Quality Magazine
From the Editor

Balance...or Synergy

November 2, 2012
baseball glove and baseballBringing it all together.
 
I love baseball. And I love movies. But enough about me. The reason I mention this is because every once in a while these two passions come together. It’s what today’s business world would refer to as synergy.
 
Movies about baseball are nothing new, or rare. Very recently, however, I saw two movies on the subject that took two seemingly opposite sides of an important issue facing the game—how to properly analyze talent to build a championship team.
 
One of the movies, based on a true story, chronicled the Oakland Athletics’ use of mathematics and computer software to assign values to player performance in order to make decisions regarding its roster of players. The organization’s methodology was based on the statistical analysis work of Bill James and is the basis for a now multimillion-dollar industry, fantasy baseball. As the movie touches on, James was eventually hired by the Boston Red Sox just a couple of seasons before the team broke its infamous streak of 86 years without winning a World Series, the so-called “Curse of the Bambino.”
 
At the time, the underlying rational for the Athletics’ approach was money. The organization had a budget of $40 million while other major league teams were working with budgets of as much as $125 million. The team needed an edge in order to compete. 
 
The other movie told a story that extolled the virtues of scouts—the men and woman whom use their experience, knowledge and intuition to evaluate player performance and potential—in essence, attempting to debunk mathematics and technology as an accurate tool for such assessments.
 
What struck me about the theme of these movies was their correlation to quality assurance. In the pages of our magazine and on our website, Quality has presented the benefits and virtues of both technology and the knowledge and experience of people. It may very well be that the answer, in both cases, is balance—using a combination of both methods to ensure the best results.
 
Quality’s November issue continues to offer this balanced perspective. Learn about the latest sources of information and education, as well as new calculation software, in Michelle Bangert’s feature, “The Cost of Quality.” Also, discover how integrating enterprise resource software with programmable logic controllers and other machinery can increase quality and reduce costs with John Dancoe’s article, “How Shop-Floor Integration Improves Quality.”
 
Enjoy and thanks for reading!
 
Darryl Seland, Editor in Chief