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/

Mitigating Threats and Uncovering Opportunity: Learning About the Complexity of Risk

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the concept of risk-based thinking to worldwide attention. The global scale of the pandemic and the indiscriminate way in which the virus is transmitted mean that risk experts must consider a vast number of risk profiles when calculating the threat.

Consider this: COVID-19 can be transmitted from anyone to anyone, which means every single person on the planet is at risk. Yet the nature of the virus and the different contexts in which people live mean that not everyone shares the same level of risk. Elderly people and those with pre-existing conditions are at very high risk of serious complications from COVID-19, while young, healthy people are at a much lower level of risk.

The economy is facing an extreme risk from the disruption to the labor market and mandatory isolation of consumers who would normally be out spending money, yet fully digital enterprises like … Read more...

Why Risk-Based Thinking Should Be Part of Your Quality Management System

While the concept of risk is easy enough to understand, figuring out how to apply it to your organization can be somewhat more complicated. Learning how to manage the effect of uncertainty in such a way as to determine the impact on how value is created and sustained requires a deep understanding of your organization’s processes. Many organizations are tempted to avoid these difficulties by ignoring risk management altogether, which can lead to cost overruns, time delays, waste, rework, or even to more serious problems that have an impact on health and safety or the environment.

Fortunately, ISO 9001:2015 for quality management systems (QMS) can provide some much-needed guidance on how to make risk-based thinking the cornerstone of your QMS. ISO 9001:2015 incorporates risk-based thinking throughout to help your organization make better quality decisions that anticipate and prevent process problems. It also incorporates the high-level structure of Annex SL to … Read more...

What Is a Quality Management System (QMS) and Why Do You Need One?

A quality management system allows an organization to link business objectives with customer expectations, provide data that supports evidence-based decision making by leadership, reduce waste and prevent rework, and ensure transparency at each stage of the supply chain.

The cost of poor quality can be high for many organizations. Expensive waste, product rework or recalls, supply chains that lack accountability, and lack of insight into your customer requirements are symptoms of a quality management problem. If you’ve thought about implementing quality practices in your organization, you’ve probably heard the term “quality management system” or its acronym “QMS” and wondered what it means. Is it a software application? Is it a group of people? How can I learn about it? 

This short guide will help you to understand the basics of a quality management system and where to find the best guidance to get started on the path to continual quality improvement in your organization. 

What is a

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The Deepwater Horizon Disaster: Why it Holds Important Lessons for Every Organization

Ten years later, the lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon incident remain important.

On April 20, 2010 at 9:49 pm, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers and injured 17. By July 15, five million barrels of oil had flowed from the ruptured well into the Gulf of Mexico. This caused untold environmental and economic disaster for the region, the effects of which continue to resonate to this day. 

Ten years later, the story of the Deepwater Horizon remains important. The Report to the President by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling summarized the technology failures. On the face of it, these failures were responsible for the immediate disaster.

Significant Technology Failures

In summary, the most significant technology failure was that of the blowout preventer (BOP), which did not sever and seal the well … Read more...

How Hello Fresh and Intelex Are Managing the Global Food Supply Chain

Today’s global food supply chains are more complex than they’ve ever been. Until recently, consumers ate the food they grew in their communities and would adjust their diet to suit the seasonal availability of various products like fruits and vegetables. Today, consumers can have food from any part of the world as part of their regular diet. In the United States alone, food travels on average 1,300 miles from farm to fork, with 33% of products and 80% of seafood imported from other countries. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates food products that are processed by more than 300,000 different facilities in over 150 different countries.

In such a complex supply chain, food travels around the world in the custody of multiple agents, with variations in documentation and processing resulting in loss of critical information about food origins and authenticity. In many cases, the food itself goes … Read more...

Using an Integrated Management System in Your Organization

Many of today’s organizations use management systems to establish policies and procedures for achieving their objectives. Most frequently, organizations have management systems to support quality, health and safety, environment and sustainability, and data privacy. Management systems are not, by definition, technology solutions. Instead, they are conceptual models of the organizational processes and responsibilities that help coordinate everything in the direction of a common goal. However, while a management system can theoretically use paper-based manual processes, the increasing complexity of the global marketplace and the attendant compliance requirements mean that most organizations will need a reliable cloud-based technology solution to support their management systems. 

Management systems are often segregated from one another in the organization. For example, the quality management system might be separate from the safety management system. This creates the risk of isolated responses to incidents that impact each individual management system. It also means considerable duplication of effort, which wastes both human and financial resources. To … Read more...

NAEM Provides Insight into Emerging Tech Trends for Environment, Health, Safety, and Sustainability

According to technology thought leaders, we are now in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In this scenario, the mechanized manufacturing of the First Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth-century, the mass production of industry in the Second Industrial Revolution in the early twentieth-century, and the computerized processes of the middle of the twentieth-century have given way to the smart, data-driven automation of the twenty-first-century. Manual processes have been replaced by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Natural Language Processing (NLP). Processes that used to require significant personal attention and maintenance can now be fully automated with minimal human interaction and can generate vast amounts of data that can be analyzed to produce information for critical, real-time decision making across the organization.

Leaders in environment, health, safety, and sustainability (EHS&S) are justified in being excited for these developments. Greater automation means machines and … Read more...

How Quality 4.0 Can Support Successful Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is a way of using cutting-edge technology to solve traditional problems and create new models for knowledge organization, revenue generation, and innovation. Since 2010, the topic of digital transformation has been the focus of considerable attention in every industry. It holds the promise of digital platforms that provide a single-source-of-truth for collecting, analyzing, and sharing data and information across the organization to allow immediate, data-driven decision making that can help to confront any operational challenge.

However, many organizations fall into the trap of believing that a successful digital transformation project is simply a matter of purchasing the correct technology, and that the technology itself will dictate the behaviour and processes that lead to organizational excellence. As a result, many digital transformation projects collapse and fail before creating any meaningful change in the organization.

Quality 4.0 can help prevent this. It’s a digital transformation strategy that emphasizes quality and … Read more...

More Lessons from the Boeing 737 MAX: How Culture of Quality Failures Led to Tragedy

In a previous post, we explored how the disasters involving the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft since 2018 reflect the importance of effective procedural documentation and proper training, particularly during the introduction of new products or services that are drastically different from earlier versions. The 737 MAX story, however, provides many lessons that can be applied to any industry. Today, we’ll look at how the failure of quality culture at Boeing led to such extraordinary human tragedy.  

To review the facts, Boeing introduced the 737 MAX as an update to the 737 NG to compete with Airbus. This update included a structural redesign that made the 737 MAX vulnerable to stalls resulting from the nose drifting up during certain maneuvers. To remedy this, Boeing designed the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS), a software application that would correct the angle of attack by pushing the nose back down without the pilots being aware … Read more...

Protect the Future with ISO 14001:2015

In December 2019, world leaders gathered for the Madrid Climate Change Conference (COP25) to discuss ways to implement the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement is a part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and is intended to find ways to prevent the world’s temperature from rising more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. It also promotes ways to help countries create the financial and technological frameworks to meet these responsibilities while continuing to encourage innovation and economic growth. Despite the overwhelming public support for determined action to combat climate change, COP25, like many other climate change conferences, descended into a rancorous series of confrontations and accusations between rich nations, developing nations, and climate change activists. 

The international marketplace has spoken loudly that economic growth and prosperity cannot be achieved at the expense of pollution, inefficient use of resources, and degradation of ecosystems. We cannot continue to pursue unsustainable growth … Read more...