Essay on Entry: Statistical Process Control

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Journal of Industrial Technology



Volume 20, Number 4



September 2004 through November 2004



www.nait.org

Volume 20, Number 4 - September 2004 through November 2004

Enhancing Entry Level Skills in Quality Assurance: An Industry Perspective
By Dr. R. Neal Callahan, Dr. Scott J. Amos, & Dr. Shawn D. Strong

Peer-Refereed Article

KEYWORD SEARCH
Curriculum Manufacturing Quality Quality Control Research

The Official Electronic Publication of the National Association of Industrial Technology • www.nait.org © 2004

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Journal of Industrial Technology



Volume 20, Number 4



September 2004 through November 2004



www.nait.org

Enhancing Entry Level Skills in Quality Assurance: An Industry Perspective
By Dr. R. Neal Callahan, Dr. Scott J. Amos, & Dr. Shawn D. Strong

Introduction
Dr. R. Neal Callahan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Industrial Management at Southwest Missouri State University. His research and teaching interests include computer integrated manufacturing and quality systems. Dr. Callahan received his Ph.D. in Engineering Management from the University of Missouri-Rolla.

Dr. Scott Amos is Dean of Engineering Technology at Michigan Technological University. He is a registered professional engineer in Minnesota, and Certified Professional Constructor with the American Institute of Constructors. He retired from the USN Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) with the rank of lieutenant commander.

Dr. Shawn Strong is an Associate Professor and Acting Head of Industrial Management at Southwest Missouri State University. Dr. Strong teaches courses in project management, fluid power, electronics, and mechanical systems. Dr. Strong received his Ph.D. in Industrial Education and Technology from Iowa State University.

Clearly understanding industry’s quality assurance needs and expectations is critical in preparing industrial technology students to enter the workforce. A skilled quality team is often considered top priority by manufacturing companies facing tough competition and globalization. Implementing product changes quickly to meet accelerating customer demands and expectations can challenge both the quality system and the associated personnel. Companies strive to establish a strong quality management team and effective quality procedures, yet many employers find newly hired technical graduates unprepared to apply quality control concepts learned in the classroom. Skills and experiences beyond basic coursework are often necessary for meaningful and correct application of quality control concepts (Wise & Fair, 2001). Most technical manufacturing programs require some level of quality control training including basic coverage of quality management concepts and statistical data analysis, but offer little insight into implementation issues and the practical problems faced by industry (Balbontin & Taner, 2000). This approach can be quite effective in establishing a basic understanding of quality control theory, but may leave gaps in a student’s ability to successfully apply that understanding in the manufacturing environment. According to Schenck (1993), quality control on the plant floor is practiced much differently than it is presented in the classroom with numerous opportunities for inaccurate data collection and unclear conclusions. Expe-

rienced quality professionals often find that newly hired graduates have difficulty with issues such as gaging, data interpretation, and conforming to a production and cost oriented environment. While many of these issues are a matter of experience, both industry professionals and the related literature indicate that applied quality concepts should be added to basic quality control curricula at the college level. Every effort should be made to strengthen students’ skills by combining theoretical knowledge with practical situations (Kemenade & Garre, 2000).

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the…