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Carlson School of Management: Quality Education Session #2

Quality Education Session #2, Carlson School of Management

In January 2007, three utility teams participated over four days in the second phase of a quality training course designed to instill the principals of continuous improvement.

To kick off the session, Bob Galvin spoke to the team about how quality started at Motorola in the 1970s. The pursuit of perfection allowed Motorola to effectively compete in the face of fierce international competition. In the 1980s Motorola built a Quality Training School to train employees, suppliers and competitors. Now Mr. Galvin is utilizing the principles of continuous improvement to revolutionize health care, the transportation sector and the electricity industry.

The teams applied the learning from the first session to their businesses. Outcomes included the following:

  • Aligning the business strategy with the “Voice of the Customer”
  • Determining what is critical to quality (CTQ) from the Voice of the Customer
  • Process-mapping CTQs
  • Failure modes and effects analysis
  • Error proofing, innovative problem solving, and solution set generation
  • Prioritization and implementation

The utility system could be divided into the sub-processes listed below. While the utility teams focused on improving the first three high-level sub-processes, the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) team focused on the latter three sub-processes.

  • Generation — regulated and unregulated, private and utility ownership.
  • Transmission — regulated and owned by utilities and private sector.
  • High-voltage distribution — regulated and owned by utilities only.
  • Low-voltage distribution — regulated and unregulated, owned by utilities and private entities such as universities, facility owners. Private entities cannot own distribution systems that cross public right-of-ways.
  • Building distribution — owned by the facility owner; however, utilities sometimes own building risers and main transformers.
  • Building-Integrated Power Systems — owned by facility owner.

The IIT team identified the following strategic priorities and the factors that are critical to quality for their constituents — academics, students, tenants and administration:

Strategic Priorities Voice of the Customer, Critical to Quality
Improve power reliability and quality
  • Lost multimillion dollar research experiment due to power outage
  • Ruined experiments at night due to poor power quality during the day
  • Lack of infrastructure to support new research
  • Students had to be set up in temporary housing due to a power outage
Manage energy costs by positioning IIT to participate in real-time pricing and ancillary services markets Energy costs to rise by 30 percent in 2007
Build efficiency into all aspects of operation and maintenance of the energy system
  • Existing high-pressure steam system requires 24/7 oversight
  • Overall system is inefficient
Develop a more sustainable energy system Concerns over the carbon emissions resulting from energy use

The IIT team selected the sub-process of providing power to Siegel Hall for the application of the FMEA and error analysis. Siegel Hall houses the electrical engineering department, several key research labs and a computer room.