Six Sigma Posts

Quality is Everyone’s Job

Quality is Everyone’s Job

Kari Miller, Senior Director of Industry Solutions and Product Management, Pilgrim Quality Solutions

Vision, values, goals and strategy are the guiding principles of a corporation and culture culminates from them. Quality culture refers to the complete awareness, commitment, attitude, and behavior of the organization with respect to quality.  Corporate leadership must effectively communicate and more importantly demonstrate quality as an inherent value of the organization. (more…)

Don’t Guess on Variation and Corrective Action

Don’t Guess on Variation and Corrective Action

Mark Crawford

Jonathan D. Port, a quality management expert and owner of Beacon Quality Services LLC (, wrote an article on understanding variation in the March 2012 issue of Quality Progress.

“Organizations with quality management systems compliant to ISO 9001:2008 are required to take action to eliminate the causes of nonconformities,” says Port. “Clause 8.5.2 defines steps required for corrective action (CA), including determination of the nonconformity cause, along with determination and implementation of necessary action to prevent recurrence. Similar wording is also present in clause 8.5.3 regarding preventive action (PA).” (more…)

Reviving Six Sigma

Mark Crawford

There’s been some industry discussion that Six Sigma, the longtime standard of quality implementation, isn’t what it used to be—that in fact, for a growing number of companies, it is actually more of a negative than a positive.

For example,a 2007 study by QualPro revealed that 53 of 58 large companies that use Six Sigma have trailed the S&P 500 since they implemented it.

Others maintain Six Sigma is outdated and being replaced by newer methods, such as the theory of constraints and systems thinking.

However, don’t be too quick to dump Six Sigma—it’s still the same; the difference is in the way companies use it today, especially when dealing with an increasingly fast-paced and competitive global marketplace. Companies simply aren’t taking enough time and attention to implement Six Sigma properly. (more…)

Little Things Mean a Lot

Skinny jeans, 100-calorie snacks, smart cars – everyone is focused on smaller and leaner. So why not manufacturing? Research has shown that almost all activities in manufacturing fail to add value to a product. Nielsen Research reports that a minute of downtime can cost a manufacturer more than $20,000! A MINUTE! Success lies in efficiencies. It’s about being lean.

Lean principles have been with us for a while in quality and manufacturing. You’re probably familiar with Six Sigma, TQM, Kaizan, etc. Lean is about getting the right things in the right place at the right time and always looking for continuous improvement. It can apply to processes throughout the value chain. (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…)

Wake Up and Watch Out: Getting Serious About QMS

“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” Really? If you only want to maintain the status quo, you might get away with letting sleeping dogs lie. But no one really wants to get hauled off by the dog catcher during a pleasant nap. Unfortunately, it’s happening every day to manufacturers who don’t take quality management seriously.

Quality management is about continuous improvement and product safety. And each time we optimize, we strengthen our preventive measures for avoiding unwanted surprises and disruptions in our operations. (more…)