Management Article

NQA’s picture


For companies that are registered to more than one management system, integrating them makes a lot of sense. Combining your management systems provides greater benefit than running separate management systems in parallel. An integrated management system (IMS) can help reduce duplication and improve efficiency.

What is an IMS?

An integrated management system is a single system designed to manage multiple aspects of an organization’s operations in line with multiple standards, such as  those for quality, environmental, and health and safety management.

Integrated management is relevant to any organization, regardless of size or sector, looking to integrate two or more of its management systems into one cohesive system with a holistic set of documentation, policies, procedures, and processes.

Garry Oswald’s picture

By: Garry Oswald

If your company ships anything on a regular basis, you should know about freight invoice auditing. This is the method that shippers have used for 60 years to cut the costs charged by carriers and to make deliveries more efficiently to their end users.

Auditing does more than save on shipping costs; it also offers the business intelligence that allows companies to see and analyze their entire shipping practices. This in turn affords better transportation choices, faster and more customized deliveries—and satisfied customers. A crucial benefit is that auditing provides shippers the data to negotiate lower rates and discounts with existing or prospective carriers.

Auditing your freight and parcel shipping invoices pays for itself, and then some. A staple feature of invoice auditing has always been that, at the very least, it recoups its own cost, and typically achieves savings three to four times more than its cost. Savings happen instantly, because fees for prepayment audits are transaction-based and determined by the format (electronic vs. paper) and volume. Typical fees are $1 per paper invoice and 50¢ per electronic invoice. Because audits result in adjustments as the process begins, the savings are immediate.

By: Nathan Sheaff

There was a time when manufacturers thought that “hot test”—a test at the end of the assembly line of a fully functional engine—was the only way to ensure that each unit had been assembled to perform as expected.

A lot has changed during the past 20 years. Manufacturers, from automotive to medical devices and even printer cartridges, today understand that just about anything can be tested during the process of assembly, with the goal to catch defects at the earliest point on the line. But it was with the automotive sector that in-process testing began during the early 1990s.

At that time, Sciemetric was building a reputation in the marketplace for test and measurement equipment and was already known to many of the big automakers. One of those big names was looking for an alternative to the traditional engine hot test. Hot testing was expensive, took up lots of floor space in the plant, was bad for the environment due to emissions, was a very subjective and often ineffective test, and added no value to the product.

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By: American Customer Satisfaction Index ACSI

(ASCI: Ann Arbor, MI) -- Customer satisfaction with personal computers halts a three-year slide, according to new data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The ACSI Household Appliance and Electronics Report 2016 includes desktops, laptops, and tablet computers, as well as household appliances, televisions, and computer software.

PCs gain 1.3 percent to 78 on ACSI’s 100-point scale. Tablets improve by 4 percent to 78, reclaiming a slight edge over laptops, which rise 3 percent to 77. Desktop computers maintain the highest score of 81.

“In an increasingly mobile world, smartphones are the biggest threat to PC sales, and tablets have not been the long-term panacea the PC industry was hoping for,” says Claes Fornell, ACSI chairman and founder. “Interestingly, the two companies that lead in smartphone satisfaction also lead the PC industry, although they have very different strategies regarding the future of tablets. Apple is targeting business customers on the go with laptop-like features for its iPad, while Samsung tablets occupy their own space as devices for entertainment and browsing—not laptop replacements.”

Chad Kymal’s picture

By: Chad Kymal

Deadlines for ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 registration have appeared on the horizon. Although we have 24 months to get registered to these new standards, some related timelines are looming even closer, notably scheduling a recertification or surveillance audit.

Some organizations have already passed their surveillance audits since the standards’ publication in 2015, but most audits have yet to take place. Many organizations will begin their recertification audits to ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 around the middle of 2017. This doesn’t leave a lot of time for updating management systems to comply with new requirements.

By: Kevin Hill

Numerous industries need to measure the weight of goods at different stages of production and distribution. Accuracy, speed, and throughput rank high on their list. If you use outdated weighing systems, a number of challenges crop up that threaten safety, performance, and compliance with local regulations. This can be addressed by using onboard truck scales that can measure a vehicle’s gross weight or its payload weight.

Importance of onboard truck scales

Scales are installed on lift trucks or forklifts that transfer goods within a warehouse or from a warehouse to a loading dock. These scales are an excellent resource for supply chain management because they enable seamless communication between the lift truck scales and the office where the weights and logistics can be documented. The inventory of freight volume being shipped and that remain in stock can also be determined.

By: Marschall Runge

While commanding four vessels sailing between England and India in 1601, Capt. James Lancaster performed one of the great experiments in medical history. Each of the seamen on just one ship—his own, of course—was required to sip three teaspoons of lemon juice per day. By the midpoint of the voyage, about 40 percent of the sailors on the other three ships had died, most from scurvy, while no one on his had succumbed to the disease.

This experiment is remembered less for its result—demonstrating the power of vitamin C-rich citrus fruits to combat scurvy—than its aftermath: It took the British Navy and perhaps a million deaths to adopt dietary regulations reflecting this simple, wondrous insight.

For all of its dazzling breakthroughs, modern medicine is still bedeviled by this achingly practical problem: how to identify and deliver the best healthcare practices to patients in a timely manner. Across the nation, hospitals are working to improve quality and affordability of care, recognizing the need to contribute to a healthier nation.

Dawn Bailey’s picture

By: Dawn Bailey

Public schools across the country are facing significant challenges. Lisa Muller, assistant superintendent for Baldrige Award recipient Jenks Public Schools, says schools are dealing with an increase in student needs, while at the same time managing declining revenues and attempting to prepare students for the demands of life in the 21st century.

“Students in public schools increasingly come to us facing challenges with poverty and other societal issues, or needing support for English-language development or learning challenges,” says Muller. “Effectively meeting the needs of this more diverse student population requires resources. However, the ‘Great Recession’ affected funding for school districts across the country. And despite a recovering economy, funding for public education remains below 2008 levels in half of our states.” The state of Oklahoma, home to Jenks Public Schools, leads this list of the 25 states (see figure 1) where general funding per student is still lower than it was in 2008. Oklahoma has grappled with a 24.2-percent decrease to state-formula funding between 2008 and 2016.

Joby George’s picture

By: Joby George

Manufacturing has changed dramatically during the past several years. Where once original equipment manufacturers made products primarily within their own four walls, now those companies must manage a complex global supply chain. In an effort to support innovation, reach new markets, and reduce costs, many companies are leveraging third parties to outsource not only supplies and components, but also the actual manufacturing and distribution of finished goods.

Although using contractors and suppliers located around the world has reduced the cost of the finished product, it has also added new levels of risk due to limited visibility into the product’s life cycle. As a result, organizations are looking for ways to create greater transparency into their suppliers’ and contract manufacturers’ operations and quality processes to ensure that products meet safety and quality requirements. As I discussed earlier this year, effective supplier management is a critical component of a company’s overall approach to quality management.

Gabriele Suder’s picture

By: Gabriele Suder

The costs of global terrorism on business go beyond the destruction caused in the attacks and actually impact the value of brands and supply chains for products, new research shows. It can give a competitive edge to some companies while destroying others.

During the 15 years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, terrorism and its tragic consequences have become transnational in nature and impact. Terrorism has moved from an unquantifiable uncertainty to a risk, with an ever-increasing frequency that has exceeded 70,000 attacks within the last 15 years.

Terrorism has also amplified in scale and scope. It claims more human lives and aims to immobilize societies and economies, if we let it. Our research dissects the direct and indirect impacts of terrorism of the past 15 years.

There have been 5,367 so-called “effective” attacks recorded by the Global Terrorism Database since 2001 that have directly targeted businesses, sometimes with the loss of human life. This equals, on average, 1.1 terrorist attacks each day on business by what is recorded as “global terrorism.”

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