Data in everyday life: For the love of candy and costumes

Derek BensonAs Americans, we love a good scare. We love dressing our children up as their favorite super heroes, villains, and princesses and parading them around the neighborhood during trick-or-treat. We’ve developed quite a figurative sweet-tooth for everything that has to do with Halloween. The corn mazes, haunted houses, elaborate decorations and undeniable joy we get from torturing our dogs and cats with their own costumes add to the magic of 21st century Halloween celebrations… but at what cost?

Continue reading

Bytes and pieces: News you can use

User Community launched: Visit the new PQ User Community, an online meeting place to connect with industry peers, access support resources, and learn tips for improvement.

Lobster quality: Nova Scotia government initiatives raise the quality of live lobster products.

Recall list available: Consumer Affairs has released its listing of product recalls for September.

Driverless car safety: Researchers test car safety by “pretending not to be there,” masking as car seats.

Quality quiz (October 2017)—and September’s quiz winners!

Winners of last month’s quiz and a copy of Practical Tools for Continuous Improvement: Volume 1 are George Lukaschunis (Bluewater Thermal Solutions of Saint Marys, PA); Kim Riehman (KLR Group, Inc. of Schaumburg, IL); and Larry Litke (Grand River Rubber & Plastics of Ashtabula, OH). For this month’s quiz, and a chance to win a copy of Practical Tools for Continuous Improvement: Volume 1, submit your response by October 31.

Continue reading

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

Winners of last month’s quiz and a copy of Practical Tools for Continuous Improvement: Volume 1 are Johanna Sanders (UC Davis Medical Center of Sacramento, CA); Kevin Clyne (HN Precision of Rochester, NY); and Tyler Sobers (Erdman Machine Co. of Whitehall, MI). For this month’s quiz, and a chance to win a copy of Practical Tools for Continuous Improvement: Volume 1, submit your response by September 29.

Continue reading

Bytes and pieces: News you can use

Deming training: Aileron will offer training this month on the management approach of W. Edwards Deming for anyone who manages people or who holds executive responsibility.

High-quality news: This Forbes article lists eight ways to subscribe to respected news outlets without spending a fortune.

Risk management: Mike Richman discusses risk management and redundancy in the wake of the Houston “disaster of biblical proportions.”

Juggling balls: Improving products, watching the world

Barb ClearyIn a 1995 interview, tech guru Steve Jobs posited that empires could crash and burn if the emphasis is on sales rather than on product. “Companies forget what it means to make great products,” he said.1 Instead, they direct resources to selling, rather than improving and innovating.

If empires can crash and burn with this approach, what about organizations? A classic story tells of a company with a great innovation that customers clamor for; but the company, intent on advertising and promoting its product, loses sight of possibilities to improve it, and eventually sales drop in spite of increased advertising budgets, and the company goes bankrupt.

Improvement comes not only with a consistent focus on quality, but also with an eye on what else is happening in the world. This demands consistent contact with customers and competitors, as well as a professional interest in economic forces that may have an impact on businesses.

Continue reading