Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Going "Green"?...Your customers will impact your journey

Just over a year ago the snack company Frito Lay took the initiative to go green. Their first attempt was to redesign the Sun Chips bag making it 100% compostable. For several years Frito Lay has been developing and testing prototypes for the new bag. They worked and designed the bag with a laboratory in Mt. Vernon, ME. During the first test the results showed that at 130 F, the bags were able to break down in 12-16 weeks. They were aiming for these temperatures because they are typical of an industrial compost facility.
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

Quality in Everyday Life

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.

Quality of a College Education

As I stare down the home stretch with graduation five days away and no obstacles in my way, I have to take a second to reflect on my college career. When I start discussing college with people I come across some very interesting topics. When I tell someone that I attended The University of Dayton, they ask the usual questions about the number undergraduate students, whether it's private or public, etc. Another question that arises is whether or not there's a link between the cost of tuition, which is now creeping up on $40,000 per year, and the quality of education that you are receiving. I'm not quite sure how to answer a question like this because I've never gone to school anywhere else. My answer is usually something like, "I would like to think so. I'd hate to think that my money could be better spent somewhere else." As you can see from the graph below, it doesn't look as if the trend of expensive tuition is going anywhere.

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

End of Year Response to IET 321

I am a student at the University of Dayton and I am finishing up the class IET 321 Quality management. During this semester we work on a Baldrige audit for a company, which will remain unnamed. We divided the class into seven different groups and gave each group a section of the Baldrige criteria. My group was given strategic planning so we had to focus on the development and deployment of the strategic plan. This was a good opportunity to learn about the industry and become familiar with the process criteria for the Baldrige. I believe that to truly learn and understand concepts you need to get out there experience it firsthand. The class room is good to introduce people to ideas but for someone to truly understand and be able to apply what they learned they need to apply it in a real situation which is what we did in this class. After interview and working with some of the executive member of this company I was able to right a report on their strategic planning. I actually have to get up in the morning and present my findings to the company. I will be focusing on the positive observations and the opportunities for improvement that I saw and notice for this company. This is very important because it will give a leg up for my future because I will be able to talk about this experience in interviews. Like is all about moving up and bettering your which I believe this class did a very good job off. Even though there were some rough times throughout this class I learned and lot and want to thank everyone that worked with me to complete my project.