Global State of Quality Results

 Sustaining Edge Solutions, Inc. Newsletter

Performance Improvement Solutions for Your Business                               October 2013


This Month
* State of Quality Results
* OSHA Takes M out of MSDS
* Auditing Customer Feedback
* In the News
* Training Courses



ASQ Audit Division and Quality Management Division Conference  Oct 10-11, 2013 Tucson, AZ.  We are a Silver Sponsor and Exhibitor of this Conference.  See you there!      
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Our newsletters provide information on business management systems.  These systems include ISO 9001 QMS, AS9100 Aviation, Space and Defense, ISO/TS 16949 Automotive, ISO 27001 Information Security, ISO 13485 Medical Devices, ISO 14001 Environmental, and others.  Subjects include 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 subject of interest for a future newsletter, please let us know.  



Discoveries 2013 – Global State of Quality Results


In our September issue we discussed the 2013 ASQ Global State of Quality Research Study which provided information on the core themes of the report. As stated, we are continuing with specific results information from this study related to the core themes.


The study found that the unanswered questions that quality leaders struggle with on a daily basis are: 

  1. “What is the best governance and management structure for quality to maximize the impact on outcomes?”
  2. “What measures of quality should an organization use to drive value?” “How should quality be supported by an organization?”
  3. How can we affect the culture of quality to make it change the way we work?”

In addition to these core themes, the following three statements represent several key explanatory factors that are used extensively throughout the analysis and are highly related to the variability in the application of quality practices.

A.  There are significant differences in the use and application of quality practices between manufacturing-focused and service-based organizations. This includes governance and management models, the availability of and use of metrics, quality management frameworks and certifications, and training. In general, manufacturing organizations are more likely to utilize mature quality practices. 


B.  There is a common notion that larger organizations (based on annual revenue) tend to use more mature quality practices than counterparts in smaller organizations.

C.  There is no significant indication that the use of quality practices generally differs by region. A few variations do exist but are typically related to size, industry, or other unidentified factors.

Quality Governance and Management


In addition to providing a definition of quality, respondents were asked to provide a short description of the quality process and one statement that best describes what quality does within their organization. The word map shows the most frequently used words to describe what quality does, such as processes, improvement, system, and implementation.

 Quality is mainly a:

  • risk mitigation activity – 4%
  • tool to fix issues after being discovered – 10%
  • compliance activity – 22%
  • method to manage organization-wide performance – 24%
  • continuous improvement activity – 37% 

Question: Can we say that quality is about creating customer value when quality mainly focuses on compliance or simply fixing existing problems?

Selecting Quality Measures

Selecting the right quality measures can have a tremendous impact on overall performance outcomes and the culture of quality throughout an organization. The challenge is figuring out the right balance to ensure that measures are not so standardized that they lose the value to affect performance. 


  • Defects per million: 82% manufacturing vs. 38% service
  • First pass yield: 88% manufacturing vs. 43% service
  • Percent on-time delivery: 97% manufacturing vs. 58% service
  • Measures of safety: 96% manufacturing vs. 63% service
  • Internal failures: 96% manufacturing vs. 67% service
  • Percent compliant: 96% manufacturing vs. 83% service
  • Employee satisfaction: 91% manufacturing vs. 94% service
  • Customer satisfaction: 98% manufacturing vs. 96% service


Question: Although the percent usage is interesting, an obvious question comes to mind: Why aren’t these quality measures being used more?



The Customer

Through research it is clear that many organizations are becoming true partners with customers in order to maximize value for both stakeholders. Respondent definitions of quality, the actual quality processes themselves, and using quality measures to drive performance and culture are all closely tied to customers in some way. Quality and customer are so closely aligned in successful organizations the two concepts are becoming one-the Qustomer.

* Information on our product or service quality performance is shared with customers – 27% agree and 41% somewhat agree.

* Our belief is that the customer is the only person qualified to specify what “quality” means – 13% agree and 43% somewhat agree.

* We communicate with customers regarding our efforts to address their needs and complaints -59% agree and 27% somewhat agree.


Why are these numbers so low? Although it is no shock that the majority of organizations are looking toward the Qustomer, there are hundreds of organizations with a distinct separation between quality and the customer.

Types of Quality Training

The types of training offered to staff closely relate to the type of quality management framework an organization uses. For example, organizations that use ISO tend to provide ISO training. Whereas Lean and Six Sigma are the least often used, the majority of organizations do provide general quality management and audit training. The data also show that the larger the organization, the greater breadth of training offered-with the majority of the largest organizations providing all types listed.

Survey Question:  Does your organization provide training (either through direct training or compensate for external training) to staff working on quality-related activities?

< $100M revenue: Six Sigma 16%, Lean 23% Auditing 68% ISO 66%, and Quality Management 76%.


>$100M – $1B: Six Sigma 27%, Lean 39% Auditing 72% ISO 59%, and Quality Management 76%.

The data also showed that the larger the organization, the greater breadth of training offered-with the majority of the largest organizations providing all types listed. Five percent of the total number of organizations currently offer no quality training.

Subsequent reports-scheduled for release in the third and fourth quarters of 2013-will provide deeper insights, greater context around trends and opportunities, and in-depth case study reports.


When published, we will keep you informed on the subsequent reports in a future newsletter.

You can download this report from the ASQ Website


OSHA Takes the “M” Out Of MSDS           


We recently became aware working with manufacturing clients that it was not clearly known that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) revised the Hazard Communication System (“HCS”) and other regulations last year, including the near term pending requirements. 

By Dec. 1, 2013, employers must have trained their workers on new chemical labeling requirements and the new format for Safety Data Sheets (formerly known as MSDSs).


In 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) revised the Hazard Communication System (“HCS”) and other regulations to conform them to the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (“GHS”). Fed. Reg. Vol. 77, No. 58, p. 17573 et seq. (5/15/12).


This would include applicable legal requirements and voluntary obligations, and information about its significant aspects, establishing operational controls, and evaluating performance and taking actions, as necessary, to improve and demonstrate conformity to the requirements of the standard.


The new SDS format has 16 subject areas instead of eight and organizes the areas to include the greatest worker concerns early in the document:

  • Identification
  • Hazard(s) identification
  • Composition/information on ingredients
  • First-aid measures
  • Fire-fighting measures
  • Accidental release measures
  • Handling and storage
  • Exposure controls/personal protection
  • Physical and chemical properties
  • Stability and reactivity
  • Toxicological information
  • Ecological information
  • Disposal considerations
  • Transport information
  • Regulatory information
  • Other information


OHSA’s present HCS requires chemical manufacturers and importers to evaluate and determine whether their chemicals are hazardous by reviewing the available scientific evidence concerning such hazards. If a chemical has one or more hazards, the manufacturer or importer must ensure that each container leaving its workplace is labeled, tagged, or marked with prescribed information including appropriate hazard warnings.  


Employers are required to have a written communication program and to ensure that: 


  • Each container of hazardous chemicals in the workplace is appropriately labeled, tagged, or marked;
  • Copies of the MSDS are readily accessible to employees in the workplace; and
  • Employees receive proper training about detection of the presence or release of a hazardous chemical, its physical and health hazards, and measures to protect themselves from the hazards.

For more information on the phase-in dates under the revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) see the OSHA Website  


Auditing Customer Feedback Processes           


Customer feedback is a process. It needs to be audited as a process, not as a “clause of the standard.” An evaluation also needs to be performed on the way in which the process is managed (see ISO 9001:2008 clause 8.2.1), and its ability to provide meaningful information with which to judge the overall effectiveness of the QMS. The way in which the organization obtains this feedback (“the method”) is up to the organization to define. The standard states “Monitor information relating to customer perception.” Sources can include surveys, customer data, compliments 


The auditor needs to be aware of the specific characteristics of the organization’s products that are likely to impact customer satisfaction. Throughout the audit the auditor should be alert for indications that may suggest customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction which could serve as input into the audit of the customer feedback process.

Sources of information can include: 

  • Goods returned by the customer; Warranty claims;
  • Warranty claims;
  • Revised invoices, and 
  • Direct observation of, or communication with the customer (for example in a service organization).  


The following are some of the issues an auditor should address during an audit of the customer feedback process:


a) What is the desired output of this process? What information is actually available on customer perceptions? How is this information used by management to drive improvements to the product, processes and the QMS?


b) How is the data collected to feed the process? There are many ways for an organization to monitor its customers’ perceptions, and the auditor should avoid preconceived ideas about how this should be done. Some examples of techniques the organization can use include: 

  • face-to-face visits and evaluations;
  • telephone calls or visits made periodically or after delivery of products and services; 
  • internal enquiries among the organization’s personnel who are in contact with customers, and 
  • other contacts with customers, for example by service or installation personnel. 


c) How is the data analyzed? Simply collecting data on customer perceptions is not sufficient – the auditor must follow the process through, to check how the data is analyzed and what conclusions are made with respect to the effectiveness of the QMS.



d) Are there any trends? 2) Is the situation stable, improving, or deteriorating? 3) Are customer needs and expectations changing? Asking the organization about industry comparisons or benchmarking activities, in order to put customer feedback into perspective can be extremely valuable.


The auditor should be able to recognize that the output from the customer feedback process forms an important input into other QMS process, such as data analysis, management review and continual improvement processes. An auditor who strives to add value will try to ensure that the organization recognizes the benefits a sound customer feedback process. 


In the News      
The ASQ Joint Audit Division and Quality Management Division Conference will be held in Tucson, Arizona (our home state) on October 10-11, 2013. You can view the program and four tracks of presentations at this web page. You can register for the conference at this web page.


We are a Silver Sponsor of this Conference and will be Exhibiting!

Drop by our booth for free quality swag, process improvement information, and discounts on our all our training courses and business improvement methods. We look forward to seeing our clients and newsletter readers!


Nissan to Deliver First Autonomous Vehicle by 2020  


With help from some of the world’s leading universities, including MIT, Oxford, Stanford and the University of Tokyo, Nissan is working to ready a commercially viable autonomous vehicle by 2020.


In fact, the Japanese automotive giant says it will offer several Autonomous Drive models upon launch, and will spread autonomous capabilities across its entire range within two model generations, which should be less than a decade. It also wants to offer the technology at a ‘realistic price’ for consumers. 

Work is already underway in Japan to build a dedicated autonomous driving proving ground, which is due to be completed by the end of 2014.

New Version of ISO 27001 Information Security Standard    

ISO/IEC 27001, the popular information security management system standard is being revised, with the new version set to be published in October 2013.


Aligning ISO/IEC 27001 to the new structure will help organizations wanting to implement more than one management system at a time. The similarity in structure between the standards will save organizations money and time as they can adopt integrated policies and procedures.


The revision of the 2005 edition is now at the FDIS (Final Draft International Standard) stage. This will be completed in early September after which any typographical edits will be made ready for the expected launch in October. At this point the new edition of ISO/IEC 27001 will be available for purchase and the 2005 version withdrawn.


We will keep you informed of the new revision of ISO 27001 ISMS when published.

Training Courses

To see the course description, schedule, and on-line registration click on the course title below. We deliver onsite training for all 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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