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Auburn Technical Assistance Center (ATAC)

August 2012 Blog Posts (17)

Is TQM ethical?

“Business leadership would be relatively simple if corporations only had to produce a product or service” (Hickman, 2010, p.349). How true is this statement? Engineers and managers love to focus on processes, products, and services, but the problem comes with the people who follow the processes, make the products, and perform the services. For this reason, leadership in manufacturing organizations is critical.

If leadership is about influencing followers to transform by changing their…


Added by Jay Clark on August 31, 2012 at 10:00am — No Comments

The Evolution of Six Sigma…How it got started

The following article was retrieved from the website of Process Quality Associates.  After reading it, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look back to get a better understanding of how the six sigma initiative was started.

Before, January 15, 1987, Six Sigma was solely a statistical term. Since then, the Six Sigma crusade, which began at Motorola, has spread to other companies who are continually striving for excellence. While it is progressing, it has extended and evolved…


Added by Mark M. Clark on August 27, 2012 at 8:38am — No Comments

Connecting Leading Self to Leading Others

Over the last few blogs, we have categorized the characteristics of effective self-leadership. Therefore, the foundation is now set for the next phase of the development of a transformational leader. The ability of an organization to perform effectively is dependent on the leader’s skills (Yukl, 2010). To develop a more specific connection in the transition of leading self to leading others, we must look deeper into leader performance. Mumford et al. (2000) expands the connection of…


Added by Jay Clark on August 24, 2012 at 10:00am — No Comments

Balanced Score Card and Key Ingredients to a Successful Six Sigma Initiative


The balanced score card perspectives help an organization to integrate and operationalize the organizations strategy.  There are four factors in a balanced score card.  This considered by some to be a prerequisite to implementation of the Six Sigma initiative.  The four factors are:

  1. Financial Perspective:  To satisfy our shareholders what financial objectives must we accomplish?
  2. Customer Perspective:  To achieve our objectives what customer needs must we…

Added by John David Hayes on August 23, 2012 at 4:12pm — No Comments

Priceless Results

I read a quote a couple of months ago that was made by one of the leaders in supply chain management.  He was referring to the need for people who can conduct data mining, data analysis, and then produce a predictive model.  This, in large part, is what business analytics is all about.  Most of the large companies in the US are already trying to mine data that might lead to a predictive model that, in turn, could lead to an edge on the competition.  A predictive model is merely a…


Added by Mark M. Clark on August 20, 2012 at 8:14am — No Comments

Six Sigma Quality - A Structured Review

I have recently done some research on Six Sigma for my boss using the search engine Google Scholar”.  The reference for this blog is: Mohamed Gamal  Aboelmaged (2010(, “Six Sigma quality: a structured review and implications for future research”, International Journal of Quality & reliability Management, Vol 27 Iss. 3 pp.268-317.

First, I would like to summarize the Abstract.

  1. Purpose

This paper aims to clarify emerging aspects and trends of Six…


Added by John David Hayes on August 17, 2012 at 3:06pm — No Comments

Becoming transformational through Self-Sacrifice

Recently I was watching a profile of Elon Musk on Bloomberg. The story chronicled his leadership of TESLA Motors. After the global crisis, Tesla needed funds to continue operations. Elon announced that the company had raised $40 million. Afterward, it was found that the $40 million raised was the remaining portion of the founder’s savings. The news captivated the employees, and TESLA responded to the self-sacrifice of their leader by winning their first big contract with…


Added by Jay Clark on August 17, 2012 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Becoming transformational through effective self-leadership Part 2

In the last post, I shared the importance of self-leadership and it’s four characteristics. Courage was the first characteristic of effective self-leadership that was discussed. This post gives more detail about two other effective self-leadership characteristics – self-actualization and self-awareness. Self-actualization is a term coined in Maslow’s research, but Burns extended this phrase into leadership in his seminal book Leadership. Self-awareness is listed as a personal…


Added by Jay Clark on August 13, 2012 at 2:00pm — 2 Comments

A Typical Six Sigma Project

When I meet with company representatives, I am often asked to talk about some of the projects that I have worked on.  I will typically talk about specific projects, but eventually the conversation will lead to me explaining what I see as the three different types of projects.  There are basically three different types of variables in a process: the response variable, the input variables and the process variables.  In addition, there are two ways in which we can improve the capability of a…


Added by Mark M. Clark on August 13, 2012 at 9:41am — No Comments

Becoming transformational through effective self-leadership

In the last few blogs, I started by describing my beliefs in leadership and how to communicate leadership principles and then discussed leadership practices that improve performance in organizations. The first area discussed in this process was the differences in transactional and transformational leadership. After identifying the effectiveness of utilizing transformational leadership, we discussed the 4 I’s of transformational leadership in order to shed light on practical application of…


Added by Jay Clark on August 10, 2012 at 2:00pm — No Comments


The Auburn Technical Assistance Center (ATAC), an outreach arm of Auburn University’s College of Business, has been re-funded as Auburn University’s EDA University Center. The designation carries a $129,000 operating grant, which ATAC is required to match up to $100,000 through its outreach services.

EDA-funded University Centers conduct applied research, provide technical assistance to public and private-sector organizations, and conduct other activities with the goal of enhancing…


Added by Auburn Works on August 10, 2012 at 9:42am — No Comments

ATAC NEWS: ATAC's David Mixson to talk 'innovation' to Mobile manufacturers


David Mixson of the Auburn Technical Assistance Center (ATAC) is the guest speaker for the Business Retention and Expansion Committee meeting Aug. 14 in Mobile.

Mixson, one of the trained "Innovation Engineering" facilitators with the Alabama Technology Network (ATN), of which ATAC is a member center, will…


Added by Auburn Works on August 10, 2012 at 9:22am — No Comments

Overcoming the "Time" Obstacle

For companies that operate 24-7, one of the biggest obstacles for improvement is finding the time to experiment with the process.  A survey of senior managers showed that the most significant downside to solving difficult problems is living with the bad parts that are produced during experimentation.  Unless there is a pilot production line where experiments can performed, the chances of producing 100% good parts within spec during experimentation are between slim and none. 

One of…


Added by Mark M. Clark on August 7, 2012 at 3:25pm — No Comments

How are leaders transformational?

In the last blog post, I explained the differences between transactional leadership and transformational leadership. It is now beneficial to dig a little deeper into transformational leadership so you can understand the actions it takes to move from transactional to transformational, which is a more effective form of leadership. Categorizing the behaviors of transformational leaders is difficult because of the wide range of actions. Bass (…


Added by Jay Clark on August 7, 2012 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Transactional verses Transformational Leadership

The complexity in the business environment of manufacturing requires effective leadership practices in order to not only build a quality product but also to inspire employees, partners, and suppliers to follow the company’s vision. Such a task requires more than vague, general leadership; it requires transformational leadership (Bass, 1990). When executives and upper management in manufacturing rely on transactional leadership, they fail in their change initiative especially when…


Added by Jay Clark on August 3, 2012 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Serve, Not Tell

Recent studies by the Council of Competiveness shows that CEOs identified leadership as the most important factor for a company’s competiveness (Minter, 2011). Another study that receives attention is the 2010 IBM Global CEO study. Over 1500 CEOs gave insight on what companies need in the next five years to remain competitive. Through analyzing the…


Added by Jay Clark on August 1, 2012 at 2:30pm — No Comments

The Way To Combat Various Forms Of Malware And Computer Viruses

Inside discussions regarding computer issues, the words malware, spyware, as well as computer viruses are generally employed inter-changeably. The correct removal of any of these types of malware calls for the usage of the proper elimination software. Such applications are often referred to as antivirus or anti malware software. Although the harmful applications can be found in various forms, they're made for just one objective and that's to wreak destruction within your computer system.…


Added by Martin Rossenberg on August 1, 2012 at 11:10am — No Comments

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