Friday, December 12, 2014

How to Encourage the Quality Message

In his December post, Bill Troy, ASQ CEO, asks “Is Quality Ambitious Enough?” He highlights an article by longtime ASQ Member Brooks Carder.

Mr. Carder suggests an expanded mission statement for the American Society of Quality (ASQ). This statement elaborates on the significant impact quality professionals have on the quality of life by contributing to improved products and services.

Brooks Carder’s Statement is as follows:

To improve the function and value of goods and services worldwide, and to facilitate the development of new products and services that improve the quality of life.

This statement is so encouraging and inspiring to the quality professional. It says you are here to improve the quality of life.

In my role at a textile company years ago, I was a “nerd engineer” in the trenches following product test result trends. In communication with customers, I compared their test results to ours with great discussion of variation and specifications. The statement particularly of improving the quality of life relates directly to my customer who was manufacturing garments from the textiles. Deviations outside acceptable limits created havoc with production schedules, and claim investigation expenses would add up. It could be a discouraging situation. It certainly had a negative effect on quality of life. Mr. Carder’s statement could have lent some inspiration to a tough day.

Encourage Quality Professionals

A statement like Mr. Carder’s could be used in quality meetings and day-to-day discussion to keep focus on customer satisfaction and to encourage quality professionals. It could be posted around the workplace for inspiration.

Being a good example to other quality professionals goes a long way in encouraging others. Traits like patience, persistence, thoroughness, and positive attitude not only benefit the workplace, but encourage other professionals as well as your coworkers in the quality field.

Spread the Quality Message 

Mr. Carder also suggests more outreach and promotion to increase numbers in the quality “religion.” Certainly it is a challenge to spread the quality message, but, like any message, new tools of social media are an option. Messages about poor quality products are spread quickly on social media and website reviews. Consumers are interested in quality and make purchase decisions daily based on product quality feedback on the internet. Dependent upon your situation, perhaps messages about quality projects, quality improvements, quality training, or quality challenges could be topics for your company’s social media channels.
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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Book Review: The Homing Instinct - Meaning and Mystery in Animal Migration

The Monarch Butterfly has a Unique Migration Pattern

Fascinating reading inside the covers of this book:

  • Pacific Salmon use scent to find their way to spawning grounds.

  • Birds use a variety of mechanisms to migrate that include magnetic poles and parental coaching. The author introduces us to a pair of Sandhill Cranes that have nested in the same Alaskan bog for over 15 years.

  • Locust swarms are native grasshoppers that change their appearance and behavior in response to crowding.

  • Still murky theories have American and European Eels spawning in the same Atlantic Sargasso Sea. The larvae rely on currents to drift enormous distances back to freshwater rivers and lakes.

Bernd Heinrich explores these and many other scientific explanations for animal migration, relocation, and homemaking in his book The Homing Instinct - Meaning and Mystery in Animal Migration. He reveals interesting detail on theories, historical anecdotes, and experiments all related to solving questions about animal movement. This book is interesting and well-written for anyone curious about the behavior of animals.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Maintain the Quality of your Holidays - 6 Tips to Prevent Postal Theft

As holiday festivities and shopping become forefront in everyone’s mind, remember crime traditionally increases between Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

A vulnerable aspect of your home is the mailbox. During this season, thieves hope to find gift cards and cash sent by friends and relatives. My family was a victim of this crime 3 years ago. Two nights before Christmas we were entertaining relatives. Several times during the day I had thought about retrieving the mail from our mailbox, but kitchen duties distracted me. 

At 8:30 PM the doorbell rang. Our neighbors reported seeing a car stop and open our mailbox. They described following the car down our long street, turning around in the cul-de-sac, back past our house, and out on the highway. They followed the suspicious vehicle long enough to determine (A)the alleged mail thieves didn’t want to be followed because they turned off their headlights during the “chase” and (B) the license plate number. 

We verified our mailbox had been emptied, and called the sheriff’s department. Despite having a license number which was traced to a resident in a neighboring county, nothing was done. The next morning, we walked down the street and found an opened and discarded Christmas card from a nearby town. Apparently these thieves had been trolling several neighborhoods and taking mail.

Because of the danger of a credit card statement with a full number on it being in the mailbox, we had to cancel that credit card. 

We also reported the theft to the Postmaster General. Because a mailbox is considered Federal property, mail theft is a federal crime under U.S. Code of Regulations Section 1708 Title 18. A fine and/or prison sentence up to 5 years is assigned.

Here are some tips to protect your mailbox contents:

1 - Retrieve your mail as soon as possible. If you are away all day, arrange for someone else to get the mail.

2 - Do not mail any important mail from your mailbox. Drive through and use the drop box at the post office.

3 - If you mail from your mailbox, do not put it in the box the night before.
4 - If sensitive account numbers are on statements, consider changing to e-statements.

5 - Discuss mail theft issues with relatives that might send cash or gift cards. Electronic gift cards or personal checks are alternatives.

6 - When you travel, place a mail hold with the post office.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

5 Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle

Dr. Allen Mask was the keynote speaker at a recent conference. He made 5 suggestions for a healthy lifestyle.

1. Update Vaccinations

TDP (Tetanus, Diptheria, Pertussis)
Hepatitis A and B

2. Get your Annual Screenings

Men -  PSA at age 50 ( Prostate Specific Antigen blood test)
Women -  Mammograms
Abdominal ultrasound at age 65
Eye exams
Executive blood panel
Skin exams
Colonoscopy starting at age 50

3. Normalize your Weight

Body mass index should be 25 or less
Men's waist measurement should be less than 40 inches
Women's waist should be less than 35 inches

Get Regular Dental Care

4. Take care of your teeth and gums

Practice Safety during Household Chores

5. Be safe

Use bike helmets
Use seat belts
Use eye protection
Use precautions with firearms
Place fire extinguishers throughout your home
Use detectors for carbon monoxide, smoke, and radon
Learn CPR
Avoid falls that lead to hip fractures

Thursday, October 9, 2014

8 Factors that Increase your Cyber Security Risk

Virus, malware, and spyware risks increase with the following factors:

  • Sharing a computer
  • Using public WiFi
  • Using a computer while traveling
  • Using a Windows XP computer
  • Using Internet Explorer 8 (or earlier versions)
  • Storing business files on your computer
  • Having personal and financial data on your computer
  • Using a smartphone for traditional computer activities

Some of these are common sense while others are not so easy to understand. 

Now that Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft, security updates will not be provided. Since updates repair operating system aspects that may be exploited by a virus, this makes your computer more vulnerable.

The combination of Windows XP and Internet Explorer 8 is more of a risk than with other browsers because it, also, is no longer supported. The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) recommends using a third-party browser.

ZDNet has a good article about reducing XP security risks

Basic protection should include strong passwords and robust data back-up. Password strength can be measured on several websites like this.

Keep the list above in mind and reduce your cyber security threat by minimizing those factors.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Cartoon Introduction to Statistics - Book Review

This book is colorfully illustrated and covers basic statistics principles. Readers who are fond of cartoons will enjoy the format.

The chapters in Part I cover statistical sampling while Part II explains information to be gained from sample statistics.

The Cartoon Introduction to Statistics serves as a very friendly introduction that gently encourages the reader to further explore statistics. Alternatively, it's a nice and easy review for readers that don't use statistics every day and need a fun reminder.

Monday, July 21, 2014

National Geographic Science of Everything – How Things Work in Our World - Book Review

Do you like reading scientific explanations of things and about inventions?  National Geographic Science of Everything is the book for you!  This 398 page book has beautiful photography and brief, concise explanations of hundreds of fascinating subjects.

It is divided into 16 chapters by scientific area. The Food and Drink Chapter, for example, includes genetically modified food and hydroponics.

The book is a great review for a scientist or for a parent with an inquisitive child. Sure, there’s always the internet, but, here’s a chance to save time surfing the web, and read quality articles about today’s important scientific topics.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Twitter School: Retweeting and Notifications


Retweeting is easy with a click of the retweet symbol, but you can personalize a retweet. 

To amend a tweet before retweeting:

 1 - Copy the tweet
 2 - Begin tweet with RT @originaltweeter (RT means retweet)

      Example: to retweet one of my tweets, type RT @pamschodt

 3 - Paste the copied tweet
 4 -Then add your own comment


Under the Notifications Tab there are Notifications and Mentions.

Notifications tell you if you have been retweeted, if someone favorited your tweet, or if you have gained followers.

Mentions tell you if your handle (@pamschodt) has been tweeted.

I hope you’ve found this information on Twitter helpful. Please comment if you have questions, and follow me on Twitter @pamschodt.

Be sure to read the previous post about Twitter, Twitter School: Fun Facts.