Tuesday, December 14, 2010
During the second test however, the goal was to design a bag where temperature from the environment was not a variable. Finding the right mixture allowed the bag to generate its own heat and reach temperatures over 130F within the first two weeks of decomposing. I believe the second test is more realistic than the first test/design that required that the bag make it to the landfill in order to decompose. They chose the second version as the standard for the new bag in effort to go green. Then, began to sell the new Eco-friendly bag to the public.
However, after all of the research that went in to design process and years of testing to find the right mixture for the Eco-friendly bag, it quickly came to a halt. After a short run on the market, the “Eco-friendly” or “Green” bags were criticized for the distraction and extreme noise the new material caused. Frito Lay reported a decrease between 15-35% in sales after the Eco-friendly bag was released. In response to the significant decrease in sales and endless consumer complaints, Frito Lay finally took action. Their solution was to discontinue the Eco-friendly bag and continue the use of the old bag moving forward. Frito Lay said they “value and listen to their customers and this is what they want”.
When conducting a MBNQA there is a great deal of emphasis around Customer Focus category. In this category labeled (3.0), the assessment will gage how a company interacts and responds to the needs of their customers. Frito Lay discontinued an Eco-friendly bag that is better for the environment both short and long term. Followed by the disengagement of becoming the first green company to redesign the standard material for snack bags. Keeping in mid that customer complaints of “high noise levels” caused by the new material play a huge role in the decision to discontinue the Eco-friendly bag, and revert back to original style. That being said, do you think Frito Lay made the right choice discontinuing the bag? Should customer complaints in any organization take priority over product redesign in effort to be “green”, if the products quality is not altered in any way?
Monday, December 13, 2010
Have you ever sat on the phone with a credit card company? How about the cable company? Ever wonder how companies like this can survive and still treat people like this? How about buying an item that you've looked forward to buying for a really long time, then upon purchasing it, you're extremely disappointed? Quality is something that we look at constantly. It's something that we cannot escape. It's there when we eat, walk, study, work, and sleep. It only helps us to understand the quality processes that we use to evaluate our everyday experiences.
One will always have a few classes sprinkled throughout their time that will tarnish their idea of what drives a quality education. A Chemistry class with 125 students, or maybe a programming class with six: Whatever it may be, I believe that it's up to the student to get exactly what they want out of a class. Whether or not they enjoyed their time and got what they wanted from their classes is the determining factor of a quality education. A college education is only a base for what the real world is going to throw at you. The quality of the education that one receives is completely up to the individual. In my case, I can honestly say that it was an unbelievable learning process and I am ready to enter the "real world".
By Troy Oldford
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I recently came across a presentation on the ASQ website discussing the future of quality. ASQ's Executive Director and Chief Strategic Officer, Paul Borawski, breaks down ASQ's 2008 Future of Quality Study, and the seven key forces that will affect quality in years to come. I enjoyed watching this presentation and agreed with Borawski's seven key forces that are affecting quality in the United States. I think it is very important for people, especially members of ASQ, to recognize and plan for the future. With the advice from Paul Borawski, we can plan and better prepare for changes to come in the quality field.
First and foremost, the most prevalent concept driving quality is the idea of globalization. In order to survive in today's economy companies must integrate their communication, business, and resources. The regional and national boundaries are becoming nonexistent. Globalization is becoming standard in doing business.
The second key force Borawski mentions is social responsibility. With the 'green' movement that is occurring in today's society, it is important that companies do their part as well. People are paying more attention to carbon footprints, environmental issues and how socially responsible companies are acting. With so much attention on social responsibility, companies that ignore and neglect the environment will pay the price.
The third key force discusses the new dimensions for quality. This section deals with adaptability. People must be willing to change with the times, continue education through training, webinars, conferences, master degrees and so on. It's important to keep yourself on the cutting edge and in the loop of new technology. You cannot be a sitting duck in order to succeed.
Next is the aging population. In business, it is important to understand your market needs and your customer base. In today's society, it is important to recognize that the baby boomers generation is growing older and have different needs. This aging population is going to affect health care and social systems. With the aging population, we must address and adapt to new customer needs
The fifth driving force is health care. With the amount money invested and the ever present need for healthcare, it is important to address the quality of this field. Since this field is one that will be around for many years to come, it is worth spending the time, research and commitment to eliminating waste and old technology in this field. This force overlaps with the idea of globalization in the sense that healthcare systems can learn and integrate recourses with various health care systems.
The sixth driving force is environmental concern. This to me ties directly to social responsibility. It seems redundant to break these into two separate driving forces.
The seventh and final driving force is 21st Century Technology. This seems very similar to that mentioned in the new dimensions for quality section. Both cover the idea of keeping up with times and that quality is a living, breathing field.
Overall, I thought this was a very useful and important lecture to listen to. I appreciate the lecture and the advice given through the presentation of Paul Borawski.
Written by: Michelle Whelan
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
There was another issue that I also helped solve while working for the same company. In order to get material to customers, it is either shipped or picked up by the customer. Every time the customer picked up material, they charged the company $100. Even if it was 20 minute round trip it cost $100. Customers come and go multiple times a day. This means that the company was spending hundreds of dollars a day in order to make sure the customers received their parts. To solve this problem we decided it would be a good idea to invest in a box truck that could be used to transport the raw material to customers. After a little bit of looking around we found a used truck for a good price. Although the company had to spend a lot of money on the truck, it only took a few months to make that money back. This was a win-win situation because now the company was not being charged for getting the material out, and instead charging the customers a delivery fee. The only thing we had to spend money on was gas and maintenance. Although it seemed like a gamble at first it turned out to be a great idea. The comapny went from spending money to turning a profit by getting rid of the delivery fee. When I was not working in the fabrication department, I was driving that box truck to and from customers. Charging the customers $100 dollars for a 15 minute drive seems rediculous, but the customers don't ask questions they just pay!!
The supply chain is like the life line of any big comapny. The supply chain includes everything from truck driving delivery fees, to the actual product being sold. There are many different elements in a supply chain and in this case one of them was costing the company a lot of money. The delivery fee was costing the company hundreds of dollars a week. The whole point is that the supply chain was improved by figuring out how to get customers their goods and supplies while getting rid of a delivery fee. Efficiency was improved by getting rid of extra steps in the supply chain.
Two summers ago I worked at a company in the receiving department. The particular branch of the company I worked at had very poor performance. The poor performance was known by most employers, yet nothing was really done to improve the performance. This semester has helped me realize that the principles of quality management and the criteria of the MBNQA could of helped boost the company’s performance almost immediately and a great deal.
The company had a laundry list of problems, but a lot of them are addressed through MBNQA criteria and quality principles. Some of these include: leadership, strategic planning, action plan, communication with the workforce, metrics, etc..... Something that could have helped the branch a great deal is an employee award system. Employees were never motivated and they really did not care about the success of the company. An award system would have dramatically changed this and help motivate the employees. Performance measures, strategic plan, and action plan would also be needed so that employees and leaders could see where they need to be, how to get there, and whether or not they were where they need to be.
These are just two examples of many that could have helped the branch turn around their poor performance. The point of this story is that the principles of quality management can be used everywhere to help anyone or any company. A company doesn’t have to get the MBNQA to become successful, but if they use the criteria and principles they will surely become a better company.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
With the growing number of large corporate retail chains and numerous online sources to buy the same product from at the same price, how do you keep customers coming back to buy from you? This idea can be applied to retail, service centers, healthcare, and the food industry.
The company I work for is aware of this challenge and has decided to switch gears and move their entire focus around the customer. They realize that prices can only drop so low therefore; they must find other ways to keep the competitive edge. The vision is to not only make the customer 100% satisfied with our products but more importantly, the service we offer. With the idea in mind that the more satisfied customers are with your service (including price of your products), the more likely they are to continue to do business with you.
The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Criteria puts a strong emphasis around customer focus. It brings light to something that for years many companies have ignored…the customer. Without customers a company cannot exist. Should companies put more of a focus around customers? Also, are customers willing to pay more for products or services from a company with a greater focus around customer satisfaction?
Monday, November 22, 2010
There was an interesting article posted last week on from the Harvard Business Review titled “Why You Should Focus on ‘Worst Practices’” which really caught my attention. The overall view of the article was stated “If you want to be disruptive, don’t start with best practices. Try, instead, find your industry’s worst practices and take tiny steps – or better yet, giant leaps – towards bettering them.”
The article itself raises an interesting question of whether or not we should focus on the worst practices, instead of the best practices. Most companies tend to make statements or highlight their best practices to show how successful or forward thinking that the organization is. Umair believes that to become more successful a company must identify worst practices and then bettering them to form the basis of a disruptive competitive position.
Umair gives four great tips in identifying worst practices:
To find the worst practices in an organization the person must first, ask critics, whether they be competitors, upper management, or in a manufacturing environment, the operators that work on the floor and struggle with daily tasks due to the worst practices currently in place. He states “Your critics are worth about five hundred times their weight in management consultants, consultants, pundits, and assorted beancounters”, and I couldn’t agree more! From my experience when attacking an area in industry the people that work with the products and struggle with the way a line was set up or engineered are always the hardest critics, but they usually have very ingenious ideas to solve the problems.
The second way to find and identify worst practices is to spend a day in the trenches. Look at the process or problems that someone is experiencing, and experience it yourself. In theory a process might look great on paper, but to actually perform that process might be quite different when it comes to applying it to daily duties.
Third, is examine the past. Some processes at one time were best practices and became worst practices...what happened? Look at old files, talk to people who started the processes, look at what has changed to the process. For a best practice to become a worst practice, something must have changed for it to happen. Find the root cause to fully understand the problem and fix it. After it has been fixed, control it so it does not happen again. There is no reason to continue to reinvent the wheel...
Finally, he has a section titled “Diet on your own dog food”. This was by far the most interesting of the article due to the economic crisis that the world economy has experienced over the past few years. He states if “you make it, you use it – exclusively”. If everyone who made the products that they produced were forced to use them, would some of them be designed, processed, and manufactured differently?
Overall it’s a great article, and it does pose the question, focus on worst practices?
Friday, November 19, 2010
During this past summer, I was working full time as an intern for a local Dayton company. I was working long hours which required me to pack breakfast and lunch to my place of employment. I would start my day off with yogurt and some granola. One day during breakfast, I finished a package of BareNaked Granola and was about the throw the packaging away. My place of employment was very supportive of recycling and had both a recycle and trash bin located in the break room. I was about to throw the granola packaging away but first wanted to see if the bag was recyclable. To my surprise, not only was the bag recyclable but it was part of a recycle program called Terracycle.
I saved the bag and decided that this was something worth looking into. I wouldn't call myself an environmentalist but I do appreciate recycling and pay attention to my carbon footprint. If debating between comparable items, I may make my final decision on the packaging material (compostable) or the reputation the company has. I try to reduce the amount of plastic I use (water bottles) and am trying to bring my own bags to the grocery instead of collecting MORE plastic bags. Needless to say, I researched more about this Terracycle program. I found out that this BareNaked Granola teamed up with a recycling program that motivates and rewards teams and communities to recycle certain products.
Here is how the program works: First, you join/make a team. You then collect certain products like gum containers, juice box containers, tape dispensers, plastic Zip Lock bags and so on. There is an entire list of items that Terracycle accepts. Once your team reaches about 75 items, Terracycle will send your team a pre-paid shipping envelope in which you can send all the collected items to Terracycle. Terracycle will then create and develop new products made from the used bags and wrappers. As a group, you are not only rewarded for reducing the amount of waste in landfills but for each item you collect. Based on the amount of products that you send in, your group will also be able to make a donation to a non-profit or school of its choice. It's a win-win situation! There's MORE: You can purchase items made from the used bags and wrappers you collected! Items for sale include: jewelry, bags/totes, clipboards, picture frames, fertilizers and much more.
Terracycle was founded in 2001 by a 19 year old freshman and Princeton University. The goal of this newly founded company is to eliminate the idea of waste by finding innovative and unique uses for disregarded items, aka - trash. Since 2001, Terracycle has been very successful in accomplishing its goal. Over 12.5 million people have joined the brigade which means that these people are making simple life decisions to eliminate the idea of waste. Over 1.8 billion items have been collected through Terracycle and close to 1.5 million dollars have been donated to charities worldwide. This company is a great example of how small, sustainable life decisions can result in a better place. With the dedication and teamwork demonstrated through Terracycle, not only has the amount of trash been reduced but money has been donated to local charities.
Terracycle is a very small step, but one in the right direction. It is because of programs like Terracycle and devout members that participate in them that we can truly reduce the amount of waste we as Americans produce. Programs such as this bring about awareness and gain interest in recycling. I think this would be a terrific program to implement in schools and perhaps even at work. Small containers could be placed next to vending machines to collect the wrappers from Starbursts, Skittles and so on. I think this program would bring unity, empowerment and high spirits to a facility such as the one I worked at this summer. Such a simple idea can have great rewards. It's amazing how one idea can turn into such a reality and have such great results.
So what does this have to do with quality? EVERYTHING! Terracycle is a great demonstration on how quality engages every facet of a product/company/service. Brand, integrity, price, durability, material, ethics, history, packaging and so much more make up the definition of quality. Customers have an endless selection when purchasing an item: that is, there are many options to choose from which makes quality even more important to make a product/company/service stand out. Terracycle chose an ethically sound and responsible business plan, have a good cause and good reputation supporting their name. Since my discovery of Terracycle, I have been more inclined to purchase products that can be recycled through Terracycle. I find that my view of quality has grown to encompass the idea of stewardship and recycling.
In conclusion, businesses should acknowledge and understand that not only are consumers looking at quality in the traditional sense of a final product, but also see quality in the sense of how the product was made and how it will be disposed of. It is important for a company to deliver a well designed/durable/budget friendly product, all while keeping in mind the 'green' movement.
Written By: Michelle Whelan
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
I feel that in the eyes of the customer, quality is an assumed and rarely considered aspect of the product or service being purchased. When a consumer goes to purchase an item it is usually not noticed that a company is ISO certified or that there were Six Sigma Black Belts working on the project to create such item. For the most most part customers care if its faster, cheaper, better and in most cases the color they prefer when purchasing an item. I also feel that this assumed quality is not only implied by the customer but also by the managers and supervisors on a facility floor.
This may be a mistake. Quality is an aspect of design that requires a great deal of work and effort to implement it correctly and without fail. Due to this producing a quality product is not normally a cheap or easy process to implement. It can require a great deal of time and money and even the training and educating of employees. Yet it is a very important aspect of producing anything whether it be a simplistic product like a flashlight or a complex product like a car.
There is assumed quality in everything you see around you and this needs to be realized and noted that although costly and time consuming, quality is something you cannot get around and something that you cannot take short cuts to produce.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Based on this reason I would find it safe to say that all companies that enter into the Baldrige program are "winners" from the beginning just for being open, honest to expose them selves to the world or as Sandy Feola likes to say, "open up their kimono". As an individual I would be nervous to have an examiner poke and prod as they searched through all my deep dark secrets and judged me bases of how well I do me. I feel that this is the same for companies that apply for this examination. Sure you have the opportunity to gain all sorts of insights and knowledge into your own company that can result in the positive changes and advancements that will keep you as a company in business, but at the same time is it overall worth it? I feel that in the case of a Baldrige examination it is.
Therefore in the terms of stating your "winners and losers" for the Baldrige examination there are no such titles. It is not so much about being the best as it is about continuous improvement and recognizing that you can get help in evaluating and making your company better. Sure there is a fee involved and an "open Kimono" policy, but if you are willing to put up the the slight draft and the payment your job is a little easier. After everything is said and done all you have to focus on is the improvement and working towards the ultimate goal of being the best out of the best, being a Baldrige WINNER!
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
A few weeks ago, I read a Smithsonian article on pendulum and weight clocks. The article discussed their construction in detail. Different types of construction results in different levels of accuracy. Due to the nature of the mechanisms, the very best pendulum and weight clocks lose only five minutes every eight days.
Well, that was a show stopper. For over 20 years, I've been annoyed with the clock for losing five minutes every eight days. Then, I learn. I learn that it is actually a very fine clock. My perceptions have changed. I am now very happy with the clock.
When we use the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Criteria, we are trying to learn. If we truly learn, our perceptions will change. What have you learned so far? How have your perceptions changed?
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award asks a lot of whys. The MBNQA is more than a list of criteria, it is a training ground for asking why. Smart business people use the MBNQA to help them determine why an organization is performing at a particular level. Over the last 30 years, the MBNQA criteria has evolved into seven categories that describe what an organization absolutely must do well in order to be a world class organization. Isn't that the sort of organization that you would like to be a part of? One that will be able to withstand the multitude of changes and challenges presented by a global economy. How will you identify such an organization during your interviewing and job hunting process? How will you convince them that you are able to fit into a world class organization?
IET 321, with its focus on the MBNQA is interested in training you to recognize performance excellence in seven categories that are vital to an organization's success. If you look closely (and check out those end of chapter 'Are You a Quality Person?' exercises), you will see that these seven categories are vital to your career success also.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
By Sandy Feola
Friday, September 17, 2010
I believe that very business should use ISO and six sigma methods. Not every company has to be ISO certified but I believe that every company should create some sort of standards, create documentation and reduce variation in the process. Focusing on those this will give a company more control over their product and increase the quality of the servers or part. On the other hand every company should also be looking for new ways to cut out waste and therefor costs. Eliminating unnecessary waste will give a company the competitive edge because it will give the company bester quality, faster production, cheaper product and give the company more agility to switch back and forth between processes. These methods should especially be used now that we are economically in a hard time. Companies should be putting a lot of focus on eliminating waste and creating better quality to get new costumers and more business from preview costumers.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
I find that I struggle for hours before actually finding the assignments and when I finally do, it was something so simplistic that its almost not worth my time in the first place. What is the point of having information in multiple areas when you are only creating waste in the time needed to search for your desired information.
Is it even worth the time and effort posting information in multiple medias and areas throughout the world wide web? Sure everyone can see this information and decide what they are to do with this available knowledge but is it really teaching the masses or just cluttering up space across the board?
This past summer I completed the project part of earning my Six Sigma Green Belt certification. My journey towards continuous improvement started last fall when registering for classes. Because of scheduling issues I couldn't graduate at the end of the year and would have to come back for another fall semester. After talking to my advisor I was told to enroll in the new Six Sigma Green Belt class, which would add to my resume, give me a summer internship, and complete my IET minor requirements.
Over the summer I worked with a prominent Dayton document management company on quality control of a premier product line that is offered to many state DMVs. Over the summer I traveled to two different plants around the country, ran over 50 DoE, worked with many plant operators and officials, and attached many, many decals.
This week in class we have been learning about the Six Sigma process and it's differentiation and similarities to ISOS standards. My knowledge from last semester and this summer have helped significantly with my homework and class participation.
I look forward to continuing to add onto my past experiences with Six Sigma and supplement it with additional quality management techniques.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
It was sent to me by a very successful former student, Mike Monnier, Field Service Supervisor at Barsplice Products.
Make your first impression a great one!
Monday, September 13, 2010
I think video conferencing is a good thing, because businesses can save time and money by holding video conferences instead of meetings. When a company has several branches that are scattered around the country or world, it is necessary for upper management to continually meet to ensure that the branches are doing what needs to be done. By using video conferencing, companies can save money on the cost of traveling as well as the time wasted when they are traveling.
What do you thing about the use of video conferencing? Do you think it is a productive way to communicate?
I believe Facebook offers an effective way to communicate because it allows companies to directly communicate with their customers. Facebook also allows the business to interact with the customer without much effort. This is a good idea because if a company would come out with a new product they can get it exposed easily. Also, advertising on Facebook is relatively low cost and since it is digital, no trees are cut down for paper advertisement. A company is able to advertise to a wide range of people only at the click of a button.
What do you think? Should Facebook be limited to only people or should companies be allowed to use Facebook for advertisement?
Stay, Jesse. "Facebook for Business: Opportunities and Limitations." Inside Facebook (2008): n.
pag. Web. 13 Sep 2010. <http://www.insidefacebook.com/2008/07/28/facebook-for-business-what-it-needs-what-it-has/>.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Try this mission statement on for size. It’s from a blanket and bed clothing manufacturer.
Fabrico, Purveyors of warmth and comfort since 1895.
What does it say to you?
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
If you have ever watched the program "Iron Chef America", you might recognize where we headed with our class activity. Teams of 3 to 4 students first selected a Quality Master (Iron Chef) from Chapter 2, then sent a member to the front table to choose from many index cards listing effective organization success factors and characteristics (ingredients). These factors would be used to present to our expert panel at least three responses (plated dishes) representing their quality master's (QM's) philosophies.
An Iron QM competition isn't complete without a secret organization (ingredient), unveiled as British Petroleum. The teams had 10 minutes to prepare their QM's response to the problem, "What advice would you give to BP leadership, so that if followed, would have changed istory by preventing the gulf oil explosion/spill?" Students needed to maintain their quality master's perspective in the advice response.
Ten minutes is not a lot of time to prepare, but working under pressure to meet the objective is a challenge that would not have scared an Iron QM! Ultimately, team members became more familiar with their quality master through the fact gathering and presentation building process. The Iron QM team presentations were creative, unique and also met the objective to describe "What would the Quality Masters have said?"
by Sandy Feola
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
The dialog our first week of class introduced concepts of an “effective organization” – what this kind of organization looks like, the benefits from creating an effective organization, why organizations pursue excellence, for example. Think about an organization as “a compilation of a wide variety of activities. Any one or group of those activities can be world-class operationally, but if the other activities within the firm are performing at a suboptimal level, then the organization as a whole is not effective.” [pg 7]
Here’s a thought: If an organization misses a customer’s order due date, was this because the employee was trying to make a mistake, or the result of poor systems within the organization?
Our first assignment is to think about a situation where you experienced or observed a system failure and write about how that failure relates to one factor that affects organizational success. A factor could be the company’s culture, effective leadership, employee motivation, teamwork, competitive position, or technology; just 6 examples out of 23 factors grouped under Organizational, People, or Environmental categories from page 8 in the text (figure 1.3).
Student examples will be posted after the assignments are turned in the first part of the upcoming week!
By Sandy Feola