Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management (TQM) is another business management approach that focuses on the involvement of all members of the organisation to participate in improving processes, products, services, and the culture in which they work in. It is important that every team member realises how each individual and each activity affects, and in turn is affected by, others.

With the use of combined quality and management tools, TQM also aims to reduce losses brought about by wasteful practices, a common concern in most companies. Using the TQM strategy, business would also be able to identify the cause of a defect, thereby preventing it from entering the final product.

Deming’s 14 Points

At the core of the Total Quality Management concept and implementation is Deming’s 14 points, a set of guidelines on quality as conceptualised by W Edwards Deming, one of the pioneers of quality. Deming’s 14 points are as follows:

  1. Create constancy of purpose for improving products and services.
  2. Adopt the new philosophy.
  3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality.
  4. End the practice of awarding business on price alone; instead, minimise total cost by working with a single supplier.
  5. Improve constantly and forever every process for planning, production and service.
  6. Institute training on the job.
  7. Adopt and institute leadership.
  8. Drive out fear.
  9. Break down barriers between staff areas.
  10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations and targets for the workforce.
  11. Eliminate numerical quotas for the workforce and numerical goals for management.
  12. Remove barriers that rob people of pride of workmanship, and eliminate the annual rating or merit system.
  13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement for everyone.
  14. Put everybody in the company to work accomplishing the transformation.

But if you were to reduce to bare bones the TQM philosophy from Deming’s 14 points, it would all come down to two simple goals:

  1. To make things right the first time; and
  2. To work for continuous improvement.

As with all other quality management process, the end goal is to be able to offer products and services that meet and even exceed customer’s expectations.

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Data Leakage Prevention – Protecting Sensitive Information

When DuPont lost $400 million in intellectual property, it wasn’t because a hacker from the other side of the world infiltrated their system. The information was simply stolen by a former employee. Alarmingly, data loss incidents are not always caused by deliberate actions.

A file containing personal information accidentally attached to an email and sent to multiple recipients; financial data stored in a USB pen drive, accidentally left in a restaurant; or bank account data of colleagues, inadvertently posted on a company website – these are also some of the everyday causes of data loss.

A report done by research company Infowatch regarding global data leaks in 2010 showed that there were actually more accidental data leaks in that year compared to intentional ones. Accidental leaks comprised 53%, while intentional leaks comprised 42% (the rest were unidentified).

But even if they ?only? happened accidentally, breach incidents like these can still be very costly. The tens of thousands of dollars that you could sometimes end up paying in civil penalties (as in the case when you lose other people?s personal information) can just be the beginning. More costly than this is the loss of customer and investor confidence. Once you lose those, you could consequently lose a considerable portion of your business.

Confidential information that may already be leaking out right under your nose

With all the data you collect, process, exchange, and store electronically every day, your IT system has surely now become a storehouse of sensitive information. Some of them, you may be even taking for granted.

But imagine what would happen if any of the following trade secrets fell into the wrong hands: marketing plans, confidential customer information, pricing data, product development strategies, business plans, supplier information, source codes, and employee salaries.

These are not the only kind of data that you should be worried about. You could also get into trouble if your sloppy IT security fails to protect employee or client personal information such as their names; social security numbers; drivers license numbers; or bank account numbers and credit/debit card numbers along with their corresponding PINs.

In some countries, you could face onerous data breach notification requirements and heavy fines when these kind of data are involved.

There are now more holes to plug

It’s not just the different varieties of sensitive electronic information that you have to worry about. Because these data can take on different forms, i.e. data-at-rest, data-in-motion, and data-at-the-endpoints, you also need to take aim at different areas in your IT system.

Sensitive information can be found ?at rest? in each of your employees? hard disks, in your servers, storage disks, and in off-site backup disks. They can also be found ?in motion? in email, instant messaging, social networking messaging, P2P file sharing, ftp, http, and so on.

That’s not all. Your highly mobile workforce may have already introduced yet another high-risk area into your system: data-at-the-endpoints. This includes USB flash-disks, laptops, portable hard disks, CDs, and even smartphones.

The main challenge of data leak prevention

Having been made aware of the various aspects of data leakage, have you already come to grips with the extent of the task at hand?

There are two major things you need to do here to prevent data leakage.

One, you need to identify what data you have that can be considered as sensitive/confidential information. Of course you have financial information and employee salaries in your files. But do you also store personally identifiable information? Do you have trade secrets that are stored in electronic form?

Two, you need to pinpoint their locations. Are they only on your hard disks and laptops? Or have they made their way to flash drives, CDs/DVDs, or portable HDDs? Are they being transmitted through email or any other file transfer media?

The reason why you need to know what your sensitive data are as well as where they are is because you would like all efforts of securing them to be as efficient and unobtrusive as possible.

Let’s say, as a way of protecting your data, you decide to implement encryption. Since encryption can consume a lot of storage space and significantly reduce performance, it may be impractical to encrypt your entire database or all your files. For the same reason, you wouldn’t want to encrypt every single email that you send.

Thus, the best way would be to encrypt only the data that really need encryption. But again, you need to know what data needs to be encrypted and where those data can be found. That alone is no simple task.

Not only will you need to deal with the data you already have, you will also have to worry about the data that will go through your systems during the course of your day-to-day transactions.

Identifying sensitive data as it enters or leaves your system, goes through your network, or gets stored in your file system or database, and then applying the necessary security actions should be done automatically and intelligently. Otherwise, you could end up spending on a lot of man-hours or, worse, wasting them on a lot of false positives and negatives.

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ISO in Energy management

Every industry has its own set levels of quality that are considered acceptable or desirable. Energy performance like any other field is governed by some set standards. These differ across regions but international standards do exist.

ISO 50001 is the international energy standard applicable to both large and small organisations irrespective of geographical, cultural or social conditions. It outlines the best energy management practices that are considered to be the best by specifying that an organisation must integrate an energy management system and institute an energy policy, objectives, targets, and action plans taking into account legal requirements and information related to significant energy use. The energy standard is applicable to organisations.

What’s the importance of attaining energy certification?

ISO certification in any industry is a demonstration of quality or that a service or product meets the expected service standards. In energy management, ISO certification is a demonstration that an organisation or company has implemented sustainable energy management systems, completed a baseline of energy use and, is committed to continuously improve its energy performance. In addition, ISO certification assists organisations in the following ways:

? Organisations are able to optimise the existing energy-consuming assets

? Offers guidance on bench-marking, measuring, documenting, and reporting energy intensity improvements and their projected impact on reducing GHG emissions

? Creates transparency and facilitates communication on the management of energy resources

? Promotes energy management best practices and reinforces good energy management behaviours

? Assists facilities in evaluating and prioritising the implementation of new energy-efficient technologies

? Provides a framework for promoting energy efficiency throughout the supply chain

? Facilitates energy management improvements in the context of GHG emission reduction projects: The reduction of carbon emissions means therefore an organisation is able to meet government carbon reduction targets by demonstrating environmental credentials. The accruing benefits are many, ranging from increased investor confidence to more tender opportunities

Energy management software plays a vital role in helping organisations comply with energy standards through improved performance across the various functions in an organisation.

How to be cleaner and greener indoors

The supply of water on planet earth is finite hence the need to conserve this precious resource. Water is a utility that is often used in and outdoors and for that reason, water conservation activities should be undertaken everywhere.

Get greener everywhere
Water saving can be achieved through various ways. Of utmost importance, fixing leaks should be undertaken in all areas. Small household leaks can add up to gallons of water lost every day. It is therefore important to check all water system fixtures and ensure that there are no leakages.

Greener bathroom habits
Turning off taps- this should be practised in the bathroom especially while shaving and brushing teeth. One could also consider using showers instead of baths since showers use less water and get into the habit of taking shorter showers.

Clean and green dishes
The kitchen is one of the areas where a lot of water is used. Some of the ways through which water can be conserved in the kitchen are:

  • Use of basins when washing dishes by hand
  • Using a dishwasher – when using the dish washer, it is important to make sure it’s fully loaded. Scraping plates instead of rinsing before loading it into the dishwasher will also go a long way in the conservation of the valuable commodity called water

Green your laundry and earn green bucks
The other area where water saving can be made is the laundry room. Washing only full loads of laundry will ensure that your washing machine is running at full efficiency hence you will be able to maximise your washer for energy efficiency. Always ensure you use the appropriate water level or load size selection on the washing machine. All these will not only save water but energy too and since savings are earnings you can smile all the way to the bank where some green bucks will be credited to your account.

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