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Quality Assurance. Ideas and Tools for Meeting the Competitive Challenge. M. W. Piczak September, 2004. L1. Defining Quality. No national standard Rarely agreement Many definitions including across organizations Often a matter of emphasis and choice of words Themes do emerge

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quality assurance

Quality Assurance

Ideas and Tools for Meeting the Competitive Challenge

M. W. Piczak

September, 2004


defining quality
Defining Quality
  • No national standard
  • Rarely agreement
  • Many definitions including across organizations
  • Often a matter of emphasis and choice of words
  • Themes do emerge
  • Must fashion own definition

Find your company’s definition

some definitions
Some Definitions*
  • Zero defects
  • Do it right the first time
  • Excellence plus
  • Fitness for use (Juran)
  • Value for money
  • Satisfying the customer
  • Delighting the customer
  • Reliability and consistency
  • Conforming to requirements (Crosby)

Any more?

* taken from ‘Quality or Else’, 1990

quality of design
Quality of Design
  • The bundle of benefits that designers aim to provide to consumers
  • Collection of customer needs and wants
  • Gathered by marketing
  • The target
  • Shown as specifications, tolerances
  • Specifications for services also
good design by
Good Design by
  • Innovative
  • Enhances product’s usefulness
  • Displays logical structure of a product where form follows function
  • Is unobtrusive
  • Is honest
  • Is enduring
  • Is consistent right down to the details
  • Is ecologically responsible
  • Is minimal design


  • Cell phones that work under water
  • Lincoln Continentals that lower 1” over 60mph to improve aerodynamics
  • VCR/DVD features
  • Windshield wipers on headlights
  • VCR/DVD handsets
  • Central Tire Inflation System on Hummers
service specifications
Service Specifications
  • An airline industry example:
    • 90% of calls answered within 30 seconds
    • 90% of passengers checked within x minutes
    • 80% of flights delayed no more than 15 minutes
    • Baggage claim time is 10 minutes between 1st and last customer
    • Meal complaints < 3%
    • Staff complaints <1%

Swissair, 1993

hitting the target
Hitting the Target
  • The degree to which you are able to consistently deliver on specs
  • What should your quality standard be?
  • 99.73% correct good enough?
your 99 73 target
Your 99.73% Target =
  • > 20,000 drug prescriptions wrong each year
  • > 15,000 babies dropped each year in hospitals
  • No electricity, water or heat for 9 hours each year
  • 500 incorrect surgical procedures done each week
  • 2,000 pieces of mail would be lost each hour
6 sigma 3 4 ppm
6 Sigma = 3.4 ppm
  • The journey is toward 3.4 ppm
  • Few companies there
  • Local company Palnutt Tinnerman operates at 1/20 million defective
  • 1% defects is 10,000 ppm

Literature reference has been made to measuring in ppb

6 sigma in golfing perspective
6 Sigma in Golfing Perspective
  • In golfing terms:
  • 2 sigma = missing 6 putts per round
  • 3 sigma = missing 1 putt per round
  • 4 sigma = missing 1 putt every 9 rounds
  • 5 sigma = missing 1 putt every 2.33 years
  • 6 sigma = missing 1 putt every 163 years
  • All of this is based on playing 100 rounds per year

What sigma level are you at?

Most companies are around 3-4 sigma…

ethical elements
Ethical Elements
  • Courtesy
  • Honesty
  • Safety
  • Environmentally sensitive

Positive & Negative Examples?

structural elements
Structural Elements
  • Strength
  • Viscosity
  • Hardness
  • Structural integrity
  • Machinability
  • Flatness
  • Durability

Positive & Negative Examples?

sensory elements
Sensory Elements
  • Appeals to the senses including:
    • Visual
    • Aural
    • Taste
    • Touch
    • Smell
  • Aesthetics of presentation
  • Packaging
  • Image

Positive & Negative Examples?

timeliness elements
Timeliness Elements
  • On time arrival
  • On time departure
  • Reliability of delivery
  • JIT

Positive & Negative Examples?

commercial element
Commercial Element
  • Warranties
  • Guarantees
  • Returnability
  • Repairability
  • Source of manufacture
  • Union made?

Positive & Negative Examples?

customer delight
Customer Delight
  • Having your Saturn vehicle washed anytime you want during the first ownership experience
  • Netting the trunks of cars
  • Having your shoes shined after each repair
  • Lighted key ignition area
  • Repairman on time
  • Tilden comes to door to pick you up
  • A bureaucratic exercises a judgment in your favour

Any others come to mind?

as it should be
As it should be…
  • Customer delight is simply doing good by the customer where they are surprised to the extent someone did not give them a hard time
  • Thinking like a customer
the slippery slope
The Slippery Slope
  • During 80’s, much self doubt
  • North America taking beating at hands of Japanese
  • No product categories exempt (cars, electronics, ship building, motorcycles)

Does anyone get it right?

american winners
Phillip Morris

Rugged Outdoor Shoes

All purpose lubricants (WD-40)

Artificial sweeteners

Desktop computers



Large tractors & combines

Fast food


Advanced education



Soft drinks

Washers, dryers

Industrial controls

Amusement parks

Movie making

Instant photography

Mechanical writing instruments

24/7 news

Large aircraft



American Winners


canadian winners

Electronic devices

Istec – WESCAM camera

Whistler Mountain

Canadian Prosthetics Foundation

CANDU reactors

Soft drinks

Mining equipment

Telecom equipment


Fox 40 whistle

CAE Engineering

Medical Services (MUMC)

Environment products (Zenon)

Space products (SPAR)



Consulting engineering (Acres)

Canadian Winners


how good do you have to be part 1
How Good Do You Have to Be? Part 1

Two hikers are going down a trail in the mountains when they meet up with a grizzly bear.

One promptly stops to take off his big hiking boots and put on his running shoes.

The second gives him an astonished look and comments “are you crazy, you can’t outrun a grizzly bear”.

Says the first hiker: “I don’t have to – I only have to outrun you”

Nice guy…

how good do you have to be part 2
How Good Do You Have to Be? Part 2

“You don’t want to be considered just the best at what you do…

You want to be known as the ONLY ones who do what you do?”

Any products come to mind?

qa tools alphabet soup
QA Tools: Alphabet Soup
  • ZD (zero defects)
  • TQM
  • ISO/QS/TS 9000, 14000, 18000, 16949
  • Lean
  • 6 ∂ (sigma)
  • SPC
  • CoQ (Costs of quality)
  • CQI
  • SDWTs/QCCs
  • And more

Pick a few & stick with them

why hustle
Why Hustle?

Every morning as the sun peeks over the african veldt, an antelope awakens. It knows that it must run faster than the fastest lion or be eaten.

At the same time, a lion opens its eyes. It knows it must outrun the slowest antelope or it will starve.

It matters not whether you’re an antelope or a lion. When the sun comes up, you’d better be running.

a caveat not for us
A Caveat: Not for Us
  • Many departments will argue that SPC/6 Sigma are fine and have a rightful/necessary home in operations
  • SPC/6 Sigma don’t apply to staff or support departments

True or False?

spc applications
SPC Applications
  • City government
  • Hospital operations
  • Fighting crime
  • Industrial safety
  • Accounts receivable
  • Inventory management (ABC analysis)
  • Immigration procedures
  • Traffic safety
when does it end
When Does it End?
  • “We never reach the end of anything…

George Eastman, circa 1930

cruel or what
Cruel or what?

“Quality is a race without a finish line…”


it s about survival isn t it
It’s About Survival, Isn’t It?

“Remember, you don’t have to do any of these things…

Survival is not mandatory.”

W. Edwards Deming, circa 1970

quality assurance1

Quality Assurance

Ideas and Tools for Meeting the Competitive Challenge

M. W. Piczak

September, 2004

The End, for now