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Free Excel Templates for Quality

Cpkinfo.com has an excellent collection of Excel templates useful for Quality professionals.

These templates are extremely well done – comparable to the types of analyses you find in commercial packages costing hundreds of dollars.  All templates are free to download and use without any restrictions.

They have templates to handle Scatter Plots, Stratification Diagrams, Pareto Charts, Gantt Charts, Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA), Histograms, Fish Bone Diagrams, Design of Experiments, Control Charts, Box Plots, Flow Charts, and even more.

Looking for training aids? How about templates to simulate a virtual factory, a virtual machine – even a Quincunx.

This is too good to pass up. I recommend you download all of them right now, to be sure something good doesn’t disappear down the road.

The templates are at http://cpkinfo.com/


Posted by Solinas on June 30th, 2011 :: Filed under Quality,Tools,Training

Lean Simulations

You’ve probably had some Lean training.  As part of most training sessions, there are games or simulations to break up the monotony of the lecture, and illustrate important points for the training session.   If you later look at your notes, they typically aren’t the best – you’re so busy DOING the activity, you probably didn’t document it very well.  If you later need to hold a training session, you’ll need the details of that classroom exercise.

You may have bought a training “package” which came with a couple of activities.  Down the road, you may wish to do a refresher course.  Where are you going to get new activities to use?  Lean Simulations is the place.

An industrial engineer was implementing Lean, found lots of Lean resources on the Internet, but it was tough to find free activities/simulations to use in his training classes.

He’s done a lot of digging, and created Lean Simulations to share what he’s found.  He has “lean simulations, lean games, presentations, and real world examples.”

There’s lots of new stuff as well as some of the classics.  You can even watch a 6-part video, circa 1989, of Deming’s Red Bead Experiment in action, lead by a great facilitator.

This is a must read blog for trainers and facilitators.


Posted by Solinas on November 23rd, 2010 :: Filed under Lean,Training

Review – Fixing Toyota

“Fixing Toyota, Quality is Hard, Lean is Much Harder” by Richard J. Schonberger is a Digital Short by FT Press.

This is a great read for Quality, Lean, or Manufacturing professionals.

Toyota has long been held up as one of the top companies for quality, and recent quality disasters shows something is seriously wrong.

Has the Toyota Production System failed Toyota, or did Toyota fail the system? This book provides an excellent argument.

At the time of this writing, it’s free on Amazon. Get it here.

UPDATE:  The book is no longer free – it’s around $5.  I’d wait a while – this publisher frequently makes their titles free, so if you hang tight, it’ll almost certainly be free again.


Posted by Solinas on November 20th, 2010 :: Filed under Lean,Quality

Lean Enterprise Institute

One of the better Lean sites is the Lean Enterprise Institute.

The site has excellent forums, which cover Government, Lean in Education, Current Events, Manufacturing, Business Process, Healthcare, Supply Chain, and Service.  Sign up for RSS feeds for the topics you like, and you’ll be able to quickly look for threads you’re interested in.

There’s a lot to this site.  I’ll be checking it out for some time to come.


Posted by Solinas on November 18th, 2010 :: Filed under Lean
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Only the Best

It’s been a while since I put up some original writings. It’s time to change the direction of this blog.

I have over 10 years experience in radio as “The Web Wanderer.” I did a weekly report on the O’Donnell On Technology radio show – we were the #1 computer radio show, and #1 in our location in our timeslot for ALL formats. Every week, I gave reviews of what I found cool on the web – websites, software, etc. I started out writing in a text editor, hand creating HTML pages. My site was huge. My whole site is archived on my personal site.
I’ve been finding a ton of cool stuff on the web related to Quality, Lean, and Training. It’s time to share what I’ve found.


Posted by Solinas on November 18th, 2010 :: Filed under misc

Reverse Fishbone

I do the fishbone in a pretty standard fashion, but use a reverse fishbone for a very different purpose.
In a standard fishbone, the bones are on the left, and the head is on the right. This immediately makes sense to people – the causes happen first, and the effect is the result. It’s drawn left to right, as you typically draw timelines, read, etc.
My reverse fishbone is used for “change-impact” analysis. The head is on the left, and the bones on the right. In the head, you write in a proposed change – new process, a change to an existing one, etc. – and then brainstorm what impact that change would have on the other systems, departments, processes, etc.
It’s a “look before you leap” tool. You think through the consequences of an action before you take it. Of course, if there are some real negative impacts to a proposed change, you can mitigate them or may wind up not making the change at all.
Since the head is on the left instead of the right, you know immediately that you are looking at a change-impact instead of a cause-effect diagram. The stuff on the left happens first, then the stuff on the right. There’s no confusion with the diagrams, and they feel “right”.


Posted by Solinas on July 13th, 2010 :: Filed under Uncategorized
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Audits with the most benefit

Someone on the LinkedIn Quality Management and Standards group asked what type of audits (financial, internal vs. customer, etc) provided the maximum value and identified areas for improvement . Here’s my take:

I don’t think the TYPE of audit really matters – there are other factors much more important:
1) Reason for audit. Most customer audits are performed either to secure new or continued business. The goal for the host is to present the company in the best light possible. You don’t expect to unveil lots of areas for improvement during a customer audit.
2) Depth of audit. If your business is in reasonable shape, you won’t get much of value from a quick 1 or 2 day audit. There simply isn’t enough time to connect the dots and see areas for improvement. An internal audit can take days, and therefore can be very beneficial.
3) Knowledge of auditor. An experienced auditor who has a broad background and lots of experience will give you the most valuable suggestions. New auditors really won’t help you much.


Posted by Solinas on April 19th, 2010 :: Filed under Uncategorized
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Quality – independent function?

Over on the “Quality Management Professionals” LinkedIn group, someone said “Quality should be an independent function in any organization to maintain organization wide quality!” He started a poll, and asked for comments. Here’s my take:

Early in my career, I would have agreed with you. But my experience has taught me otherwise. I’ve had two very successful quality roles – one reporting to the VP of Operations (manufacturing) and another reporting to the VP of Worldwide Sales. It’s very likely BOTH positions were able to accomplish more than if they had reported in a direct path to the CEO.

Reporting in separately sets up the “us vs. them” dynamic. Quality is seen as having a different goal – therefore out of step with the rest of the company.

Before I reported in to Ops, I viewed them as shipping product at all cost, with no thought of quality. There was a “let’s see if we can get this by them” attitude. We worked hard to “procedure-ize” everything. Then – guess what? Processes were defined and followed, and it didn’t matter AT ALL who quality reported to. Everything ran great. I should also note – the VP of Ops really stepped up to the plate – his responsibilities were no longer just “shipping stuff” – but he was responsible for quality as well, and always considered quality on decisions.

At another company, my Customer Quality team needed to report in to someone after the VP of Quality left the company. and was not going to be replaced. I spoke with the president, and asked that we report in to sales. Why? He understood happy customers ordered more. It was a fantastic relationship – my boss, the VP of Worldwide Sales, respect my team and our work, and we worked hard to make customer satisfaction run at an all time high.

I don’t see any “need” for quality to report in to the president of a company as a stand-alone function.


Posted by Solinas on February 27th, 2010 :: Filed under Quality
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Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook

I picked up a copy of The Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook several months back.  If you haven’t see this book yet, you’re really missing out.

It’s a handy little paperback which is a “quick reference guide to nearly 100 tools for improving process quality, speed, and complexity.”

The toolbook contains detailed explanations of each tool to “help you know how, when, and why to use it for maximum efficacy.”  For example, the section on FMEA details: the purpose, when to use it, types of FMEA, how to perform FMEAs, and tips on scoring systems.

This is a “must have” for quality professionals.  It’s so good, even though I have a hard copy, I bought the kindle version as well, so it’s always handy.


Posted by Solinas on December 28th, 2009 :: Filed under Quality
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Mil Specs

I cut my teeth on the old military specs.  I was working at a semiconductor company that had a thriving military products business.  Mil-Std-883 was just going from rev B to rev C, and there were tons of changes.  My mission, as a young Quality Engineer, was to do a gap analysis, and get us up to speed on the latest version.

The Mil Specs were HUGE documents, printed on some of the cheapest paper I’d ever seen before (or since).  Big binders on your bookshelf.  If you needed one, you’d have to go order it, usually from some document center.  Updates were a pain – you’d spend a good hour pulling old pages, and replacing them with the new.

These days, you can just download them.  My favorite site to grab current, and older versions, of mil specs is EverySpec.com.

EverySpec.com provides free access to over 20,000 Military, DoD, Federal, NASA, DOE, and Government specifications, standards, handbooks, and publications.

Their online collection includes standardization documents with the designations of MIL, MIL-STD, MIL-PRF, MIL-DTL, FED, CID, JANS, MS, AND, USAF, DID, CID, UCF, and FIPS, including their Amendments, Notices, and Supplements.

And if you have an ebook reader that supports PDFs, you’re really in business.  No more hauling back breaking binders to meetings.   My tool of choice is the Kindle.

883G – all 716 pages of it, is just over 7 meg in pdf format.  Converting it to Mobireader format drops it down to 1.3 meg.  I’ll probably talk more about converting files in a post very soon.


Posted by Solinas on December 27th, 2009 :: Filed under Specs
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