Newsletter – October, 2012

On My Mind

The third quarter (Q3) recently ended for many companies—these are happy times for some and sad times for others. Strategic Management activities, such as strategic planning, will soon be initiated for 2013. Now is a good time to integrate Strategic Management activities with Hoshin Kanri (Policy Management) activities—as advocated by Dr. Hiroshi Osada of the Tokyo Institute of Technology in his 1998 paper in the Strategic Change journal titled, “Strategic Management by Policy in Total Quality Management.” The questions leaders ask this time of year and their sequence are quite important. The question, “How can we ‘get better’ in the eyes of our customers?” should be preceded by the strategic question, “Which customers should we attempt to serve in 2013?” The question, “How do we ‘optimize’ the performance of the manufacturing line?” should be preceded by the strategic question, “What products should we manufacture in 2013?” And the question, “How can we get our departments/divisions to work together?” should be preceded by the strategic question, “What should our organization chart look like in 2013?” Dr. Osada identified the Seven Strategic Tools (7-S Tools) which Quality Management professionals can master to help integrate their work with the Strategic Management process: Environment Analysis, Product Analysis, Market Analysis, Product-Market Analysis, Product Portfolio Analysis, Strategic Elements Analysis, and Resource Allocation Analysis. A Quality Management professional will become more valuable to his/her organization by mastering these tools.

Interesting Stories

Major League Baseball (MLB) can provide an interesting lens into organizational and individual performance—especially if you are a baseball enthusiast. The regular MLB season just ended and the playoffs begin soon. Here are three amazing 2012 performance stories. The Oakland Athletics, with the lowest payroll, came from thirteen games behind to win their division on the last game of the regular season. General Manager Billy Beane has demonstrated his amazing skills again this year (see Moneyball). Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers became the first player since 1967 (Carl Yastrzemski) to win the Triple Crown by leading the American League in Batting Average (.330), Home Runs (44), and Runs Batted In (139). Finally, three pitchers threw perfect games (no hits, walks, or errors in a full nine-inning game) this year: Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox; Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants; and Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners. Bring on the playoffs!

Company News

I hosted the 26th gathering of the Global Quality Futures Workshop group at the Oak Ridge Hotel & Conference Center in Chaska, MN. This is a group of twenty-plus Quality Management experts who meet somewhere in the world each year to learn with each other. Highlights of the session this year were twelve outstanding presentations and plant visits to Loram Maintenance of Way and Hutchinson Technology. Attending this year were Dr. Yoshinori Iizuka, Dr. Hiroshi Osada, Noriharu Kaneko, Yukihiro Ando, N. “Ram” Ramanathan, Kiran Deshmukh, Jane Seddon, Rebecca Seddon, Vern Campbell, Lou Schultz, Dr. Brian Joiner, Dr. Harold Haller, Ron Moen, John Vollum, Keith Setterholm, Dr. Kevin Little, Lloyd Brandon, David Badger, Kevin Church, and myself. On another note, I will be presenting on Advances in Hoshin Kanri at the October Program Meeting of the Minnesota Section of the American Society for Quality. The event will be held at the Kelly Inn in Plymouth the evening of October 9.

Intriguing Reads

The 3rd edition of the book titled, Quality Improvement Through Planned Experimentation is now available. It is authored by fellow Global Quality Futures Workshop members Ronald D. Moen, Thomas W. Nolan, and Lloyd P. Provost. This is one of the most practical books on performance improvement you will find. They skillfully integrate the System of Profound Knowledge, Production Viewed as a System, PDSA, Statistical Control Charts, and Design of Experiments. I especially enjoyed the chapters on Health Care and New Product Design.