About Graham Freeman

Graham Freeman is a content writer and editor at Intelex Technologies in Toronto, where he writes on topics relating to quality management. You can follow Graham on LinkedIn by clicking here: www.linkedin.com/in/graham-freeman-aa5a575b/

The Voice of the Customer—Part 4: Turning Silence into Golden Opportunities

Silent needs are those that the customer cannot always express or imply, perhaps because they are not even aware of them. While customers can’t articulate them, researchers still need to uncover them, as they can mean the difference between success and failure over the full lifecycle of the product or service. In this blog, we’ll look at a few approaches that can be used to articulate and uncover the silent Voice of the Customer requirements.  

Voice of the Customer Table (VoCT) 

The premise of the Voice of the Customer Table (VoCT) is that while customers can articulate what they want, those wants don’t always represent what they really need. For example, if the customer says “the brakes on this car are terrible,” this could be restated as “I need to reduce the vehicle’s momentum easily at any time.” An example using this scenario is presented in Table 1. Organizations can use the VoCT to discover and respond to the customer’s … Read more...

Use Software to Meet Your ISO 9001:2015 Requirements

ISO 9001 is the most popular certification standard in the world. It outlines a framework for improving quality and a vocabulary of understanding for any organization looking to provide products and services that consistently meet the requirements and expectations of customers and other relevant parties in the most efficient manner possible. First published in 1987, the latest iteration, ISO 9001:2015, incorporates risk-based thinking, increased responsibilities for leadership, and a high-level structure that allows for easier certification of integrated management systems that include other standards like ISO 45001:2018 and ISO 14001:2015. 

ISO 9001:2015 can help organizations in many industries improve their processes, enhance customer satisfaction, and improve business results. In some industries, such as automotive, health sciences, and construction, certification is considered essential, if not mandatory, to compete effectively in the marketplace and to meet applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. In other areas, such as education, organizations have taken innovative approaches to using the guidance of ISO … Read more...

Canadian Honey Producers Stung by Sophisticated Food Fraud

Food fraud is big business. Criminal organizations around the world earn millions of dollars annually by cutting high-quality food products with cheaper substitutes to increase profits. The practice is so ubiquitous throughout the food industry that food protection agencies refer to it as economically motivated adulteration (EMA) The consequences of this practice can include reputational damage to respected food brands, public health crises resulting from adulteration using hazardous elements designed to avoid standard integrity testing, and financial damage to legitimate producers who can’t compete with cheaper adulterated products.  

According to a recent news story, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has been conducting targeted surveillance on international producers of adulterated honey entering the Canadian market since 2018. By analyzing 240 samples of imported honey, CFIA determined that one-fifth of the samples advertised as pure honey are adulterated with corn syrup, rice syrup, and cane sugar syrup. As a result of the inspection, … Read more...

Protecting the food supply chain from fraud and malicious attack

Every few years, an intentional adulteration of the food supply grabs headlines around the world. In 2008, Chinese dairy manufacturers added the chemical melamine, a plasticizing agent, to milk and infant formula to boost the detectable protein levels, resulting in the hospitalization of 54,000 children and six deaths. The 2013 EU horse meat scandal, in which horse meat was substituted for beef in products sold across the EU, severely damaged consumer confidence in traceability and testing standards for meat products. Perhaps even more disturbing is the possibility of intentional contamination of the food supply to cause harm, a possibility that has gained more attention in the age of global terrorism. 

With the complexity of today’s international food supply chain, it is vital that the food industry move beyond food safety and quality approaches to incorporate food fraud—to protect against intentional contamination for economic gain—and food defence—to protect against intentional contamination to cause harm. … Read more...

Why the Human Factor is as Important as Your Technology

In 1979, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) held a workshop at which it presented research demonstrating that the root cause of most aircraft accidents was human error and worker performance relating to poor critical thinking, lack of leadership, and miscommunication. The presentation was a response to the crash of United Airlines Flight 173 in Portland, Oregon in 1978, in which a landing gear problem forced the crew to circle the airport prior to landing. The captain focused on the landing gear problem for over an hour, missing frequent communications from his crew that the fuel supply was running low. The captain only realized his lack of situational awareness moments prior to the plane running out of fuel and crashing only a few miles short of the runway. Two crew members and eight passengers were killed. 

NASA therefore developed the practice of crew resource management (CRM). CRM addresses the human factor in teams … Read more...

How Ignoring the Voice of the Customer (VoC) Reduces Customer Safety

Why women are less safe than men when driving 

study at the University of Virginia, soon to be published in the academic journal Traffic Injury Prevention, has determined that women are at greater risk of injury or death in motor vehicle accidents because safety tests are conducted using crash test dummies that mimic the physiology only of men. 

According to the authors of the study, despite the fact that female physiology differs from that of males in areas such as distribution of muscle and fat, bone alignment, and features of the pelvis, most crash test dummies in use today are still based on male models from the 1960s. As a result, important factors such as how differences in breast tissue impact the effectiveness of the three-point seatbelt and how range of joint motion during menstruation makes females more susceptible to injury, are not widely considered in most automotive safety … Read more...

Food Integrity: The Case of Canadian Meat Imports to China

In late June 2019, the Chinese government suspended all imports of Canadian meat after having discovered a shipment of Canada-labeled pork that contained residue from a banned additive called Ractopamine. Ractopamine helps animals to grow larger and leaner on less food, which means farmers spend less money on raising the animals and make a larger profit after their sale. While Ractopamine is legal in Canada and the United States, it is banned in several other countries, including China. Chinese import officials detected the residue during normal sampling and testing procedures. 

The more disturbing discovery was that the accompanying veterinary certificate that testified to the origin and quality of the meat was falsified, which was confirmed by an inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). According to Canadian officials, the meat shipment is of unknown origin. The case has been referred to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) for investigation. … Read more...

Coeur Mining & Intelex Win EHS Innovation Award for IIoT-enabled Worker Safety

Drones, wearables, fatigue sensors, and engaged employees integrated with Intelex EHS management software are central to the success of Coeur Mining Inc.’s 2019 EHS Innovation Award-winning approach to environmental, health, and safety management in the Metals, Mining & Natural Resources sector. Announced at the Verdantix Americas Summit in Atlanta, GA this week, Coeur Mining was named the winner of this prestigious award that recognizes organizations that use innovative technology approaches to keeping workers safe, protecting the environment, and delivering superior business results.  

Coeur’s motto is “We Pursue a Higher Standard,” which is a philosophy that applies to everything the company does. The company’s EHS program extends across the entire organization with the goal of enhancing EHS culture and achieving standards that move beyond regulatory requirements.  

Making IIoT-enabled EHS a Reality 

Coeur’s innovative approach is built on the foundation of technology devices such as IIoT sensors, wearables, automation, analytics, and unmanned aerial … Read more...

Ontario Increasing Workplace Safety Inspections

Businesses in Ontario should prepare for a workplace safety blitz. Between October 1 and December 27, 2019, inspectors from the Ontario Ministry of Labour will be performing safety inspections across the province, focusing on the health care, mining, and construction sectors.  

Inspectors will be focusing on musculoskeletal injury and respiratory illnesses. Musculoskeletal injuries, such as tendonitis, back pain, and carpal tunnel, are among the most frequently occurring workplace injuries on all worksites in Ontario. They are common injuries for workers who engage in heavy physical labour, including repetitive actions and heavy lifting in awkward positions, and can damage joints, soft tissue, ligaments, and bones. According to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), they also account for more than one-third of all lost-time injury claims in the province. In 2017, that meant approximately 19,000 claims that cost WSIB $72 million and resulted in a cumulative 462,000 days of lost work time. Inspectors will be looking to ensure … Read more...

We Are Doing It: Diverse experiences & united purpose strengthen the women of quality

In 2018, Alessandro Strumia, a professor of physics at Pisa University in Italy, gave a presentation on gender in physics to a group at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). The main argument of his presentation was that the underrepresentation of women in physics is attributable to innate differences in intelligence between men and women and to women’s lack of interest in, and aptitude for, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). 

Naturally, Strumia’s argument was widely refuted by experts in psychology, neuroscience, and education. Indeed, one need only look at the fact that women earn 59.9 percent of all master’s degrees and 51.8 percent of all doctoral degrees to recognize that intelligence and intellectual aptitude are not biased in favour of any gender. Yet these refutations are not enough to dampen the realization that despite improvements, women still face considerable challenges in many workplaces, especially in science-related fields. While overt sexism continues to collapse under the weight of greater insight into … Read more...