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.

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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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