Student Outreach | Sensibilisation étudiante

Farnoosh Naderkhani

Farnoosh NaderkhaniDr. Farnoosh Naderkhani, ASQ Member, Assistant Professor @ Concordia, Student Outreach Committee Chair (un texte en français suit)

Our Student Outreach Committee will be back in June 2023. Stay tuned.

Notre comité de sensibilisation des étudiants sera de retour en juin 2023. Restez à l’écoute.

If you are part of an educational institution and would like to have more visibility on quality-related topics, please contact us. We have a network of potential speakers that may be of interest to you. Contact Raymond Dyer on LinkedIn.

Si vous faites partie d’un établissement d’enseignement et que vous souhaitez avoir plus de visibilité sur les sujets liés à la qualité, veuillez nous contacter. Nous disposons d’un réseau de conférenciers potentiels qui pourraient vous intéresser. Contactez Raymond Dyer sur LinkedIn.

Student Outreach | Sensibilisation étudiante Read More »

The Editor’s Corner | Mot de l’éditeur

Michael Bournazian

By Michael Bournazian, Eng., Newsletter Editor, ASQ Senior Member, Quality Management Professional, CSSGB with Rolls-Royce

The announcement earlier this month from the World Health Organization that COVID-19 no longer needs to be deemed a global health crisis was of little reassurance to me. As someone who is immune compromised and in daily contact with my Mom who is elderly, my mask wearing continues, and if I stick out like a sore thumb, then so be it.

When I go into the office to work, I have consistently been the only one wearing a mask for about the last 3 months. Since I started going back to seeing live indoor concerts in 2022, I double-mask. Eating at a restaurant in the past 3 years happens only if said restaurant has an outdoor dining area. And when I go indoor shopping (whether it be for groceries or something else), a mask can still be found on my face.

That said, in another instance of my work life encroaching into my personal life, in March 2023 I have found myself needing to practice “RISK ACCEPTANCE“.

With the 2015 revision of the ISO 9001 standard, we were finally brought into (perhaps kicking and screaming) the world of Risk Management and Risk-based Thinking. Along with it came terms that previously had more of a foothold in the financial world, such as Risk Assessment, Risk Analysis, Risk Mitigation, and as I mentioned above, Risk Acceptance (also called Risk Retention). It ultimately means exactly what you think it does . . . which is that you are aware of a potential or inherent risk, but you knowingly decide to not act upon it in order to minimize its effects (aka mitigation).

Well, some recent examples of me assessing risk and then (in one instance) accepting risk included the following:

  • The funeral of a family member in March 2023 (all events occurring on the same day):
    • Attending the church service – mask worn, as there is no need to eat during the service and it is indoors;
    • Riding in the hearse with 5 other people to the cemetery – mask worn, as I had not had much contact with them in the past 3 years and we are in a small closed space;
    • At the cemetery – mask not worn, as we are now outside and COVID is less transmissible outdoors;
    • Reception at the church’s restaurant – indoors but mask not worn, as I would be eating regularly (risk accepted).

Over the next 10 days after this difficult day (for numerous reasons), I conducted a total of 3 rapid tests on myself, all of which came back negative. Would I have been surprised with a positive result? Not in the least, but as I stated above, I accepted the risk and so did my Mom who was with me the whole time and masked in the same manner as I did.

Risk Management . . . it’s all around you.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Yes, I know, the “C” word was used during the writing of this article.


Any feedback? Click on the link and let me know.

ALSO . . .  Please contact me or any one else on the Leadership team if you would like to:
1) Write and submit an article to be published in the Newsletter.
2) Write a review of one of the upcoming monthly webinars for the “Had You Been There” section.

Thank you, all the best and none of the worst.

The Editor’s Corner | Mot de l’éditeur Read More »

Voice of The Customer | Voix du Client

Chantale Farley 2023

Chantale Farley 2023Par Chantale Farley, Responsable VoC  (English text follows)

Le 26 avril dernier se tenait le webinaire portant sur l’Optimisation des processus grâce à la modélisation prédictive présenté par Vincent Béchard, M.Sc.A et Dominic St-Onge, P.Eng. MBA. Cet évènement a connu un franc succès en attirant plus d’une cinquantaine de participants. 34 répondants ont confirmés  un taux de satisfaction global de 90%. Le thème, ainsi que les présentateurs, ont été également très appréciés avec un taux de 90%. Cette présentation bilingue  a attirée une audience internationale: de la Grande région de Montréal, de Québec, des États-Unis et de l’Inde.

Merci à tous pour votre participation à cet évènement.

On April 26th, the webinar on Process Optimization through Predictive Modelling was presented by Vincent Béchard, M.Sc, A and Dominic St-Onge, P.Eng. MBA. This event attracted more than fifty participants. 34 respondents confirmed an overall satisfaction rate of 90%. The theme, as well as the presenters, were also appreciated with a rate 90%.  Among the participants, several business sectors were represented; we were also able to observe a larger audience from the manufacturing field. In addition, this bilingual conference attracted an international audience: the Greater Montreal Area, Quebec, the United States and India.

Thank you all for your participation in this event.

Voice of The Customer | Voix du Client Read More »

Had You Connected to the Last Event | Si vous étiez connecté

JP Amiel

Vincent Bechard & Dominic St-OngeProcess Optimization Through Predictive Modelling
(Optimisation des processus par la modélisation prédictive)

By Jean-Pierre Amiel, ASQ Senior, CQA ret., Secrétaire (Texte en français suit)

A personal summary of the Process optimization Through Predictive Modelling as explained on 26 April, 2023 by Vincent Béchard and Dominic St-Onge of Difference-GCS.

Well the statisticians have done it again!

Over a period of two years, they managed to turn hundreds of variables and thousands of measurements into a cohesive and predictable approach that allow operators of a Kraft pulp mill to tweak their process so as to reduce process variability and off-specifications so as to attain the objective levels. And, they even managed to explain in a way so I could almost understand everything that was said.

Our speakers explained how a “black liquor” (a mix of lignin, inorganic compounds and water) is produced as a by-product from digesting pulpwood in the Kraft paper-making process. This liquor is quite toxic and so it is treated through a complex process of cooking, filtering and re-treatment and produces various by-products, including as an energy source for the plant. (Wikipedia)

The case presented centered around a Kraft pulp mill that had seen a drop in the process mean, an increase in the process variability of black liquor solids and so was unable to achieve its historical target of 15%. In this particular production environment of 1,000 Tonnes/day, each 1% increase represented 1 Million $/year in extra steam and energy costs. Traditionally, adjustments to the process was done by experienced operators based on transferred knowledge and long term practices which were less available.

We were presented various steps taken by the teams to improve the processes steps and the experimentation of the implementation of an automated “recommender system” to allow an operator to proactively readjust the chemical characteristics of a critical process feed stream when there is a foreseen significant upset.

To analyse and implement the proper tools for the operator to achieve the task, Kaizen exercises identified steps to improve solids but this could not address variability. Using a statistical model, key variables out of over a hundred were identified. They had to be independent and non-co-linear. A Change point analysis and stability analysis was performed, then a “Random Forests” machine learning model was built to predict the impact of various variables. This allowed the identification of a handful of variables key to the 15% goal, and that could be tracked and suggest to the operator the set points that could be adjusted based on their experience (augmented vs artificial intelligence). With this approach, the objective was to find the smallest set-point moves to ensure that targets can be respected.

Predictive Modelling Evolution

As a result of these efforts, including Kaizen and DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) exercises, the Ppk (Process performance index, how well a process is within specification limits — 1.0 meaning a process is centred) was improved from 0.22 to 1.33 and the off-specifications were reduced from 23,6% to 1,1%.

We look forward to continuing discussions on this and other topics in the future.

Un résumé personnel de l’Optimisation des processus par la modélisation prédictive tel qu’expliqué le 26 avril 2023 par Vincent Béchard et Dominic St-Onge de Difference-GCS

Les statisticiens ont récidivé!

Sur une période de deux ans, ils ont réussi à transformer des centaines de variables et des milliers de mesures en une approche cohérente et prévisible qui permet aux opérateurs d’une usine de pâte kraft d’ajuster leur processus de manière à réduire la variabilité du processus et les hors-spécifications afin d’atteindre les niveaux visés. Et ils ont même réussi à m’expliquer de manière à ce que je puisse presque comprendre tout ce qui a été dit.

Nos intervenants ont expliqué comment une “liqueur noire” (un mélange de lignine, de composés inorganiques et d’eau) est produite comme sous-produit de la digestion du bois à pâte dans le processus de fabrication du papier kraft. Cette liqueur étant assez toxique, elle est traitée par un processus complexe de cuisson, de filtrage et de retraitement et produit divers sous-produits, notamment comme source d’énergie pour l’usine. (Wikipedia)

Le cas présenté est celui d’une usine de pâte Kraft qui a vu sa teneur moyenne en liqueur noire chuter et sa variabilité augmenter et n’a donc pas pu atteindre son objectif historique de 15%. Dans cet environnement de production particulier de 1 000 tonnes/jour, chaque augmentation de 1% représentait 1 million de dollars par an en coûts supplémentaires de vapeur et d’énergie. Traditionnellement, les ajustements du processus étaient effectués par des opérateurs expérimentés sur la base de connaissances transférées et de pratiques à long terme qui étaient moins disponibles.

On nous a présenté diverses mesures prises par les équipes pour améliorer les étapes du processus et l’expérimentation de la mise en œuvre d’un “système de recommandation” automatisé pour permettre à un opérateur de réajuster de manière proactive les caractéristiques chimiques d’un flux d’alimentation critique du processus lorsqu’il y a une perturbation significative anticipée du processus.

Pour analyser et mettre en œuvre les outils appropriés permettant à l’opérateur d’accomplir sa tâche, les exercices Kaizen ont permis d’identifier des étapes pour améliorer les solides, mais cela n’a pas permis d’aborder la question de la variabilité. À l’aide d’un modèle statistique, des variables clés parmi plus d’une centaine ont été identifiées. Elles devaient être indépendantes et non colinéaires. Une analyse des points de changement et une analyse de stabilité ont été réalisées, puis un modèle d’apprentissage machine “forêts aléatoires” a été construit pour prédire l’impact des différentes variables. Cela a permis d’identifier une poignée de variables clés pour l’objectif de 15% et qui pourraient être suivies et suggérer à l’opérateur les points de consigne qui pourraient être ajustés sur la base de leur expérience (intelligence augmentée vs artificielle). Avec cette approche, l’objectif était de trouver les plus petits déplacements de points de consigne pour s’assurer que les objectifs puissent être respectés.

Grâce à ces efforts, y compris les exercices Kaizen et DMAIC (Définir, Mesurer, Analyser, Améliorer et Contrôler), le Ppk (Indice de performance du processus, dans quelle mesure un processus se situe dans les limites des spécifications – 1,0 signifiant qu’un processus est centré) a été amélioré de 0,22 à 1,33 et les hors-spécifications ont été réduites de 23,6% à 1,1%.

Nous nous réjouissons de poursuivre les discussions sur ce sujet ainsi que sur d’autres à l’avenir.

Had You Connected to the Last Event | Si vous étiez connecté Read More »

Women in Quality Initiative | Initiative pour les femmes dans la qualité

Veronica MarquezBy Veronica Marquez, Section Vice-Chair, Social Media Chair, Program Committee

Are you a woman working in quality? The ASQ Montreal section is proud to announce the “Women in Quality Initiative”.

This idea came about following our panel event that we held for Women’s Day back in March of 2021. We wanted to create a platform for women to share their experiences, talk about their success, and offer advice to the younger generations.

We are looking forward to receiving your application and showcasing you on all our social media platforms.


Êtes-vous une femme travaillant dans le domaine de la qualité? La section montréalaise de l’ASQ est fière d’annoncer l’initiative “Femmes en qualité”.

Cette idée est née à la suite de la table ronde que nous avons organisée à l’occasion de la Journée de la femme en mars 2021. Nous voulions créer une plateforme pour que les femmes puissent partager leurs expériences, parler de leurs succès et offrir des conseils aux jeunes générations.

Nous sommes impatients de recevoir votre candidature et de vous présenter sur toutes nos plateformes de médias sociaux.


Women in Quality Initiative | Initiative pour les femmes dans la qualité Read More »

ASQ Montreal Section – Education Program 2023

Dr David TozerBy Dr. David Tozer, Ph.D., ASQ CQE and SSBB, Education & Audit Chair.

ASQ Certification often leads to higher paying employment. The money invested in education and certification increases chances of finding employment quickly in the down sizing environment we live in.  People who take the section sponsored refresher courses, and spend at least twice as much time as spent in the classroom on self study, have an 80%, or better, chance of passing the examination on the first attempt.

Having ASQ certification gives you an edge in the market and can significantly increase your income.
Courses are now available online as well | Courses now available online

    • Certified Quality Engineer : quality concepts, cost of quality, human resources, team formation and group dynamics, inspection, metrology, sampling, reliability, quality standards, quality audit, statistics, design of experiments, process improvement, liability, and modern management methods for improving quality.
    • Certified Six Sigma Black Belt: quality concepts, cost of quality, enterprise wide deployment, business process management, project management, team formation and group dynamics, define, measure, analyze, improve, control, lean enterprise, statistics, design of experiments, and design for six sigma.
    • Certified Six Sigma Green Belt: quality concepts, cost of quality, enterprise wide deployment, business process management, project management, team formation and group dynamics, define, measure, analyze, improve, control, and statistics.
    • Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence: quality concepts, quality planning, customer focus, quality standards, project management, cost of quality, team formation and group dynamics, human resources and improvement.
    • Certified Quality Auditor: quality concepts, team formation and group dynamics, management responsibility, audit objectives, audit preparation, audit conduct, audit reporting, sampling, and basic statistics.
    • Certified Quality Inspector: quality concepts, team formation and group dynamics, geometry, metrology, reading drawings, mechanical processes, statistical process control, inspection, and sampling.

    Calendar and Registration Online Form
    Questions? Cours en site/In house courses, etc. Contact: Dr. David Tozer (514) 694-2830

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Word from the Chair | Mot du président

Raymond Dyer 2020

Raymond DyerBy Raymond E. Dyer (Ray), ASQ Senior Member, CMQ/OE, & CQA (Texte en français suit)

I imagine many of you have noticed since May 1st, the very different look of our myASQ web site. ASQ has moved over their platform to a different service provider. Our section’s main contributor, Jean-Pierre (JP) Amiel, is currently going through the updated platform to see what he can recuperate from the multitude of posts he’s made in the past. I’ve played with the platform a little and must admit there are some improvements, even if I’m very disappointed in ASQ’s transition.

I focused on re-establishing contacts after they were all lost. Today, as I was preparing for this article, I noticed something that will surely change in the days to come, but will poke fun at it now while I have the chance. As you visit the myASQ website, there is an Engagement Leaderboard (, you will need to sign-in). At the time of writing this article, Janet Lentz led with 95 points and I seemed to be in second place with 74 points, 7 points ahead of JP who is at 67 points. This is probably the only time I’ll ever get a chance to claim that I was ahead of JP as a myASQ contributor. It’s just such a “one-time” claim given JP’s legacy of the volume of Quality postings he’s historically done for our section. However, it did give me an idea.

myASQ Engagement Leaderboard 20230506

One of the reasons I have my 74 points is because of the contacts I was able to establish (currently at 22). I want to challenge all of our members to reach out and connect with fellow ASQ members they know. Let’s see if any of you can beat my number. BTW, I’m always open to connecting with those of you that reach out to connect with me. Maybe that’s give me an edge to stay ahead of JP for a little while longer. I hope we all get to enjoy and see the benefit of our new myASQ platform.

Thank you!

J’imagine que beaucoup d’entre vous ont remarqué que depuis le 1er mai, l’aspect très différent de notre site web myASQ. L’ASQ a transféré sa plate-forme à un autre fournisseur de services. Le principal contributeur de notre section, Jean-Pierre (JP) Amiel, est actuellement en train de passer en revue la mise à jour de la plateforme pour voir ce qu’il peut récupérer de la multitude de messages qu’il a publiés dans le passé. J’ai joué un peu avec la plateforme et je dois admettre qu’il y a quelques améliorations, même si je suis très déçu de la transition d’ASQ.

Je me suis concentré sur le rétablissement des contacts après qu’ils aient tous été perdus. Aujourd’hui, alors que je préparais cet article, j’ai remarqué quelque chose qui changera sûrement dans les jours à venir, mais dont je vais me moquer maintenant pendant que j’en ai l’occasion. Lorsque vous visitez le site web myASQ, il y a un Engagement Leaderboard (tableau de bord de l’engagement) ( vous devrez vous connecter). Au moment où j’écris cet article, Janet Lentz est en tête avec 95 points et je semble être en deuxième position avec 74 points, 7 points devant JP qui est à 67 points. C’est probablement la seule fois où j’aurai l’occasion de dire que j’ai devancé JP en tant que contributeur à myASQ. Il s’agit d’une affirmation “unique” compte tenu de l’héritage de JP et du volume d’articles sur la qualité qu’il a toujours publié pour notre section. Toutefois, cela m’a donné une idée.

L’une des raisons pour lesquelles j’ai obtenu mes 74 points est que j’ai pu établir des contacts (j’en ai actuellement 22). Je souhaite mettre tous nos membres au défi de prendre contact avec les autres membres de l’ASQ qu’ils connaissent. Voyons si l’un d’entre vous peut battre mon nombre. Par ailleurs, je suis toujours prête à entrer en contact avec ceux d’entre vous qui me contactent. Cela me permettra peut-être de garder une longueur d’avance sur JP pour un peu plus longtemps. J’espère que nous pourrons tous profiter et voir les avantages de notre nouvelle plateforme myASQ.


Send me your comments | Envoyez-moi vos commentaires

Explore OUR new Montreal myASQ site |  Explorez NOTRE nouveau site myASQ Montréal.

Word from the Chair | Mot du président Read More »

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