry, stock market, and new product development have really taken off in the past four years, and there’s a lot of focus now on moving offshore manufacturing back into the United States. With all of this growth, it is also apparent that many manufacturing corporations are primarily focused on marketing their new products, increasing sales, and hopefully, ensuring their products are safe and will live up to expectation.

But with all the records being set in the stock market and employment, record numbers of product recalls and product liability lawsuits are also happening. What further compounds that problem are executive management teams making assumptions that their employees know how to prevent product recalls and product liability lawsuits, that it’s basically “common sense.” This false perception has led to an ever-growing trend in product recalls, record-breaking numbers of product-liability lawsuits, and manufacturing corporations going bankrupt.

Corporate short-termism

Sometimes in the pressure to show results—financial, production, quality improvements or whatever—we look for quick fixes rather than long-term strategies. And while these might look great and give stakeholders instant gratification, they may undermine what a company is trying to accomplish in the long term.

We talk to Greg Milano, author of Curing Corporate Short-Termism: Future Growth vs. Current Earnings.

HighQA’s picture

By: HighQA

(High QA: Hazlet, NJ) -- Quality control automation software provider High QA has released Version 5.0 of its comprehensive Inspection Manager. The new version features the next level of Quality 4.0 standards and increased automation.

Designed and built as a database-driven software (MS SQL) , Inspection Manager is an integrated set of applications that encompass quality management modules including:
• One-Click geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) extraction and automatic ballooning using advanced artificial intelligence-driven optical character recognition (OCR)
• Inspection planning
• Data collection and organization
Automated import of inspection results from coordinate measuring machine (CMM), VMM, and other connected measurement equipment
• In-process, shop-floor inspection results collection
• Creation of standard and custom forms and reports
• Integrated statistical process control (SPC) tracking and reporting
• User-access security management control
• Enterprise resource planning (ERP) integration, and more

Peter Dizikes’s picture

By: Peter Dizikes

Given the complexities of healthcare, do basic statistics used to rank hospitals really work well? A study co-authored by MIT economists indicates that some fundamental metrics do, in fact, provide real insight about hospital quality.

“The results suggest a substantial improvement in health if you go to a hospital where the quality scores are higher,” says Joseph Doyle, an MIT economist and co-author of a new paper detailing the study’s results.

The study was designed to work around a difficult problem in evaluating hospital quality: Some high-performing hospitals may receive an above-average number of very sick patients. Accepting those difficult cases could, on the surface, worsen the aggregate outcomes of a given hospital’s patients and make such hospitals seem less effective than they are.

However, the scholars found a way to study equivalent pools of patients, thus allowing them to judge the hospitals in level terms. Overall, the study shows, when patient sickness levels are accounted for, hospitals that score well on quality measures have 30-day readmission rates that are 15 percent lower than a set of lesser-rated hospitals, and 30-day mortality rates that are 17 percent lower.

Michigan Metrology’s picture

By: Michigan Metrology

(Michigan Metrology: Livonia, MI) -- Michigan Metrology, experts in solving problems related to surface texture, wear, finish, and friction, will share their expertise in a two-day course, April 1–2, 2020, in Livonia, Michigan.

“This course is designed for scientists, engineers, and technicians working in medical devices, automotive, aerospace, materials, polymers, and other fields,” says Don Cohen, Ph.D., who will lead the two-day workshop. “In recent years we have seen a great deal of interest in surface metrology and tribology education. This class offers material that will benefit both relative novices and advanced metrology users who want to further their understanding of these essential topics.”

Lean in government

Are lean programs and government agencies odd bedfellows? Not really. Both private and public sector organization often must do more with less. We talk with Tracy O'Rourke of GoLeanSixSigma.com about how lean gives taxpayers more bang for their buck.

Also, Russell Morrison of CMSC talks about technical-paper presentation at the annual Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference.

Attend CMSC conference this July 20-24, 2020, in New Orleans.

Want to present at the CMSC? CMSC Call for Papers

Anne Trafton’s picture

By: Anne Trafton

After a patient has a heart attack or stroke, doctors often use risk models to help guide their treatment. These models can calculate a patient’s risk of dying based on factors such as the patient’s age, symptoms, and other characteristics.

While these models are useful in most cases, they do not make accurate predictions for many patients, which can lead doctors to choose ineffective or unnecessarily risky treatments for some patients.

“Every risk model is evaluated on some dataset of patients, and even if it has high accuracy, it is never 100-percent accurate in practice,” says Collin Stultz, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. “There are going to be some patients for which the model will get the wrong answer, and that can be disastrous.”

Stultz and his colleagues from MIT, IBM Research, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School have now developed a method that allows them to determine whether a particular model’s results can be trusted for a given patient. This could help guide doctors to choose better treatments for those patients, the researchers say.

Exact Metrology’s picture

By: Exact Metrology

(Exact Metrology: Cincinnati) -- Cincinnati native, Tom Tsuchiya, is a well-known artist whose previous work includes bronze statues of former Cincinnati Reds players near the entrance of the Great American Ball Park and the inductees of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Now, Tsuchiya’s artistic skills are on display in Florence, Kentucky. The Florence Community Plaza features life-size statues of a firefighter, a public service worker, and a police officer.

Although Tsuchiya has used 3D software, digital scanning, 3D printing, and CNC (computer numerical control) to help create sculptures in the past, the Florence project was the first time digital scans of actual people were used to create a sculpture.

Tsuchiya planned the general pose of the firefighter, the public service worker, and the police officer with a little girl, using a 3D design program. He asked Matthew Martin, the division manager of Exact Metrology, and Scott Menne to digitally scan actual employees from the City of Florence, Kentucky. The firefighter in gear was scanned at the fire station, while the police officer and Martin’s daughter were scanned at the Florence city headquarters. A friend of the City of Florence posed as the public service worker.

Tom Taormina’s picture

By: Tom Taormina

In part one of this series, I said that I want to help my colleagues use their ISO 9001 implementation as a profit center and to turn risk-based thinking into risk avoidance. To do this I will share a set of tools that help evolve quality management into business management.

These tools include:
• Evolving the requirements of ISO 9001's Section 4 from merely defining the context of the organization to working with senior management to create, implement, and make shared vision, mission, and values a cultural imperative
• Redefining Section 5 to include roles and responsibilities for everyone in the organization that are measurable and inextricably tied to the key business success goals and metrics
• Including in Section 6 the tools and culture of risk avoidance
• Evolving Section 7 from support to an outcome-based, risk-and-reward culture
• Expanding the scope of Section 8 into a holistic business management system
• Redefining Section 9 from performance evaluation to an enterprisewide culture of individual and team accountability
• Expanding Section 10 from continual improvement to business excellence