Quality quiz (August 2017)—and July’s quiz winners!

Winners of last month’s quiz and a copy of Practical Tools for Continuous Improvement: Volume 1 are Mark Wooten (Elite Medical, LLC of Bartlett, TN); Chris Fitts (Grass USA of Kernersville, NC); and Lynette Hansen (Molina Healthcare of Midvale, UT). For this month’s quiz, and a chance to win a copy of Practical Tools for Continuous Improvement: Volume 1, submit your response by August 31.

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Missing the point: Gage variability and operational definitions

Barb ClearyThe process of analyzing gage variability is often highly structured, involving an examination of the gages themselves for sensitivity to temperature changes, magnetic fields, and other factors. These are the easy ones. The second area of variability has its source in gage operators themselves, who may have different levels of training, experience, fatigue, and even attitude.

Collecting data offers clues to sources of variability. But when this disciplined analysis fails to uncover real reasons for variability, it may be time for the Sherlock Holmes of variability to look at operational definitions—often the most overlooked consideration when evaluating variation among measurement devices.

Elementary, my dear Watson? Perhaps, but nonetheless these definitions can lead to levels of variation in gage output if they are vague or nonexistent. “In the opinion of many people in industry, there is nothing more important for transaction of business than use of operational definitions. It could also be said that no requirement of industry is so much neglected” (Deming, 276).

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Bytes and pieces: News you can use

UK Metrology Handbook: A new and enlarged edition of this handbook is available.

White paper: New standards for medical device manufacturers will go into effect December 2018. Industry experts have developed a free white paper to provide guidance.

Food safety: Company vows to cut the use of antibiotics in its chicken supply, joining other major fast-food chain operators in the battle against the rise of dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as superbug.

Auto recall information: This booklet acknowledges that more can be done to assure vehicle safety, with information that every vehicle owner should know about actual and potential product recalls.

Quality quiz (July 2017)—and June’s quiz winners!

Winners of last month’s quiz and a copy of Practical Tools for Continuous Improvement: Volume 1 are Mike Nicholas (Schumacher Homes of Canton, OH); Alberto Garcia (Jackson Transformer Co of Tampa, FL); and Tina Abendroth (Midwest Blow Molding of Vandalia, IL). Congratulations! For this month’s quiz, and a chance to win a copy of Practical Tools for Continuous Improvement: Volume 1, submit your response by July 31.

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Driverless analysis? Accurate predictions demand more than a chart

Barb ClearyIf you get off the highway and take an alternate route when traffic slows to one lane, you are making a prediction. Likewise, if you decide to invite someone to dinner, that too is a prediction. The scientific method? Predictive in nature. Every time you make a decision, you are making a prediction of an outcome, and choosing one over another based on this prediction.

Prediction skills become second nature because of this daily application. These predictions may not be based on data or evidence, but involve some subjective guess about a preferred outcome. In the case of choosing a traffic route or a dinner date, it’s clear that not much data is involved. The decision involves subjective interpretations, intuitive hunches, and guesses about potential outcomes.

Will data analysis really enhance prediction accuracy? There are no guarantees, without adding a certain amount of understanding of data, of variation, and of process performance.

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Data in everyday life: Grilled or broiled, fried or boiled–hot dogs are a July phenomenon

Barb Cleary“A hot dog at the ball park is better than steak at the Ritz.”

At least that’s what Humphrey Bogart is said to have commented. With the summer season underway and ball parks in full swing, hot dogs at the ball park, on the grill, and in the lunchbox will help to celebrate National Hot Dog Month in July. And many agree that there’s nothing like a hot dog with mustard. Or relish or ketchup or smeared with chili.

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Bytes and pieces: News you can use

Registration open: The ASQ Inspection Division Conference will take place September 14-15, 2017 in Grand Rapids, MI.

Engineers recognized: The 30th annual Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice Awards recognizes leaders in 28 categories of control, instrumentation, and automation products.

Knorr product recalled: Kosher soup mix has been recalled because egg ingredient is not indicated on label.

Manufacturing women honored: Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead awards have recognized 130 women in the industry.