What is an Audit

According to ISO 9000, the following is the definition.
An audit is Systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which audit criteria are fulfilled
Comparison of activity : You look at what is done and how it is done; and Compare it with the processes / procedures describing this, the way it should be done
If there are differences you have a “finding” (possibly even a non-conformity).
The Auditor should look for :

  • Fact finding’ (not ‘fault finding’)
  • The auditor should seek “compliance” (implementation) of the Process not “non-compliance” with it
  • Focus on ‘Performance’ as well as ‘Conformance’
  • Focus on audit for ‘Continuous Improvement’
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Originally posted 2011-05-23 00:59:00.

Quality Assurance and Quality Control

Quality assurance and quality control are often used interchangingly by error. these two are different terms and have different meaning.
Quality Control (QC):
►“The operational techniques and activities that are used to fulfil requirements for quality” (ref: ISO 9000)
►QC is an inspection function.
►QC requires the performance of the necessary observations, testing & documentation that verifies the work performed meets or exceeds requirements.
Quality Control makes sure the results of what you’ve done are what you expected.
The processes of quality control involve calibration, sampling and documenting reviews.
Quality Assurance (QA)
►“All those planned and systematic activities implemented to provide adequate confidence that an entity will fulfil requirements for quality” (ref: ISO 9000)
►QA is an audit function, used to verify that QC is being performed and performed effectively & efficiently.
Quality Assurance makes sure you are doing the right things, the right way.
Measurement is a vital aspect of Quality Assurance.
The Quality Assurance is to do with standards, processes, and policies are in place and carried out; to recommend and implement improvements to them, and to ensure that the people that need to know about them know about them. QA “audits” or “reviews” are intended to determine the efficacy of these processes, and policies.
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Originally posted 2011-04-06 01:20:00.

Cost of Quality

  The term Cost of  Quality (CoQ) is generally misunderstood as the cost to create a quality product or service. The real definition of this term is the cost incurred by not creating a quality product or service.
What can be included in cost of Quality (bad Quality)
Cost of Quality includes the cost to the organization to rectify the non conforming product or service. This includes following example
Cost incurred in reworking of a manufactured item, the men, Material and other resources.

costs incurred in skipped delivery schedules, the penalties etc.

Cost incurred in retesting of an assembly, rebuilding of a tool.
The correction of a bank statement.
The reworking of a service, such as the reprocessing of a loan operation or the replacement of a food order in a restaurant.
Warranty Claims
The biggest cost incurred by an organization on account of poor quality is the loss of customer loyalty.
In short, any cost that would not have been expended if quality were perfect contributes to the cost of quality.

The cost of Quality is only a part of Total Quality Costs which includes the following
The costs incurred by
Investing in the prevention of nonconforming to requirements.
Appraising a product or service for conformance to requirements.
Failing to meet requirements.(Cost of poor Quality (COPQ))
The details which can be included in Total Quality Costs
Prevention Costs
The costs of all activities specifically designed to prevent poor quality in products or services.
Examples are the costs of: New product review, Quality planning , Supplier capability surveys, Process capability evaluations, Quality improvement team meetings, Quality improvement projects, Quality education and training
Appraisal Costs
The costs associated with measuring, evaluating or auditing products or services to assure conformance to quality standards and performance requirements.
These include the costs of:  Incoming and source inspection/test of purchased material, In-process and final inspection/test, Product, process or service audits, Calibration of measuring and test equipment, Associated supplies and materials
Failure Costs
The costs resulting from products or services not conforming to requirements or customer/user needs. Failure costs are divided into internal and external failure categories.
Internal Failure Costs : Failure costs occurring prior to delivery or shipment of the product, or the furnishing of a service, to the customer.
Examples are the costs of: Scrap, Rework, Re-inspection, Re-testing, Material review, Downgrading
External Failure Costs : Failure costs occurring after delivery or shipment of the product — and during or after furnishing of a service — to the customer.
Examples are the costs of:  Processing customer complaints, Customer returns, Warranty claims, Product recalls,
Total Quality Costs:
The sum of the costs listed above. This represents the difference between the real cost of a product or service and what the reduced cost would be if there were no possibility of substandard service, failure of products or defects in their manufacture.

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Originally posted 2011-04-02 04:46:00.

What is Standard

If you go by the dictionary, the word standard is defined as the following in the popular dictionaries
Oxford defines ‘Standard’ as a level of quality or attainment:a required or agreed level of quality or attainment:something used as a measure , norm, or model in comparative evaluations:used or accepted as normal or average:
Merriam-Webster’s defines ‘Standard’ as Set up and established by authority as a rule for the measure of quantity, weight, extent, value, or quality
The Standards are developed by various organizations. Most Nations have their own standardization bodies. The standards are mainly under two categories. Product Standards and industry Standards.

Product Standards

Product Standards define the minimum requirements for a product to be called as a standard product. These are normally defined by the statutory authorities such as Bureau on Indian Standards (BIS). Each of the product will have its own standard defined and  the product is marked.

Industry Standards

Industry Standards are based on the requirements of the industry. The most acceptable Standards are developed by ISO (International organization for Standardization). Out of the 18000+ standards developed by ISO, ISO 9000 family is the most widely used. All most all activities are covered by ISO.

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Originally posted 2011-03-19 02:54:00.

BELIEVE YOUR CUSTOMER

This is a real story that happened between the customer of General Motors and its Customer-Care Executive. Pls read on…..The moral is BELIEVE YOUR CUSTOMER

A complaint was received by the Pontiac Division of General Motors:
‘This is the second time I have written to you, and I don’t blame you for not answering me, because I sounded crazy, but it is a fact that we have a tradition in our family of Ice-Cream for dessert after dinner each night, but the kind of ice cream varies so, every night, after we’ve eaten, the whole family votes on which kind of ice cream we should have and I drive down to the store to get it. It’s also a fact that I recently purchased a new Pontiac and since then my trips to the store have created a problem…..

You see, every time I buy a vanilla ice-cream, when I start back from the store my car won’t start. If I get any other kind of ice cream, the car starts just fine. I want you to know I’m serious about this question, no matter how silly it sounds “What is there about a Pontiac that makes it not start when I get vanilla ice cream, and easy to start whenever I get any other kind?” The Pontiac President was understandably skeptical about the letter, but sent an Engineer to check it out anyway.
The latter was surprised to be greeted by a successful, obviously well educated man in a fine neighborhood. He had arranged to meet the man just after dinner time, so the two hopped into the car and drove to the ice cream store. It was vanilla ice cream that night and, sure enough, after they came back to the car, it wouldn’t start.

The Engineer returned for three more nights. The first night, they got chocolate. The car started. The second night, he got strawberry. The car started. The third night he ordered vanilla. The car failed to start.
Now the engineer, being a logical man, refused to believe that this man’s car was allergic to vanilla ice cream. He arranged, therefore, to continue his visits for as long as it took to solve the problem. And toward this end he began to take notes: He jotted down all sorts of data: time of day, type of gas uses, time to drive back and forth etc.
In a short time, he had a clue: the man took less time to buy vanilla than any other flavor. Why? The answer was in the layout of the store. Vanilla, being the most popular flavor, was in a separate case at the front of the store for quick pickup. All the other flavors were kept in the back of the store at a different counter where it took considerably longer to check out the flavor.

Now, the question for the Engineer was why the car wouldn’t start when it took less time. Eureka – Time was now the problem – not the vanilla ice cream!!!! The engineer quickly came up with the answer: “vapor lock”.

It was happening every night; but the extra time taken to get the other flavors allowed the engine to cool down sufficiently to start. When the man got vanilla, the engine was still too hot for the vapor lock to dissipate.
Never underestimate your Clients’ Complaint, no matter how funny it might seem!
Even crazy looking problems are sometimes real and all problems seem to be simple only when we find the solution, with cool thinking.
Don’t just say it is “IMPOSSIBLE” without putting a sincere effort…. Observe the word “IMPOSSIBLE” carefully….
Looking closer you will see, “I’M POSSIBLE”…
What really matters is your attitude and your perception.

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Originally posted 2011-03-18 17:47:00.

What is Quality?

I know i am opening the can of worms again on trying to define as what is quality. This discussion is as old as the term quality. We are still unable to define if this is  a noun or an adjective.
This is a term which has a variety of definitions. In fact if you ask 10 people in a group  and get ready for at least 15 unique answers.
If you look at the popular dictionaries you will find the following definitions
Oxford Dictionary : 1. the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something: 2. a distinctive attribute or characteristic possessed by someone or something:
Merriam-Webster’s : 1. A peculiar and essential character 2. an inherent feature 3. A degree of excellence 4. A distinguishing attribute.
These definitions are not of help if you are looking as a quality professional.
Also the Gurus on this subject define it differently Now let us see what the Gurus on the subject matter say.
Anon  “Common sense set down on paper”
Joseph M. Juran: “Fitness for use.” Fitness is defined by the customer.
“Quality” means those features of products which meet customer needs and thereby provide customer satisfaction”
“Quality” means freedom from deficiencies-freedom from errors”
Subir Chowdhury: “Quality combines people power and process power.”
Philip B. Crosby: “Conformance to requirements.”
Robert Pirsig: “The result of care.”
Genichi Taguchi, with two definitions:

a. “Uniformity around a target value.” The idea is to lower the standard deviation in outcomes, and to keep the range of outcomes to a certain number of standard deviations, with rare exceptions.
b. “The loss a product imposes on society after it is shipped.” This definition of quality is based on a more comprehensive view of the production system.

Peter Drucker: “Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for.”
W. Edwards Deming: concentrating on “the efficient production of the quality that the market expects,”
Gerald M. Weinberg: “Value to some person”.
let us see what other say on this
ISO 9000: “Degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements.”
Six Sigma: “Number of defects per million opportunities.”
American Society for Quality: “A subjective term for which each person has his or her own definition. In technical usage, quality can have two meanings: a. The characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs; b. A product or service free of deficiencies.”
JAA (Joint Aviation Authorities – Currently EASA) : “The totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs” 
Now let me attempt my own
“Quality can be defined as the best and continuous effort of an organization or individual, to prove their capabilities to meet the expectations of those who are interested in it”
I tried to cover many of the definitions above. The interested parties can be the Organization themselves, their customers, the regulators everybody is interested parties.
I covered the needs by using the word “to meet the expectations”. customer wants value for money, or safety organization expects Profits, less defects, no complaints etc. the regulators want compliance and conformance.

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Originally posted 2011-03-18 17:09:00.