International Material Data System (IMDS)

By Wally Stegall and Jon M Quigley:

In today’s global economy the laws and regulations governing materials used in products is ever changing. One way to stay ahead or at least know where a product stands relative to laws and a regulation is to know the material content of the product from day one. If you are planning on being an automotive supplier APQP requires IMDS for some PPAPs or a manufacturer of any product today, you need to understand industry approaches to material content reporting to show compliance to laws and regulations. One approach to collecting and reporting your material content is the International Material Data System (IMDS). IMDS is a computer-based material data system used and funded primarily by automotive OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturer of cars, trucks, heavy vehicles, agricultural equipment, construction equipment, industrial equipment, military vehicles, and other apparatus) although other manufacturers use IMDS to manage environmental care aspects of products.

Does this sound expensive? It does … Continue reading

“I know, I know!”

Beware the “I know, I know” syndrome from an enthusiastic employee. The event occurs when the employee remembers a similar incident with a returned part, production line failure, or software issue. Unfortunately, reasoning from effects to causes is actually a logical fallacy called “affirming the consequent.”

We cannot assume that a given effect has but one cause. Hence, when we have an untoward incident in our business, we need to be aware of our assumptions as we confront the problem–something more easily stated than accomplished. When we test, we always need to take some extra steps to try and very the specific cause for the effect we are seeing and avoid the logical fallacy.

We can apply the same thinking to good things that occur as well. Often, we don’t really understand what is causing the salubrious effect we are seeing. Even worse, we may be seeing the effect of a relatively random cause but still assign the cause to … Continue reading

More on the Power of the Routine Task

Our previous post discussed the power of the routine task. Part of the purpose of this approach is to achieve a state of wei-wu-wei or “effortless effort,” where our achievements seem to occur almost as if by magic. Objectives and targets begin to finish on or ahead of schedule, yet we don’t appear to really be doing that much.

We can also tie in our efforts to the quality concept of kaizen, also known as incremental and relentless improvement by small changes (not the fly-by-night “kaizen event”). Not only does our work appear to happen by itself, but the 10,000 changes also effect a steady modification of the organizational culture. We are leery of programs, books, and consultants who promise a transformation! No, we don’t think it works that way and nothing we have seen in the workplace supports these supposed transformations.

We suggest thinking long and hard before making drastic changes; that is, unless you are already in a … Continue reading

The Power of the Routine Task

One of the most important concepts we have seen in any environment where we need to get things done is the POWER OF THE ROUTINE TASK. Basically, we make any work that needs to be accomplished part of a routine, say, in the morning, when we begin our workaday activities.

Some of these tasks are items we do every day. Some of them we only do for two weeks or even less time. The point is that they get done because we set aside a few minutes a day to work on them. This approach is a rational alternative to the unacceptable “I didn’t have time to do it.” Of course, the power of the routine task requires a smidgen of planning in order to be effective, but effective it is.

I wrote my first book in 30 days using this approach. Every day, I set myself a specific number of pages and graphics that needed to be completed that … Continue reading

Training thoughts

Are you tired of training that is mostly blather from the speaker/teacher/trainer? We use techniques that eliminate this issue. For example, we are fond of “training games” that allow our clients to get some person-to-person and hands on activity. We also ask you to work examples of the kind of material we are training on; for example, if we are presenting material about the work breakdown structure, you can guess that we will have a class activity that includes the creation of a work breakdown structure. In some cases, of course, we have to build documents in the small due to time constraints, but every client should come away with some kind of example of how the document or task is performed! Training is not about the trainer–it is about the trainee and we want to keep our focus on the people receiving the benefit. We have also found that after-the-training-event follow up is important also, particularly if we want … Continue reading

Measurement and assumptions

Measurement system oddities Continue reading


Congratulations to two attendees at the 2011 PlugIn event in Raleigh North Carolina.

The winner of the test book: Anja Hartung, Duke Energy, PEV Program, Charlotte, NC

The winner of the SCRUM book: Melinda Spangler, SPX Service Solutions, Warren, MI


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