Welcome to my blog for all things related to business quality (processes, systems and ways of working), products and product quality, manufacturing and operations management.

This blog is a mixture of real-world experience, ideas, comments and observations that I hope you'll find interesting.



Why, oh why, oh why…

If your children keep asking “why?” over and over again it can become irritating quite quickly, often resulting in “because I say so!”. You may be surprised to learn that, in the grown-up world, asking “why?” several times in succession is actually a valid technique for Root Cause Analysis, in other words, looking at a […]

How does ‘8D’ problem-solving work?

A few people have asked me recently about ‘8D’, and I mentioned it in a previous blog without really explaining what I was on about, so I thought it was time to elaborate. 8D looks a bit like one of those smiley emoticons used in text messages, but it’s actually a structured, team-based approach to […]

When you launch a new product, what haven’t you thought about?

Quality is all about meeting requirements, even the ones that you don’t know about yet. Recently I have been working with some entrepreneurs and start-ups who have tremendous drive and enthusiasm and some great product ideas but are not very experienced in placing products on the market. They asked for help with what I call […]

A ‘helicopter view’ of Six Sigma

I have been asked about this several times in the last couple of weeks, so here is my very high-level view of Six Sigma: Six Sigma is a business management strategy, developed by Motorola in the mid 1980s, that aims to improve quality by identifying and removing the causes of errors and variability in manufacturing […]

The secrets of Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management is a buzz-phrase that, at the same time, means nothing and means everything about quality management. Unlike ISO 9001 it isn’t a standard – you can’t comply with it – and unlike Kaizen it isn’t a specific technique that you can adopt. Nor is it a tool or a process or a […]

Who, what or where is ‘Kaizen’?

A few months ago I blogged about Continuous Improvement and the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. These are excellent principles, but I am often asked how you put them in place; what do you actually do in the workplace to achieve Continuous Improvement? Well, I particularly like to use the Japanese methodology of ‘Kaizen’, which translates as simply […]

The top 10 changes to ISO 9001

In an earlier blog I tried to dispel some urban myths about the ISO 9001 quality standard, especially for those who approach the subject with trepidation! This piece is aimed more at those who are familiar with the well-established 2000 version of ISO 9001 and want to know how the latest revision, ISO 9001:2008, will […]

Customer service?

I’ve just seen a classic case of bad customer service at a company that I’ve been working with; it could have come from a text-book on how not to do it.  My client had ordered some equipment from a well known IT product manufacturer with a very short name. It was due for delivery today […]

ISO 9001 myths dispelled

Mention that you implement quality systems, or ISO 9001, to most people and their eyes glaze over and they start edging nervously away from you. Everybody knows that ISO 9001 is a boring, necessary evil for some big companies but is simply bureaucracy gone mad; right? Wrong! The real reason for having a quality system […]

What platform for Quality Management Systems?

Inspired by the move of this blog to WordPress (actually, to be honest, one of the reasons for it), I have been looking at the suitability of WordPress for implementing Intranet-based Quality Management Systems. But then, I thought, why stop there, so I went on to look at Content Management Systems such as Joomla! and Drupal […]