Quality quiz (February 2017)—and January’s quiz winners!

Winners of last month’s quiz and a copy of Practical Tools for Continuous Improvement: Volume 1 are Nate Riker (RPM Carbide Die Inc. of Arcadia, OH); Dan Shope (Standard Aero of Cincinnati, OH); and Jill Savoie (Quick Turn Precision Machining of Ogden, UT). 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 February 28.

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Data in everyday life: More about telecommuting

Drew Leisen

Last month I wrote about a rising trend in companies across the country: telecommuting, or working from home rather than from an office, plant, shop, etc. The benefits of telecommunication are pretty clear: a more comfortable work environment, less pollution and traffic, and less overhead for company offices. However, just like everything else, nothing is perfect! Today we will be taking a look at some of the less positive consequences of telecommuting.

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Bytes and pieces: News you can use

Collaboration: Toyota Motor Corp. and Suzuki Motor Corp. have agreed to start talks about collaborating in environmentally friendly technologies, safety systems, information technology and the mutual supply of products and components.

Jobs open: Many manufacturing skilled workers are in short supply, with companies scrambling to fill jobs.

Materials in demand: The 3D printing industry market will reach $9 billion in ten years, report says.

2017 Southern Automotive Quality Summit: Presented by AAMA and AIAG, this one-day event will include sessions focused on new industry global quality standards and highlight supplier compliance expectations and timing.

Sparking a chain reaction: Frederick Taylor, Deming, and work life

Barb ClearyWhen Frederick Winslow Taylor advanced the principles of “scientific management” in 1909, he was hailed as a master of efficient production. In the context of the new century’s focus on science, his principles were met with approval of manufacturers, who saw opportunities to improve productivity and enhance profitability.

The principles that Taylor advanced were based on the beliefs that there is one “right” way to do each job, that workers are motivated by money, and that close monitoring of processes assures that the most efficient methods could be applied. In one of his experiments, he studied the precise movements that were involved in bricklaying, timing each movement and outlining in specific step-by-step moves the most efficient way to lay bricks.

Taylor’s approach may indeed have improved productivity and streamlined processes in manufacturing. What it gained in efficiency, however, it lost in terms of pride of workmanship, individual responsibility, and the motive for innovation. Unfortunately, its effects linger even a century later in the attitudes of managers toward their workers and workers’ perceptions of their jobs. Its effects may even be seen in education, where rigorous testing assesses only master of highly specific content, with little emphasis on individual motivation or creativity.

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Bytes and pieces: News you can use

Millennials and manufacturing: As a career choice, manufacturing comes in seventh in a list of preferences for millennials. This may be because they have misconceptions about the manufacturing industry.

Food recall: Tyson has recalled bags of chicken nuggets sold at Costco nationwide after customers found small pieces of plastic in contents.

Motivation, Maslow, and Deming: Demotivating forces in the workplace correspond to Deming’s Seven Deadly Diseases of Management, this article asserts.

Common mistakes in Measurement System Analysis: These two common errors can be avoided to improve accuracy in measurement systems.

Data in everyday life: Telecommuting

Drew LeisenWhen many of us are rushing to get ready for work, a small but growing number of workers are still in bed, sleeping soundly. While most of us are trekking through the morning commute, these well-rested few are still donning pajamas in the comfort of their own homes. Both of these groups of people are going through typical morning routines. However, the latter is taking advantage of the growing trend of telecommuting.

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Are you bluffing quality?

Beth SavageBluffing in poker, if used wisely, can increase your chances of winning. Bluff too much though, and your opponents are on to you. Bluffing quality isn’t so different. Whimsical changes decreed from the top in the form of new quality teams, control charts displayed on large screens, and new buzzwords for everyone to learn might present a confident quality front to customers, employees, and auditors at first. These tactics might even, in some cases, result in improvements and cost savings.

At some point, though, your customers, employees, and other stakeholders will catch on. Unless significant changes in the way the organization operates are made, the gains will eventually slow to a crawl or stall completely. Why? Because the decrees at best temporarily change behavior, but the organization that created the quality issues remains fundamentally the same. When the “heat and light” that was used to alter the behavior is removed, the organization reverts to its former behaviors.

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