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Week of 23 October 2017: Internal Quality

Email Jim at jthompson@taii.com

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Are you one of those people who needs to clean house when company is coming over? Do you understand what that says about respect (or the lack thereof) for the people you live with every day? Since this is not a domestic advice column, we'll rapidly move to a link with the business/industrial world.

Some people (and I suspect they are often the same people I described above) think doing a quality job is relevant only to their outside customers and clients. Wrong! In fact, one could not be more wrong than this.

Practicing internal quality principles really saves money (practicing quality externally saves and wins customers). Internally, two things go wrong when we fail to hold to the highest quality standards.

First, poor internal quality can lead to mistakes in orders, mistakes in communications, doing things over. Time is wasted, schedules are blown and raw materials are wasted, too.

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Save the date! The Pulp and Paper Industry Reliability and Maintenance conference, sponsored by IDCON and Andritz, will be held March 19-22, 2018 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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Secondly, poor quality is infectious--more infectious than the flu. It goes like this, "If Suzy can do sloppy work, so can I." Worse than this, there is no standard for sloppy work so it gets worse and worse. It also affects morale. If you work in a disorganized, sloppy area (and these days, this is not only physical, it reaches to your digital world) you are going to think little of your company, your fellow employees and your general work environment.

So, internal quality begins with housekeeping, and these days that means housekeeping on your computer as well as everywhere else. Write clear and complete emails. Give files clear and simple names. Store files where you are told to store them. Be professional on the telephone--voice (especially voice mail--slow down, speak clearly!), text and so forth. Come to work dressed for work, whatever that standard is in your place of work (if you think it is too low, gradually move yourself up the scale--others will eventually notice and copy you). Do tasks completely by the date you promised they will be done.

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My personal Achilles heel in this area is handwriting. This even though in my office is a framed certificate titled "Highland County Award in Handwriting" with my name on it and dated April 22, 1963--a date that was obviously my apex in the handwriting world. So, I avoid handwriting as much as possible.

You may have an Achilles heel, too. Resolve to fix it or work around it in a way that does not affect your productivity.

And, of course, all month we have been stressing quality in everything you do in safety and emergency responses. These are definitely internal issues (most of the time) and need to be kept at the highest standard possible.

Be safe and we will talk next week.

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Nip Impressions has been honored for Editorial Excellence by winning a Tabbie Award!

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