Training Article

David Currie’s picture

By: David Currie

This is part three of a three-part series. Read about good metrics in part one and bad metrics in part two.

Have you ever had occasion to dread a metric reviewed month after month, where the metric defies logic, and any action taken does not seem to reflect in the metric? It is most likely a bad metric in so many respects that it has turned ugly. Let’s look at a sample ugly metric.

Kelsey Rzepecki’s picture

By: Kelsey Rzepecki

As the global economy grows, it’s more necessary than ever to stay on top of efficiency. Keep up with increasing production demands by implementing a continuous improvement method to streamline the workflow.

Continuous improvement is an ongoing effort to improve products, services, and processes. It starts with small, incremental changes, and over time it adds up to produce major improvements to productivity, quality, and cost savings. A 5S system is an effective improvement tool to guide this process.

5S—A method of improvement

5S is a Japanese management approach originally developed by Toyota as part of its lean manufacturing system. It helps correct inefficiencies and ensure smooth operations by keeping the workplace clean, functional, and orderly. It’s also designed to support a workplace culture of continuous improvement. 5S is one of the easiest ways to build a foundation for operational success because it consists of simple planning, and it can be implemented quickly in every aspect of a business.

Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest’s picture

By: Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest

In this episode we look at bioethics, next-gen manufacturing employees, and the death of Le Grand K.

What happens if customers want designer babies? We discuss the latest news about a Chinese researcher who claims to have edited the genes of two babies. Should society draw a line in the sand?

“Convincing Students That Manufacturing Job Skills Will Pay Off”

With jobs in the trades going begging and too many kids exiting four-year colleges with crippling debt only to find their degrees don’t have labor-market currency, maybe more people need to consider the value of certifications and two-year technical degrees.

Aytekin Tank’s picture

By: Aytekin Tank

A giant engine in a factory fails. Concerned, the factory owners call in technicians, who arrive with bulging toolkits. None of them can work out what the problem is. The issue persists.

One day, an old man shows up who’s been fixing engines his whole life. After inspecting it for a minute, he pulls out a hammer and gives the engine a gentle tap. In seconds, it roars back to life.

A week later, the owners receive an invoice for his work: $10,000. Flabbergasted, they write back asking for an itemized bill.

The man replies:
• Tapping with a hammer: $1
• Knowing where to tap: $9,999

There’s an app for that

Everyone has access to tools. But these tools are useless without the right system to support them.

To-do list apps, distraction-free note-taking software, kanban-style project management tools.... Some of these block distracting websites. Some track your data. Some keep track of your time. Some reward you. Some threaten and punish you.

The tech battlefield is littered with millions of apps, tools, and software that claim to make us better: at work and at life. The sheer amount of choice means it’s easy to lose an hour just scrolling and tapping between them.

Davis Balestracci’s picture

By: Davis Balestracci

I always enjoy my fellow columnist Arun Hariharan’s musings. He has worked in the field of quality for more than 30 years and, like me, has obtained reasonable results. But he has also made his share of the inevitable growing-pain mistakes—lessons we both had to learn the hard way in an environment totally different from today’s.

I would like to share some of his thoughts about qualities that make one successful as an improvement professional regardless of circumstances. This column will focus on one of the most important.

Ability to execute or implement

“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.”
—U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower (1956)

Hariharan: “I’ve come across a few armchair philosophers who became quality professionals. They would complain that nobody in the business listened to them. I’ve learned that one of the most important qualities needed to be successful in quality is the ability to execute. Few people in the business will be interested in theories alone; the quality person must work with their colleagues in the business to implement what they preach.”

U.S. Department of Education’s picture

By: U.S. Department of Education

In June 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order titled “Expanding Apprenticeships in America.” It calls for the creation of a special task force to identify strategies and proposals to promote apprenticeships in the United States. To meet this challenge, Department of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta brought together representatives from companies, labor unions, trade associations, educational institutions, and public agencies.

On May 10, 2018, the task force on apprenticeship expansion submitted a report to the president that provided a strategy to create more apprenticeships in the United States through an industry-recognized apprenticeship model. The centerpiece of the proposal is to build on the traditional registered apprenticeship concept by creating a pathway to new, industry-recognized apprenticeships.

Ariana Tantillo’s picture

By: Ariana Tantillo

The ability to program computers is crucial to almost all modern scientific experiments, which often involve extremely complex calculations and massive amounts of data. However, scientists typically have not been formally trained in science-specific programming to develop customized computational modeling and data analysis tools for advancing their research. Computer science is not always part of the coursework for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) college students. If it is, the courses traditionally focus on the theoretical concepts of classical software design rather than on practical problem solving in their respective fields.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory has seen this knowledge gap between computational and domain science firsthand. Every year, various Brookhaven Lab departments and facilities offer opportunities for STEM undergraduates to conduct research alongside physicists, chemists, biologists, and other domain scientists.

Megan Ray Nichols’s picture

By: Megan Ray Nichols

There is rising enthusiasm all over the country and the world when it comes to apprenticeships. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2013 to 2017, the number of those participating in apprenticeship programs grew from 375,000 to almost 534,000, an increase of about 42 percent. In 2017, the number of apprentices was 25-percent higher than the 20-year average of 425,000. [QD]

Some of the biggest reasons include the rising cost of attending college, the rapid aging-out of Baby Boomers from the workforce, and the difficulty that employers seem to be having in encouraging millennials to pursue careers in the skilled and semi-skilled trades.

When practical and successful apprenticeship programs do make waves it’s worth taking note of how they operate, why they met with success, and how they’ve managed to change the industries in which they operate. A prime example of what industry is doing to create its own workforce is the Newport News Shipbuilding Apprenticeship School.

William A. Levinson’s picture

By: William A. Levinson

Chad Kymal1 gave an excellent overview of the ISO 45001 occupational health and safety (OHS) standard that was released in March 2018. I purchased a copy of the standard, and it provides an excellent framework, modeled on Annex SL, which defines the structure of all the new ISO standards, for an OHS management system. “Management system” is important because, although workplace safety has been mandatory for decades, traditional safety departments have the same limitations as traditional quality departments: The activity in question is limited to an organizational silo, as opposed to being part of a comprehensive and integrated management system.

Kymal’s webinar pointed out that ISO 45001 is not prescriptive. It does not include product safety (a separate issue from workplace safety) or even OSHA requirements, although it is emphatically synergistic with OSHA requirements, including those for OSHA’s voluntary protection program (VPP).

Mike Richman’s picture

By: Mike Richman

Our industry embodies many aspects, but “Big Q” quality generally involves issues affecting management, measurement, and methodologies. This week on QDL, we covered all of them, and more. Let’s look closer:

“Ripped from the Headlines: Tariff Fallout”

U.S. manufacturers are currently dealing with the unexpected negative repercussions of the federal government’s trade wars. In this piece we look at an NPR story about a struggling nail factory and consider steps that companies closer to home are taking to address rising prices for material.

Interview: Eric Gasper

Gasper is the presenter of the upcoming webinar, “The Importance of R&R Studies,” on Nov. 6, 2018, at 11 a.m. Pacific, 2 p.m. Eastern. In this interview, he previews the webinar and discusses how to better assess the health of your measurement system.

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