The Last Word: Your Best Investment

March 30, 2009
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How much are you investing in quality?

Companies that want to emerge from the current economic slowdown in a strong position vs. their competitors continue to invest in quality. Read the stories of both Lockheed Martin (Oldsmar, FL) and American Safety Razor (Knoxville, TN) in this issue. Both have been recognized with the 2009 Quality Plant of the Year Award. In both articles, it is apparent that quality plays an important part in the competitive edge these companies maintain over their rivals, and the excellence each has achieved and maintains is clear.

Likewise, visit the Quality Q-Cast Podcasts (http://www.qualitymag.com/HTML/BNP_GUID_9-5-2006_A_10000000000000520297) and hear how companies such as Marlin Steel Wire (Baltimore, MD), Nuclear Filter Technology (Golden, CO) and American IV Products (Harmans, MD) continue to invest in quality and their staffs to lead their industries. They know such investment strengthens the companies’ core manufacturing capabilities.

Most of your suppliers provide you with support at your facility, which often allows for many people to receive training. Software-based training, on-site trainers and webinars allow for educating many employees in specific areas of quality. However, not all education needs can be met using those methods. Learning new quality strategies-methods or technology-focused-often requires more in-depth methods of interaction. Such education often requires an immersion in the subject matter. Hence, the continued role of off-site education such as college courses, conferences and trade shows is invaluable.

Quality Magazine is hosting the 11th Annual Quality Measurement Conference as an opportunity to increase your quality knowledge. It takes place May 4 to 7, 2009, at the Caribe Royal Suite Hotel in Orlando, FL. Building on past successful conferences, this year’s event will further integrate various technology solutions.

As the person responsible for quality in your company, you consider myriad technologies as possible solutions. Your manufacturing challenges may require the use of a CMM, micrometer, optical gage, leak tester, SPC software, surface measurement tool, eddy current tester, vision system, camera, thread gage, calibration equipment or any other mix of tools, software and services. The goal is to identify the best solution.

To that end, the 2009 Quality Measurement Conference offers more than 30 workshops and sessions in metrology, nondestructive testing, and vision and sensors technology. In 2008, we co-located the Quality NDT Conference to focus on nondestructive testing solutions. And this year we are co-locating the Quality Vision & Sensors Conference to offer you the opportunity to explore solutions that come from the world of machine vision technology. Manufacturing and quality professionals have the opportunity to sit in on any session at the three conferences.

You will have the chance to meet one-on-one with speakers and colleagues to exchange ideas. Sessions will be led by manufacturing professionals from industry-leading companies, including Caterpillar, Duracell, Lockheed Martin, NIST, University of North Carolina-Charlotte and more. Malcolm Baldrige 2007 Award Winner Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center will share how they ensure that armament protect, and munitions explode, correctly. There is also an opportunity to see how measurement, test and inspection are done at the NASA Shuttle Logistics Depot.

Educational opportunities such as the Quality Measurement Conference family offer a unique opportunity to invest in your manufacturing and quality processes. You have the chance to interact with experts, network with and learn from your peers, and meet some of the top suppliers, who are bringing products and services to Orlando. It is your opportunity to immerse yourself in quality and manufacturing solutions, while receiving personal, in-depth attention. Details about the conference can be found at www.qualitymag.com/qmc.

In the March 2009 issue of Quality Magazine, our editors profiled the top five companies of our Quality Leadership 100 companies (p. 48). They represent industries as diverse as medical, automotive, electronics and energy. One thing each has in common with the others is that they all invest in improving their processes, training their staff and investing in new technology. Each understands the value and benefits of such investments. “Training is a priority at our company,” said Curtis Marks, quality manager at Nuclear Filter Technology, www.nucfil.com, the top-ranked company among the 2009 Quality Leadership 100 companies. Marks, like other quality managers, understands that devoting resources to education is an investment in a successful future that will continue to position his company as a leader in the industry.

I’ll see you in Orlando among the other leaders.

Share your thoughts with me at williamst@bnpmedia.com.

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