Creating Culture of Excellence


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Our newsletters provide information on business management systems and process improvement methods. These systems include our services ISO 9001 QMS, AS9100 Aviation, Space and Defense, TS 16949 Automotive, ISO 27001 Information Security, ISO 13485 Medical Devices, and ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standards, and more. 
Further subjects include methods of performance improvement such as Six Sigma, Lean Enterprise, and other topics of interest to our readers.

Do you have a topic of interest for a subject article this New Year?  Please let us know.


Creating Culture of Excellence

As we begin a new decade, many businesses have already or are contemplating a new approach to improve employee engagement. Studies have shown that the more productive your employees are, the more successful you’ll be as a business. Engaged employees are those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.

However, studies have shown that an estimated 68% of U.S. workers are disengaged. Yet, 90% of leaders believe employee engagement will drive positive outcomes for the business, but only 25% have an employee engagement strategy in place.

For this article, let’s focus on Relationship Engagement and the importance of establishing systematic processes for establishing role model Senior Leader Engagement. These processes include Listening to the Voice of the Customer, Engagement of the Workforce though goal-driven Performance Management, and Workforce Learning and Development systems.

An effective organization must learn to be strategy driven, engaging both the workforce and customers served by the enterprise, and create alignment with work systems and processes though a senior leadership driven management system approach.


Senior Leadership Engagement
Leadership Engagement starts with serving as role models for the organization’s mission, vision and values. Leading organizations design Leadership Systems that translate Strategy into front-line accountable goals that are aligned with the workforce. Two-way communication systems are intentionally designed to communicate key decisions to the workforce and establish trust as the foundation for all relationships. An environment for success can be created with the cultivation of organizational learning, innovation, and intelligent risk taking. A focus on action and personal accountability helps set expectations for high performance engagement and creating value for customers.

Voice of the Customer

With real time customer relationship management approaches emerging through the use of social media, senior leaders’ efforts in customer relationship management must go beyond merely listening to the voice of the customer through complaint management and service recovery, but learn to enhance engagement through customer input for new product and service development, as one example. Determining customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction with current or potential customers – is just the beginning.
Building and managing relationships requires a proactive approach to exceed expectations in each stage of the customer life cycle to increase engagement and leverage opportunity from competitors’ customers to build market share and enhance the brand image.

Workforce Engagement

In many organizational the weak link to effective execution on strategy is the lack of workforce alignment and engagement to the achievement of goals to attain the desired quantitative results. Senior leader engagement beyond the human resource leader and department function is critical, as often time it is the senior leaders themselves who are not engaged or role-modeling the desired behaviors essential to creating a culture of excellence.
The workforce environment, employee benefits, policies, and job descriptions should be the “given” foundation. However, the highest performing organizations have defined their workforce engagement strategy through approaches that assess the drivers of engagement, to create a culture that empowers the workforce for innovation, intelligent risk taking, and rewards and recognizes high performance. A workforce Performance Management System supported by a Learning and Development System, reinforces new knowledge and skills, and aligns performance reviews with organizational goals.

Linking and Aligning Leadership Strategy with Workforce and Customers

What’s the secret sauce? With an overall effective organizational strategy deployed to the workforce to meet customer expectations, business effectiveness can be enhanced with deliberate and intentional measureable direction and progress. However, often dysfunctional Work Systems and Work Processes (are you dealing with this?) sound may impede the ability to provide the services that the Strategies and Engaged Workforce are attempting to provide.


Senior leaders’ actions must establish the organizational discipline necessary to walk the talk and follow these guiding principles, if this approach is to be successful. Processes to support these approaches must become hardwired, so efforts don’t become the “flavor of the month”, but create a true transformational operating system, that will result in proven cost savings, customer satisfaction success, and effective Employee Engagement.

For more information on our approach, view our Breakthrough Performance Model. Contact us to discuss your strategic needs, and our proven success with achieving organizational excellence.

Read below our current client, R.E. Darling Company Performance Excellence Success… 


Performance Excellence Award

Tucson, AZ (December 16, 2019) The Southwest Alliance for Excellence (SWAE) announced today the recipients of the 2019 Performance Excellence Program Awards. SWAE advances improvement and excellence in organizations throughout Arizona, Nevada and Utah using the Baldrige Criteria.  

R.E. Darling Company (REDAR) has received a Commitment Award for Excellence! The Commitment Award recognizes organizations that demonstrate serious commitment to, and implementation of performance improvement principles.      

R.E. Darling, a Sustaining Edge Solutions Client Company, is a family owned and operated Arizona manufacturer of specialty rubber and composite products. Darling’s 170 employees provide the highest quality products and services to its customers in the aerospace, defense, and mining industries.     

“R.E. Darling is committed to implementing the principles of performance excellence under the Baldrige Framework,” said Gary Darling, President. “This is a tremendous accomplishment for our Performance Excellence Improvement teams, and all of the employees at Darling.” 

Congratulations to our client, R.E. Darling Company!  View all the SWAE 2019 Recipients of the Performance Excellence Program.


Medical Device Risk Management
Primarily intended for medical device manufacturers, this just revised ISO standard promotes the safety of devices and equipment used for medical purposes. It covers the risks of injury related to the health of patients, the operator and other persons, as well as potential damage to property, equipment and the environment. The standard was updated to better align with changes in medical device regulations around the world.

ISO 14971, Medical devices – Application of risk management to medical devices, specifies the terminology, principles and process for managing the risks associated with medical devices, including software as a medical device (SaMD) and in vitro diagnostic (IVD) medical products.

ISO 14971 helps manufacturers to identify the hazards and estimate the risks associated with a medical device, enabling them to control those risks and monitor the effectiveness of the controls they put in place.

ISO 14971, Medical devices – Application of risk management to medical devices can be purchased at the Techstreet Store.


Key Performance Indicators
Focusing on the measurable elements of the business, key performance indicators, or KPIs, are critical to determining how well an organization is performing.  Eliminating waste, and delivering products and services on time can impact defects and delays. When involving a supply chain, often composed of numerous organizations, the complexities around measuring performance can be consistent.

To properly manage the supply chain, a series of KPIs is needed to uncover performance improvement opportunities.

Finished-product, first-pass quality yield for primary products

Finished-product, first-pass quality yield is an important KPI to monitor the quality and performance of the supply chain. First-pass yield measures how many units are completed in the first pass through the supply chain with no rework. If an organization decides not to measure final-product, first-pass yield, it risks high levels of process inefficiency and waste. First-pass yield helps companies capture and identify high-waste and low-efficiency areas for process improvement and additional monitoring.

Percentage of defective parts per million

Percentage of defective parts per million is a KPI that measures the amount of defective parts out of total parts produced. This KPI focuses on the quality of the process and output before the product or unit is shipped. In most supply chains, defective parts per million should be tracked on some form of control chart with an upper and lower limit-essentially, the expectation of how well the supply chain should operate. Defective part per million is often used in process improvement initiatives as a stake in the ground for performance.


Warranty costs (repair and replacement) as a percentage of sales

Warranty costs as a percentage of sales compares the cost spent on repairs and replacement of distributed units to sales. This metric focuses on the amount of units that are defective after distribution to the customer- rather than in process. The warranty costs KPI can be used to track the effectiveness of the quality of the product being produced. Warranty costs can have a huge impact on organizations. The parts being supplied might not be meeting the needs of the business, and ultimately the consumer. It is up to the leadership of the supply chain team to verify that the vendor or partner can meet the requirements of the component, and the requirements of cost effectiveness indicators allow for an organization to better manage and measure their cost effectiveness performance, both internally and externally.

Scrap and rework costs as a percentage of sales

The scrap and rework cost indicator measures the quality of and waste in the supply chain process. This KPI will be tied inherently to other process efficiency indicators, such as defective parts per million, as it measures the cost of poor quality. In any supply chain organization, a poorly managed process can lead to increased scrap and rework costs.

Organizations that currently don’t measure their supply chain effectiveness can put in place these necessary KPIs to boost their business, and by determining what the “right measurements” are and tie them to the drivers of your business.



In the News
Top 15 Lean Conferences of 2020

There is no shortage of lean-related events in 2020, from small regional conferences, to workshops, to large international events that draw the world’s top thought leaders. This list captures what we believe to be the best events, run by the best organizations, for those seeking to learn and network in 2020. Each event is unique and, in most cases, targeted specifically to those in different positions of an organization (lean champions, executive leadership, human resources, accounting) and those with differing levels of lean experience.


Full Repeal of the Medical Device Tax 

On December 20. 2019, President Trump signed the bi-partisan 2020 Appropriations Act that includes the U.S. Government funding packages and other key pieces of legislation impacting our medical technology and healthcare communities.
The U.S. Senate passed legislation that includes a full repeal of the medical device tax – a 2.3% tax on a range of medical devices and products which previous research has shown to have minimal benefits for doctors, patients and manufacturers.


Without this burdensome tax, the U.S. medtech industry – the world leader in medical innovation – can focus now on developing the next generation of treatments and cures for patients in need, and creating good-paying, high-tech jobs in communities across the country.



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.

At this time of year it is natural to reflect on your annual performance and set personal and business goals for this New Year.

The question is what kind of results do you want to create for yourself and your business? Do you have customers coming back for more of your product or service? Do you have a set of ideal customers you want to cultivate? Are your business processes in control and capable of producing what you and your customers require on a continuous basis?

The demands of today’s business environment have caused many of us to shift our approach from thinking as a professional to acting as an entrepreneur. Avoiding past mistakes and taking the time to plan your next moves can make the difference between an exceptional year, and a mediocre year for you and your organization.

Contact us to assist your organization with achieving your Year 2020 Business Goals!

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


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