Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Customer/Supplier Partnerships - Part II - Supplier Evaluation Program

Part I - Customer-Supplier Process: Creating Value?? -
Part III - Focusing on the Customer Which One?
Part IV - SIPOC Model & Internal Process Model

PART II - Supplier Evaluation Program

I heard on the news this morning that Chrysler is planning to be more responsive to customer wants/needs and that involves keeping its suppliers close.

Chrysler just celebrated the launch of production of the 2007 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited at a new assembly plant it operates in conjunction with three suppliers and calls the Toledo (Ohio) Supplier Park. The idea is to share the risk of building a new plant and cut equipment and labor costs.

I'm not sure if this practice is being done in other places in the United States but I applaud the effort and hope this can be a model for other customer/supplier partnerships.

In order for this to work each side will need to be honest, open and confidential in there operation and agreed upon measures of operations.

I have written the following letter (generic) as an example of how a supplier evaluation program might be measured:

Example - Supplier Performance Evaluation Program
My name is qualityg and I am the Central Region Quality Manager. I received your Email and wanted to provide you with some comments and suggestions.

I applaud your group’s effort in developing a Supplier Performance Evaluation Program. Key Suppliers doing business with QGINC should be provided a Process defining what requirements qualifies them to do business with QGINC, as well as what it takes to continue to do business with QGINC on a pre-established (i.e.; > 12 months) going forward basis. It is also vital to our Quality Efforts to deal with potential problems in a proactive and preventive manner as far upstream as possible when dealing with potential Supplier input problems.

As you know the vehicle for determining this is a “report card” or “evaluation report” that will provide QGINC with objective data that measures supplier’s performance in key dimensional areas that affect our customers’ service.

From a Total Quality perspective we need to make sure the final measures and objectives selected from this process are communicated back to the initial Supplier Selection Process so that potential suppliers in the future can be selected based on their performance(s) with their current customer base. By establishing these type of requirements up front will create a benchmark for ongoing process improvement throughout the partnership.

One important factor I learned a few years back when I was involved in a customer/supplier partnership program between my then employer (ACME) and Styme Chemical was that both parties should be measuring the same elements with the thought that once the supplier becomes “Certified” the customer will no longer rely on their measures but solely on the suppliers measures.

In a Total Quality Environment we should strive for Single Source Suppliers who become true partners in serving our customers. This also reduces our costs associated with measuring, inspecting and checking on our suppliers. It is the Suppliers responsibility to provide and exceed our expectations. It is then our responsibility to provide the Supplier with those requirements in a definable and measurable manner.

You indicated that many of the measures would have to be tracked manually. Does this mean that each section will manually track each measurement (if applicable) and forward the results to a group that will create an output report? I have found in the past an output report or “Report Card” that is weighted provides a benchmark for on-going process improvement and root cause analysis.

Following are some suggestions, comments and examples:

Key suppliers should be required to provide QGINC with Trend Chart information describing their track records in the areas that they are being contracted to do business for QGINC (i.e. On-Time Delivery, Installation etc.).

Another area of consideration is to select those suppliers who currently have or are in the process of achieving a Quality Supplier Registration or ISO 9000 Registration. The main purpose of becoming registered to ISO 9000 is to ensure your customer that you have a Quality System in place and that you have the documentation, procedures, measures, and charts to prove compliance to their requirements. Many companies are finding it more cost effective to have an independent 3rd Party Auditor review the supplier rather than incurring the cost themselves since the supplier must pay for the initial registration audit and the on-going (aprox. every 6 months) surveillance audits that are a requirement of ISO 9000.

Supplier Incoming Product Quality is the measure of product quality after the product is delivered to QGINC and put in operation. How could we measure the response time for a Field/Engineering complaint when the product or service is not performing as expected?

Example: Product Quality and Response is weighted at 25 Points

QGINC requires that once a complaint (event) is communicated to the
supplier they shall have 24 hours (1 day) to correct the situation.

Scale: No complaints during evaluation period = 25 points
Each complaint (event) has a deduction of 1.0 point and an additional point
will be deducted if it’s not resolved in 24 hrs.

Measure: Time Called 2:00 PM 10:00 PM 6:00 AM 2:00 PM
Point Deduction .25 .50 .75 1.0

Measure: Pareto Chart of Major Complaints for Root Cause Analysis


Shipment Quality is the measure of Supplier Performance against requirements involving the shipment of materials to QGINC.

Example: Shipment Quality is weighted at 20 Points

QGINC requires that all orders be properly labeled according to contract

Scale: No defects (non conformances) during evaluation period = 20 points
Each order that contains one or more of the following non-conformances will
be deducted 1 point.
- No Purchase Order Number
- Purchase Order Number Missing Digits/Incorrect
- No Package Slips
- No Quantity on Package/Carton
- No Description on Package/Carton
- Claims (Overage, Shortage, and Damaged. Wrong
Material, Agreed Cost & Invoice Don’t Agree,
Transportation Charges Don’t Agree, Item Quantity &
Invoice Don’t Agree)

Measure: # of orders - # of valid non conformance events = _____ x 20 points
/ # of orders

Measure: Pareto Chart of Non Conformance’s for Root Cause Analysis

Delivery Quality is rated by measuring the supplier’s percentage of “On-Time” Deliveries.

Example: Delivery Quality is weighted at 20 Points

QGINC requires that all deliveries be to be made in the contracted specified
period of time. QGINC also encourages its suppliers to use QGINC approved

Scale: All On-Time deliveries made = 20 points
Points for this measure are calculated by taking the suppliers actual on-time
delivery percentage multiplied by the 20 points possible.

Measure: % On-Time Delivery X 20 Points (i.e. 85% X 20 = 17 Points).

Additional Items for Consideration

I would also like to suggest a few additional Dimensions to be considered for Product and Service Quality.

1) Product Quality (Hardware and Software)

1. Failures
2. Conformance to Standards
3. Mechanical/Physical Components Fit For Use

1. Conformance to Standards
2. Installation Failures and Problems
3. Software Errors
4. Patch Management and Administration

Possible Data Sources: Example Measures:
QGINC Purchasing/ Engineering - #/% of Engineering Complaints
QGINC Operations - #/% of Field Problems
QGINC MIS - #/% of Software Errors
#/% of Patch Jobs
Supplier(s) - Measure the Same as QGINC (if applicable)

Charts/Graphs: Control Charts, Trend Charts, and Pareto Charts

2) Product Reliability

1. Service Interruptions/Outages
2. Failures
3. Current Capabilities/Features Negatively Impacted by new Releases or

Possible Data Sources: Example Measures:
QGINC Operations - Length (Time) of Outage
#/% of Failures
QGINC Engineering/MIS #/% of Capability/Feature Failures as a result of
new Releases/Patches

Charts/Graphs: Control Charts, Trend Charts, and Pareto Charts

3) Product Documentation

1. Availability of Documentation
2. Ease of Use (Complete and Readable)
3. Help Desk (Phone and Internet)

Possible Data Sources: Example Measures:
QGINC Operations, Sales, Eng. Documentation Available (Y/N) or % of Events
Ease of Use (Y/N)
Help Desk Providing Answers (Y/N)

Charts/Graphs: Trend Charts, Pie Chart, and Bar Chart

4) Installation /Repair

Consider adding the following:
1. Repair Performance
2. Service Interruptions

5) Engineering/Technology

Consider adding the following:
1. Support Staff Availability and Competence
2. Emergency Procedures (i.e. Response Time)
3. Documentation
4. Change Notice Management

6) Training - Consider adding Training as a Factor

1. Availability
2. Effectiveness
3. Competence of Instructors

7) Anticipate Our Needs

Consider adding the following:
1. Conformance to QGINC Standards and Interface Specifications - Supplier
should work toward providing Products and Services that meet QGINC
Standards. Suppliers should also provide interfaces that are open
architecture so in the future QGINC is not forced in to one supplier where
it would be costly to consider a different supplier.

2. Planning and Design - Supplier should participate in joint Planning and
Design Sessions.


As you mentioned in your Email, Data Base Integrity and the timeliness and accuracy of the input measures are essential for a Supplier Performance Program.

Factors and Measures that are Subjective nature usually require a Supplier Evaluation Survey to be developed so those QGINC internal groups who deal with our suppliers can respond in a rated, scaled or weighted format based upon their perceptions of the subject matter in question.

Though not mentioned in your Email, I am assuming the output of the Supplier Performance Program will be a “Report Card” that will serve as the starting point for continuous process improvement. QGINC should encourage the use of joint Quality Action Teams that will benefit both companies and create a win-win relationship.

Thank You for allowing me to participate, I hope my suggestions and comments will be value added to you.
Next - Internal Customer/Supplier Partnerships

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Customer/Supplier Partnerships - Part I - Customer-Supplier Process: Creating Value??

In Detroit (and perhaps elsewhere) a daily topic of debate is should you buy an American car or not. It is suffice to say if your a union member most will say buy American. I have heard both sides of the argument and I own three American Cars (Dodge, Ford, Mercury) and a Honda.

The arguments usually center around if you buy a Honda even though it is assembled in the United States the profits go back to Japan. If you buy American most of the parts are made in foreign countries but the profits stay in the United States.

I'm willing to bet that no car made in the United States is made from pure American parts. My questions are why do Union Members get so upset if I buy a Honda when the Big Three buy so many parts from a foreign country? Should NOT the Big Three (their employers) set an example for the American Consumer? Of course not, it is a global economy and may the best company win according to the consumer. For years the Big Three have brow beat their suppliers to do many things that they themselves would not do when it comes to Quality Improvement.

This brings me to my topic of Customer-Supplier Partnerships.

My goal is to post a number of write-ups on this important topic. The plan is to be generic as possible in my examples so that the information can be applied to any industry.

NOTE: I lean toward Single Source Suppliers that form "true" equal partnerships where
both sides disclose and share information in a meaningful manner.


Much has been written about customer/supplier partnerships and the importance this relationship plays in providing value to the customer. Let me relate an experience that made
me think about the importance of customer/supplier relations.

A few years back I was in Chicago on business. I usually rented a car, but this trip I chose to take a taxicab so that I could save time getting in and out of the airport. As I sat in the backseat of the cab I started to think about my upcoming meeting with Motorola and the importance of trust in a customer/supplier partnership. Trust is the relative confidence one has in the predictability that an individual or group will do what they have agreed to do. Once an individual or company has developed a degree of stability, reliability and trust with their customer,
it can be objectively measured and observed. Let me share the following observation:

Being a veteran of many a cab ride in Chicago I can state that the predictability of me reaching my destination on time has been very good. Whether or not I trust that I am being treated fairly is another question. After all, the first thing I usually notice when I sit in the back of the cab is the cleanliness and thickness of the Plexiglas shield that protects me from the driver, or what many might say is protecting the driver from me. I guess the shield is there because the driver (supplier) doesn’t trust me (customer).

As I sat rigid in the torn seat and try not to move and touch any unnecessary surface, I can’t help but read the notices attached to the glass that inform me what numbers to call if I feel I have been cheated, there is even a chart that explains the amount I should be charged from certain locations. These types of messages don’t provide a trust between customer and supplier.

Communication is a burden, not because of language, but because the Plexiglas shield makes it impossible to talk unless you yell. The last trust barrier to overcome is the fact that the driver only accepts cash; no way does he trust my corporate credit card. However, he does hand me a card and says “call me later“ and I’ll drive you back to the airport. Alas, a contract made in quality heaven.

How many of these type of customer/supplier relationships (internal & external) exist at your workplace? Do you set up shields between your customers/suppliers, and yourselves or do you set up a value chain that works together to serve the ultimate rate-paying customer.

I have found the most successful customer/supplier partnerships to be are those where the supplier adopts the customer’s customer as their own.

An example of this type of behavior is one I recently witnessed at the opening of a new Bar. Budweiser employees were working directly with the Bar’s staff to help cook and sell hotdogs for 25 cents and beer for 75 cents a cup. Additionally, they were passing out coupons to be used at a later date that offered more discounts on beer. In this instance, Budweiser, a normal supplier to the Bar, was adding value to both their customer, the bar, and to the ultimate rate paying customer, the consumer. The Bar’s customer received added value both through the discounts and coupons they received on the beer and the increased level of service because the Bar’s staff could not handle the large amount of patrons that attended the opening. Budweiser added value to the bar by helping attract attention to the Bar’s grand opening and reducing costs to the bar owner by giving free help to cook and serve. Budweiser in this case, created a win-win situation for all involved, especially themselves if they get increased sales.

In order to manage a good customer/supplier partnership a methodology should be established that answers the following questions:

1) Has a relationship been established with your suppliers to reduce unnecessary costs and controls that may waste their capital without negatively impacting the
quality of products/services?

2) Does the current process allow suppliers to deliver their inputs into
your processes without defects and delays?

3) How often are suppliers provided with constructive measures and positive feedback on their performance?

4) Does the feedback provided inform suppliers both the positive and negative impact of their product/service has on our customers?

5) Are there regularly scheduled meetings with the supplier to work on quality related issues that result in continuous process improvement opportunities?

6) Have there been joint venture teams with the supplier to consider redesigning their processes and ours to optimize the customer experience?

7) Does the supplier receive timely praise and kudos for a job well done?

8) Is the supplier included in any awards that are result of their process improvements they have made that has a direct impact on our customers?

If the answer to any of these questions was, “No,” then sub optimization is taking place in the customer/supplier relationship that probably is resulting in a negative experience for the customer.

Part II - Supplier Performance Evaluation Program

Part III - Focusing on the Customer - Which One?

Part IV - SIPOC Model & Internal Process Model

No Child Left Behind: "Growth Models (measures?)" + 1 in 7 Michigan Schools Fail - Updated 8/25/06


Whenever I get with a group of educators the discussions always include "No Child Left Behind." The talks are usually lively with many thoughts and opinions flying around all at once. Perhaps that is part of the problem, everyone has an opinion and answer but no one has yet to find the solutions to our educational system.

I also recently received an email from an educator in Oregon who wanted to know if I believed in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

For those not familiar with NCLB,

For at least ten decades, American educators have failed to come up with the right and wrong way of teaching and learning. The best minds at all levels of academia have struggled with these questions.

NCLB was developed on the theory of "what's good for business is good for schools." School productivity would improve if business principles and applications were applied. If I remember correctly this is what was stated by then Texas governor George W. Bush and in Houston by Superintendent Rod Paige. If such improvements could happen in Texas, then they could happen everywhere in America.

There are many articles written on whether or not Texas indeed get better because of their standards. I do not have enough knowledge to agree or dispute those facts. However, the

Following are problems I have with NCLB based on my facts and data:
My first complaint is the fact is NCLB does not include grades K- thru grade 3, how can that be.? By not understanding the importance of building a solid foundation during this time tells me you have no idea about the importance of education.

Second, let's address "what's good for business is good for schools." What businesses were used as models? The ethics and values that ran Enron (Hey, isn't Enron in Houston Texas, hope they did not use them as a model), Delphi, Adelphia, Arthur Anderson, WorldCom, Tyco, HealthSouth and others (see qualityg's write-up on -- CEO Fools that include examples of destructive leadership in action)? How about the mismanagement at AT&T that destroyed an icon. What about the automakers and their suppliers who are going bankrupt because of there continued short-term focus on quarterly results. I know let's use our MBA Programs for how to do things right. Whoopsy, we have been doing that too and they are leading many of the before mentioned companies.

The last time I read over the act I was intrigued to find the Act stated "If a school fails to make test gains in two successive years, the school can be labeled a failing school and the school's administrators must write an extensive (100+pages) school improvement paper to justify their job and school."

I'm not against school administrators writing improvement plans, but I question the validity of any test that only concentrates on a critical few (reading, math, science) and neglect the useful many (art, music, physical education, drama, play). Why does the plan have to be 100+ pages? Perhaps that is all that can fit on the white board (write - I will get better because I can, over and over).

How many schools are failing in your State? Do you know do you care? When I went to Michigan's Education site Assessment & Accountability I found all sorts of assessments (MEAP, Education Yes, Merit Exams, Michigan School Report Card, MI-Access, National Assessment of Educational Progress and there are more). I could not find any schools that have failed the NCLB. If anyone knows of a school I would be very interested in reading their 100 + page report. Double-spaced and in APA style format please!

All I can find are programs that measure what we are doing wrong, but none that display the standardized procedures that should tell us what to do correctly.

I was wondering who does the assessing for all these programs? There must be an army of assessors invading the schools weekly. At what cost does the state tax payer's pay for all these programs. Who does the follow-up assessment?

In summary, I'm all for test and theory, but NCLB and other state programs have failed, time to move to the next one. Learn from the others and bring what was right forward and leave the rest behind. One more thing the Government need not apply to help!

Here is an added bonus for your review. Please go to MI Fed Educ Budget 2006. Is it just me or does the middle class continued to get hosed when it comes to Federal and State Aid?

To check your state go to State fact sheet fed budget 2006.

Updated 11/26/05

I was talking with some head Start Administrators last week and I was startled at the amount of paperwork they must do in order to keep funding for NCLB. What bothered me most was the fact that this lady has worked 18 years in Child Care and Head Start and will lose her job if she does not get her 4 year bachelor degree.

She is currently in college working towards her degree as she is closing in on 40 years old. Sraisingo is rasing two children that are still in school. I asked her if the college courses she was taking are helping her do the administrator paper work required by the Federal Government? "Absolutely Not!" The worst part is a young person graduating with a 4 year degree (practicum experience only) this year may be taking her job next year if she does get her degree finished on time.

qualityg says ... 18 years experience and being a mother is < (less than) a four year degree when it comes to handling children. Again, it's another example of people (Govt) trying to do good that have no idea on how to plan on doing good, just throw out a plan and see if it works, don't worry if children and child care workers get hurt. WHY CAN'T THERE BE SOME GRANDFATHER CONSIDERATIONS OR TESTING OUT FOR FOLKS WHO HAVE OVER 10 YEARS EXPERINECE IN THIS FIELD. C'mon get real here Secretary Spellings!

Did you know that the No Child Left Behind Act has a new roadmap for improvement for State Implementation?

A Road Map for State Implementation
Pre-publication copy
November 10, 2005

Please go this site to download a copy:

qualityg will have more to say on this plan later. However, I want to know who said (from the plan) "What gets measured gets done" First of all that is not accurate, if you don't have a "plan" for measuring the right thing then you measure everything (I think the govt is good at that). Those who follow my Blog know I mention this phrase frequently and even posted my symbol that I have used since 1993. Geez, get it right!

Following is quoted from Page 2 of the letter from Secretary Spellings:

"NCLB is a law of principles. Since Secretary Margaret Spellings took the helm at the U.S. Department of Education (Department) earlier this year, she began describing the law’s “bright lines” – the essential and indispensable markers on the road to implementing

NCLB: Assessments in Grades 3-8: What gets measured is what gets done. States must test all students annually in reading and math in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school by the 2005-06 school year – not every other year or every other class, but all students every year."

Updated 12/12/05

No Child Left Behind: A Road Map for State Implementation (11/10/05)

I have been reviewing this document for a couple of weeks and I must confess I’m having a hard time following this roadmap. There are many “What’s,” but no “How’s.” A road map is supposed to provide some standardization so that no matter what type of map or tracking system if you put in the correct information you will get back a standard way to reach your destination.

The NCLB road map is a circle. You may think you are going to a better destination but I’m afraid you will end up right where you started with a lot more wear and tear and cost to your vehicle. Following are some initial thoughts and questions, more to come at a later date.

Sentences/paragraphs in ITALICS are from the No Child Left Behind: A Road Map for State Implementation from Margaret Spellings – U.S. Secretary of Education. My questions and comments are in normal type.

The Road Map breaks down a sometimes-complex law into clear, common-sense principles, such as annual student assessment, disaggregation of data and proficiency by 2014. And it demonstrates the variety of fair and reliable methods being used to turn those principles into action. We want States to always be headed toward the right destination, even if how they get there differs along the way. From Cover Letter Page 1.

Ø Huh? common-sense? Ok we see the finish line, it doesn’t matter if you walk, crawl, run, take a train, or fly by balloon, just as long as you get to the same finish line (some just don’t make sense and some are just stupid). Efficiency and Effectiveness? By what method do you demonstrate fair and reliable? In order to do so you would need some success data, Please share so that we can see some hows and best practices?

The Road Map follows our announcement last spring of a New Path for No Child Left Behind. It was designed to reward States that showed real progress in reaching all students and improving academic achievement. We are pleased with the positive response they’ve shown. From Cover Letter Page 1.

Ø Does positive response = positive results?
Ø Who are they?

Disaggregated Data: Data are our best management tool. States and districts must provide data on student achievement by subgroup, inform parents in a timely manner about the quality of their child’s school, disseminate clear and understandable school and district report cards, and provide parents and the public with an accurate assessment of the quality of the teaching force. From Page 2.

Ø Please define timely manner?
Ø Good Data are your best management tool, is there a standard database for data on STUDENTS? I don’t think so.
Ø Accurate Assessment as opposed to what?

Highly -Qualified Teachers: States are responsible for implementing a rigorous system for ensuring teachers are highly qualified, making strong efforts to ensure that all students have access to highly qualified teachers, and providing support for recruiting and retaining the best and brightest teachers to our schools From Page 2.

Ø If state standards for teachers can be different how will I know that teachers in Mississippi are equal to those in Michigan? What happens if I move, does the NCLB provide teacher standards in a comparative form for each state? How could you, how could you know if there is wide variation and no standardization?

Results to date suggest this is a road worth traveling. Student achievement is improving in the United States, and student achievement gaps are closing. From Page 3.

Ø If states have different criteria and standards how can this statement be made? How can an individual state make this statement if they don’t collect data on individual students?

This document will help States and local educators understand what the Department expects as it reviews State policies and considers alternate policy options and flexibility for implementing specific requirements of NCLB. From Page 4.

Ø You mean it didn’t before?

Peer reviewers advise the Department on whether a State provides compelling evidence that its assessment system is consistent with NCLB requirements based on the totality of evidence submitted. Peer reviewers also provide constructive feedback to help States strengthen their assessment systems. From Page 5.

Ø What is a Peer Reviewer? Is there a list of names by State? How many are there? Seems very costly, is there associated training, what are their qualifications?

Refinement of Accountability/Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Measurement
There are a number of pages talking about sample populations, sub groups and sampling confidence Intervals. I always get nervous when I see everything being determined with average this and average that. I’m not a statistician so I would hope somewhere one would way in with their opinion in a common-sense manner for the general public.

Other States may want employ a statistical test to increase confidence in AYP determinations. In smaller States, or States with many small schools, such a test – a “confidence interval” – can help guard against making significant accountability decisions based on fluctuations in school performance or on the assessment results from a relatively small group of students.

There are other options as well. States may average student achievement data across grades and years to ensure more reliable AYP decisions. They may make different decisions about how to incorporate additional indicators into their AYP ratings. They may use “safe harbor” provisions or a growth index to factor improvements in student performance among the lowest performing students to make AYP determinations that are both valid and reliable. From Page - 8

Ø Safe Harbor??
Ø Average student achievement data – does that contradict that all students will improve. Won’t there still be some above and below average?
Ø Let’s suppose I have 5 students. There individual achieving are s follows (scale 1-100, 100 being the best). Student 1 – 80, Student 2 – 75, Student 3 – 75, Student 4 30, student 5 – 20. The average/mean would be 56. If I were to just show 56 it would convey an overall negative impression. How about adding the Mode – 75, and the Medium – 75. If I just looked at those individually it tells a different story, perhaps a more positive outlook for the same data. The range is 80 – 20, what does this tells us? What I’m trying to say is look at data from the Central Tendency. If you want a roadmap show all of the roads not just the ones where the average speed id 55 MPH.

Supplemental Educational Service Pilots

Supplemental educational services (SES) is an important component of NCLB, giving low-income parents real options to obtain free tutoring for their children. This extra help for students in schools in need of improvement, corrective action, and restructuring can be an important component of school improvement efforts.

Unfortunately, there is evidence from across the country that SES is not being implemented to its full potential. Too few eligible students are receiving SES. According to several studies, only 10 to 20 percent of eligible students across the country participated in SES during the 2003-04 school year. From Page 20.

Free Tutoring, this is an excellent concept for the “eligible” students. I know I had to take the initiative and hire a tutor for my kids at a rate of between 10-15 dollars an hour, 2-3 times a week. I did not have extra money laying around for this; it was just the right thing to do. All children should be eligible for tutoring. I know of at least 5 elementary and middle schools where this is offered. The eligible parents/guardians received numerous letters and handouts. The percent participating is far less than 10 –20 %. Some of the responses were – “I can’t get my kids to school any earlier”, or “I can’t keep my kids at school any later.” And, my favorite “They need the weekend to play.”

I will provide more questions later… until then, do your homework, don’t take my writings as gospel, it’s only information, gather your own facts and ask your own questions.

One final question --> Did anyone think of modeling all these ideas and improvement in a diverse set of school districts to be studied and then benchmarked. It would seem to me much more manageable, less costly and in the long run provide much needed standardization and timeliness of implemetation.

Other Posts on NCLB by qualityg:

NCLB is Scary

NCLB - The GAP Widens

UPDATED 8/9/06

ASPEN Institute Commission Hears about Impact of NCLB on Students with Disabilities

One of my frequent visits is to "The Aspen Institiute (" The mission of the Aspen Institute is to foster enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue. Through seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives, the Institute and its international partners seek to promote nonpartisan inquiry and an appreciation for timeless values.

I particularly like to read the "Commission On No Child Left Behind (Aspen - NCLB Commission)." Recently the Commission held a roundtable on the topic of "NCLB has increased attention and focus on achievement of students with disabilities."

The discussion centered on state assessments for students with disabilities and the impact of flexibility issued by the U.S. Department of Education on how schools are being held accountable for the achievement of these children.

The roundtable was co-chaired by Commissioners Judy Heumann and Ed Sontag. Commissioner Sontag stated, Some have questioned whether children with disabilities can learn. NCLB has focused educators on increasing the performance of students with disabilities.”

qualityg says ... Commissioner Sontag there is the crux of your problem. Other issues stated in your report are the result of this stupidity. Concentrate on the Root Cause Upstream in this problem and the results will take care of themselves. Who are the "Some" referenced in your report.? Other possible solutions included the same ideas that every roundatble has on NCLB - more funding, more information, more funding, more highly qualified teachers, better curriculums and more funding. Every effort to move forward is curtailed by the "Some."

There were some excellent comments and recommendations:

Ricki Sabia, the Associate Director of the National Down Syndrome Society National Policy Center in Washington, DC stressed the need to debunk the myths about students with disabilities in order for NCLB to work at its fullest. She called for all students to be treated the same, to use a variety of assessments and sought to dispel the myth that students with disabilities cause schools to not make AYP.

Katy Beh Neas, Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, Washington, DC credited NCLB with making schools focus on the academic achievement of students with disabilities. Along with her colleagues she strongly advocated to maintain students with disabilities as a subgroup within NCLB.

qualityg says ... Ladies I applaud your advocacy. However, one of the main "Somes" mentioned above are the very teachers everyone wants to train to become more "highly qualified" teachers. Many General Education teachers have a "Clandestine" war going on with NCLB and Special Education, it's best someone realizes this fact and bring it out at one of your roundtables.

For the complete report go to NCLB Disab Report

Another Site for excellent reports on education and some new ideas go to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Education at

The USA Department of Education site for the NCLB Act can be found at

I check this site often, no new information has been listed for some time. Everything looks rosy if you read this site.

To read a post I wrote about Mainstreaming an Asperger Child go to

update 8/25/06

The Commission of No Child Left Behind is releasing a Commission staff report on Growth Models: An examination within the context of NCLB. Since the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in early 2002, interest and discussion over tracking growth in achievement, or using growth models, has increased tremendously. The Commission staff analyzed necessary data components as well as an examined the benefits and disadvantages of incorporating and utilizing a growth model within NCLB. Lastly, the paper includes a brief discussion of two growth model pilot programs recently approved by the U.S. Department of Education in Tennessee and North Carolina.

Michigan School Report Card shows failing grades - 88.5% in 2006, down from 88.1% in 2005

The execuses for failure amaze me, it's alaways something or someone else who is to blame instead of personal accountability. For example Detroit Superintendent William F Coleman III said the reason Detroit fared worse this year (103 schools failed) than last (63 failed) is because the state moved up the testing period for the MEAP test to October from February (less time for teachers to prepare).

qualityg asks ... Then how come a large amount of those schools that failed are repeat offenders that go back at least 5 years of failure?

qualityg says ... And the teachers are going out on strike?

qualityg asks ... How come the "quality" of the Administration Personnel" are not included in calculation? Teacher quality is evaluated, why not their support system and bosses? Management (bosses) owns the system and they should be accountable.

Go to for complete report.

Another Post (9/10/06) by qualityg at :

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Honor Roll Listing for Instructors? & Do you know who is teaching your college student?

Honor Roll Board For Instructors

As I was walking down the University hallway last week I saw a crowd of students gazing and talking about the names listed on the honor roll board for the Summer Semester. Some were talking about why they were not on it and others were telling friends what instructors to avoid in the Summer Term.

I asked them were I might find the Instructor honor roll board? You should have seen the looks, some were dumbfounded others looked like I was crazy. One student said that is because the administration would never disclose end of course survey results. I walked away and said WHY NOT?

I’m not advocating providing scores, no more than I am saying post everyone’s report card in the university newspaper. However, I am saying post an instructor honor roll. Develop criterion that are designed by instructor’s administrators and students.

Most colleges have on-line surveys already in place that are created by the students; just replace those with fair and responsible categories. Students pay the salaries of instructors, should they not be entitled to see what they are paying for in the form of grades or a rating? I know, let’s rank them too and have the top one give a speech at the end of the year.

Parents and students paying tuition for a service and the university should be responsible for delivering the goods. This looks backwards to me.

Are You Getting What You Paid For?

As I continued my walk through the hallways I would occasionally glance in at some of the classes going on and noticed that grad students were teaching a fair amount of the classes. I started to wonder how many parents actually knew the person teaching their child is only a few years older than their child and may or may not have as much application in the field that they are instructing.

I started to wonder how many parents actually knew the person teaching their child is only a few years older than their child and may or may not have as much application in the field that they are instructing.

I continued my stroll towards the library I passed the math department. At fist I thought I was in the foreign language wing because the voice coming out of the room had a very strong eastern European or Russian dialect (I think).

I could not help but stop and listen. I have a hard enough time understanding all the math terms let alone trying to decipher the language at the same time. Perhaps these students were studying to go abroad and this would help with their foreign studies. As I was about to leave a student left the room, I asked how is it going and he said “Brutal.” I wonder what grade this instructor would receive?

See related posts:

Monday, August 21, 2006

Process Management Information Flows - Function, Measures & Responsibility


This post is not about "How" to construct Process Management Flows. It is about "Information" Flows that can be used to explain a system/process in a timely and meaningful fashion so that everyone can understand what it means to have an end-to-end flow of information.

The flows are NOT intended to be detailed or have a fancy name like "swim lanes" to impress your customers, internal customers or bosses (they have no time for detail or silly quality consultant names). I have used the flows below many times to explain process responsibilities and measures to executives who end up carrying these one page flows with them or having them on their desks for reference. They are also useful in PowerPoint presentations.

I would like to share the following three models that serve as information flows:

The Functional Flow Process portrays and end-to-end high level process flow that provides the names and functions of the departments involved in the process. In addition it lists the major work taskes and how the departments work with each other to get the job done.

The Measurement Flow identifies the Process and Quality (Results) measures established to monitor the process flow (Process Measures) to make sure it remains stable or indicates when noise (excessive variation) enters the process for investigation. The Quality Result Measures should not be the main focus nor should they be the measures by which the process is measured. They are result measures and if you wait until they go bad you have already lost control of your process and are in for a costly price tag to find and resolve the problem (especially if you have to set up external teams like six sigma and lean teams to do the work).

Beware of self promoting leaders and finacial bean counters who only want to concentrate on the bottom line. Why do you think so many processes are in a mess. The process workers usually remain the same and know the job, leaders come and go and do little to add value, in fact they ass non-value when they want to change a process by only using bottom line results. I call it "Tampering to the Big Dog."

The Responsibility Flow basically identifies the major process owners of the end-to-end process. For those VPs (sales/marketing) who say they are not involved this process lays it out nicely. For those VPs (finance) who think they are involved should be left out of the process and customer decisions and go back to creating budgets and paying taxes.

My hope is these will serve as a starting point for your own Process Management Information Flows. Notice they all start and end with the customer.

Please Click on PICS to Enlarge: If for some reason you can not make out the information please send me an Email and I will be happy to send you a copy.

Functional Flow - Example Internal Service Order


Measurement Flow - Example Provisioning Flow


Responsibility Flow - Example Provisioning

Friday, August 18, 2006

Education - College Tuition Rates "Up Up and Away" I say it's because of Research not Teaching

I'm convinced the number one reason for continual tuition hikes is research. In order to do more research schools must hire more people so they have a better chance of receiving state government grants and dollars for more buildings, more support people and more status.
In order to prove this point I would like the state universities (public) and state legislature to show the accounting on additional funds granted for research dollars versus teaching dollars.
If you want better graduates then demand more money be spent on teaching and not on research. Research dollars should come from the Federal Government and private foundations requesting the reseach and not the state.

I always say "Knowledge is the great equalizer." Knowledge comes in many ways but primarily through learning at school and then applying the principles learned. The United States is far behing other industrial countries when it comes to supporting its citizens' education. If ever there was a program that should be subsidized for the present and future it is education. I understand taxes are required for many programs but none are as important as education and knowledge. Education and Knowledge will prevent many of the other social ills that we pay our taxes to now (prisons, unemployment, re-training, welfare, ...). We need to build the foundation for all to learn, all we do now is throw out a handout (door) every now and then and expect everyone to walk in and be saved.


I wrote the post below last year at this time. Guess what was in today's paper (2006 Tuition Rates) and again I say...

And You Wonder Why?

Why is it every year college tuition rates in the state of Michigan get higher? Each year they have a different excuse as to why tuition must rise. This year it's because...

Colleges say there's no choice in face of dwindling state aid

Governor Granholm says "To me, these are unacceptable numbers, I would ask that the boards and university regents to reconsider how much they are raising tuition. I know they will all say it's because of state cuts. I just want to push back and say, 'Figure out a way to streamline, to tighten your belts the way the state has done.' "

qualityg says… it’s like old joke about “why do dogs lick…? Because They Can!

Michigan State is hiking their tuition (remember this is just tuition) 13.5% to $7,944.00. And you know they don’t even give me a discount for having two children that are presently attending the University.

I get a laugh at the two quotes shown above (no not mine). Now you tell me two other industries (government & education) that have no idea on the long-term effects of their actions. They both are constantly in a “reactive” mode, no process checks and accountabilities, just spend (research), spend, lay off folks, spend some more on research, and then provide the public with scare tactics because now our kids can’t compete because we can’t afford to send them to Universities (even in our own state).

I’ve written before about competition and education, this is no game.
Education---> cooperation-vs-competition

I could have put this into my FOOL category, but let me ask the Regents, Governor and our state legislature three questions.

1) What is your Purpose?

2) Am I too stupid to think the Governor didn’t know the colleges would be raising rates today?(I don’t care if you did not know the exact figures)? Why does she “react” after the tuition rates come in the Paper?
3) Does anyone from our state legislature visit any college campuses for an on-site review? Determine how many activities are classroom education (value-added) and how many are non-value (do not support student learning) activities and there costs. Oh yeah, look how many people are in administration offices and how many student teachers are in the classroom as opposed to Instructors.
Please do not give more than a two sentence answer. Anything more and you don't know. You may want to ask the Governor to lend you her Quality Streamline People, that should fix your problem in no time.

Please do not give the standard political answers. If it was handled prior to the announcement it would not look like you are fighting for the students.

Every person in Michigan who cares about education always asks "If all the Lottery Money is going to Education why are we still in so much trouble?"

Here is the statement on top of every Mega Millions Lottery Ticket:

100% of Michigan Lottery Profits Go to our Public Schools.

$645 Million in the last year alone!

Who or what department is responsible for this revenue? How is the money broken down (admin vs supplies vs textbooks, et...) and distributed?

I've got a better chance at winning the lottery than I do getting answers that are not slanted by personal agendas.

And You Wonder Why?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Our current Educational System is like a "WEED" & I want teachers to wear a badge that says "I'm a Highly Qualified Teacher" see update 8/17/06


As I trekked along the Midwest States this past weekend driving my son to his next destination of continual learning (grad work) at a Big Ten University (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) I had a lot of time to think about our educational system.

As much as I did not want to admit the cost of education kept creeping up because of the costs of this out state program. It used to be those going into the medical field charged up huge amounts of debt that would hope to be repaid in a lucrative career once graduated. Now it seems every field has its students (my son included) taking out large loans to cover educational expenses. Unfortunately it may take a lifetime for some of these students to pay back their loans.

I’m starting to think of our educational system as a living entity, perhaps a weed. It continues to spread and stranglehold teachers and students at an alarming rate each year. It grows through cracks and crevices in the foundation of our system. Yes, there are times when we stop and apply some very costly weed killer but it is only temporary and the system picks up again and continues to romp across the land as it wishes because no one can stop this obnoxious growth.

Like a weed the same people (government, admin) who claim to protect our educational system and nurture it for a living are no longer valuing our educational system. Changes upon changes with no idea if they will work are applied with spreaders that have no gauge or measure for how much they are choking off the system. Just lay it down and let’s if it works, if the grass burns and turns brown don’t worry we will water the hell out if it and re-sod next year.

There is too much noise (inside & outside) invading our system that makes it is impossible to predict if any good changes will come from new solutions. People doing their best effort only see the system from one point of view and do not take the time to learn all the interdependent parts that must be considered when making changes. Adding a third wheel to a bicycle may imply that the bike will go faster, but will it, if no one knows where to put it and how it will interact with the original design?

Perhaps those trying to do their best are too close to the situation, our educational system can no longer (if it ever did) understand what it is doing to itself. An extreme makeover is required and this can only come from outside the system. I think I see a new “Reality” show in the making. A system in this much trouble can not fix itself, no matter how hard it tries. Do we need more proof and money to make this claim? I think not.

I wish I had all of the answers, for now I will just keep asking the questions. Next week I will have some more time to think as I move my daughter back to school for her Junior year at another Big Ten school (at least it is in state).

I do have one question:

What makes a teacher "Highly Qualified" as apposed to a "Normal" Teacher? For example, NCLB says :

To the extent required by the no child left behind act of 2001, Public Law 107-110, the board of a school district or public school academy shall ensure that all components of the curricular requirements under this section and section 1278a are taught by highly qualified teachers. If a school district or public school academy demonstrates to the department that the school district or public school academy is unable to meet the requirements of this section because
the school district or public school academy is unable to hire enough highly qualified teachers, the department shall work with the school district or public school academy to develop a plan to allow the school district or public school academy to hire enough highly qualified teachers to meet the requirements of this section.

When I check out the Michigan of Education web site on Highly Qualified Teachers it only pertains to Special Education. I suppose one is highly qualified if the person has special educational endorsements, advanced degree and records of measures that display achievements based on criteria set up by the state and NCLB. Perhaps listing the names and credentials of "Highly Qualified Teachers" in each state could serve as a model.

What does the American Federation of Teachers have to say? According to a new report ( on statewide testing released today by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), most states have made progress in developing clear grade-by-grade standards, but many have not aligned their high-stakes math, reading and science tests with a strong set of content standards, which leads to a distorted picture of how students, schools and teachers are performing.


It seems my post was timely since the U.S. Department of Education came out with a report yesterday (8/16) about 39 states (including Michigan) lacking in highly qualified teachers.

The U.S. DOE site has some interestinf state facts. For example, the state of Michigan's plan is NOT acceptable according to the DOE reviewer. It says:
Comments to support determination:

"This state’s major deficiencies are its equity plan and the lack of a monitoring plan. The information submitted under Requirement 6 does not include specific, data-driven plans for ensuring that all children are taught by highly qualified teachers."

"Monitoring is a critical function in ensuring that LEAs meet the HQT requirements.
The lack of a monitoring plan gives no indication that the SEA knows which districts are in compliance with HQT requirements and which teachers are receiving high quality professional development. Requirement 4 does not provide sufficient information to ensure that LEAs will comply with the requirements of HQT."

Here is the link to check out your state -

qualityg says/asks ... numbers, monitoring plans, no plans, after the fact reviewers/auditors. Will somebody please let me know HOW I can tell the difference between a highly qualified teacher and just a regular teacher from a NOT Highly Qualified Teacher?

How come Administration Personnel are not identified as "Highly Qualified Admins" Management owns the system and they are the support system and bosses - Right?

If our colleges are not producing "Highly Qualified Teachers" the first time they graduate should they not be held accountable? Does the State and Student get a "refund" from the college or university that fails to educate "Highly Qualified Teachers? Can students bring a law suit against their teachers for not being a Higly Qualified Teacher?

Do we not produce qualified graduates because public colleges spend more money on Research than on Teaching students (Research not Tuition)?

Will Teachers be required to wear a badge that says "I'm a Highly Qualified Teacher?"

I wonder if the money the government spends on soldiers training makes them all Highly Qualified? They all get patches and badges. See

This is such a "butt ugly mess."

Friday, August 11, 2006

Quality Leadership ? Cheap shot by Ford Motor Company - They have countered nicely!



My previous Post about Ford (below) was one that was difficult to write since I hope Ford can pull out of their financial woes. The following post is one of hope that Ford will once again turn the corner and the Glass House (Headquarters) will once again shine bright in Dearborn.

Yesterday the State of Michigan announced a deal that will offer Ford Motor Co. $151 million in Michigan tax breaks in order to spur $1 billion in Ford investments and save aprox. 14,000 jobs in Michigan. Full article @

Clearly this is a much-needed boost to Michigan’s economy and just goes to show you what can be done in an election year (current governor behind in polls).

I have two suggestions for Mr. Ford. First, I hope Ford continues to improve quality and increase their sales. However, eliminating defects does not always equate to increase sales. The one ingredient that continuously missing is “Innovation” (Ford is not alone).

I’m sure Dr. Deming informed Ford of this in the early 1980s. Dr. Deming’s “Quality Chain” is more evident today that it has ever been. CLICK PIC TO ENLARGE, CLICK AGAIN WHEN 4 ARROWS APPEAR.

Second, I would like to recommend a book for required reading by all Ford employees (take notice all you Six-Sigma, Lean & other charlatan quality consultants who claim you have the answers/solutions). It’s about Innovation, Just-in-Time Manufacturing; it is full of quality improvement examples, employee motivation and the importance of education.

A “Ford” wrote the book. It was written in Dearborn, Michigan where the deal above was made. Dearborn is the home of Ford World Headquarters. Dearborn is where the home foundation must be rebuilt "brick-by-brick" in order for all Ford outlets to succeed.

For good measure Ford Management should also read "The New Economics" by Dr. Deming.

Take notice of the legacy left by these two men, they gave you the path long ago, it's time to find your way back.



One of the best profound quality statements I have ever read was by Dr. Brian Joiner when he wrote in his book “Fourth Generation Management” in 1994 (I highly recommend) about data and figures. He wrote of three ways to improve the figures: distort the data, distort the system and improve the system. Improving the system is the most difficult. In my 30 years in business and education I have seen the first two happen much more frequently than the latter because of short-term thinking and mismanagement.

As Dr. Joiner stated improving the system is the most difficult and I believe this is most true during times of stress when it comes to accounting and Wall Street performance. When jobs are on the line, borrowing from creditors and meeting unrealistic expectations by managers leaves most people to distort the data (number cooking) and the system.

This happens all the time in sales and quarterly reporting. Sometimes a company knowing the figures are not accurate reports anyway to keep Wall Street and Shareholders of their back. HOWEVER, what about the shareholders who purchase stock during this time of deceit?

In one example I can remember when AT&T offered their IPO on their Wireless Stock at a price of $29.50 knowing weeks earlier they would soon be reporting negative numbers that would affect the stock which went down never to recover. Source: Two Class Action Suits currently underway.

Now Ford Motor Company has played a cheap shot by announcing it has revised it Q2 loss, wider than reported. Ford said in a filing on Wednesday that its second quarter loss was $131 million more than previously reported because of an increase in estimates for the company's pension curtailment loss. Source: Ford Motor Company

Now how could Ford Not know about the pension estimates? What about the people (including employees) who bought stock in the past few days based on one set of figures not knowing the next day the losses would be wiped out.

Ford Quality NONE!

P/S – I own a Ford Escape, Mercury Cougar, Dodge Stratus and Honda Accord. Guess which one has never been back for warranty work or problems?

Other post on Ford Motor Company by qualityg:

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Tired of credit card and insurance offers in your mail? Opt Out

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Consumer Credit Reporting Companies, are permitted to include your name on lists used by creditors or insurers to make firm offers of credit or insurance. The FCRA also provides you the right to "Opt-Out", which prevents Consumer Credit Reporting Companies from providing your credit file information for firm offers of credit or insurance that are not initiated by you.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

K-Mart (smearK) Employees Assault Customer

Kmart Complaint
Kmart assaults customers - Assault by employees

See story at

qualityg says... - how about a new name for Kmart ---> "smearK"

I gave that name to Kmart last June (2005) when the merger between Sears and Kmart was taking place.

The post can be found at

So now comes the next super duper blue light special:

Attention Kmart shoppers all five of you in aisles two and seven; today’s blue light specials are on top soil, Martha’s prison garb, and don’t miss the specials on Ming Dynasty Art and a Picasso.

smearK is selling off high-end art from its former corporate headquarters in Troy Michigan, including a rare Picasso tapestry and a 15th-century Chinese Ming Dynasty watercolor. The gallery also includes more than 1,000 oils, photos, posters, tapestries and sculptures.

I guess former CEO Charles Conaway and former CFO John McDonald who were responsible with misleading investors about the retailer's financial condition and eventual bankruptcy forgot to have an open house for shareholders.

qualityg wonders why another ex-Kmart chief executive Julian Day (took over after bankruptcy) got $90 million in stock options for his 10 months of leadership. I guess cash in stock is better than a Ming in hand.

qualityg says… smearK Please Shut-Up. Do the right thing, sell those items, put the money back into the 401Ks, and pension plans of the employees who were ripped off.

Where the Hell were the Prosecution Attorneys and Bankruptcy Judge during the trial. Surely these priceless items should have been included.