Management Article

Gallup’s picture

By: Gallup

Increasingly dynamic workplaces have made organizational change an everyday reality. Demands for workforce agility require a step up from those commanding—particularly in ongoing measurement and making use of feedback during this breakneck pace of change.

There is a definite need for continuous and effective communication. Gallup finds that only 27 percent of workers strongly agree that the feedback they currently receive helps them do their work better. Furthermore, only 17 percent strongly agree that there’s open communication throughout all levels of their company.

Millennials are well-versed in open communication for sharing opinions and feedback. But in today’s highly connected world, all generations of workers are becoming accustomed to constant communication.

Company leaders are seeking ways to track real-time employee experiences and gain insight about issues affecting employees’ work lives and their organizations’ performance. Leaders realize that engaging employees takes more than sending out an annual survey. It requires a year-long, people-oriented strategy aimed at clarifying expectations and maximizing performance. To that end, leaders want a way to gather employee feedback throughout the year.

Thus, the rise of pulse surveys.

Matthew Barsalou’s picture

By: Matthew Barsalou

The start of a failure investigation may involve brainstorming, but empirical methods will be required to actually identify a problem's cause. Implementing an improvement action without a confirmed root cause risks a reoccurrence of the issue because the true root cause has yet to be addressed.

The Ishikawa diagram, a cause-and-effect diagram created by Kaoru Ishikawa, is a common and useful tool for investigating failures and can be effective in facilitating brainstorming sessions. However, it may not be specific enough for a root-cause analysis team to identify evaluation methods for the hypothesized causes listed in the Ishikawa diagram (aka fishbone diagram). Additionally, once completed, the diagram contains great information, but isn't very useable or actionable by itself.

Fortunately, this weakness can be addressed easily by using a simple spreadsheet to translate brainstormed ideas into actionable hypotheses. I call such a spreadsheet a "Perkin tracker," named after the person who introduced me to the concept. Such a spreadsheet can be used to turn concepts in an Ishikawa diagram into hypotheses that can then be evaluated empirically.

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

It’s no surprise that multinational companies have complex global supply chains. What’s less obvious is how to simplify supply-chain processes and arrive at a lean, consistent, reliable, and cost-effective solution. One global leader, ITT Corp., has taken on this challenge with the help of Ultriva, a supply-chain solution by Upland Software, which supplies cloud-based manufacturing and supply-chain collaboration and execution solutions.

Meredith Griffith’s picture

By: Meredith Griffith

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Most of us have heard of a backward way of completing a task, or doing something in the conventionally wrong order, described as “putting the cart before the horse.” That’s because a horse pulling a cart is much more efficient than a horse pushing a cart. This saying may be especially true in the world of statistics.

Focusing on a statistical tool or analysis before checking out the condition of your data is one way you may be putting the cart before the horse. You might find yourself trying to force your data to fit an analysis, particularly when the data have not been set up properly. It’s far more efficient to first make sure your data are reliable and then allow your questions of interest to guide you to the right analysis.

Spending a little quality time with your data up front can save you from wasting a lot of time on an analysis that either can’t work or can’t be trusted.

As a quality practitioner, you’re likely to be involved in many activities: establishing quality requirements for external suppliers, monitoring product quality, reviewing product specifications and ensuring they are met, improving process efficiency, and many more.

Manufacturing Extension Partnership MEP’s picture

By: Manufacturing Extension Partnership MEP

Whether it’s for performance management or for risk, it’s important to know who your suppliers are and have a close business relationship with them.

It’s a given you should already have a strong relationship with your key suppliers, but how often does your supplier request the following items?
• Cash
• Urgent price changes
• Sending payments to a different address
• Check pickup
• Funding for capital expenditures
• Requests to purchase materials on supplier’s behalf
• Inventory buy-back
• Accommodation agreement (i.e., a loan)
• Delay of cost reductions
• Resourcing all or some of the components it supplies
• Lengthening delivery times

If your supplier frequently asks for these things, then it’s time to reevaluate what other ways your supply chain is being put at risk.

Peter Dizikes’s picture

By: Peter Dizikes

Want to encourage innovation? A new study co-authored by an MIT professor finds that little-known state laws called “constituency statutes” have significant effects on the quantity and quality of innovative business actions.

The statutes, which allow companies to prioritize the interests of “stakeholders”—often employees rather than just shareholders—tend to allow businesses more time to bring innovations to market, rather than forcing those companies to prioritize quarterly financial results at the exclusion of new products and new activities.

“Constituency statutes are pretty important,” says Aleksandra Kacperczyk an associate professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and an author of a new paper detailing the study.

Overall, constituency statutes, which exist in 34 U.S. states and were largely introduced during the 1980s, raise the rate of patenting among firms by at least 6.4 percent, according to the study.

Paula Oddy’s picture

By: Paula Oddy

Sponsored Content

As an auditor of quality management systems, I can tell you from firsthand experience that most auditees dislike corrective actions. Corrections are tied to findings of nonconformance; understandably, people generally want to emerge from an audit without any significant findings. But when you look a little more closely at what corrective action is, and what it can do for an organization, the perspective may change.

To understand why findings are important, it’s necessary to step through the corrective-action process to see how it plays out in a “typical” organization. I put the word “typical” in quotes, of course, because there really isn’t such a thing. Every sector and every organization is different, with its own issues and opportunities for improvement. An auditor must avoid simply implementing a kind of playbook for all situations and circumstances. With that said, there are indeed some general principles at work when we undertake this process.

Peter Marks’s picture

By: Peter Marks

Part of the vision of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) is to strengthen the center as the preeminent regulatory organization for biologics. One way CBER is achieving this is through the work of the Office of Compliance and Biologics Quality (OCBQ) and the Office of Vaccines Research and Review (OVRR).

These offices play a major role in helping to ensure the safety and quality of products regulated by CBER. Their work shows that CBER isn’t just talking the talk about its vision, it’s also walking the walk to demonstrate the expertise needed to fulfill it.

That walk leads directly to OCBQ’s Division of Biological Standards and Quality Control (DBSQC), OVRR’s Laboratory of Immunobiochemistry (LIB), and the center’s Laboratory Quality System (LQS) Program.

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

Sponsored Content

As global competition stiffens, manufacturing sectors of all stripes are embracing emerging technologies in order to meet customer demands. In the realm of metal casting, Pennsylvania-based Effort Foundry is leading the charge by investing in new technology as part of a continuous improvement program.

“Casting hasn’t really changed much in the last 1,000 years,” admits Michael Unmann, the director of machining operations at Effort Foundry. “But now we’re bringing in technology like solidification simulation, reverse engineering, and 3D scanning to prevent defects in our castings and advance our rapid prototyping capabilities.”

Preventing defects and avoiding what can be extraordinarily costly rework is the key to efficiency at an operation where single manufactured pieces can weigh up to a ton. The centerpiece of Effort Foundry’s newfound virtual modeling ability is their 3D scanning hardware and software.

Dan Jacob’s picture

By: Dan Jacob

It’s  shaping up to be an interesting year. The U.S. presidential campaign looks to be outrageous and entertaining, stocks started the year with a nasty hangover, and ranchers turned militant in Oregon. Although the outlook for quality management isn’t quite as exciting, there are a number of interesting—and positive—new developments we should keep an eye on in 2016. Here are three.

Rapid adoption of quality-centered IIoT pilot projects

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