Category: News

What’s special about quality engineers?

10173565_277853405713410_6102543326161341779_nQuality engineers are at the heart of our organization.  As a third-party quality assurance firm, we count on the hundreds of engineers we have positioned throughout the world to be the eyes and ears for our clients on-site at their factory locations.  As an exhibitor in this year’s World Conference on Quality & Improvement last week, we had the pleasure of meeting more than a handful of these passionate quality professionals and have further assurance that these individuals share certain attributes unique to the industry. An eye for quality doesn’t quite do it justice, but rather a combination of attributes that are unique to these individuals.

Quality Magazine recently posted an article discussing Five Things a Quality Engineer Should Know, and they were spot on:

  1. Business Management System
  2. Time Series Tracking for Process Metrics
  3. Process Documentation
  4. Data Analysis
  5. Organizational Metrics Improvement

We agree with Quality’s summary,

Quality Engineers can be a more valuable asset to their organizations when they expand a silo scoping of their work efforts to orchestrate the big picture and its associated processes. 

But, what do we look for in our quality engineers?

Administrative Professionals & Quality – Thank You!

Since 1952, the International Association of Administrative Professionals has honored office workers by sponsoring Administrative Professionals Week. Today, it is one of the largest workplace observances outside of employee birthdays and major holidays. (iaap)

As we recognize Administrative Professionals this week, it’s important to note the quality connection and overall significance of these positions and express gratitude to those fulfilling these responsibilities.  Administrative professionals represent our organizations and are often the front-line exposure to our clients, employees and partners.  Their attention to quality is particularly relevant to an organization’s corporate culture and overall success.

Did you know? There are more than 4.1 million secretaries and administrative assistants working in the United States, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, and 8.9 million people working in various administrative support roles. More than 475,000 administrative professionals are employed in Canada. Millions more administrative professionals work in offices all over the world.

What do administrative professionals do? It turns out there’s a wide range of positions within this field, as noted here.  A quick review of this list of job descriptions draws a connection to quality right away.

So throughout this week, and year around, we recognize their significance in the workplace and express our sincere gratitude.

No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others.  The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.  ~Author Unknown

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Negotiating in the global marketplace

An article recently posted to Inc. discusses charts by Richard Lewis that “reveal how to negotiate with people from around the world.” As a third-party quality provider, this is a key value for us because we absolutely agree that cultural considerations are key in negotiation and general business activities and it can be a significant barrier in sourcing activities in particular. Having local knowledge and cultural expertise is a competitive edge for us, no doubt.

Lewis’ book, When Cultures Collide, further discusses the topic, and we’ll be checking it out.  The Inc. article quoted and paraphrased the following from this source:

  • Canadians, compared to Americans, tend to be more low-key and inclined to seek harmony, though they are similarly direct.
  • English tend to avoid confrontation in an understated, mannered, and humorous style that can be powerful or inefficient.
  • Germans rely on logic but “tend to amass more evidence and labor their points more than either the British or the French.”

Language translation challenges for businesses

Business News Daily captured our attention this morning with a post discussing things you should know about language translation. As an organization that does offer translation services for documents such as product specifications, instruction manuals or CAD drawings, we also recognize the challenges from an internal perspective as well.  From internal documentation of processes and procedures to global marketing, offering services in over thirty countries means multiple languages must be available.  Their accuracy is salient.

As the article notes…

A good translation can make a huge difference in how content is received.” Ian Henderson, chief technology officer and chairman of global language service provider Rubric, noted that a low-quality translation can give a bad impression of your business.

The article also suggests a business has three options for language translation: machine translation, a professional translator or crowdsourcing. Each one has its costs and benefits, and each serves a specific purpose.

Machine translation tools, such as Google Translate,are usually free to use and give you an instant translation when you copy and paste text into it. Keep in mind that these tools only provide basic translations and are often not completely accurate.

Professional translators are native or fluent speakers who will provide a high-quality translation of your content for a fee. Unlike machine translators, a professional can take grammar rules and colloquial phrases into account to make the content flow more naturally.

Crowdsourced translation may take some time to complete because you’re dealing with volunteers who likely have little translation experience. However, crowdsourcing is less expensive than hiring a professional translator and still provides a comparable quality of translation.

When determining how to proceed with a translation project, consider the resources available, time requirements and overall importance of the project.  Also, consider the expertise of the translator when using a professional. While an individual may be well versed in a language, there is often industry-specific information that may be more challenging to localize.

Learn more about Pro QC’s translation services here.  

 

 

Pass the exam! Certification study tips…

passExamWe place significant value on industry certifications and actively look for engineers that have various quality related designations.

I recently volunteered to assist others during a local ASQ certification exam study session and noted the following tips to help ensure success:

Take the pre-test. Assess your strengths and weaknesses ASAP.

Most certification exam study guides offer example tests. Taking this as early as possible provides a realistic assessment of what you know and don’t know. It’s easy to be overconfident about how much you think you know, or get caught in the trap of focusing your studies on what you’re comfortable with.

Work out a study schedule to take you through to the exam date.  Set reminders in your calendar.

Most times, trying to “fit” studying in doesn’t work for people who already have a busy schedule.  But, setting appointments for yourself to study and organizing all of your efforts through to the exam will alleviate some of the anxiety caused by not being able to make time.  Use the exam’s body of knowledge and your pre-test results to organize your efforts.

Organize your study materials.  

Many exams allow you to use study materials during testing.  This can be a weakness to some who feel it will be an easier test.  Rather than highlighting and putting tabs on too many things, only make standout a few key areas where you know you’ll need help.  Also, remove the index.  Putting this next to you during the exam will save time and frustration from flipping back and forth.

Spend time reviewing the information with others.  Organize a study session.

Studying with others is beneficial for many reasons.  A big one is that it’s a motivator.  That alone is worth it.  But, also allowing yourself to openly discuss the body of knowledge for the exam and go over example questions requires work from more areas of your brain, which ultimately helps with understanding and retention. Organize a study group with your coworkers that may also be taking the exam, through the local association section/chapter, or even LinkedIn.

Review sample exam questions during scheduled periods of time.  

Don’t use all of your allocated study time to read the study guides.  Spend more time answering example questions so you can understand how they are asking the question and how they determine what the right answer is.  Many industry certification exams require much more than memorizing terms.  It’s the application of the concept that’s important to understand.

Take care of yourself.

It may sound obvious, but it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of things and cram the few nights before the exam or skip a meal here and there right before.  Exercise, sleep, and nutrition play a critical role in the brain’s ability to do its job.  Research supports that even 20 minutes of exercise right before an exam can boost your score.

Have fun.

It’s all about perspective.  And, it can be said that perspective does play a role in the result.