Creating Quality Through Effective Leadership

Everyone says that leaders are imperative assets to organizations, but where is the proof? Right here, and it shows that leadership impacts the financials, the company’s operations, potential investors and much more.
From August 2011 to January 2012, Deloitte Australia ventured out to establish the correlation between a corporation’s performance and senior leadership.  Deloitte Australia completed 445 surveys and interviews on investment analysts in order to get to solve the puzzle. What they found is that investment analysts no longer only looking at the bottom line financials, but instead are “incorporating judgments about senior leadership into their equity valuations”. Incorporating their senior leadership judgments were found to account for up to 15 percent of a company’s value, which may make or break an investment deal.

A second criterion that investment analysts evaluate is the team effectiveness of senior leadership, which 50 percent of the analysts surveyed/interviewed reported to Deloitte that they evaluate team effectiveness as well. In addition to this, 80 percent of the participants said that team effectiveness among senior leadership  would lead to a premium evaluation, while an ineffective team structure would lower the equity valuation. It is interesting to see how investment analysts approach an investment and what qualities they are now looking for in their prospective investments. It’s clear that people are no longer interested in only how the company is currently operating, and instead want a sense of security that the company will not go bankrupt right after the investment. Effective leadership is shown to create that safeguard for investors and show a glimpse of future operations as well.


Deloitte Australia also found that the correlation between performance and leadership varies by industry. As shown in Figure 1, some industries such as consumer goods and financial services, place a larger emphasis on expected performance during their investment review process. This is because industries these industries are more standardized than the rest, meaning that they require less research and development. As a result of this, changes in leadership personnel and methods can be seen quite quickly, which allows analysts to judge the quality of the investment with the new adjustments. In contrast to this, an industry such as technology has a lag in the performance impact of leadership changes. This is because with the constant restructuring of the industry, the leader’s impact is not as easy to quantify.  

Figure 1. Source: “The Leadership Premium”, DTTL 2012

With the evolution of the marketplace and the ability to obtain more and more information, investment analysts are able to cover there bases and make the more informed decision possible. In their eyes, senior leadership is ensuring them that they are invested in a quality company that has a bright future. But what about the leaders themselves? Do you think that too much scrutiny is being placed on the leaders, or is it a part of their job to be analyzed as if they were the product for sale?  I understand that people want to make the most out of their investments and I kind of  feel like leaders, such as CEOs and COOs, should accept this evaluation as a part of their job description.  They did sign up to lead the company, so they should do whatever’s best for the company, right?

Keeping up With Quality

As we discussed in our previous classes, we have discussed that an organization must always continually collect data in order to keep control of their processes. However, how exactly does an organization take control of a process that may need improvement or otherwise a routine check-up? Keeping up with a process that your organization has may be a daunting task due to the fact that the organization already has so many tasks and duties to keep up with. As the article explains, one must “look closely as to how you’re collecting data”. Machine, Part and Shift data are all very important aspects as far as collecting data goes but what exactly do these mean and how are they relevant to your organization?

Machine Data

  • As the article explains, there may be a machine that will be ultimately responsible for quality criteria. Being able to identify where exactly the data came from by identifying the machine is an excellent way of identifying quality errors and could help to finding the problem of quality criteria failures. Instead of giving the whole overall process such as “Line 1”, you can specifically assign the work line from “Line 1” to “Machine 1” and could help to easily identify where exactly a certain product may have come from or where the problem may have came from.

Part Data

  • Part data refers to the manner in which you may collect data. Most people may collect data in “parts” and therefore may not have the biggest organizational picture. As the article explains, one must go in to great detail and must expand their data collection when collecting their “samples” and “parts” of data to more closely represent the organization. A good source of collected data, can be better use for the organization and can help to provide a clearer picture.

Shift Data

  • A human component is always present as the article explains and a manager must be able to take account for the human aspect of any part of their aspect. One manner in which a manager can collect data is by looking at the different shifts and comparing to see how they are doing. Is the earlier shift producing more quality accepted products than the late night shift? If so, what can be done to fix it? etc. A good manager will always make sure to look at the organization at every part and not just as a whole

As we have explained in class, collecting data and being able to use data to better reflect and improve the organization can help to better overall total quality management. It may not be the employees or process that may need a check-up, but rather what is it that the manager can do to fix their process or better yet, what is it that they can do to improve it? How do you feel about having constant quality improvement even when the organization may not need it? Is it necessary to always “fix something that’s not broken”? How can one go in to more detail when collecting data?

Hurricane Sandy’s Effect on Shopping


After the devastating hit on the American East coast from Hurricane Sandy, so many conflicts have risen. Not only are people left without power and home, but business owners are having a tough time figuring out how and when to get products shipped to them from across the Atlantic. As mentioned in the article, “The New York area’s port system is the largest on the East Coast, and the third largest in the nation. Last year, it handled $208 billion in cargo”. Not only are the ports destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, but other modes of transportation are effected as well. The train rails, for example, are covered in debris and damaged by the debris.

As a result, many business owners are not receiving any of their shipments that were requested because there is no mode of transportation to reach them. Also, the holiday season is when entities gain the most profits. This has a huge ripple effect because if businesses are not getting any of their goods, then their customers and business to business transactions won’t receive products needed. In turn, no business will get sufficient profits and customers will not receive their desired good. I can only imagine the frustration on everyone’s minds.

With all this trouble, there is some positive attitude coming from business owners. Robert Van Sickle, the owner of Polka Dog Bakery, states that he considers, “Repackaging the [dog] biscuits and donating proceeds to storm relief efforts.” This is a thoughtful gesture that many business should think about keeping in mind. If owners are not able to get parts of products to complete their good, then he or she should donate it to those who could be in need. This way, not only are they giving back to the community, but the community will recognize their effort in helping, which could result in gaining customers and gaining loyalty from their current customers.

This scenario helps me link back to the leadership triad. Business need to work with the foundation/ condition they are given to try to squeeze as much profit as possible. If people don’t have power, maybe they need to post up printed ads all around the city to get the attention of consumers or have employees going from one house to another giving away coupons to their merchandise, just so they can bring customers through the door and allow those who have a limited budget to be able to purchase merchandise that he or she wants. This results to a customer focus by creating such strategic planning. With this storm, businesses need to focus and think about their local customers more than ever by giving the helping hand and showing how appreciated he or she is for being a loyal customer.

What are your thoughts about the situation? What are some strategies you would utilize to bring customers into your store to get rid of inventory and make as much revenue as possible without having any new products coming in?


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High Quality Students Being Endangered!

Previously discussed in class this past week was the topic of the students being the finished products of schools. In a way that the professors and the materials they use to teach students can be seen as employees working on a product and the final product being the type of quality student received at the doors of employers. The students overall knowledge and preparedness upon graduation can serve as the measurable quality of the school’s professors and materials used.
One can say that overall the way professors teach is changing with time and technology advancements, but is it moving in the proper direction to result in the highest quality student possible? That can be argued both ways and it is all beginning in the earlier stage of the process line of the students, back to K-12 grades, where all the essential quality procedures have to be conducted no matter what.
Through advancements in technology the materials used by teachers in K-12 have been changing from regular take home textbooks to leave at school textbooks to virtual at home learning. Many cannot complain about that, the book bag load is lighter and means less homework to others, is that the road that education wishes to take? The big change to this is being caused by the lack of funds to purchase and keep textbooks in the classroom for all the students. That is why school districts are being forced to look at other means and types of material to use in the education of the students.  Many parents like Paul Lewis, from the article describe their concern with not seeing their child do homework at home because now it has to be done at school since there is a limited amount of textbooks that can be used. Questions are rising to whether this new method is helping the students or decreasing their chances for the future.
To aid the teachers and assist in teaching where the lack of funds become an issue there is a new program called Common Core that is being used in the classroom to measure standard and ensure teaching is being done. Common Core is a program that has been recently released and is being used as a standard guide that is set at a customized level by each state. The point of the program is to set educational standards for all teachers to follow and be teaching the students, even for those with no textbooks to at a level with the rest.  Many doubt the relief that Common Core is suppose to provide due to its lack of sufficient evidence that it will help close the gap with schools that lack textbooks and methods to teach students without homework and through virtual methods. In many ways Common Core can be seen in similarities to Six Sigma and setting standards and expectations to be met by the teachers regardless of size and resources on hand.
But as Vicki Ferguson the director of teacher education at the University of Science and Arts Oklahoma states, “Time will tell. Hopefully, this will push kids to read at or above the college level.”

Do you think that setting Common Core across the board for all schools to follow result in better type of quality students? Or does something else need to be done in order to help schools remain at standard regardless of textbooks across the nation?

Mobile Technology: a FATAL error

Mobile technology exists almost anywhere we go today. Whether we carry it with us or whether we just interact with it at work or school, mobile technology is a big part of our daily lives. But what happens when mobile technology takes complete control and affects the quality of our work?

The healthcare sector is one area where mobile technology is making a major impact. While hospital, physicians, and nurses have adopted mobile technology to help reduce errors, mobile technology seems to be doing just the opposite in this field.

More doctors and nurses are relying on mobile technology for day to day tasks. The technology is meant to help prevent common types of errors. However, some doctors have reported that there is a lack of control on these mobile devices. Doctors and nurses are using mobile phones and iPads to browse the internet at their own convenience. Anything from checking personal email, browsing Facebook, and shopping online goes. What is even scarier is that this is occurring during important surgeries and when attention should be on the patients – and not mobile technology.

Already, medical errors due to mobile technology have occurred. A neurosurgeon was making personal calls during a surgery. This resulted in the patient being paralyzed. In another report, 55% of technicians who monitor bypass machines during heart surgeries said they talked on their phones and half said they texted.

Some doctors are outraged by the abuse of mobile devices in the medical world. While some are trying to implement some kind of control, it seems to be a hard effort. Most medical schools now encourage students to use iPads while in schools. Some schools like the Stanford Medical School are even giving students free iPads. Once they begin their professional careers, it becomes hard to decrease dependence on such devices.

Personally, I think that this is a very scary situation. I understand that technology is just about everywhere, but to have doctors and technicians use mobile devices while a surgery is being performed – seems very frightening to me. There needs to be a stricter control system in place that monitors what devices can be brought into an operating room. Doctors should not be making personal phone calls while operating on someone and technicians should not be texting while monitoring operating machines.

With the types of quality control standards that we discussed in class (ISO 9000, Six Sigma, and the Baldrige performance) I think that hospitals should look at Baldrige criteria. One of the criteria in Baldrige performance is workforce focus. Workforce focus deals with the workforce environment and building an effective workforce environment. It also looks at how you can engage your workforce to achieve organizational and personal success. Mobile technology could be monitored by Baldrige criteria. By looking at these types of issues, hospitals could improve how technology in the work environment affects quality and success outcomes.

What do you think? What kind of measures could be implemented so that mobile technology is controlled better in hospitals?


Yellow Belt in college?

Over the past week we talked a lot about six sigma and how it can drastically improve the way a company does its day to day tasks. One article that sparked my interest was about how a college is going to offer a “Lean Manufacturing” course in which students would have the knowledge to pass the first exam and receive the rank of a Yellow Belt. This of course is if the material sticks and the students show interest in six sigma, but I felt this class was very similar to ours and wondered how a class like this has yet to be offered by DePaul, such as a MGT398 special topics course. One quote that I wanted to touch on is “Lean is not about making people work faster or harder; people are not waste. It’s about how you make those people more effective. It’s about establishing a system so that products or information can flow through processes at the pace of customer demand,” said Merrell. This is a very important point because a lot of people such as in the article about Starbucks believe it is going to turn companies to run more like a factory.  Becoming more and more efficient is a must for companies in this economy and companies will constantly keep changing as need be.

1.Do you think you would enroll in a class where you would obtain the knowledge to get your Yellow Belt for Six Sigma?

2.Would this be of benefit to you for your current or future job?





Why can’t we be friends??

Creating close relationships are vital to any company whether it is big or small. The article “5 Ways to Build Better IT Outsourcing Relationships” explain to us the importance creating a bond with whomever we decide to choose as a business partner. The 5 ways that create value are to scope and scale, service levels, the value of a healthy relationship, global delivery models, and process improvement. It is important to know before hand what the company is going to need IT service providers to do for their company because it will make it easier for both sides to figure out costs, amount of work that will be put into the services, time, and labor. If the company is able to create a healthy and balanced outsourcing relationship then the company and the IT service provider will be able to communicate and to be on the same page.


I believe that the third way is the most important, the value of a healthy relationship, because not only in business you must have a healthy relationship with those who you work with, but in everyday situations. By creating healthy relationships, one opens an endless amount of doors with who ever you meet. People will be more understanding of what one has to offer and will go out of their way to help with any issue or problem that may arise. In the business aspect, “historically, clients have had a myopic focus on cost reductions and securing the ‘best deal’ without fully appreciating the consequences on service delivery and business user satisfaction,” says Daly. In this sense it makes creating a relationship with the IT more valuable since the company will be saving money and working with someone that already knows the company’s identity very well.


Nowadays it is very crucial for companies to create a partnership with an IT company or to hire a person for your company that specializes in IT. Businesses have to use technology to survive in today’s economy. The majority of people now own smartphones that can access the internet at any time and place. It would work against the company if they did not use take the time market themselves to their customers on the internet or through apps. I personally use my phone everyday to make decisions on where to eat, how to get from one location to another, and whether to purchase an item in the store or through Amazon. We all use our phone to help us make these little decisions.


There are endless opportunities for a company to outsource for an IT specialist. The company just has to make the right decision on whom to hire, they need to find the perfect match that will fit in their current and future plans. What are other benefits and reasons to outsource for an IT specialist and why might this help your current job or for the plans in your future?





Recruitment Firms: Yay or Nay?

In an article from the Quality Digest website, author Kyle Toppazzini claims that staffing agencies lead their clients to the deterioration of quality management. He states that these agencies only present candidates with the minimal requirements to their clients to meet their 10-20 percent margins. For example, the author discovered several organizational lean job requirements stating they are accepting any level of certification from almost any institution. Toppazzini continues to argue how recruiters can just accept any level of certification pertaining to lean Six Sigma, especially if it was from a four-hour online course. He believes that four hours of online training does not necessarily mean that the candidate possesses the required set of knowledge and skills in order to perform a job well done. By overlooking these qualifications, “recruiters lead clients down the path of poor results.”

I believe recruitment firms only solve temporary “fixes” in an organization’s staffing needs. They are not meant to help any organization to substantially improve quality and overall performance by any means. According to the author, it is best for the organization to hire a quality management professional to educate the organization of what is truly needed to proceed forward if the company wants to apply a lean Six Sigma concept. The firm will then understand what set of skills, knowledge, and experience one needs to successfully lead the firm down to quality management.

While I do agree that a four-hour online training course does not mean that one is overly qualified for a job, but it does have an edge over other candidates who do not have certificates. Like most recruitment firms, they want to present the best possible candidates so clients would continue to use their services in the future. They don’t just select any, but the ones that stand out and would best fit the position. They are just doing their job.  Reaching their margins is one goal, but keeping clients and candidates satisfied and content is another. If neither side is happy, then these recruitment firms fail at matchmaking which is the essential responsibility to their job.

“Let recruitment firms provide the service they were intended to provide.” Recruiters don’t have the infrastructure in providing management solutions. They have no idea what the organizational goals or what the mission statement is. Recruiters are only provided with job descriptions, job requirements, what the organization’s vision of an ideal candidate would look like and then recruiters proceed to source candidates to find the ones that best meet what the company is looking for. Ultimately, the clients are the ones that make the final decision as to who to bring on to their family tree. They should not have any expectations as to what else the candidates will provide aside from the skills and experience to perform the job.

What do you think of staffing agencies? Do you think staffing agencies lead clients to poor quality improvement?


Quality Outbreak

For my blog post I will discuss some quality issues related to the specialized pharmacies industry. The recent outbreak of meningitis and the growing number of deaths caused by contaminated steroid shots has been an obvious point for concern and improvement. Pharmaceuticals is an industry which needs to be consistent in every product they produce and really have no room for error. I feel using a Six sigma approach to quality would have avoided this situation in Massachusetts with the New England Compounding Center, the company accused of producing the tainted shots.

According to the Wall Street Journal article I read, titled “Meningitis Deaths Increase. Meningitis is an inflammation or infection of the protective membranes of the brain and spine (Dooren, 2012).” This outbreak could affect over 14,000 people and NECC is already linked to over 20 deaths caused by fungal meningitis due to contaminated shots.

The article goes on to discuss the FDA’s and CDC’s need for further regulation on the specialized pharmacies like these compounding centers. I feel using a six sigma approach to production to ensure no more than 3.4 defects per million operations. This approach to quality, while financially driven, is an excellent way to eliminate waste and improve core processes.

I’m sure if NECC was implementing a DMAIC process, they would be able to address the root cause of defects and remove the cause of defects, then further down the line control and maintain quality. However it appears NECC was not concerned with managing their quality and now could face criminal charges.

What is surprising to me is a medical company would not have stricter policies on sterile areas and managing quality of the product. A six sigma approach seems necessary for a company making drugs. According to recent reports, investigators found unclean conditions including visible black specks of fungus in steroids in what was supposed to be a sterile room.

Since the outbreak, Governor Patrick of Massachusetts has moved to revoke the licenses of the New England Compounding Center. Governor Patrick has also ordered the state pharmacy board to conduct surprise inspections and take more steps to better managing quality.

Another interesting point I found out was the company operated as a drug manufacturer by making drugs for wider use, rather than filling out patient specific prescriptions for specific doctors, which is all its license allowed.

So not only were they misusing their production means, they were also creating defective products the whole time. Situations like this show the critical need to use to better quality management practices throughout our society; healthcare and medicine especially, but also with everything really. No consumer expects to receive a faultily product.

So what can be done? Well I think hospitals can protect themselves by creating and controlling their own quality control standards for the medicine and equipment they use. Just in case something slips by the manufacturer, there will be a second line of defense to find the defect.


SOS: Hewlett-Packard’s Sinking Ship

On the Businessweek website, there is a blog post explaining the downward spiral of Hewlett-Packard. The blog begins by explaining that the company’s CEO, who happens to be the fourth in the past seven years, announced that shares recently dropped to a nineyear low and that the company’s 2013 profits are more than likely to miss the estimates previously made. The company has been in a state of decline for the past twelve. The company will make facility consolidations and large layoffs worldwide.

The author of the blog, Judith Hurwitz, predicts that Hewlett-Packard will have no choice but to become a holding company or break up into pieces and sell. Ideally the company would turn around by creating new innovative products since the company was built on the idea innovation when it first began and it succeeded quite well for a time in the market of technology. A turnaround through the creation of new products would help them attempt to keep up with such companies as Apple, although those chances appear slim to none at this point especially since the company is in the red to the amount of 30 billion dollars. With that amount of debt, options become limited. Any manufacturing company faces large costs involved with creating new products from design to production and testing, similar to our Deming cycle or PDSA. Hewlett-Packard would have to create products that can compete with or surpass those already on the market and then improve upon them as time passes. With Apple creating new products or improved models regularly and a loyal customer base, I do not think Hewlett-Packard stands much of a chance at a turnaround especially since they only specialize in hardware in the form of computers and printers.

Early on in the company’s life they proved to be a contender in the computer market, I myself have had several of their products over the years. However, as we have seen with many well-known and well-off companies, the ship is starting to sink. I believe many factors have gone into their current downfall such as a fast paced market that is constantly changing, changing consumer demands, and the success of Apple. This only makes me wonder if Apple will one day face the same fate. I am sure Hewlett-Packard, or any other company for that matter, never thought they would be in such a position. Had they branched out in the form of products such as phones or software, perhaps they would be better off today; or maybe such things will be what saves them. Perhaps they have attempted to make incremental improvements to both their products and business strategies over the years that have not proved to be greatly beneficial in the long run; maybe what they really need is a breakthrough.

Do you think Hewlett-Packard will be in business much longer? What are some ways they can stay in business?