This week, our refrigerator died. When I posted about it on Facebook, my neighbor commented that her refrigerator is more than 40 years old and still running. I didn’t ask her whether hers was mustard yellow or olive green. Mine is shiny stainless, and just over two years old. During that time, it was off for 6 weeks while we were out of our home after it flooded. According to the repairman, the compressor plus other parts of the system needed to be replaced. The compressor itself would have been under warranty, but not the labor, and I’m not sure about how the rest of the system would have been treated. When we bought the refrigerator, my mom told me to get the extended warranty because she had literally had to have every circuit board replaced on her refrigerator, and she’d have been out of luck if she hadn’t had a contract. I’m grateful that I listened to my mom, but clearly, things are not made the way that they used to. My original theory was the quality of the lead free soldering was not sufficient to withstand the amount of vibration that a refrigerator has. But our fridge didn’t fail because of one of the PCBAs. It seems like the concept of quality may be missing in the appliance industry right now. I just find myself wondering how we got to this place.

Free Quality Tools? Yes, please!

A recent ASQ Quality Press eNewsletter had a link to one of my absolute favorite things on the ASQ website – free tools! In a post promoting one of my favorite resources, Nancy Tague’s The Quality Toolbox, 2nd Edition, the editors also shared the previously mentioned link. Each item in the list that has (XLS) or (DOC) behind it is a totally free template for the referenced tools. The second link with the same link provides descriptive information on how to use the tool and when it applies. I’ve shared this information for years as part of a practical problem solving class that I have taught at work. What is your favorite quality tool?

Leadership Saturday

Today was the Ideas to Action Gathering (ITAG). I bring you a single image that I found meaningful as my kids wrap up their track season.


How do you build your team?

Getting Ready for ASQ World Conference

I’m excited to have the opportunity to return to the ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement next week. If you’re planning to attend for the first time, there are two tips I always give to people:

  1. Sit with people you don’t know at lunch. If your colleagues are there, you will see them when you’re back in the office; you will see people from your local section at the next section meeting. This is your opportunity to build your network – I still keep in touch with people I met at the first conference I attended in Philadelphia in 1998.
  2. Don’t go to sessions on the things that you know… because you already know those things. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this conversation… Me, “How is the conference going?” Attendee, “Well, I haven’t really learned anything.” Me, “What kind of sessions are you attending? “Attendee, “This is what I do so I picked all the sessions about that.” Step outside your comfort zone, look for similar topics in different industries or even topics that you’re not sure how they might apply to your job, and I guarantee you will have the opportunity to learn new things and bring back things you can apply back in the office.

Things I’m most excited about?

  1. Moderating sessions – this year I’m moderating sessions by Jd Marhevko and Mike Adams, both outstanding speakers. I like moderating because I like to try and see if there is something that I can use from each presentation to take back to my company, and this is something that I share in my closing comments. I also like to hear what others plan to take back.
  2. Leadership meetings and the ITAG (Ideas to Action Gathering) over the weekend before the conference begins. It is certainly an opportunity to see old friends as well as making new ones, but I appreciate the opportunity to gave back to the quality profession and participate as the society looks to transform itself.
  3. I’m planning to get a headshot done at the ASQ Center in the exhibit hall. My LinkedIn picture is from doing a marathon for Team In Training. It is definitely a conversation starter – I had comments about it at the AssurX Users Summit last week, but I’m looking forward to updating it with a professional photo.
  4. My manager and I went through the sessions that I’m not moderating and put together a pretty awesome agenda! I have a list of exhibiters I’m planning to visit as well – it was fun to strategize and I’m looking forward to taking what I learn and seeing how we can put the topics to use at my company.
  5. Forth Worth and Molly the Trolley!

What are you most excited about for at #WCQI2019?

2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Influential Voices: The Future of Quality

A fascinating blog post on the Future of Quality by Edwin Garro reminded me of a meme I saw on Facebook. It is a quote by Dr. Temple Grandin, “We’re focusing so much on academics that we’ve taken out things like art, sewing, cooking, woodworking, and other things that introduce kids to careers.” While the program that Edwin describes sounds amazing, I can’t help but wonder if these kids have also had the opportunity to learn what is essentially life skills while attending school. In a conversation on my friend’s post on Facebook, many of those who commented noted that they didn’t have the chance to take these things, but they are not the kids that Dr. Grandin is talking about. My kids are. Last week, I had the opportunity to spend some time talking to my son’s shop teacher. He was new to our school district, and he noted that in some districts, as they closed their drafting programs, they were also closing their shops. This is not a great trend. Our middle school offers ALL of these classes – my son even took some of the things he made in sewing to the county fair this past summer. I consider myself lucky that we have access to good schools in our area without needing to go to private schools. I believe the future of quality MUST start with a strong foundation in education. What do you think?

Does Mission Matter – Influential Voices

The title of Pat La Londe’s View from the Q guest post is one that really resonated with me. One of the things that I’ve had the privilege of doing as part of my job is to train coworkers on our customer satisfaction surveys. As part of the discussion, I brought them to our Mission, Vision and Values, and showed them the connection to what we were doing. This simple step made a big difference. There is no way you’re going to be able to get where you’re trying to go if you don’t know why you’re going there.

A number of years ago, I was on the board of a small non-profit that had never taken the time before to do any strategic planning, or understanding why the organization existed. That board really struggled to find direction. While strategic planning was not a cure all, having a mission and vision made a difference in our ability to move the organization forward. It helped us to focus our energies on the areas that were most important to our business and over time, turned the organization around.

Mission does matter. How do you make your organization’s mission work for you?

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