News and thoughts from CS Odessa, maker of the ConceptDraw product line: ConceptDraw PRO, ConceptDraw PROJECT and ConceptDraw MINDMAP.

Friday, July 3, 2009

ConceptDraw Office’s Role in Quality Improvement

When planning for your next product roll out, there are a number of well-known variables that impact how well a product is received. Superior product quality is a proven contributor to market success as it has a positive impact on how customers perceive the value of the products they purchase. Many companies take their product standards so seriously, that they publicize them to consumers to influence their purchase behavior.

Exceptional quality also has a great impact on the user experience and encourages word-of-mouth advertising for product offerings. In addition, achieving superior quality standards has a positive impact on increasing customer retention. Excellence in product quality is important for both the retail and business-to-business markets. Quality can be used as a strategy by companies to build effective competitive barriers to market entry.

Six Sigma Role in Quality
One way to measure quality, is to calculate the number of defects over a given sample size. A methodology that is widely used to reduce the number of defects, thereby improving and maintaining quality, is Six Sigma. Six Sigma is a quality process that specifies the number of defects in a product cannot exceed 3.4 defects per million. This is a quality goal that many companies, from commercial bakers to computer chip manufacturers, strive to attain. Reducing the number of defects to 3.4 per million or less does not happen by chance or luck, and requires proper planning and discipline to keep the number of defects to appropriate levels.

Six Sigma provides a number of tools that are used to reduce variability in an organization’s business processes. There are two common methodologies used in Six Sigma which are used in different situations depending on if the process under review currently exists or is a new process being developed.

Define, Measure, Analyze, and Improve Control (DMAIC) is a Six Sigma method used for examining existing processes that fail to meet desired quality specifications. Define, Measure, Analyze, Design and Verify (DMADV) is a Six Sigma method used to ensure that proper levels of quality are built into the product and development processes from the very start.

Many of our customers use CS Odessa’s ConceptDraw Office to assist in their Six Sigma implementation. ConceptDraw Office is a unique business software solution that combines business productivity methods and data visualization with project management technologies. It is well adapted to support both DMAAIC and DMADV methodologies. There is no other software product on the market as well equipped to enable one to observe and analyze quality processes inside and out. ConceptDraw Office makes it a snap to plan, develop, manage, and document quality processes.

ConceptDraw Office is comprised of ConceptDraw MINDMAP, ConceptDraw PROJECT, and ConceptDraw PRO and packaged into one seamless software tool kit.

ConceptDraw MINDMAP
ConceptDraw MINDMAP is an excellent tool to enable the recording of observations and development of inclusive quality processes. If you have multiple processes to observe, ConceptDraw MINDMAP has the unique ability to capture all of those processes, each on with their own respective page, in a multi-page master mind map. Moving from observation to early process development is as easy as dragging-and-dropping items or objects that can be used to structure a process and then immediately assign resources.

ConceptDraw PROJECT
With a single push of a button, all observations and task information are automatically moved over from ConceptDraw MINDMAP to ConceptDraw PROJECT (you can also convert data to Microsoft Project). From a project vantage point it is easy to manage all the resources available to you and ensure proper management of all the processes put into place. With ConceptDraw PROJECT all your projects are available in a single view, which is critical when you have a common pool of resources that are utilized and managed across all ongoing projects. The built-in powerful reporting functionality keeps all project participants on track to ensure objectives and goals are met.

From ConceptDraw PROJECT, a number of visual scoreboard project reports can be opened in ConceptDraw PRO, a professional business graphics tool.

ConceptDraw PRO
ConceptDraw PRO is a professional business graphics and drawing tool that is an integral part of ConceptDraw Office. ConceptDraw PRO is well known for its ability to produce eye popping business graphics and flow charts, in professional formats.

Plan, Do, Communicate
ConceptDraw Office is a proven and powerful software solution that can assist you in the common challenges you are faced with when working towards meeting quality measurement and process definition goals.

Macworld Awards 2009

Macworld UK recently asked their editors and readers to select Macintosh supported products that they felt were best of class. On June 19, 2009 Macworld announced that in our first year of competing, CS Odessa’s ConceptDraw MINDMAP was nominated for best “Education product of the year” and “Best software”. Congratulations to the winners of “Macworld awards” 2009.