Process Improvement (TQM)

RefME is a platform I have talked about before as a useful piece of kit for managing your referencing. RefME has been purchased by another reference manager which has both free and premium (pay to use) versions called Cite this for me. RefME will shut down in due course so it might be worth considering moving to another manager. Cite this for me is a very simple to use reference manager but there are quite a few programs out there which offer both free and premium versions. A list of my top reference managers can be found below:

Zotero has chrome plugins to assist reference capture.

January 2017 Exam Timetables are now available here:

As an update to a previous post on this please note there is a newer and more often updated free desktop publishing software known as Libreoffice. Not everyone has or can afford Microsoft Office but there are plenty of free packages out there that do much the same as Microsoft office and are similarly easy to use. You can get a free office suite of programs from many companies and organisations but one of my favourites is Libre Office. Select the version open office for your system here:

In 2013 it was agreed by European Pharmaceutical Associations that a new policy around disclosure of payments was to be implemented by member Associations. The IPHA (Irish Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association) who are a member of the EFPIA set up a website to document all payments made from Pharmaceutical companies in Ireland to Irish healthcare professionals. The code is voluntary unlike the open payments system in the US which came in under the sunshine act. The first data disclosed related to 2015 and was published in a central industry report on the IPHA website on 30th June 2016. As the code is voluntary, Irish healthcare professionals can refuse to be listed and currently according to the IPHA about 55% of them are partaking in the voluntary code. You can find more details at the links below:

Transfer of Value

An explanation of the code

Search the database




If anyone would like to use an app instead of their browser when doing my in class revision quizzes feel free to download the app for Android or iPhone/iPad below.



There’s a Moodle mobile app available for iOS and Android devices. It might be useful accessing information away from your PC/Mac. The apps are available from the links below:




If you’re looking for past papers for any subject you are studying you can get them from the ITT Dublin Library website at this link:



Not everyone has or can afford Microsoft Office but there are plenty of free packages out there that do much the same as microsoft office and are similarly easy to use. You can get a free office suite of programs from many companies and organisations but one of my favourites is Open Office. Select the version open office for your system here:

The EudraLex V29  September 2014 has just been release. It is a substantial document but if you wanted to have a look at it you can download it from the link below. Warning the file size is 910mbs so it’s very large and will take a while to download on a slow connection.

For individual sections of the Eudralex you can have a look at this link:

A classmate of yours sent me this video on how to learn what the 7 quality tools are in 8 minutes. Cheers Colm!


The document below is a list of sample questions on Cp/Cpk. You can try to answer them and I’ll post the correct answers on December 15th. Remember in an exam situation write down as much info as possible. While you;ll get full marks for the Cp/Cpk value and telling me if the result is capable or not, if you get the answer wrong you’ll get nothing (if you only write the answer). So write out the formula and fill in the parts to the formula. That way if you get the answer wrong due to the calculation but I can see that you did know what to do you’ll get most of the marks for the question. Calculators will be permitted in TQM.

Cp Cpk questions

This link is from the United States Environmental Protection Agency and offers a good explanation of what the Kanban system is in lean manufacturing:

One of the students on the course (Thanks Colm!) found this good YouTube video on how to create Pareto charts in excel. Hopefully this will help you if you’re creating them for your learning to learn assignments.

Below are some videos illustarting lean manufacturing and the Kanban system
Lean Manufacturing:


Kanban System in a Bakery


Variation on Kanban Cards

You might see Gantt charts mentioned throughout the notes. While not specifically part of our studies It is worth knowning what they are. A Gantt chart is a simply a type of bar chart that maps out a project timeline or schedule. Gantt charts illustrate the start and finish dates of different elements and what elements of a project can run together or after each other. It can also list information on milestones or major events/meetings. Below are some examples:

example gantt chart Gantt Swiftlight-Timeline-Example4

Here’s a few examples of some FMEA documents covering different topics.


FMEA Patient

FMEA Phone call

O-ring FMEA

This document below is a good guide for producing FMEA documents too.


Finally this document below is an FMEA for applying wax to doors during car manufacture.



The link below is to a summary page of the 10 steps to creating a Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA).

10 steps to creating a FMEA


The link below is to an example of the critical path network. Here we’re looking at the building of a garage and trying to work out the critical path (the longest time from start to finish) and what jobs need to be done together or before others and finally on what jobs we have extra time to complete. Please refer to the powerpoint slides for critical path method on Moodle and the corresponding chapter for more information on the process.

Critical Path Network (Garage construction)

I thought this website had a nice summary of what DOE is:

Here’s an example of a full factorial table. The Problem Statement here could be “What is the most fuel efficient way of driving my car”.

07-11-2013 11-21-43

The factors and levels are:

Speed: 55mph or 60mph

Petrol Octane: 85 or 90

Tire Pressure: 30psi or 35psi

The response or read out for the experiment is the mpg.

As we can see the best combination of factors and levels that offers us the highest mpg (miles per gallon) is Speed 55mph, Petrol Octane 90 and Tire Pressure 35psi as this offers us 40mpg.

I have updated the post on the video (coffee machines) explaining what Cp and Cpk are to include a video of me explaining what Standard Deviation and Mean are. You can download it from this post here:

The UCL or upper control limit and LCL or lower control limit are limits set by your process based on the actual amount of variation of your process. 

The USL or upper specification limit and LSL or lower specification limit are limits set by your customers requirements. This is the variation that they will accept from your process.

Below is a control chart illustrating this. The specification limits (customer related variation)  will always be wider then the control limits (process related variation).


Below are two more examples of opportunity flowcharts showing where cost is added or value is added.

Picture2 Picture3

Below is another example of an Interrelationship Digraph. Note the number of arrows going into boxes and out of boxes. The boxes with more arrows going in are for long term events/goals and the boxes with more arrows going out of them are the tasks that should be accomplished first.


This is a figure showing the 4 group development stages, 1) Forming, 2) Storming, 3) Norming, 4) Performing.

Tuckmans Group Development Stages

Courtesy Slideshare

The process decision program chart (PDPC) is a tool for contingency planning. It begins by listing the steps in a particular activity. It then lists what could go wrong at each step and finally it lists the counter measures for things that can go wrong.


Sometimes it is drawn in the flow chart format below.


The prioritization matrix enables the selection of priority items by applying a set of criteria to each item.



The tree diagram takes a purpose and logically breaks it into action items. As you read from left to right it goes in a logical progression from general to specific. If you read the chart from left to right, it answers the question “how accomplished?” If you read it from right to left, it answers the question “why?”

Tree Diagram

Cp is Process Capability Ratio, it tells us if a process is capable (at least 1 or greater). For six sigma the Cp value must be 2 or greater. It estimates what the process is capable of producing if the process mean were to be centered between the specification limits. It assumes process output is approximately normally distributed. Cpk is Process Capability Index, it estimates what the process is capable of producing, considering that the process mean may not be centered between the specification limits. Below is a video explaining the two.   You can download another video explaining what Cp/Cpk, Standard deviation and Mean are here:

This is an example of an Affinity Diagram, one of the Seven Management Tools, for illustration purposes only.

Fluid Engage all-hands (June 22-24, 2009) - Affinity diagram from brainstorm











At the link below is a nice short video explaining the “Plan-Do-Check-Act” (PDCA) cycle from Deming. It’s only 60 secs long and it sums up what PDCA is very nicely.

The QR code below can also be used on your phone to take you to the video.

I found a better explanation for Pareto charts then the one in the notes. I’ll go through it in the next lecture but you’re welcome to study the explanation in the pdf linked to below (Courtesy ASQ)

Pareto Diagram

The video explaining it can be found here

This is a better example of a deployment flowchart then in the powerpoint slides. It shows how people and groups relate to the process and to one another.


Total Quality Management / TQM is an integrative philosophy of management for continuously improving the quality of products and processes.[1]

TQM is based on the premise that the quality of products and processes is the responsibility of everyone involved with the creation or consumption of the products or services which are offered by an organization, requiring the involvement of management, workforce, suppliers, and customers, to meet or exceed customer expectations.


Process Improvement:

This two videos will hopefully illustrate the purpose and benefits of Total Quality Management