Celebrate World Quality Month

 Sustaining Edge Solutions, Inc. Newsletter

Performance Improvement Solutions for Your Business                              November 2012


This Month
* Celebrate World Quality Month
* Lean Six Sigma Problems
* Justified Versus Unjustified Complaints
* In the News
* Training Courses


February 6-9, 2013 Denver, Colorado.  We are a Sponsor of this Conference.  See you in Denver!  
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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.  


 World Quality Month 

World Quality Month


Join in the Global Quality Community in celebrating World Quality Month in November 2012!


Now in its third year, World Quality Month provides a platform for acknowledging the efforts and accomplishments of the Global Quality Community. This is a time to celebrate-a time to showcase the advancements and valuable quality contributions in businesses, communities, and institutions.


Throughout November, we will be celebrating the work that quality has made around the world. Be sure to visit the World Quality Month site-the central hub of activity-to watch videos, read articles, answer a quality poll question, and see what others are doing to celebrate! 



Items of interest include share your quality story and video. 



Quality story videos to view include: 


  • The Cost of Poor Quality
  • Speaking the Language of Business: Quality professionals need to speak the language of business if they want to advance in their career
  • The Handy Guide to Quality:  The Chartered Quality Institute produced this wonderfully fun and informative guide to quality processes. 
  • Speed Bumps of Lean Six Sigma: Explains the speedbumps of implementation of Lean Six Sigma processes.   


A World Wide Calendar of Events which includes various websites and American Society of Quality (ASQ) Chapters.  This includes information on improvement methods and techniques.     


  • Healthcare Quality Week
  • Quality and Business Excellence Night
  • International Conference on Software Quality   


Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that World Quality Month is finally here!   



View the World Quality Month Website.  A Great Learning Tool! 


Lean Six Sigma Deployment Problems   


Top Ten Tips to avoid Lean Six Sigma Deployment Problems according to More Steam:


1. Leadership cannot be delegated.
Successful and durable process improvement efforts depend on senior leadership engagement. Leaders should be active teachers. “Engaged” means process improvement activities are on their calendar and on their “to do” lists – not an initiative that is assigned to others.


2. This is not an “organic” exercise at the beginning.
A certain amount of fascism is required to get things started. Most important projects will cross functional boundaries, so leadership will need to enforce value stream thinking that puts customers ahead of departmental priorities.



3. The “M” in DMAIC does not stand for Months.
Don’t let people get hung up on playing with tools at the expense of getting things done.



 4. Don’t take on projects that have massive scope.
It is better to execute a series of smaller, tightly-focused projects that get done. 



 5. Remember the “3APs”:  Go to the Actual Place (Gemba) where the work is done, observe the Actual Process as it is performed, and talk to the Actual People who perform the process. Beware of Gembaphobia (the fear of going to where the work is actually performed) – tough problems can’t be solved from a conference room.



6. Don’t pick the most available people to become project leaders (Black Belts and Green Belts).  There’s a reason why those people are available, and it’s not because they get things done. Make the functional leaders cough up their best people. Those people will get more done with the right attitude and good people skills than with a mastery of advanced technical methods. 



7. Avoid establishing a “Caste System” or “Expert Culture” where only experts can solve problems. Everyone can use these tools and this thinking in their daily work. Waiting for an “expert” can become a convenient excuse.



8. Don’t operate in secret. Over-communicate to offset the natural fear of change and suspicion.  


9. Don’t forget middle management.

The layer of clay requires extra attention to penetrate. Middle managers must get on board for the approach to have legs. If leaders lead, middle managers will follow.    




10. Don’t train without projects!  It’s a total waste of time and money. Don’t over-train, in advance, in batches. Try to pull as needed. Most improvement is accomplished with the simplest tools. The discipline to recognize problems from a customer perspective and address them head-on is more important than technical skills.



We agree with all of these Tips to avoid Lean Six Sigma deployment problems, including having witnessed a number of them.   Tell us which of these you faced in your organization, including how you overcame them, and your suggested TIPS!  We will publish them in our December issue.   

Justified Versus Unjustified Complaints           


Has your organization decided that it’s a good idea to classify customer complaints according to whether they are “justified?” This occurrence just took place with a client of ours that received a complaint due to using a product beyond its capability and felt it wasn’t necessary to utilize their corrective actions system for identification and resolution.


This may make logical sense to some, but it’s the worst thing a company can do for building customer satisfaction.  We strongly suggest to take all customer complaints seriously!


We found a good article we agree with written by Craig Cochran for AIAG Quality Standards which highlights ways to ensure your customers are satisfied with how you handle their complaints.


If I’m a customer, all my complaints are justified. If you try to tell me that my complaint is “unjustified,” it’s only going to make me angrier than I already am.Once the customer experiences a problem, it becomes the company’s problem. Regardless of the fault of the problem, customer satisfaction has been affected, and action must be taken. 


Consider these scenarios:


(1) The customer used the product incorrectly, and the performance was adversely affected; the complaint is deemed unjustified. But why did the customer use the product incorrectly? Was the application known prior to the sale? Were the instructions unclear? Is there any chance that the customer was misled, even unintentionally?


(2) The customer says the product was damaged, but the type of damage described could only have happened at the customer location; the complaint is deemed unjustified. But should the product’s packaging be improved? Should you provide guidelines for proper handling?


In each of these cases, an argument could be made that the problem was the customer’s fault. Taking this position, though, does nothing to enhance customer satisfaction, nor does it further the organization’s long-term objectives. Savvy organizations will look for ways to error-proof their products with customers. Of course, some problems are truly the customer’s fault. When these situations occur, the organization might not be obligated to replace the product, provide credits or refunds, or accept returns. In all cases, however, customers must be treated in a diplomatic, cordial manner.


Reporting Back to the Customer

What are you going to do about it? If your organization is interested in turning the negative experience into a positive one, someone must take the time to report back to the customer. The communication should include three key elements:


  • The results of the investigation into the problem;
  • The action taken; and
  • A statement of thanks for reporting the problem.  


Reporting action back to the customer closes the loop on the issue. It also lets the customer know that you take his or her feedback seriously and are committed to making improvements. In some cases, it can determine whether your organization remains a supplier to this customer.


Complaint information should be one of the most widely disseminated topics in an organization. Trend data should be posted on every departmental bulletin board, along with the details of relevant complaints involving that department. Complaints, their root causes and eventual corrective action must be made topics of any regular communication that takes place throughout the organization.


Does your organization neglect unjustified complaints?  Give us an example of what defines an unjustified complaint and we will provide a direct response to your input with suggestions for improvement.


In the News    


SAE Announces DRBFM Program Certification.


SAE International is introducing a personnel credential program that enables engineers, product development technicians, and other associated personnel to earn a Certificate of Competency or Certification in the Design Review Based on Failure Modes (DRBFM) methodology. 


Created by industry professionals for industry professionals, the program was developed and segmented into three distinct levels to meet the needs of specific personnel. Exam questions align with the body of knowledge to address each of the three levels. 


The DRBFM Expert Certification level is due to launch in March 2013 and is for individuals to validate mastery of knowledge by scoring and reviewing DRBFM case studies. This Expert Certification is for professionals who facilitate, mentor, and train on the DRBFM methodology.  Passing an online exam also results in Certification that remains is valid for three years.

For more information visit the SAE Website.

Are you safe online? New ISO Standard for Cyber Security  


A new ISO standard, ISO/IEC 27032:2012, Information technology – Security techniques – Guidelines for cybersecurity, will make cyberspace safer. This standard will help ensure safety of online transactions and personal information exchanged over the Internet, and protect your computer when browsing any Websites.


ISO/IEC 27032 provides a framework for Information sharing, Coordination, and Incident handling.


The standard facilitates secure and reliable collaboration that protects the privacy of individuals everywhere in the world. In this way, it can help to prepare, detect, monitor, and respond to attacks such as social engineering attacks, hacking, malicious software (malware), spyware, and other unwanted software.


 For more information visit the ISO Website.


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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