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/

How BSI is Creating Health and Safety Standards to Protect the Public from COVID-19.

Face Masks and BSI Standards

Before 2020, most people who didn’t work in health and safety or who weren’t required to wear PPE for their job knew what the acronym means. By March of that year, the coronavirus pandemic had ensured that the term personal protective equipment (PPE) was now on everyone’s lips.

Since then, news reports and social interactions have been dominated with discussions about masks. Health agencies, governments, and private businesses have provided guidance and policies about wearing masks in public, while the early stages of the pandemic saw massive supply chain failures endanger the flow of critical supplies of PPE like N95 respirators to the healthcare workers who needed them most. Since most people don’t typically keep a supply of personal PPE such as masks available to them at all times, the mandates requiring masks in public created a surging demand for cloth masks, which was met by various entrepreneurs, clothiers, and … Read more...

Does Document Management Apply to Fish? The Answer is More Complicated Than You Might Think

Document Management

In 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that a fish is not a document. While this might seem like an absurd problem for one of the most powerful legal organizations in the world to consider, the idea behind it is an important one that might have an impact on how you do your job. On August 23, 2007, John Yates, the captain of the fishing boat Miss Katie, was fishing off the coast of Florida when he was found to have caught and kept a number of red grouper fish that were under the legal minimum size limit of 20 inches. The field officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission instructed Yates to return to port and keep the fish for evidence. Instead, Yates threw the fish back into the sea, effectively destroying the evidence against him.

In response, the Department of Justice … Read more...

How Quality 4.0 is Changing the Future of Business: Part 5

Quality 4.0 holds the potential to provide innovative new business models, particularly for smaller firms. (Radziwill, 2020). While the financial investment in technology will be a constraint for some organizations, the reality for most is that the customers and end-users will increasingly expect businesses to respond to their needs for customization and enhanced customer experience. Ibarra et al (2018) suggest several different approaches for new business models. 

Service-Oriented Approach 

Organizations should move from a product-focus to a service-focus of which products are simply one component. The Product-Service System (PSS) is a framework that integrates product development and offerings to provide customizable solutions that meet specific customer needs and are co-created with the customer.  

Network-Oriented Approach 

As demonstrated by Logistics 4.0, organizations must look beyond vertical integration and embrace both horizontal and vertical integration across the value chain. This integration will blur the line between one organization and the … Read more...

How Quality 4.0 is Changing the Future of Business: Part 4

In the last few weeks, we’ve explored some of the different ways in which Quality 4.0 is changing the future of quality in areas such as logistics and maintenance. In this installment, we’ll look at the impact of Quality 4.0 on health and safety. 


Healthy Operator 4.0 


In traditional manufacturing environments, keeping workers safe is an ongoing concern. While most organizations dedicate significant resources to worker safety, variability in job roles and individual performance can make it difficult to prescribe operating procedures that prevent injury and illness from over-exertion or cognitive overload. Humans, after all, are not machines, and small differences between the way people perform a task like carrying a heavy load can mean the difference between safety and crippling musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) that are both painful and expensive. 

Industry 4.0 provides the technology to collect real-time data on job performance. This can be used to design physical … Read more...

How Quality 4.0 is Changing the Future of Business: Part III

Quality 4.0

In this installment of our series dedicated to Quality 4.0, we continue our look at some of the practical applications of Quality 4.0 methods in different industries. With supply chain being a prominent concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, the tools of Quality 4.0 promise to alleviate many of the stresses that currently plague industries around the world and to improve the future of global supply networks. 


Logistics 4.0 


Supply chains, particularly those that stretch across international boundaries, are extraordinarily complex systems. They involve millions of products moving across multiple touchpoints. Every participant contributes to the goals of maximizing efficiency, productivity, and profit while minimizing damage, risk, and threats to safety.  

Logistics examines how producers, inspectors, and distributors are interconnected and can complement one another to increase overall system performance. This contrasts with the typical approach taken inside of an organization, in which individual functions pursue their own agendas and … Read more...

How Quality 4.0 is Changing the Future of Business: Part II

Industry 4.0 and Quality 4.0

In our previous blog on Quality 4.0, we introduced the ways in which the principles of Industry 4.0 have impacted the practice of quality. In today’s blog, we’ll look at the first of a series of case studies to see how this revolution plays out in today’s organizations.


Maintenance 4.0


Equipment failure in a manufacturing environment can disrupt cash flow and productivity. Not only do machine repairs cost money and time to repair, but there is also a cost to sitting idle. Time and money are lost through decreased productivity and missed deadlines, while rushed work (for example, immediately after recovery from the failures) can lead to additional product defects or safety hazards. While traditional maintenance techniques react to machine failures only after they occur, Maintenance 4.0 offers the opportunity to collect data to predict and prevent machine downtime before it occurs, potentially protecting millions of dollars of productivity … Read more...

How Quality 4.0 is Changing the Future of Business: Part 1

Quality 4.0
What is Industry 4.0?


Industry 4.0 is one of the most frequently occurring terms in contemporary business articles. Entering “Industry 4.0” into the Google search engine produces 298 million hits in English alone. Many technology companies are talking about it, promoting it, and selling it. However, defining what it means and who it impacts can be a difficult task.

The concept of Industry 4.0 was introduced in 2011 at the Hannover Fair. This project, launched by the German government, was dedicated to the accelerating digital transformation in Germany’s manufacturing industries. Also referred to as Smart Manufacturing or Smart Production, the concept derives from the “fourth industrial revolution,” which is the modern culmination of industrial macrotrends since the late 1700’s:

  • Industry 1.0: the introduction of machine production to replace manual production in the eighteenth century.
  • Industry 2.0: the introduction of electricity, railroads, and the telegraph to augment machine production in
Read more...

How COVID-19 Exposed the Shortcomings of How We Use Data

Data and Healthcare

Many of us spent much of 2020 looking at news reports and websites filled with visual representations of COVID-19 data. We saw epidemiological modelling, financial modelling, graphs, mortality rates, and much more all represented in vivid colors and complex, intersecting lines and bars. Among the many reasons for which we will remember 2020, one will be that it was the year the benefits of data went mainstream.

Yet the COVID-19 pandemic also exposed many of the ways our policies concerning data sharing, quality, and governance have fallen short and failed to provide decision-makers with the information they need when they need it. Although the pandemic is far from over, the development of multiple vaccines that will slow its advance means we must start assessing what we have learned, creating new plans of action, and preparing for making sure we are better prepared next time.

The Trinity Challenge is a coalition … Read more...

Necessity is the Mother of Invention: ISO Responds to COVID-19 with ISO/PAS 45005:2020

ISO 45005:2020 and COVID-19

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations are reaching previously unimaginable levels of efficiency in their quest to bring stability and safety back to a desperate world. While everyone has been focused on the speed with which pharmaceutical researchers are producing COVID-19 vaccines, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has been working on providing a new specification in the 45000 series for occupational health and safety during the pandemic.


The Development of ISO/PAS 45005:2020


ISO/PAS 45005:2020: Occupational health and safety management—General guidelines for safe working during the COVID-19 pandemic was developed by ISO/TC 283 for Occupational Health and Safety Management in only three months, which is a far cry from the usual three years it takes to develop a standard. ISO/PAS 45005:2020 provides information that helps organizations in the following areas:

  • To protect workers and stakeholders from COVID-19 in the workplace.
  • To provide evidence that it is
Read more...

People, Processes, and Tools: How Industrial Scientific and Intelex are Securing the Vaccine Cold Supply Chain

Students of history know that wars are often won and lost on the basis of their supply chains. Delivering the materials for war, such as ammunitions, medical supplies, and food, is a vital function in any military operation. An efficient and resilient supply chain can mean the difference between a world-class military and a ramshackle group of people unable to manage the basic principles of organization.

In the battle against the novel coronavirus, the supply chain for delivering the vaccine will be as vital for defeating the virus as was the research that produced the vaccine. Hundreds of thousands of workers and a mix of dozens of public and private organizations will make up the army that will be required to deliver the vaccine to the people that need it the most. Cutting-edge technology solutions for health and safety will be vital to ensuring the safety and security of the … Read more...