September 1, 2003
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Anything positive?

Dear Editor,

Another predictable pessimistic article. It is interesting how in the April 2003 issue Scott Dalgleish blasted all the popular quality management systems that provide a framework for continual improvement. And in the May 2003 issue, he blasts the product development process as, “hopelessly failed.”

I agree that there is something to these “soft issues” called “leadership.” Change management is complicated and requires leadership. Implementing a system that supports continual improvement is complicated and requires leadership. Product development is complicated and requires leadership. The lack of leadership in these cases is often found in top management not holding themselves and others accountable for their actions. A simple suggestion for the product development folks is to hold a postmortem. Most companies are too busy or embarrassed to hold a meeting a few months after completion to review the process, product and production. But that is a simple way that might promote continual improvement in product development. Scott, I am looking forward to your next article. Hopefully you can find a positive spin to something ... anything.

Mark Epland

Digi International Inc.

Minnetonka, MN

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Charles J. Hellier has been active in the technology of nondestructive testing and related quality and inspection fields since 1957. Here he talks with Quality's managing editor, Michelle Bangert, about the importance of training.
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