Quality Progress - January 2015 - 46

MEASURE FOR MEASURE BY CHARLES E. HOLMAN Defining Quality Considering customers, weights to ensure the best products IN A QUALITY system, data are continu- specified time period, usually six months the same. There are levels of severity that ously collected and analyzed in an effort depending on the data pool size. When the must be considered for each NC. After all, to improve product quality. How the data data are ready for analysis, a trend analysis though documentation errors are critical are interpreted and analyzed depends on a (TA) team is assembled. The goal of the TA NCs and may cause a customer some dis- variety of factors that range from extremely team is to identify the most significant root comfort, an out-of-tolerance condition may complex to simple. I like to keep things cause of the most prevalent nonconfor- cause injury, harm or even death. simple. mity (NC) trending within the PMEL and Figure 1 is an example of a Pareto chart brainstorm potential corrective actions to based on a simulated PMEL QP. Up-front laboratory lead evaluator charged with mitigate the negative trend. The corrective documentation errors tend to be the most identifying and assessing risk in USAF actions identified and implemented affect significant-or prevalent and often-occur- precision measurement equipment labora- the measurement capability and QP effec- ring-NC trend. To better discriminate NC tories (PMEL). PMELs calibrate and certify tiveness for the future of the PMEL. data compiled throughout a specified time I am a U.S. Air Force (USAF) metrology period, the TA team must first identify the test, measurement and diagnostic equipment (TMDE) across a variety of measure- Potential for improvement greatest risks to its customers. In other ment disciplines. Every day, technicians In the USAF PMEL program, there are words, the team should define what a are making risk-based decisions when 43 critical and 40 noncritical quality and quality product is to a customer. There certifying TMDE. It is the job of the PMEL process codes available to categorize NCs.1 are several ways to accomplish this task, quality program (QP) to observe and report The TA team first identifies and states the but one of the most effective tools is the how these decisions affect product quality. most significant NC or trend occurring customer survey (Figure 2). The customer The effectiveness of the PMEL QP is the within the PMEL. What does significant survey can be developed to help identify single-most critical element in an opera- mean? PMELs usually define significant as what creates value for the customer with tional PMEL. most prevalent or often occurring. In a nut- regard to a calibrated item of TMDE. Bot- shell, if documentation errors occurred sig- tom line: Is the quality program focusing identify and document items of TMDE that nificantly more often than out-of-tolerance on the needs of the customer or the needs either conform or don't conform to process conditions, documentation errors would be of management? and quality standards. The data collected the focus of the TA. The problem with this When the results of the customer sur- are used to track trends throughout a idea is that not all NCs affect the customer veys are collated and analyzed, manage- In a USAF PMEL, quality personnel Pareto chart using frequency of occurrence to identify most significant nonconformity / FIGURE 1 Occurrences 10 90.91% 8 8 69.7% Occurrences Cumulative percentage 54.55% 6 4 81.82% 10 5 4 30.3% 3 3 2 0 Documentation errors Critical Does not Standard not Unsafe/ process meet used properly hazardous steps, notes tolerances, and cautions specifications missed Nonconformities 46 QP * www.qualityprogress.com Inspection not performed (incoming/ outgoing) 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Nonconformities Cumulative percentage 100% 12 Occurrences Documentation errors 10 Critical process steps, notes and cautions missed 8 Does not meet tolerances 5 Standard not used properly 4 Unsafe/hazardous 3 Inspection not performed (incoming/outgoing) 3 ment can determine what areas are valued most by their customers. The value of this process shines a spotlight on where PMEL management should focus corrective actions with respect to how customers view a quality product. One byproduct of the survey is the prioritization of NCs that lose the greatest amount of value for a customer. This means there is now a list available for management to assign a weight to each NC. After applying the weights http://www.qualityprogress.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - January 2015

Up Front
LogOn
Expert Answers
Keeping Current
Mr. Pareto Head
Total Quality’s Leader
Narrow(er) Focus
Dissecting the Differences
Separate Steps
Innovation Imperative
Measure for Measure
Quality in the First Person
Career Corner
Statistics Roundtable
Standards Outlook
QP Toolbox
QP Reviews
One Good Idea
Back to Basics

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