Wednesday, December 1, 2010

7 Driving Forces that will Affect Quality in the Future

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

Orgnaization in the Industrial Environment

Over the summer I worked at a plastic company. The company both fabricates and distributes plastic. One of the first things I noticed when I first began working was how unorganized the workshop was. There seemed to be no specific method for keeping track of things. It took a significant amount of time to get raw material from the inventory because it was so unorganized.Most of us know that time is money, and in this case this company was losing money. The company believes that the most important thing they have to offer is delivering a quality product on time. I find it hard to believe that this company always lives up to that standard. In order to put out the right amount of parts, raw material needs to be cut on whatever machine is necessary to get the job done. If there is a lot of machine down time there is a lot of money being lost. In this case there is a significant amount of time lost while the operator is looking for raw material. I decided I would make an effort to improve this wasted time by creating a labeling system on the shelves that hold the raw material. I set up the shelves so that all of the raw material was grouped together based on both the type of plastic and the dimensions of it. Doing this simple little job made it much easier for the operator to find their material.

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.
Chris Powers

Quality Everywhere

I am currently taking IET 321 Quality Management at the University of Dayton. Most of the class has involved the learning about Quality Management principles and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. We have been participating in a semester long project with another company to help them meet the MBNQA criteria.

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.

Matt R