February  2003

Vol. 5, No. 2

Quality Quiz

Walker Runn tried to dazzle his boss, Dan Druff, last month with his knowledge of the f-test, but once again got caught using a hammer when he needed tweezers. (Knowing which tool applies is half the battle, after all.) His colleagues, knowing his propensity to rush headlong into things, especially when he believes he will gain recognition for any success, simply roll their eyes when he stumbles.

Walker is rarely daunted by what people think, however. Plotting once more to achieve a success that will catapult him into a promotion, he remembers the upcoming ISO audit that his company, paint manufacturer Color in a Can, is facing. The challenge that Walker Runn has been trying to forget about since the last audit is that special attention will be given in the upcoming review to the company’s measurement system analysis. As he set up an appointment for the next visit, the auditor mentioned the bias study recommended by the AIAG. Checking Google to find out what AIAG is, he discovers a site for the Automobile Industry Action Group in Troy, MI., and orders the third edition of Measurement Systems Analysis, published by the group.

Finding “bias” on page 85, he reads avidly, but unfortunately understands only one concept that he finds: “Bias is the difference between the observed average of measurements and the reference value” (p. 6). Committing those words to memory, Walker Runn is ready for the auditor.

Sure enough, in the first meeting with Walker and Dan Druff, the auditor, Mark Miwerrds, asks about the bias in Color in a Can’s measurement system. Walker responds confidently, “Of course, Color in a Can has no bias, but is normal in its operations. The company doesn’t change in any way over any operating range.”

The look on Miwerrds’ face made Walker think, “Uh oh,” and to re-evaluate whether he might have gotten some words mixed up from the definition that he had memorized. How close was he to saying something true?

a) Walker Runn is actually not far off base with his comment about bias.

b) He has bumbled himself into a major finding in the ISO audit.  


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