10 Characteristics of Effective Quality Management Systems

Quality management systems can become cumbersome and bureaucratic if not properly developed, implemented and maintained. Effective quality management systems have ten common characteristics that I have discovered in my consulting practice over the past couple of decades. These common denominators of quality management, when properly implemented, can improve your organization’s ability to satisfy customer and manage your processes and products more effectively. These ten common denominators are relevant and applicable for organizations seeking ISO 9001, AS 9100, ISO 13485 or TS 16949 registration.

1. A process is in place to ensure the needs and expectations of customers and other interested parties are clearly defined.

2. The quality policy and quality objectives are defined, deployed throughout the organization and understood by employees at all levels.

3. Processes are documented in simple to use procedures that are up to date and controlled while responsibilities of personnel are established and followed up on to achieve objectives.

4. Resources to meet objectives are identified and provided. Resources include people, processes, equipment and infrastructure.

5. Metrics are established and monitored for each process. The old adage, “If it is not worth measuring, it is not worth doing,” is certainly true for business processes. When a process is not monitored and measured, how can leaders know if it is producing the desired outcomes? Many organizations fail to establish criteria for monitoring and measuring processes and as a result inefficiencies are rampant and it is very difficult to implement corrective actions that really work.

6. Management is committed to using the metrics for process improvements and for communications within the organization as well as for holding people accountable for their performance. Accountability is dependent upon two factors: 1)the people know what is expected and 2), the leaders follow-up to insure people do what is expected.

7. A process is in place for preventing non-conforming product or services and in the event non-conforming the situation is documented and corrective actions taken. In the case of non-conforming product, the process provides for identification and segregation to prevent it from getting to a customer.

8. Continual improvement is a priority and simple approaches are implemented to involve people throughout the organization in identifying continual improvement opportunities.

9. A framework for verification of processes and products is in place and functioning as planned. This includes internal audits of the processes as well as product quality verification at various stages of production.

10. Management is involved in the system and reviews the entire system at appropriate intervals to insure the system is functioning as planned, is effective for the business and is being maintained.

A quality management system built on these ten foundational principles will give your business a competitive advantage and should not be a bureaucratic nightmare.

The 5R’s in Waste Management

The 5 R’s – The key factors that are to be remembered in respect of waste management are – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover and Replace.

1. Reduce – wherever possible reduce waste production. One can always reduce waste production by following these simple guidelines:

a. Use or buy only what is needed – when there is no waste generated, then there is no waste to be treated. Make a shopping list before going for shopping. This will ensure that you don’t buy things which are not needed. Don’t give in to temptation by buying random items.

b. Buy items that can be re-used like rechargeable batteries. This will create very less waste as they can be reused more than once.

c. Unsubscribe from paper mails and instead opt for emails.

d. Buy products with minimum packing. Flashy and fun packaging does not necessarily mean better product quality.

e. Say NO to plastic bags. Carry your own reusable shopping bags.

f. Spread the word on waste reduction at source – more people adopting waste reduction means less waste generated.

2. Reuse – if waste is produced, explore the feasibility of reusing the waste. Don’t throw away items that are reusable. Reduce waste by making full use of any item. Here are some useful ideas on how to reuse those everyday bits and pieces.

a. Re-use old clothes by stitching items like cloth bags, cushion covers, table / sofa covers etc. Those that cannot be reused as such can be used as waste cloth for cleaning.

b. Re-use old tires in the garden as swings or as pots for growing small plants.

c. Re-use glass bottles and jars as storage containers after cleaning and drying.

d. Re-use envelopes by sticking labels over the address.

e. Re-use plastic bags as waste bin bags.

3. Recycle – if reusing is not feasible, explore the next option of recycling the waste. As there are economic and environmental costs associated with waste collection and recycling, it should be considered only where reduction and reuse of waste is not practicable / feasible. Most of the household and work place items can be effectively recycled with a little effort. Here are some tips on adopting recycling:

a. Keep recyclable trash containers at strategic locations at home / work place. This will foster better participation in the recycling process from every one.

b. Don’t throw something out just because it is old or broken. Repair and repurpose it for use again.

c. Recycle food waste by composting using compost bins.

4. Recover – it may be possible to recover materials or energy from waste which cannot be reduced, reused or recycled. For instance, Sweden has been successfully generating biogas and fuel oil from waste and trash.

5. Replace – adopt eco-friendly goods or lifestyles, such as using handkerchiefs instead of tissues, travel by public transport instead of private cars, walk or cycle for short commuting distances, adopt car-pooling for long distance commuting instead of self-driving etc.

Habit is a powerful tool in our daily life. Most of the things we do in our daily life are a matter of habit. Buying unwanted items, using tissues instead of handkerchief / cloth napkins are all habits which have been ingrained into us. The trick lies in changing these habits into environmental friendly habits, a challenging task for anyone, but still necessary for a better world. In other words, the 5 Rs should be practised as a norm rather than as an exception.

Renko Charts – Which Box Size Is Best for Trading Forex?

The most frequently asked question I field about Renko Charts is: what box size should I use? In this article I’ll explain why the only honest answer I can give is “it depends.”

But first, just to ensure this article will make sense, let me briefly explain how Renko charts work. Renko charts use a “flexible” candle or box size, which you determine when you load the indicator onto your charts.

As price moves up your designated number of pips, a new blue (bullish) candle will form. However, if a new candle opens (let’s say the Box size is 10 pips) and then price falls 20 pips, a new red (bearish) candle will close. This is because price must move 10 pips either above the last close or below the last opening in order for a new box to appear and close on your charts.

This is what makes Renko charting so attractive to so many traders…the lack of wicks and the lack of numerous candles that fail to go anywhere but which cause your various indicators to give off a mixed variety of Buy and Sell signals, none of which have any validity.

Understanding how Renko candles form and close then gives rise to our FAQ: which box size works best when trading the Renko charts?

As mentioned above, the only honest answer is “it depends” and what it depends upon is what kind of forex trader is using Renko charting.

Some traders are best suited to be long-term traders. They tend to focus on hourly or 4 hour charts and watch for new trends to develop, jumping in once said trend is spotted and hanging in as long as they can to bank a maximum number of pips.

These types of traders should use larger box settings, such as 25 or 30 pips. If price moves up 25 pips and forms a new box, it must move DOWN by 50 pips in order to open a new box in the opposite direction. If you are familiar with trading pairs like the EUR/USD or the GBP/USD, you realize that large price reversals such as these don’t take place all that often. Once a trend is established in one direction, that trend will normally continue for 100-200 pips. Using a large box setting like 25 or 30 will eliminate those counter signals you might get using a 1 hour or 4 hour chart (those signals that cause you to exit a trade early, before another big move in your direction).

Other traders are more attracted to scalping and the kind of quick profits you can make on a 5-20 pip move. By using a 3 or 4 pip box size setting, these traders are in prime position to see every mini-trend as it forms and are able to buy and sell numerous times in any given hour during the London and NY trading sessions, banking 5-20 pips in profit each time.

When I respond to the question “which box size should I use?” my response will always ask the trader to perform a little self-analysis and determine whether they are a long-term trader or a scalper. Once I know the answer to that question, I can give them a more specific answer than “it depends.”

Effective Financial Goal: The Five Characteristics

In financial management studies, an effective financial goal should have 5 characteristics which could be easily remembered as S-M-A-R-T. The following paragraphs explain all the 5 characteristics:

1) Specific

We might be thinking of being financially free but do you know what it takes? This goal is seems to be too general. Our goal needs to be specific so that we can focus particularly in each area of financial planning and easily to manage our own expectations. Specific goal normally has only one outcome.

For example, goal to invest RM200 per month in unit trust and accumulate at least RM2400 in a year; or spend within our budget every month. These specific goals are going to have different outcomes but when combined, they will ensure our cash flow to be healthy. When each specific goal is accomplished, we are getting nearer to financial freedom.

2) Measurable

We might be working very hard, but how do we know whether our goal is achieved? Therefore, our financial goals should be quantifiable.

For instances, we want to invest and accumulate RM50,000 in 2 years and the progress can be easily quantified by looking at our investment account statement.

In fact, we must be able to measure or review the progress of achieving the goal such as calculating our current net worth, debt-to-income ratio and reviewing, return-on-investment (ROI) and our current insurance policy. It is good if we can keep a journal and review our current planning.

3) Achievable

Many people are influenced by the ‘Law of Attraction’ and believe that ‘nothing is impossible’. Because of this, we’re tend to set difficult goals which require great effort. However, are these goals realistic and achievable? It’s important to know whether the goal is within our potential and logical norm.

For example, if your target is to achieve RM1 million in a year by only investing RM1000 per month in any scheme. How likely can these be achieved? In fact, such investment scheme will require very high ROI within a short duration and often comes with very high risk. You might lost your capital easily.

The most importantly, we should not stretch ourselves to achieve unrealistic goals. This is to avoid frustration over failure which could ended up in great disappointment.

4) Rewarding

We want to achieve a goal because want to get something in return or else nobody will work hard. While working towards goal achievement, we must be certain on the outcome to be achieved and it’s importance to our life. In fact, it must be meaningful and enjoyable.

For example, a man wants to invest his money to accumulate education fund for his son in 20 years. In the future, this goal will be rewarding because his son will be able to enroll into higher education.

However, the rewards could be in any form such as material, financial, relationship and spiritual.

5) Time-bounded

We need adequate time to achieve our goals. It could be short-term, medium-term or long-term, depending on the type of goals to be achieved. Timeliness has been an important aspect in life. Therefore, we should allocate a time frame to avoid procrastination. It will be good if we can set a schedule for everything to be done.

For instances, saving for retirement would require many years because it is a long-term planning and involved huge sum of money. Therefore, planning for retirement in a short-term (1 to 5 years) could be unrealistic unless someone is willing to have huge commitment on this.

In brief, time is priceless because it gives chances for development and create greater outcomes. Therefore, the wise man always said, ‘start early and stop procrastinating’.

Summary

An effective financial goal would always has these SMART characteristics; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Rewarding and Time-bounded. This is to ensure that our goals are meaningful and get us closer to financial freedom. Good luck in your goal setting.