Denis Leonard has a degree in construction engineering an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in quality management. Denis is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Manager, Auditor and Six Sigma Black Belt. He has been an Examiner for the Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners a Judge on the International Team Excellence Competition and a Lead Judge on the National Housing Quality Award. A former Professor of Quality at the University of Wisconsin, he has experience as a quality manager in the homebuilding industry as well as construction engineer, site manager and in training, auditing and consulting with expertise in strategic and operational quality improvement initiatives. His work has achieved national quality, environmental and safety management awards for clients.

Denis is co-author of 'The Executive Guide to Understanding and Implementing the Baldrige Criteria: Improve Revenue and Create Organizational Excellence'.

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Back to Basics: Checklists and clearly documenting errors to reduce costs

Checklists and audits may be one of the most basic approaches to quality but they frequently lead to problems of accurate data collection. A common issue that arises is not recording errors or defects in the field. Many trades that find an error when using checklists to review their work will correct a problem they find and not record it. They will say, yes BUT I found it, it was my fault and I corrected it, so it’s not an error! True, the checklist WORKED and the error was corrected, but by not noting it the data does not exist to show that for example this is a recurring theme on every jobsite. I have seen the same thing happen with audits, an inspector will find a problem and fix it and not record it, showing a great track record but ensuring that it will keep happening! This in turn means that a solution or fool proofing the procedure cannot be created and so the error will continue to be made. Accurate data collection, the solving of the root cause and prevention are fundamental for successful quality. Ensure that this is clearly understood and you will have a solid foundation to build on.

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