The Space Shuttle Disasters and Quality Management

On January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger was destroyed 73 seconds after lifting off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Seven crew members died, a $3 billion-dollar orbital vehicle was lost, and NASA’s Space Shuttle program was suspended for 32 months.

Graphic of a space shuttle taking off through space

The official cause of the disaster was the failure of an O-ring to prevent hot gases from leaking through the joint in the solid rocket motor during launch.[i] The Rogers Commission – the body tasked with investigating the disaster – found that the O-ring design had been a point of concern for several years prior to the disaster, but that any concerns had been either poorly communicated or ignored in favor of maintaining project delivery on-time and on-budget.[ii]

In addition to the faulty initial design of the O-rings, the Commission determined that the unusually cold temperatures at the time of the launch (conditions in which none of the … Read more...

The Culture of Quality in the Automotive Industry

Each industry will have different interpretations of the concept of Quality and how to prioritize its tenets within their own field of practice, expertise and work experience. Perhaps the best fundamental principle is the definition of Quality from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as “the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements where a requirement is a need or expectation.”

Graphic of frontline workers working at an auto plant

Automotive quality management dates to Henry Ford’s vision of a trained workforce assembling mass-produced vehicles with consistency and precision. Today, automotive quality reflects three principles:

  • Quality in Product means the ability of the vehicle to fulfil its expected functions and behavior, such as engine efficiency, product features and environmental exhaust standards.
  • Quality in Production means producing vehicles of a consistent quality standard while working within defined cost constraints.
  • Quality in Ownership relates to customer satisfaction during their ownership of the vehicle. This includes the customer experience

The Case for EHSQ Integrated Management Systems

Have you ever wondered if there is a better way to manage your organization’s management systems using an Integrated Management System?  Silos and disparate systems should be a thing of the past.  Between the Quality Management System (QMS), Safety Management System (SMS), and Environmental Management System (EMS), there is abundant opportunity to eliminate inefficiency and duplication of activities especially in more complex organizations with multiple business units.

To learn more, watch this webinar hosted by ASQ (American Society for Quality) where Peter-Elias Alouche discusses:

  • The importance of the customer’s perspective
  • Why businesses should integrate their management systems
  • What is an EHSQ Integrated Management System anyways?
  • What are some of the opportunities to start integrating management systems today
  • The importance of culture

Whenever you assess or improve the effectiveness of your organization’s management system(s), you need to think about your customers and what they want. It’s easy to get caught up … Read more...