Quality Conference 2011

This week I had the pleasure of attending the 2011 Quality Conference sponsored by Quality Magazine. The conference was held in Charlotte, North Carolina near the University of North Carolina at Charlotte campus. The first day of the conference included workshops held on the UNCC campus as well as a tour of the Joe Gibbs Racing facility. Days two and three were made up of two tracks of sessions at 45 minutes each. I always enjoy this conference, because even though I am there as a speaker or representing InfinityQS, I end up taking away some very useful knowledge.

The theme of this year’s conference was TIME, Test, Inspection, Measurement and Evaluation. So beyond the normal quality topics, there was a great deal of information presented on controlling the measurement process. After all, what good is having the best SPC system if your measurements aren’t accurate?

Here's a quick overview of some of the sessions. There were many great ones this year, but this “random sample” should at least give you a feel for the conference.

In one of the metrology sessions, Paulo Perelra with Caterpillar Inc., presented on Metrology Challenges for Manufacturing in the 21st Century.  Paulo presented material demonstrating that even when a process has a very high Cpk, say 2.0, that poor measurement system repeatability and reproducibility can result in the “true” Cpk being less than 1.0. Sometimes we tend to evaluate a process on one metric, such as the Cpk, but we fail to consider other measures or the measurement process as a whole.  His presentation demonstrated just how critical Measurement System Analysis, Gage Calibration and Gage Stability Monitoring are to any measurement system.

The closing Keynote was presented by Parveen Gupta, Accelper Consulting. Praveen’s talk was on “Beyond Quality – Innovation”. Not your typical quality talk, but instead an explanation and even some basic planning steps to create an innovation within your organization. Praveen explained that we should plan to create breakthrough innovations and not to wait for them to happen by accident. We should not be satisfied producing goods or services that are adequate, but always looking for next breakthrough improvement in quality. Of course the same holds true for SPC. Many use SPC as evidence that they are monitoring their processes and then they end up continuing doing just that, monitoring the processes. Never forget that the real goal is to use the knowledge for improvement!

If you’d like to learn more about the conference, please visit Quality Magazine’s conference website, www.qualitymagconference.com.

Rick Sloop
By Rick Sloop
Technical Services Manager
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