The Brain Teasers series in Quality Magazine was introduced in January, 2000. The concept of a monthly column which would present real-world situations and allow readers to practice their skills in solving them was suggested by the magazine editor. He discussed this idea with Sheila Poling of Pinnacle Partners. Sheila immediately realized that the one consultant/ trainer she knew who had successfully worked with companies in solving their process problems was Dr. Sophronia (Frony) Ward, managing partner of Pinnacle Partners. Frony had the academic process improvement credentials plus the real-world experiences of helping companies understand and then use statistical process control (SPC) and Six Sigma tools and techniques. After a brief discussion, they decided to collaborate with Quality Magazine to present the Quality Brain Teaser series. This series has been recognized as the most read and used series in Quality Magazine for the past 5 years. Today, Pinnacle Partners uses these case studies and others in their training sessions while working with clients implementing SPC and Six Sigma in their organizations. What are Quality Brain Teasers? Traditionally, brain teasers are thought of as puzzles to solve using a logical thought process in a sequential manner. Every person faced with using the current data available in their organization will relate to this notion of a brain teaser. All brain teasers are based on real-world situations that are encountered by workers in a manufacturing environment. Each brain teaser has three parts: (1) the situation—a description of a process or problem, (2) available data or other supporting information and (3) questions that various workers want answered for continual improvement. Answers are provided and supporting visual displays of analytic tools and techniques used are shared as well. In this book, Volume 1, we have added key lessons associated with each brain teaser for the use of the reader and trainer. In addition, key words are provided to assist the user in finding a Quality Brain Teaser that focuses on a particular topic. How are Brain Teasers Generated? While working in the process improvement industry for more than 20 years, both Frony and Sheila, as well as other trainers and consultants they work with, have encountered numerous challenging process issues that their manufacturing clients face each day. These challenges are related to • data integrity • predictability of their processes • variation and associated causes in their processes • assuring customer satisfaction or meeting specifications • measurement processes • achieving better bottom-line profitability All of these issues relate to the fact that in order to have the highest quality product at the lowest cost and meet and/or exceed customer requirements, a company must continue to improve their processes to remain competitive in the marketplace. In order to do this, they must first study the behavior of their processes. Improving process behavior has been challenging companies for many years and continues to do so today. These challenges of real-world companies become Quality Brain Teasers. The names, stories, and data have been slightly altered allowing like situations to be shared without divulging and breaching any customer confidentiality and proprietary process issues. By using the real challenges we have seen and helped eliminate, everyone can learn and challenge themselves to use similar tools and techniques to solve their own process improvement challenges. What Tools or Techniques Are Needed to Solve Quality Brain Teasers? The techniques at the heart of process behavior studies include process behavior (control) charts, including individuals and moving range charts and average and range charts, combined with capability analyses. Other process study techniques focus on charts made according to a variety of details such as shift or operator, measurement process studies, and 3-way charts. Additional tools and techniques for identifying causes of variation include process mapping, Pareto charts and cause-and-effect (Fishbone) diagrams. How can this Book be Used? Quality Brain Teasers have become very useful in many organizations. They are used by readers who are interested in improving their individual skills and by trainers or team leaders who are interested in improving the combined skills of their teams. Either way, we have discovered that the use of Quality Brain Teasers has become a popular way to help organizations learn by focusing on real-world situations and examples. This book has been designed to further the use of Quality Brain Teasers by individuals, teams, or trainers. Quality Brain Teasers selected for this first volume have been logically grouped in four sections based upon the complexity of the analysis for each situation. Section One is Basic level. Section Two is Intermediate level. Section Three is Advanced level. Section Four is Measurement Studies. The answers to the questions posed for each situation are located in the last part of the book. Along with the answers, a new feature, Key Lessons, has been added. This addition is designed to help team leaders and trainers highlight key points to be learned from insights gained during each of these exercises. Individual Teasers can be used in order or selected based upon the focus of the key lessons. The skills and problem-solving abilities together with expertise in the tools achieved by working through these situations can then be applied to your everyday process challenges. Who Contributes to Quality Brain Teasers? Dr. Sophronia (Frony) Ward is a Managing Partner of Pinnacle Partners, Inc. She serves as the monthly columnist for Quality Magazine’s Brain Teaser series. She is a statistician and Continual Process Improvement Expert who specializes in Six Sigma and Statistical Process Control training, consulting, and coaching. Currently her expertise is being utilized in many companies as their expert “Senior Master Black Belt.” Black Belt, Green Belt, and Master Black Belt Training and Certification are her specialized areas of focus. She currently is providing training and coaching for Six Sigma in over 30 different companies in five countries. She has trained Black Belts, Green Belts and Master Black Belts in both manufacturing industries, including transactional areas, and in service industries She is one of four founders of the internationally recognized Institute for Productivity through Quality at the University of Tennessee. In 1984 she joined a major consulting firm as a Senior Consultant and Director of Consulting Services. She was instrumental in the design of a highly successful three-week seminar in the USA, Mexico, and Venezuela. She also helped to design a successful Design of Experiments seminar. She has been a lead consultant and/or trainer with Harley Davidson, IBM Corporation, McAlester Army Ammunition Depot, Northrup-Grumann, PPG, NASA, Corning Glass, Dow Chemical, Scripps Health, Ford Glass, Social Security Administration, Pall Corporation, Alpha Industries, Chinet Company, Novant Healthcare, The National Institutes of Health, Metzeler Automotive Profile Systems, Lagoven, Blitz Corporation, Copeland Corporation, IMSS in Mexico, Gallo Glass, Disputada, Labinal, Gallo Winery, Anchor Glass Container Corporation, IRS, Gold’n Plump, Republic Paper, MacSteel, BellSouth, etc. In addition to her classes in the United States, she has taught classes and provided consulting services in Venezuela, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Thailand, France, Australia, and South Africa. Dr. Ward received her B.S. in statistics from North Carolina State University and her Ph.D. in statistics from Virginia Tech. She was a professor at the University of Tennessee until 1984. She is a member of the American Statistical Association, the American Society for Quality, the Biometric Society, and the Association for Psychological Type. She has her certification in Myers-Brigg Type Indicator and SMYLOG, a team dynamics survey instrument. Sheila Poling, Managing Partner, Pinnacle Partners, Inc. contributes ideas and edits the Quality Brain Teasers prior to submission to the magazine. Quality Magazine Managing Editor, Gillian Campbell, serves as the final editor. Her contributions and collaboration have been extremely valuable each month in making certain the Teasers remain useful and exciting. BNP Media Senior Art Director, Jake Needham, has graphically formatted this book and helped create a design for a user-friendly workbook series. And Quality Magazine, Publisher, Tom Williams, has continued to support this series throughout the years of publication, as well as being a driving force behind bringing this series to book format.
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