Category: Quality Control


ASQ’s recent video featuring the use of checklists for organizing grocery lists and improving shopping productivity has us thinking about how useful this quality tool really is.

“A checklist is a list of items required, things to be done, or points to be considered, used as a reminder. It is used so as to help one not to forget information or jobs meant to be done. It can also be referred to as a type of informational job aid used to reduce failure by compensating for potential limits of human memory and attention.”

We use checklists quite often.  However, while the checklists we use internally are comprehensive and part of our standardized internal processes, the “lighter side of quality” and its application in our personal lives is also worth mentioning.

Our favorite checklist sites for organizing everything from travel to finance includes:

You can even make your own checklist with little effort at all: 

Want to know more about why you need checklists and how to make good ones? Atul Gawande has written “The Checklist Manifesto” for just this purpose.

The book tells the story of a checklist to prevent common surgery mistakes, which Gawande created and implemented at the request of the World Health Organization (WHO). Gawande also shares what he learned from leading checklist makers and users in other industries – in particular airlines and construction, but also finance/investing, cooking, disaster recovery, and more.

In the process, Gawande makes a compelling case for checklists. Pick any industry, he says, and you’ll see “the same balls being dropped over and over, even by those with great ability and determination.” It’s a natural outcome of an increasingly complex world. Checklists help us combat these patterns of failures by:

  1. Making us smarter, more systematic decision-makers
  2. Creating a culture of discipline and teamwork
  3. Getting the dumb stuff out of the way

Tips for creating useful checklists include:

  • Keep it short and simple.
  • Focus on what’s important.
  • Evaluate how effective the checklist is once in use and incorporate continuous improvement efforts to fine-tune it.

An introduction to ISO 9001:2008

This video series is an excellent introduction to ISO 9001:2008 produced by QualityGurus.  The two-part series answers many of the questions we receive from clients.

ISO 9001:2008 sets out the criteria for a quality management system and is the only standard in the family that can be certified to (although this is not a requirement). It can be used by any organization, large or small, regardless of its field of activity. In fact ISO 9001:2008 is implemented by over one million companies and organizations in over 170 countries.

Part 1 of 2

Part 2 of 2

For additional information, visit the ISO website, or contact Pro QC directly.  We are happy to answer questions and organize audits.

Global State of Quality 2013

ASQ issued the 2013 Global State of Quality report not long ago, in addition to the summary below that was posted to their blog earlier this week.

We have reviewed the report and do feel it is representative of our experience as an industry provider.  While there are certainly issues of concern, such as the unfavorable continuous improvement findings, we remain optimistic in the long-term when we see figures representing 96% of respondents providing quality training. The key is to ensure quality training connects with the right objectives and is supported with the appropriate actions.  We are anticipating the 2014 report to see if this trend is accurate.


The sampling app you’ve always wanted… ANSI Z1.4 2003 made easy

ansi_samplingPro QC’s team of technical engineers has developed an Android and iOS application that takes the guesswork out of the accept or reject determination of an on-site quality inspection depending on customizable major and minor AQLs (Acceptable Quality Limits). This application has been incredibly useful for our team on-site, in addition to many of our clients. For convenience, we also have a web-based application.

More on defect classifications here.

To learn more about ANSI Z1.4 2003 sampling, a previous article discusses the topic in more detail.

Top 5: What we know to be true about success in quality

We’ve been following a recent discussion in ASQ’s LinkedIn Group talking about words of wisdom for those entering the quality field.  The majority of these posts have been quite positive and have us thinking about our own lessons learned over the years.

With almost three decades of experience, here’s what we know to be true about success in quality:

1) Continuous improvement is mandatory.  It’s a way of life.

“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.” ~Mark Twain

2) Persistance pays. 

“Never, never, never give up.” ~Winston Churchill

3) Know your stuff.  In quality, the gurus offer much wisdom and invaluable tools.  (Deming, Juran, Taguchi, Crosby, etc.)

“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” ~ Confucius

4) Always have a plan.  

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we much vigorously act.  There is no other route to success .” ~Pablo Picasso

5) Stay positive. Stay focused on the long-term.

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will. POSITIVE thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” ~Zig Ziglar