Quality Management Posts

Lean Is the Cornerstone of Quality

Mark Crawford

Eliminating waste in a process is essential for reducing complexity, lowering risk, increase productivity, improving quality, and reducing overall costs—savings that can be passed on to the client through lower pricing. A simpler, more streamlined process also makes reproducibility and validation easier.

There are lots of ways to tackle quality improvement, including monitoring equipment and software. But one of the easiest and least-expensive ways to improve quality and reduce risk is value stream mapping (VSM), one of the key principles of lean manufacturing. In fact, VSM is so simple it just requires a pencil and a piece of paper. (more…)

Impact of the New 510(k)/PMA Process on Companies for Quality Management

The entire medical device community is waiting patiently to see how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration changes the 510(k) clearance process. In January 2011, the Agency announced a plan containing 25 actions it intends to implement during the year to improve the most common path to market for medical devices.

According to a press release, the FDA’s key actions include:

  • Streamlining the “de novo” review process for certain innovative, lower-risk medical devices
  • Clarifying when clinical data should be submitted in a premarket submission, guidance that will increase the efficiency and transparency of the review process
  • Establishing a new Center Science Council of senior FDA experts to assure timely and consistent science-based decision making

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ISO 9001 – It’s All About Continuous Improvement

ISO 9001 was created in response to customers who wanted an assurance of quality. The concept was to limit the risk of delivering defective products to customers, with a focus on prevention, detection and correction. ISO 9001 replaced many customer-specific requirements, which suppliers needed to meet in order to make it easier for them to bid for work.

But ISO 9001 should be a quest for improving quality in all operations and not simply getting and keeping a certificate. It should be viewed as a guide for a management system to satisfy its customers and stakeholders with continual success. (more…)

The New Year is a Good Time to Think About Audits

From December 26th on, you can’t help but see articles on the best and worst of 2010. We had Toyota, BP and eggs topping the news, and it didn’t shed much of a positive light on quality management. So as the new year kicks in, perhaps it’s time to examine your own products and processes in order to ensure compliance with organizational and industry regulations. (more…)

Get Lean! Using Six Sigma and Lean Strategies to Improve Quality

The goal of lean is to eliminate waste and non-value-added steps at all points in the manufacturing process. To accomplish this, lean implements continuous improvement practices and eliminating waste across the enterprise. Technology has been successful as key to achieving this end. While saving money might be an initial consideration with lean strategies, customer satisfaction is of utmost importance to any organization. By concentrating on customer satisfaction and value while eliminating waste, a company can build profits as well. (more…)

Are They Just Pulling Our (Supply) Chain?

The FDA, Congress, the US Consumer Products Safety Commission, US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Justice. These and countless other regulatory bodies are more proactively evaluating the potential risk and liability to our country’s goods and products; and as we’ve seen, the sharing of information among these regulatory bodies is leading to more cohesive enforcement activities with the continuous goal of protecting the consumer. (more…)