Deliver More Customer Value


This Month

SES Lunch and Learn on January
23, 2018.
Sponsored by the AZ Technology Council. More Information and Registration Below.




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What We Deliver
  • Operational and Quality Systems
  • Assessments
  • Training
  • Internal Audits
  • Lean Enterprise
  • Six Sigma
  • Kaizen Events 
  • Breakthrough Improvement
  • Baldrige Performance Excellence

Improved Profits and More!

Welcome to this month’s edition!
As always we have provided you with a range of topics this year. Our goal is to support you in your continual development and improvement of your management systems and overall business performance. 
As we plan ahead for 2019, we would love to know what topics you would like to see in next year… is there a particular subject you’re interested in learning more about? Do you have a query around a specific element of a  standard, or method of improvement? Please let us know.
The best to you this holiday season and throughout the New Year! Thank You for being a valued subscriber of our performance improvement newsletter.    


Deliver More Customer Value

With the New Year approaching, many of us are thinking of what is the best way to shape our company’s economic future and growth into the most profitable form possible.

The answer is to deliver more than your share of customer value!

Keep in mind your competition won’t be standing idle while you innovate and grow. To stay ahead of your competition, you should keep a strategic focus on what sets your company apart within your industry.

You could have a number of marketable differences from your competition. Spending more on R&D, or sales efforts? Acquiring capital equipment beyond your current capacities? Is what you’re doing focused on internal needs, or are you implementing your customer’s ideas?


All you quality professionals, yes you!  Yours is a unique role in driving successful change in organizations. Not only should you be leveraging your support with specific solution development and expertise use, including project management support, you are often a key player and change agent in the change management activities that support project implementation and overall quality improvement.

The American Society for Quality and the Association of Internal Management Consultants conducted a study with more than 800 respondents.  The study indicated an expanding role for Quality Management Professionals and the need for new skills.

Top Areas Rated Very Important
  • Client Relationship Management 78%
  • Integrating Project and Change Management 77%
  • Rapid Implementation and Continuous Improvement 69%
  • Strategic Performance Measurement 66%
Key Personal Competencies in Addressing Future Responsibilities
  • Process Improvement 85%
  • Change Management 70%
  • Critical Thinking and Risk Management 65%
  • Leading Through Influence 61%
1. Conduct face-to-face customer interviews.
Of all the ways to learn about customer needs-telephone, e-mail survey, Internet, nothing comes close in effectiveness to face-to-face customer interviews.

Many of us use customer surveys to determine satisfaction levels. We use a Likert Scale method (1-5) based on questions we have determined are important. The reality, though, is that most questions asked are actually customer-reactive, not market-customer proactive interviews. Should we be asking our customers “Please rate the quality of our products?”, or “How can we provide a better quality product to you?”

Get out and visit your customers and find out what’s important to them!
2. Develop a Voice of the Customer mentality.
Voice of the Customer studies typically consist of both qualitative and quantitative steps. They are generally conducted at the start or finish of a new product, process, or service design in order to better understand the customer’s wants and needs. That e-mail survey with the 3-5% average return, is it handing you a report of “what the customer wants?” This is a flawed model. Train your people to be VOC experts!

Best of all, you’ll develop a reputation among customers as “that supplier who really does listen to us!”


3. Become a Quantitative Organization.
After you conduct good qualitative customer interviews, you can target specific customer ideas you could work on. Which ideas do you target in your product design? Which ideas do you target in your product realization processes? At this point get quantitative. Being quantitative helps you to understand which customer outcomes are most important and least satisfied.

The key to taking advantage of the future is in changing the way your company approaches your current and future customers. Start now, with a new approach and you’ll shape a sustainable organization for Year 2019 and beyond!

HEY! Interested in learning more and what best practices are used by world class organizations to produce above the NORM RESULTS!


Register NOW for OUR Lunch and Learn “Achieve Breakthrough Performance” on January 23, 2019.  Detailed Information and Registration Below… 

Achieve Breakthrough Performance!
project management flow chart or mindmap - a sketch on a napkin with cup of coffee
Sustaining Edge Solutions, Inc. Lunch and Learn.
Sponsored by the Arizona Technology Council. The AZTC is the premier choice for business networking events in all of Arizona. 

At this Lunch and Learn, attendees will learn how to develop a framework for evaluating and establishing breakthrough improvement at their organizations.

In today’s highly competitive marketplace, organizations that succeed use a systematic approach in the design, integration, and alignment of strategic business efforts and leadership decision making. These organizations use an evidence-based business model to understand and act on the needs of stakeholders to achieve breakthrough improvement and scalable profit growth.

Speakers for this lunch and learn event are Walter Tighe, President and Owner of Sustaining Edge Solutions, and Dennis Stambaugh, Senior Management Consultant of Sustaining Edge Solutions.

Location: Brother John’s Beer, Bourbon & BBQ

1801 N. Stone Ave.Tucson, AZ
Date: Wednesday January 23, 2019
Time 11:30AM-1:00PM

There is no charge to attend, and lunch is included. Wow – There is such a thing as a free lunch.



Integrated Management Systems
Close up on a file tab with the word ISO 9001 focus on the main text and blur effect. Concept image for illustration of Quality Standards

Does your company operate under more than one management system standard?  We have a number of clients that are certified to multiple global standards, which begs the question –  If so, Do you operate under a single Integrated Management System?      

The number of management systems has risen dramatically in recent years, reflecting the needs and demands of more and more organizations looking to improve their performance across a wide range of areas and sectors.  


ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 13485 (medical devices) ISO 50001 (energy) and ISO 14001 (environment) and others are some of ISO’s most well-known and used management system standards. Unlike other types of standards, MSSs have an impact on many different aspects and functions of an organization and, increasingly, companies have more than one.

The quest for continual improvement and sustained performance has prompted the need for a handbook to help guide organizations through effective management system design that is agile and integrated, to respond and grow. 
The Integrated use of Management System Standards Handbook brings together international expertise, diverse industry case extracts and implementations, and best-practice guidance on integrating management system standards. It has just been updated to reflect the vast number of changes to both ISO and non-ISO standards. 


Michael McLean, Leader of the ISO working group that developed the handbook, says “Many organizations benefit from multiple management systems to help them ensure their systems and processes are in line with their objectives and help them maintain their business model through ever-changing environments.


This handbook provides a practical guide for organizations to effectively align their management systems with their strategies, plans and operations. It features illustrations as applied in real-world organizational contexts and relevant case studies, all of which can be applied to all kinds of sectors and industries. It is applicable to any kind of MSS, not just those published by ISO.”

You can purchase the Integrated use of Management System Standards Handbook released November 2018 at the ANSI Webstore.


Skills Versus Perception Gap

As manufacturing faces a shortage of up to 2 million skilled workers over the next decade, it’s important to understand how a typical person – one who doesn’t work within the industry – views the sector as a viable career path for the workforce of tomorrow.

The Thomas Publishing Company recently conducted a survey of over 1,000 American adults from all walks of life, to gauge their perceptions of the manufacturing industry. Their study showed that 3 in 4 respondents claimed to be “very” or “somewhat familiar” with manufacturing, other findings showed what appears to be a gap between perception and reality when it comes to many aspects of the industry.

For example, over 55 percent of respondents described the state of the U.S. manufacturing industry as “stable but weak” or “declining.” This contradicts data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics clearly showing a booming U.S. manufacturing sector.

In an indication that the industry has a ways to go in fighting the perception that manufacturing is a “dirty hands” vocation, only half of the respondents said they would describe the manufacturing industry as “high tech.” That still leaves half of America either thinking of the industry as “low tech” (17%) or “not sure whether the industry is high tech or low tech” (32%).

On a positive note, about 66% of respondents said that they would be “likely” or “very likely” to encourage someone entering the workforce to pursue a career in manufacturing. This is evidence that attitudes about the industry are changing for the better. However, the 34% of respondents who indicated that they were “not at all likely ” to encourage someone to pursue a career in manufacturing cited reasons such as “poor job security/stability” (38%), “safety concerns” (28%), and “low pay” (38%).

These perceptions (or misperceptions) are among 4 myths about American manufacturing that the industry needs to work toward addressing. There are a wealth of great reasons why it’s great to work in manufacturing – building broad awareness among those entering the workforce is critical.

To download the complete Thomas Manufacturing Perception Report, and read the 4 Myths of Manufacturing visit the Thomas Website.


In the News
AIAG Announces Global Core Tools APP

The AIAG development team is creating a Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud application based on the Microsoft development tools and hosting will be provided worldwide via the Microsoft Azure Cloud Computing Platform.  The software will support DFMEA, Process Flow, PFMEA, Control Plans, and Gage R&R studies, along with several other support forms that are referenced in the Core Tools manuals.


The objective is to assist the supply base with better, faster, and lower cost solutions to support their quality improvement and product development initiatives. This product, designed with smaller supplier needs in mind, will make authoring and management of the essential core tools more effective and efficient, so smaller suppliers can focus on developing quality products for their customers


Update from the IATF -New Interpretations

On November 19th, 2018, the International Automotive Task Force (IATF) released new sanctioned interpretations for the IATF 16949:2019 standard. These new SIs are effective as of January, 2019.
To review IATF 16949:2016 Sanctioned Interpretations 1-15, and rationale for each change click here.


Pricing it Right 
Price transparency is one way of gaining consumer trust by making purchasing choices easier. A new standard for unit pricing will help consumers compare products quickly and effectively, a win-win solution for all.

ISO 21041, Guidance on unit pricing, aims to clear up the confusion by defining unit pricing systems and enhancing transparency of pricing information. The standard provides guidance on how unit pricing should be displayed in-store (both on-shelf and on packaging), online and in advertisements. It also highlights the importance of clarity and consumer education. For more information visit the ISO Website.

Training Courses
All courses can be delivered at your company or at our training centers. We do provide training beyond our home state of Arizona. Click on the course title for description, schedule, registration and payment. Group discounts are available. We also provide custom designed training to fit your specific needs. All training is fully documented for your training records and certificates of training are awarded.
Don’t see a course or schedule that fits your needs?  Contact us.
Every business today needs to get their message out.
Original Content Creation and Social Selling continues to grow through websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and other channels.

Here are some survey findings one social selling company recently assembled on activity in the sector:

  • 79% of salespeople who use social media outsell those who don’t.
  • 53% of buyers said they listen to peer recommendations before they make a purchase.
  • 65% of buyers feel the vendor’s content had an impact on their final purchase decision.
These trends will continue to grow. Thought content-from blog posts to videos-that create a sense of excitement among consumers will only become more crucial.
Businesses with the most compelling, original voices will rise above the noise.


Walter Tighe and SES Team
Sustaining Edge Solutions, Inc.
Toll Free 888-572-9642


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