Services

ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS

Many organizations have recurring problems that their corrective action process does not effectively address.  The cause is often inadequate depth of the analysis … fixing only the physical and not the system causes.  We teach people how to distinguish between the two levels of causes, how to determine when the deeper level should be pursued, and how to use powerful tools for guiding the analysis.

We’ve conducted this course more than 500 times in the past fourteen years.  One company reduced the number of paperwork errors by more than 90% within two weeks; other projects have had a bottom line impact of $100k-$500k. The course is relevant for dealing with customer complaints, equipment or product failures, audit findings, and many other process or organizational problems.  We also have versions of the course designed specifically for the medical device industry, health care (sentinel events) and project management. 

If you’d like to attend an open-enrollment course see the ASQ Learning Offerings RCA page.  ASQ will also bring the course to your facility.  If you’d like to take an online version of the course go to the Resources page.  The course is also available for virtual delivery.

Many participants have indicated this is the best course they ever attended!

Risk Based Thinking/Risk Management

Risk management has gotten much greater attention since the turn of the century.  Many quality management standards now require risk management or at least risk-based thinking (RBT), which means that organizations need to have a framework for understanding the steps involved in identifying, assessing, treating and monitoring risks to achieving business/quality objectives.

We have created a 1-day workshop focused on understanding the RBT requirements within ISO 9001, which also includes discussion of risk-focused standards such as ISO 31000 & 31010, as well as the COSO ERM framework.  The course then provides attendees with a comprehensive view of the risk management landscape, allowing them to decide what level of depth makes sense for their organizational context.

Risk-Based Quality Auditing

With the introduction of risk-based thinking in ISO 9001:2015, and more in-depth risk management requirements in other quality management system requirements (e.g., AS 9100, IATF 16949, ISO 13485), it is important for quality audit programs to take on a risk perspective.  This means both proactive and reactive risk-based audit planning and execution using both qualitative and quantitative methods to help prioritize audit activities.  This 1-day course presents multiple options for integrating risk based thinking, risk management, and risk assessment techniques into an audit program.  Adding the RBT/RM course above creates a 2-day course that provides auditors with a comprehensive understanding of both risk management and how audits can be planned, performed and reported based on a risk-based perspective.

MEASURING PROCESS & ORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMANCE

Organizations often have difficulty maintaining a consistent focus on strategic priorities.  One mechanism for accomplishing this using performance metrics aligned to strategic objectives deployed throughout the organization.  This workshop provides a structured approach for selecting, defining, reporting and managing metrics that allow everyone in the organization to effectively manage and improve processes for which they are responsible.  A course participant from a service organization quickly learned the value of process thinking when trying to identify metrics.

If you’d like to attend an open-enrollment course see the ASQ Learning Offerings MPOP page for upcoming dates, and ASQ also offers a virtual course, and/or will bring the course to your facility.  If you’d like to take an online course go here.

PROBLEM SOLUTION GENERATION

Organizations and individuals are always trying to solve analytical and/or creative problems. Far too often the process of brainstorming is relied on as the primary method to help identify potential solutions. However, there are more powerful options available that are more rigorous and typically generate a greater number of possibilities that are likely to be more potent and reliable. These include: Engineering analysis, process benchmarking, biomimicry, mistake-proofing (with TRIZ principles), and TRIZ techniques (e.g., IFR, resources, SLP, 9 boxes, functional analysis, contradictions).

PROCESS MANAGEMENT

The foundation of success for every organization is alignment of operations with strategy.  This calls for understanding how to identify, manage and improve business processes.  We provide training and support for organizations to help them understand the critical nature of process management, how to plan and define operational processes, how to monitor process performance and how to improve processes.

It is also critical in today’s environment to integrate process management with IT and HR, and to align processes with widely accepted and validated frameworks.  We also have a process management maturity matrix that can be used to evaluate the degree to which your organization effectively manages operational processes.

GUEST SPEAKER/WEBINAR PRESENTER

Management retreats, professional conferences, and many other groups look for someone who can provide listeners with an understanding or new ways of acting on trends. We’ve spoken to more than 200 groups on a wide variety of topics; following is a partial list:

  • Critical Issues in Common Risk Assessment Methods
  • Decision Quality Management
  • Risk Ranking Audit Nonconformities
  • Dealing with “Can’t Find Root Cause” Situations
  • Comparing 8D, A3 and 5Ys Problem Solving
  • Why You Should Use ISO 19011
  • Monte Carlo Simulation for the Uninititiated
  • Using Mistake Proofing to Prevent or Detect Human Error
  • Would a Bowtie Make Your Risk Assessment More Presentable?
  • Clarifying the Risk-Based Thinking Requirements in ISO 9001:2015
  • Making the Problem Statement Your #1 Goal in Root Cause Analysis
  • Augmenting ISO 9001 with ISO 31000 for Risk Management
  • Six Approaches for Finding Root Causes
  • Dealing with Delayed Responses to Corrective Action Requests
  • Using Analytics to Plan Internal Quality Audits
  • Risk-Based Quality Audits
  • Diagnosing, Predicting and Preventing Human Error
  • Problem Solution Generation Options
  • Root Cause Analysis for Project Managers
  • Selecting the Optimum Problem Solving Approach
  • The Role of Root Cause Analysis in Continual Quality Improvement
  • Selecting the Right Tools for Root Cause Analysis
  • Maximizing the Yield and Minimizing the Damage from Performance Metrics
  • e-QM: Quality Management in a Digital World
  • Barriers to Effective Root Cause Analysis
  • Complex Adaptive Systems and Quality Management: Are They Compatible?
  • Critical Thinking: A Fundamental Requirement for 21st Century Organizations

    Musings: My Blog

    Long time, no see!

    Yes, it's been several months since I've posted, although that doesn't mean I've not been musing.  Just too many things on the plate. However, here's a short collection of thoughts. Webinars: 1) One of the most frustrating things I've experienced in the past couple of...

    Technology and Auditing

    The use of Zoom, etc. for auditing has certainly taken hold, albeit driven primarily by COVID rather than a desire to improve the audit process. There are several other areas where technology can help, including Analytics, Process Mining, and Text Mining. I've already...

    Some Wisdom Here

    Whether it's investing or self-development, this interview of Chamath Palihapitiya by Barry Rithholtz is worthwhile.  You can listen or read here.

    Good Article on Risk Management

    Over the past couple of years I've spoken several times on problems with many risk assessments, and also published an article on it (see here). I recently ran into an article from 2005 that discusses similar issues, but especially points out problems with...

    Should They be in Quality Profession

    It's amazing how I still see/hear complaints about risk-based thinking (RBT) being included in ISO 9001.  It always makes me wonder whether or not the individual should even be allowed to call themselves a quality professional. Consider that one of the earliest things...

    Patronizing is Not an Appropriate Change Agent Technique

    I'm amazed at the degree to which people (especially politicians) patronize others in order to try to influence them.  Whether it's to affect a particular voting group or even a particular country, it's pretty obvious when it's used.  And a simple example is how...

    Another Flaw of Averages

    Sam Savage has an excellent book by the title "Flaw of Averages" and also does a great talk on it.  An example often used is that someone can easily drown in a lake that has an average depth of 4 feet.  Of course it may only be a few inches in some places, but 30+...

    A Presentation on Root Cause Analysis

    I recently did a virtual presentation on RCA for the Richmond ASQ section.  Luckily they recorded it. Here's a link if you'd like to watch.

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