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What Is This 'Quality' Thing All About?

by Employee Voices
11. May 2016 09:30

So the other day, I noticed the right headlight on my truck was out. I have no problem tinkering under the hood on small items such as this (I've changed headlights / fog lights in the past on my 2005 Tacoma with no issue – I still have my 'man card' Smile); however, I also needed an oil change, and there were already too many things on my 'honey-do list' – so I dropped the truck off at the shop. When I arrived, we discussed the requested services, and I told the guy, "You can go ahead and change the left headlight too, no sense in changing just one"… Unfortunately, they only had one headlight in stock, so they couldn't change both. I said, "OK that's fine, call me when she's ready."

A little while later, everything was ready, and I was on my way. It wasn't until later that evening while on a date with my wife that I turned on the headlights and to my surprise – the right headlight was still out! Popped open the hood, and sure enough, they had replaced the LEFT headlight by mistake. Being the calm and rational guy I am, a quick phone call to the shop had me set up for a replacement of the RIGHT headlight at no charge. I arrived, and the mechanic who previously did the work assured me that he had simply followed the instructions, and it wasn't his fault… OK, no big deal, mistakes happen – but that got me thinking about this from a perspective of Quality and delivery.


Why was the mechanic compelled to try and convince me that I held some responsibility for a task that the shop had already agreed to address? Where is the benefit of trying to make the customer feel wrong here? Let's go back to the beginning. Customer reports a headlight is out. What is the very first thing you would do? How would you confirm the problem? …Turn on the headlights and check.  This takes a maximum of 10 seconds. If there was any confusion as to the source of the problem, this is the time to discover it. Once the repair has been completed, how would you confirm that it worked? …Turn on the headlights and check. Another painstaking 10 seconds? This would verify that the results were as intended. Of course, as the customer, I also failed to turn on the headlights and check when I picked up the vehicle. My bad..

What is the point of all this? Any process has some intended result, yet the results were not verified in this situation, and the incorrect product was delivered to the customer. And what did all this cost? It cost me my time as well as the valuable time of the repair shop (double the mechanic time and the time it took them to procure another headlight during business hours).

"Trust is a good thing, but control is unequaled"

Quality Assurance and Quality Control processes are intended to make a product as close to defect-free as possible while ensuring it conforms to the agreed upon requirements. The purpose of both processes is similar; however, the approach is different. Quality Assurance designs a process so that the product coming from this process is defect free, while Quality Control checks the product so that no defects are released to the market. Let's briefly define these two fundamental themes of Quality Management:

  • Quality Assurance can be best summed up as "fitness to use and conformity to all requirements."
  • Quality Control is concerned with the operational activities and techniques that are used to fulfill the requirements of quality.

Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance is a process-based approach whose primary objective is preventing defects in deliverables during the planning process to avoid later rework, which is expen$$$ive! Assuring quality is vital, but it is also important to ensure that quality processes are practical, implementable and appropriate to the given situation. Quality Assurance is proactive by nature, and it starts at the very beginning of a project to understand the explicitly stated requirements (and sometimes hidden / obscure expectations), and then develop a plan to meet those requirements and expectations. Requirements gathering and Quality Assurance are symbiotic processes!! Meaning – they work together to achieve optimal potential as both processes require a comprehensive understanding of end user product utilization.

So if Quality Assurance is focused on the right processes at the right time, then Quality Control is the 'product' that supplements assurance and both work together to fulfill the requirements of Quality. Here at CTSI-Global, the products we leverage to ensure quality are our documentation repositories and issue tracking applications. It is therefore in our collective best interest to document and track our endeavors within these tools. This creates unprecedented visibility and accountability while also serving as our guide for 'lessons learned' so that we can efficiently build upon previous successes while avoiding potential missteps in the future.

As we embark on this new era of mindful Quality, one should never feel as though they are being 'checked up on' or that Quality is 'policing' them. In fact, we should all be involved in Quality Management and feel empowered to be part of the process!! Without You, there is no Quality. I know we all take pride in our work and in presenting oneself as the best image of our company. I truly recognize and appreciate the commitment to our clients, devotion to our shared success, and any candid feedback as we thrust ourselves into the future of CTSI-Global.

Chris's headshotChris Colomb is the Quality Control Lead at CTSI-Global, and his goal is exceeding customer expectations and enabling all of us to have the tools and knowledge necessary to succeed!

Developing Solutions for New Clients

by Employee Voices
5. May 2016 09:15

As a Project Manager at CTSI-Global, my responsibility is leading client developments while serving as the primary liaison between CTSI-Global and our customers. While projects typically involve on-boarding of new business, this also includes active CTSI-Global customers that are enhancing their current processes.

The majority of clients that I deal with are new business. Some of the biggest challenges of my position involve translating the client's theoretical conversations that occurred during the sales process into a practical application. Doing this involves determining the client's needs, converting these needs into solvable problems, using these problems to define deliverable solutions, and working with technical team to mold CTSI-Global tools into said solutions. As all clients are different and we customize solutions for each, it can be a challenge to determine the method of process within CTSI-Global.

Currently, I am primarily responsible for the on-boarding of a large Fortune 500 company. Within this on-boarding, I have been responsible for driving CTSI-Global tasks to complete the deliverables needed to go live with the client. This includes a large amount of collaboration across all CTSI-Global departments, while meeting daily with the client to provide updates and deliverables.

Having worked with clients of varying sizes and requirements, it has been an eye-opening experience to see the practices and expectations of a Fortune 500 company. These will be helpful as CTSI-Global continues to grow and develop within the industry.

Christian L. is a Project Manager at CTSI-Global.

A Look Back at My 25 Years at CTSI-Global

by Employee Voices
3. May 2016 07:55

I started working at CTSI-Global 25 years ago. Little did I know that I was going to be a part of a company that would become #1 in its industry and a close-knit business that once you are hired you are a member of the family.

At CTSI-Global, everyone is part of the team. We all pull for each other and are here to make this company successful. That has never changed, but the company itself had changed a lot in that time.

In 1991 when I first started in the Mailroom, we would go to the post office three times a day in the company truck to get the mail. Then we would sort and prep the invoices. Now we have a post office in our building, and the mail is delivered to us.

The way we routed things was different back in the day. Our Prep Department batched the paper freight bills, then the batches were taken to our Audit Department where auditors circled in red the information to be captured. Then the physical batches were moved to the Add-Bill Department to be keyed in to our system. There could be up to 1,000 batches or more and shelves and shelves of bills to add.

Now we receive the bills, scan the bills, and move the invoices to the recycle bin. Add-Bill, FBR, and Audit are now managed via scanned images.

This is just a few of the changes. We have come a long way since 1991, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.

Sandy S. is a 25-year employee of CTSI-Global, where she works as Manager of Freight Payment Operations.

Why Ask Why?

by Employee Voices
21. March 2016 08:15

Like most of us that have children, sometimes we can be pushed to our wits end by the ever pondering "why" question.

Just the other day, I was getting ready with my children. 7:30 rolled around and it was time to go. I asked my son, who was sitting on the couch watching TV, playing on his Kindle, listening to his iPod, and texting his grandmother (how is all that even possible) if he was ready and he replied yes. I said let's go, and he started heading to the door with no shoes on. I asked him, "Don't you need your shoes on?" and he hit me with a "why"!?!?!

Like a good parent, I resisted the urge to drag him out of the house without his shoes on and just simply told him, "Dude, you can't go to school without shoes on!"

But in all honesty, children's "whys" are not meant to pester us parents. Rather, our children are genuinely trying to get at the truth. Even from really early on when they start asking these how and why questions, they are asking them in order to get explanations.

When explanations come their way, sometimes our kids probe even further. This is a good thing as it tells us that our kids are playing more of an active role in learning about the world around them than we may have expected.

Using Why to Your Advantage

This very same principle can be applied in our daily adult work life. Over the years, I've had the honor of wearing a lot of different hats: Mailroom, Customer Service, Project Management, and now Product Manager.

In all of these positions I've had to work on ways to solve problems — some more complex than others. In any case, you always have to find a way to get past the symptoms of a problem and to find the root cause.

The 5 Whys

Along the way, I picked up a process called the 5 Why's. In short you simply ask the question "why" five times. Of course there really isn't a magic number; you may get it in 3 or maybe 6. The important thing is that you use this mentality to peel away the layers that encapsulate the problem. Sounds easy enough that a child could do it right?!?

Let's take a look at an example:

Why Ask Why

Conclusion: We do not have an equipment maintenance schedule… Setting up a proper maintenance schedule helps ensure that packages will never be late again due to faulty equipment. If we just repair the brakes, or even do a one-off check of all the trucks, the problem will happen again at some time in the future.

Keep it Simple!

What makes this process so great is its simplicity. It's a process that every person can apply without difficulty. It also serves to keep you from moving too quickly without fully seeing what you've identified as the true problem.

It Comes with Limitations

There are limitations to this process, and it's not meant to solve more complex problems. It's best if you use the 5 Whys technique along with a range of other approaches. Regardless of the technique you use, make sure you can always back up possible causes with evidence and data to support.

Here are some of the basic reasons why this technique may not always work:

  • Participants in the process may not investigate deeply enough in attempting to identify root causes.
  • The process may be limited by the knowledge of the person carrying out the technique.
  • Different people will often get different answers using this process, which in turn raise questions about its reliability.

Overcoming Limitations

The best way to overcome some of these limitations is to properly develop skills to make certain that the process is robust and all participants contribute and investigate each of the possible 'whys'. Think about these questions as well:

Why Ask Who


In closing, here are some key points to remember: Use 5 Whys to get to the root cause of the problem.

Why Ask Why, closing remarks

Now, this doesn't mean I still won't pull my hair out when my son asks me "why does he have to brush his teeth," but now I may be better armed to explain to him in more detail WHY it's important — so his teeth don't fall out and so he won't have horrid breath!!

And I also just might be able to help solve a problem or two at the office by taking the time to figure out the 'why' and not just address a symptom.

About the Author:

Richard's headshotRichard Perry is CTSI-Global's Product Ninja. His purpose is understanding customer needs, defining product value propositions, working with users, and promoting CTSI-Global Awesomeness!

Welcome to CTSI-Global Employee Voices

by Employee Voices
11. March 2016 08:30

CTSI-Global is a technology solutions leader in the logistics industry. We have been providing service to our customers since 1957. From freight audit to transportation management, CTSI-Global helps companies worldwide save money on their shipping costs with customizable SaaS applications, leverage their KPIs in order to drive process improvements, and increase visibility in their supply chains. CTSI-Global supports hundreds of clients across all industries and thousands of carriers in all modes.

That's what we do, but who are we? Welcome to CTSI-Global's Employee Voices section of The Link. Employees from different departments will provide their perspective on working for CTSI-Global. We hope you enjoy reading.

- Elizabeth Nolan, Director of Business Development