Celebrate World Quality Month

September 17th, 2014

Join the Global Quality Community in celebrating World Quality Month.

World Quality Month provides a platform for acknowledging the efforts and accomplishments of quality and all who work to make it happen. This is a time to celebrate — a time to showcase the advancements and valuable quality contributions in businesses, communities, and institutions. Together — through our collective passion for improvement — we will raise the voice of quality worldwide.

Visit the World Quality Month Website  and find valuable free information on:

  • Numerous topics with operational and quality systems improvement
  • Read global industries quality improvement success stories
  • Sharing of best practices for business improvement
  • Popular videos, research articles and blogs
  • Global quality events during quality month
  • Share the Vision and Your Own Story!

Attention all our Arizona Clients, Contacts and Local Blog Readers.  October 2014 is Arizona Manufacturers Month!

Celebrate ‘Arizona Manufacturers Month’ with an in–depth look at an industry fueling the state’s economic prosperity. Arizona is manufacturing a revolution. Be Part of the Manufacturing Revolution.

Events include:

  • October 15th – Southern Arizona Tech & Business Expo.  We are an Expo Exhibitor!  See you there. 
  • Arizona Manufacturing Company Tours
  • State of Arizona Manufacturing Information  – For example, Over 80% of Arizona’s $19.4 billion in exports for 2013 were manufactured goods.

For more information on Arizona Manufacturers Month, visit the Arizona Manufacturing Revolution Website.

ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Revision

August 13th, 2014

ISO’s leading environmental management system standard, ISO 14001:2105 is now open for public comment!

Changes are ahead for the approximately 250,000 companies worldwide, which are certified according to the most popular environmental management system standard.  The revision of ISO 14001, is now open for public comment (DIS stage), with an updated version due by the end of 2015.

Why is ISO 14001 being revised?

All ISO standards are reviewed every five years to establish if a revision is required to keep it current and relevant for the marketplace. The future ISO 14001:2015 will respond to these changes along with the publication of the ISO 9001:2015 standard.

What will be the main changes to the standard?

The new version will include a requirement to understand the organization’s context in order to better manage risk, with more emphasis made on leaders within organizations to promote environmental management. In addition there will be a shift towards improving environmental performance rather than improving the management system.

The primary objectives of the new ISO 14001:2015 include:

  • ƒƒImproving the connection between environmental and business priorities.
  • Increased transparency and accountability in environmental management.
  • Highlighting the positive contribution of environmental management system standards.
  • Clarification of the requirements for an improvement in environmental performance.
  • Establishment of ISO 14001, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises.

A full information sheet can be viewed here.

How can I find out more and get involved?

Anyone with expertise or experience to offer can comment. Please submit all contributions and comments via your national member body.  The draft version of ISO 14001:2015 is now available for purchase.

Watch for our future ISO 14001:2015 webinars and workshops. 

Manufacturing Metrics that Really Matter

July 17th, 2014

According to new research conducted by MESA International, manufacturers across industries are reaching new levels of excellence, pushed forward by the dynamics of a shifting business landscape. Manufacturing organizations are achieving this elevated performance through continuous improvement directives and programs that require the synergy between people, processes, and supporting technology resources.

The focus of this research is to understand the business impacts of metric programs and that are being used across a wide range of manufacturing industries. With the breadth and span of available metrics, it is important that organizations choose the right metric approaches that align to business and manufacturing processes to diver optimized improvement efforts.

In this report, the following questions were answered: 

  • Which metrics are being used to best understand manufacturing performance and opportunity areas for improvement?
  • How does my company’s performance improvement compare to industry?
  • How do we connect operational metrics to financial metrics?
  • How can technology help support and impact metrics programs and performance? 

All respondents were asked about specific performance levels of three critical metrics:

  • On-Time Completed Shipments (OTCS)
  • Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)
  • Successful New Product Introductions (NPI)

Key Relationships Between Operational and Financial Metrics

Many positive correlations were found between average annual metric improvements and average annual financial metrics. The 2014 survey revealed the following key observations:

  • The average percent successful NPIs was 72%, with the top 7% of performers achieving 90% or better.
  • The average OEE was 71, with the top 11% performers achieving 80 or better.
  • The top performers in NPI had average annual financial improvements of 16% versus 8.6% for all others.
  • Those with OEE of 80 or better had average annual financial improvements of 14% versus 8.6% for all others.

Respondents with NPIs of 90% or better reported average annual financial improvements of 16%. These respondents also had 32% annual improvements in customer fill-rate/on-time delivery shipments/perfect order versus an average of 12.5% overall.

Research shows that companies are achieving elevated performance through following effective continuous improvement programs. This requires the collaborative support of people, processes, and technologies, but in order to focus on the correct areas, companies also need to ensure that the most impactful metrics are used within these programs.

For more report information, visit the MESA International website.   Looking for a list of effective manufacturing and service process metrics? Contact us and we will email list to you.   


Call for Public Comments on ISO/DIS 9001:2015

June 19th, 2014

Many of us are aware that ISO 9001 is going through a major revision with the future revision being published in late 2015.   The United States Technical Advisory Group to ISO TC176, is the responsible group for developing consensus positions on ISO 9001 and ISO 9000.  Currently they are collecting feedback from stakeholders in its continuing work on a national view. Public comments are now welcome!

The American Society of Quality (ASQ) is providing the ISO/DIS 9001 documents Free to anyone, with the condition to review and provide comments to prepare the U.S. position.  You will receive two documents, the draft standard and the comments document for submission.   We have submitted our comments and suggestions on the draft.

To request a copy for review and submission of comments, please email standards@asq.org. Comments will be accepted until July 15, 2015.  Let your voice be heard!!

Lean Methods Digest

May 20th, 2014

Process improvement – Lean methods can vary considerably in function, level of effort, and complexity required. They can range from quick fixes and actions your organization can implement regularly with simple tools or team participation, to week-long and longer events that require more in-depth planning, participation and formalized methods and specialized tools. Designed to reduce waste and improve efficiency, Lean methods can be used for a variety of purposes—from making your own working environment more structured with less clutter to designing and implementing faster, better, and cheaper manufacturing and service environment methods for product and service delivery. Let’s take a look at a Lean method type:

Process Walk

A process walk, also referred to as a treasure hunt or waste walk, is a rapid technique to help you identify wastes in your everyday operations. A cross-functional team of employees walks through the work area over a short period of time, identifying opportunities to reduce waste and introduce improvements as they progress. Improvements can usually be implemented rapidly, resulting in quick gains. This method can help to engage employees in spotting waste in their day-to-day activities after the initial process walk.

Typical Duration: A process walk is usually conducted in one day or less.

Identify the employees who are involved with the process. Have the group walk through the workplace with clipboards, while team members write down wastes as they identify them. Some questions to ask during the walk include: 

• What inputs and outputs do you see in the process?

• Where do the outputs go?

• What is the typical process time?

• How many items are currently waiting to be processed?

• What causes delays or problems?

• What “DOWNTIME” wastes do you observe, and what causes them?

  • D – Defects
  • O – Overproduction
  • W – Waiting
  • N – Non-utilized/underused employees
  • T – Transportation
  • I – Inventory
  • M – Motion
  • E – Excess processing 

Next post we will describe another effective Lean Method in our continuing digest.  Looking for a Process Walk Checklist?  Contact Us.