Celebrate World Quality Month

Sustaining Edge Solutions, Inc. Newsletter

Performance Improvement Solutions for Your Business                              November 2011

This Month
* Celebrate World Quality Month!
* Lean Six Sigma Reduces Debt
* Special Processes
* In the News
* Training Courses


2012 ASQ
February 27-28th   Phoenix, AZ – Join us  there!
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Our newsletters provide information on business management systems ISO 9001, AS9100 Aviation, Space and Defense, ISO/TS 16949 Automotive, ISO 27001 Information Security, ISO 13485 Medical Devices, ISO 14001 Environmental, and others.  This includes performance improvement methods such as Six Sigma, Lean Enterprise, and other topics of interest to our readers.


If you have any questions regarding the content or have a topic of interest for a future newsletter, please let us know.




Celebrate World Quality Month!

In celebration of the World Quality Month in November, the American Society of Quality will showcase how advancements and valuable quality contributions have improved incomes for businesses, communities, and institutions worldwide. During World Quality Month, ASQ recognizes the quality contributions of its global membership and World Partner organizations, and shares quality tools and techniques with the quality community.

“Through World Quality Month, we continue to raise the voice of quality by celebrating quality successes throughout the world,” said Paul Borawski, ASQ CEO. “In addition, World Quality Month will raise awareness of the important role quality plays in our personal and professional lives.”


In conjunction with World Quality Month, ASQ has launched WorldQualityMonth.org, a website dedicated to people passionate about quality – highlighting quality tools and techniques, quality success stories, and World Quality Month events.

Visitors can visit 7 different websites with special events going on in the month of November. Read on the websites what executive leaders are saying about the state of quality, and learn about the many organizations from around the world celebrating World Quality Month with ASQ.

Aligned with World Quality Month we want to share with our readers a recent survey that was conducted with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Examiners which provides some interesting insight into current perceptions of performance.


Management and nonmanagement personnel across a broad cross-section of U.S. organizations see eye to eye on mission, customer focus, and commitment to success but differ significantly in their views on how to best measure quality of work and customer satisfaction. These are a few of the findings from a recent survey of nearly 500 members of the 2011 Board of Examiners for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Baldrige examiners are experts from industry, educational institutions, health care providers, government at all levels, and nonprofit organizations who volunteer many hours reviewing applications for the award, conducting site visits, and providing each applicant with an extensive feedback report citing strengths and opportunities to improve.


The Baldrige Performance Excellence Program asked this year’s examiners to assess their own organizations using either the program’s “Are We Making Progress?” or “Are We Making Progress as Leaders?” questionnaires, depending on whether or not the examiners worked in management.

These survey tools are based on the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence and allow an organization to gauge its progress in achieving high performance and define where improvements are needed to reach that goal.


The 173 employees and 294 leaders taking the surveys were in strong and positive agreement, regardless of institution, on a number of factors, including understanding of the organization’s mission, clear identification of most important customers, and strong commitment to success. Both groups also matched up on areas where they perceived that the organization was not performing well, such as actively seeking input for long-range planning, using good processes to perform tasks, and removing obstacles in the way of progress.


Perhaps most interesting were the areas where employees and leaders differed significantly in their perceptions. These included knowing how to measure work quality (78% of employees felt they had such knowledge while only 51% of leaders agreed that they did), using work quality measures to make improvements (74% of employees said that they did, while only 43% of leaders recognized that ability), and feeling that customers were satisfied with work performed (85% of employees felt their work achieved this status while just 69% of leaders agreed). The one statement with a large response discrepancy where the leaders agreed more than the employees-84 percent to 69 percent-was “My boss and my organization care about me.”


“The survey results indicate a lot of opportunity exists for better communication between leaders and employees, as well as improving performance measurement and overall organizational performance,” says Harry Hertz, director of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program.

To see the complete results of the 2011 Examiners Survey, click here for the employee responses, and here for those of the leaders. Both sites also include results from an earlier survey of examiners to compare and contrast current perceptions of performance with those in the past.


Lean Six Sigma Reduces Debt – But faces Obstacles


Speaking of Surveys – We recently joined in a survey with more 2,500 quality professionals  on how Lean Six Sigma could help reduce the soaring national debt but faces some key challenges in government implementations, The biggest obstacle, survey respondents said, is a U.S. federal government structure that can be a barrier to comprehensive evaluation and accountability.

Lean Six Sigma in Action

Many of the survey participants say there are benefits to using Lean Six Sigma. More than 75 percent of participants surveyed said they have implemented Lean Six Sigma in their organizations; 79 percent said the tool is very effective in improving efficiency and productivity.

The respondents found that Lean Six Sigma has also been effective in the following areas:

  • Raised levels of quality in their organization (74 percent).
  • Reduced costs (73 percent).
  • Helped individuals in their organization be competitive in the marketplace or to pursue the organization’s core mission (68 percent).
  • Had a positive impact on employee safety (56 percent).
  • Improved innovation (46 percent).


“There are true benefits to using lean and Six Sigma to reduce the national debt, but it’s important to emphasize that these tools alone are not a solution for all government budget ailments,” said Liz Keim, ASQ Past President and Lean Six Sigma expert. “There are a number of other excellent quality improvement methods available, and it is crucial to match the right tool with specific needs.”

While applied for a long time in most types of manufacturing and service sectors, these management methods have only been more recently used by the federal government. Lean emphasizes removing waste from organizations and processes while focusing on and delivering more value to customers. Six Sigma focuses on variation reduction in processes, products, and services.

Special Processes


Some organizations are unsure if ISO 9001:2008, clause 7.5.2, is applicable to their quality management system. For a production process, if its resulting output cannot be verified by subsequent monitoring or measurement and, as a consequence, deficiencies only become apparent after the product is in use, the process must be validated. The Aviation, Space and Defense Standard Standard, AS9100:2009, clause 7.5.2, states in a Note that these processes are often referred to as “special processes”.


The Aviation, Space and Defense Standard on audit requirements, AS9101:2010, states in clause, that when special processes are identified in the audit plan, the audit team must evaluate the process validation, as well as, the monitoring, measuring, and control of these processes.

To verify the validation of special processes, the process records must be reviewed for each audited special process, including a comparison of the actual and planned results.

To verify the monitoring, measurement, and control of special processes, the audit team must identify the process requirements, including customer requirements, for the special processes. For the sampled processes, the audit team must assess the monitoring and measuring equipment used (e.g., calibration, accuracy) and the method for recording results. If required, the traceability between the process (e.g., batch or load charge identification) and the resulting products are to be verified.

For outsourced special processes, the audit team must verify the organization’s supplier control process addresses these items. In addition, the audit team must review the use of customer-designated sources, as required. Keep in mind if you outsource special processes, ensure you receive the proper information, for example a certification or other source.


AS9101:2010 includes a Note that states special processes are managed by using personnel qualified as required by the organization and/or customer requirements, and by controlling physical or chemical process characteristics, e.g., temperature, time (process duration), pressure, chemical composition of product or process treatment material (surface treatment solution).


In the News


Baldrige Award Hospitals Outperform Peers

More than two-thirds of owner-reported, new-vehicle interior problems are design-related issues rather than defects or malfunctions, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Interior Quality and Satisfaction Study. The study is based on responses from more than 73,000 new-vehicle owners who purchased a 2011 model-year vehicle. The study was fielded between February and May 2011.

Health care organizations have accounted for more than 50 percent of Baldrige award applicants since 2005.

Click here for a PDF of this comprehensive important study.


What do Black Belt’s do?

So what do you do? This one is for every Black Belt who has grimaced when answering the seemingly innocent question posed by a new acquaintance.  Try this: “I’m a senior executive statistical analysis technician.  I catenate diverse statistical information and maximize potential utilization of data.”  My job’s not about output, it’s about throughput.”

Watch this short clip from that 70’s Show.


Translating Customer Satisfaction to Financial Results Study


A 2010 survey done by The Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University focused on hotel guests’ satisfaction and the relationship to financial performance.


The survey cited four key performance indicators that influenced guests’ evaluations.

1.  Reservation was accurate.
2. Check-in was completed within five minutes.
3. No problems were experienced during the stay.
4. No billing errors occurred.

Find out more by downloading the Cornell PDF Report.


Training Courses

To see the course description, schedule, and on-line registration click on the course title below. We deliver onsite training for these courses and customized training to fit your specific needs.  We offer group discounts.

View all our Courses


View Our Web Based E-Training Courses


ISO 9001 Quality Management


Understanding and Implementing ISO9001:2008

ISO 9001:2008 Process Based Internal Auditor

Documenting Your Management System


AS9100 Aviation, Space and Defense


Understanding and Implementing AS9100C (9110 &9120) Aviation, Space and Defense

AS9100C:2009 Process Based Internal Auditor

Documenting Your Management System


ISO/TS 16949 Automotive


Understanding and Implementing ISO/TS16949:2009 Automotive

ISO/TS16949:2009 Process Based Internal Auditor
Documenting Your Management System


ISO 14001 Environmental

Understanding and Implementing ISO14001:2004 Environmental
ISO14001:2004 Process Based Internal Auditor

Lean Enterprise and CI

5S Five Pillars of a Lean Workplace Organization
Continuous Process Improvement
Lean Six Sigma
8 Disciplines (8D) of Problem Solving


ISO 13485 Medical Devices


Understanding and Implementing ISO 13485:2003 Medical Devices
ISO 13485 Process Based Internal Auditor


ISO 27001 Information Security


Understanding and Implementing ISO 27001:2005 Information Security
ISO 27001 Process Based Internal Auditor


All courses can be delivered at your company. Don’t see a course, location, or date that fits your needs?

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