Successful New Year’s Resolutions – Using Quality Tools

blank list of resolutions on blackboardThroughout the world, personal resolutions (commitments) are made as the year comes to an end. From ancient Babylonians returning borrowed objects and paying debts to medieval knights taking the “peacock vow” and re-affirming their commitment to chivalry, starting fresh with each New Year is a timeless practice.

Surprisingly, it is estimated that as many as 75-88% of resolutions made for the New Year are not successful. We think it’s possible that incorporating quality tools are just what we need to bring those numbers down and make the positive changes successful.

Here are several quality tools we find applicable for both personal and professional development.

S.W.O.T. Analysis 
One of the most effective tools for both organizational and self-assessment is the S.W.O.T. analysis. As a starting process for developing New Year’s resolutions, it is an introspective way of evaluating personal strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Worksheet Resource

Brainstorming 
It’s been said that deciding is half the battle. If that were true, it would be helpful to have a comprehensive list of potential resolution candidates – or anything that you could do to see a positive result in the coming year. Use mind-mapping to sort it all out.

Mind-Mapping Resource

Affinity Diagrams
With the list generated through the brainstorming process, group the items into more specific, similar categories.

How-To Resource

Bar Charts 
Use bar charts to provide a visual representation of the situation. Excel is an ideal tool for creating quick and easy charts. They can be used to identify areas of focus and monitor progress throughout in support of continuous improvement actions.

Excel Column Chart Resource

Pareto Analysis 
Using the categories determined from the affinity diagram and possibly the information from the histogram, pick those that represent 20% of the total. With this, we can assume improving on this 20% will reap us 80% of the benefits.

Procedure & Example Resource

S.M.A.R.T Goals
Once you have primary issues or resolutions notes, make each one a S.M.A.R.T. goal that you record and share with others. Studies have shown sharing a resolution with others increases the success. S.M.A.R.T. goals are those that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

How-To & Template Resource

Flowcharts
Flowcharts are great for continuous improvement. Map out the process of reaching the resolution. It’s beneficial to visually see how a goal is being met.

Complete Tutorial w/ Examples 

PDCA 
Drucker may not have been thinking about New Year’s resolutions when he spoke of Plan-Do-Check-Act, but it certainly applies. The tools listed above have laid out a plan, so it becomes important to follow-up and take corrective actions where necessary.

Plan – Identify what you want to do and how you can achieve the results. (See above)

Do – Put your plan into action. Keep track of efforts and results.

Check – Compare results to expectations at regular intervals.

Act – Keep doing what works and improve on what’s not.

To learn more about these and other quality tools, the Quality Toolbox is a must-have. To get kids involved with using quality tools, look at Thinking Tools for Kids.

For this article, we used the following reference, in addition to the other links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Year’s_resolution

This article was originally published in Pro QC’s December 2012 quarterly newsletter.

Lucky Draw Winners!

winners_emailWe are happy to announce the iPad winners from our recent client feedback survey Lucky Draw. We appreciate everyone that provided us with the critical feedback we need to continuously improve.

Congratulations to the following three clients:

– Affinia Products LLC – Mr. Anthony Ryan

– Contour Products INC. – Mr. H. Bruce Edmondson

– Trans World Marketing – Mr. Bob O’ Day

Quality testing adventure… Evaluating strollers

They say you should walk 10,000 steps per day, and our engineers in China are hitting the mark as they road test these strollers through various road conditions.

Sebastian Oarcea, Pro QC’s Chief Engineer, explains the evaluation in more detail below.

Purpose:  To determine the functionality and performance of the strollers in a real-life operating condition.

Process:  One sample is subject of functional evaluation in reference with instructions manual provided and applicable standard prior to road test to identify potential failure modes.

The road test is performed with strollers loaded at maximum stated by manufacturer (both for occupant and luggage compartments, basket etc.) over terrain that mirrors the expected usage environment (including stairs, inclined road, grass and sand roads etc.).

The strollers are tested in ways that would parallel the way it would operate in normal home use.  Normally 5 samples of each model are included in this test.

Report: The final Summary Report evaluates and records the performance and physical aspects of the stroller during the test. It includes initial observations from the receiving of the product, packaging, compulsory markings and warnings, instructional literature, Mean Time To Failure (MTTF) with reliability data in hours of use and distance, comments (both positive and negative) and suggestions from testers, satisfaction score and daily reports. The test distance is about 50 km (for current road track 53km).

Product_Testing_Strollers

What is an American National Standard anyway?

ansiWe recently tuned into a webinar offered by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) and thought they did a great job discussing standards and the relationship of ANSI to ANS and the international marketplace.

The follow-up resources they sent out should be shared:

The Value of Quality – It Makes a Difference

Thank you to Quality Magazine for providing additional data to suggest investing in quality makes a difference.

According to the information posted from the 14th Annual Spending Survey:

  • 57% of those surveyed say the importance of quality is somewhat or much more important than the year before. Another 40% put it at about the same.
  • 64% say that spending was right where it was projected, which is consistent with the prior year.
  • 90% of budgets should stay the same or increase.
  • The Aerospace industry saw the most notable increase when asked about primary end product performed at location.

The inspection approach information is interesting as well, including the increase in lot sampling for incoming and pre-shipment evaluations:

QM1213-FT1manage-p7SL