Wisdom from our Wisest | Sagesse de nos plus sages

Eric Hosking & Samira KazemiBy Eric Hosking, Section Treasurer, Membership Chair, ASQ CQE, CSSBB and CQA and Samira Kazemi, Program Committee Member


Last month in this column we featured Ruth Stanley, ASQ Canada’s former Regional Director. This month we are featuring one of our very longest serving members, Rosaire Ratelle. April 1st saw Rosaire celebrate 46 years with the ASQ. Like Marcel Charbonneau featured two months ago, Rosiare was instrumental in the development and evolution of the Quality institutions in Quebec.  This is his story:


Rosaire Ratelle, B. Eng., ASQ CQE

Academic training:

  • Chemical Engineering – Bac. Applied Sciences 1971, École Polytechnique
  • 1981 Quality Control Certificate Course (18 cr) , Concordia University
  • Cours Classique 1967, Séminaire de Joliette

Role at the American Society for Quality (ASQ)

  • Vice-chair Section 404 (1982-1983) and (2007-2008)
  • Chair Section 404(1983-1984) (1984-1985)
  • Training Committee Chair (1988-1991)
  • Chief Proctor for CQE, CQA, CRE, CQT exams
  • Trainer of the preparatory course for the CQE exam, mainly for the elements: CSP (SPC) and design of experiments (DOE).
  • Trainer of the preparatory course for the SSBB exam: Lean 6 Sigma Black Belt.
  • Activities  Chair (2006-2010)

My career:
My first three years were spent in production at Johnson & Johnson. I accepted a promotion to Quality Supervisor and I have not left the quality field since that day. I had the opportunity to cover a large number of industrial sectors and half of my career was in consulting. Here is an overview:

  • Johnson & Johnson, 1972-1984: Production Supervisor then Quality Supervisor at the Montreal plant which manufactured cosmetics, and feminine hygiene products. Production and sterilization of adhesive bandages and medical instruments also took place at the plant.
  • Philips Information System, 1984-1986: Quality Engineer at the Ville St-Laurent plant which manufactured microcomputers.
  • Quebec Industrial Research Center, 1986-1997: Advisor and Quality Consultant.
  • Mailhot Industries, 1997-2003: Quality Manager in a plant responsible for design, manufacture and mechanical assembly of hydraulic systems.
  • Isonorm, 2003-2004: Senior Consultant for a consulting services company with a mandate to work outside Canada.
  • Vortex, 2004-2005: Senior Consultant for a consulting services company.
  • Parquets Dubeau, 2005: Quality Manager in a wood flooring manufacturing plant
  • Rosaire Ratelle Services Conseils Inc., 2006 to present.

The definition of quality in my field:
For me, this is the definition of the ISO 9001 standard: the ability of a set of intrinsic characteristics to satisfy requirements. The term “quality” can be used with qualifiers such as poor, good or excellent. “Intrinsic”, as opposed to “attributed”, means present in something, especially as a permanent characteristic. It should not be claimed that the definition of quality must change according to the sectors of activity 

What enabled me to succeed in my Quality function?
As an engineer, we develop our capacity for analysis. To work in Quality, we need to develop our toolbox. Beyond Pareto and Ishikawa, the use of statistics makes us realize that it is not necessary to do 100% inspection. Thanks to sampling plan by attributes such as MIL-STD-105D, new terms are used: Confidence Level, Acceptable Quality Level, Sample Size, etc. We continue with statistical process control, then it will be the experimental plans.

I first sought to better understand the notions of Quality management. It was my motivation to get my membership in Section Québécoise in Montreal (Section 0404) and my participation in various activities: industrial visits, conferences, symposiums, etc. Then it was training (18 credits) at Concordia University in Quality Control. This allowed me to pass the “Certified Quality Engineering” exam.

There is a saying: “No one is a prophet in his country”. I felt the need to continue learning, no doubt, but also a need for recognition. I was therefore very active in the field of Quality:

  • By excellent discussions on quality with a friend and mentor: Alain Michel Chauvel who received the Lancaster Award from the ASQ for the promotion of Quality at the international level.
  • With Alain Michel Chauvel, and several members of Section 0404, we formed a working committee on the Costs of Quality. It was innovative at the time. The results of our work were published in the Commerce journal in September 1978.
  • Evaluator for the Grands Prix Québécois de la Qualité 5 times.
  • Development of preparatory courses for the ASQ exams. Initially it was for the CQE in collaboration with Jean-Pierre Lajeunesse. Other courses followed and other members got involved.
  • I own, with Marcel Charbonneau, a discussion group on LinkedIn: Le Monde Francophone de la Qualité.

My association:
I have been a member since 1976 and CQE in 1982. I am a senior member now. I derived great satisfaction from my involvement in the ASQ Montreal Francophone Section 0404 where there was a team spirit, a sense of self-realization. In 1981, we founded the Association Québécoise de la Qualité which became after a merger, the MQQ (Mouvement Québécois de la Qualité). There was an incredible dynamism. Senior Members of the AQQ and Section 0404 worked together toward the same goals.

I participated in a mission in France to understand the evolution of Quality in Europe. We realized that Europe had chosen ISO 9000 in 1987. So, we set out to promote ISO 9000 standards. Obviously, we were going against the grain because you have to remember that in Canada, it was the CSA-series Z299 standards that prevailed. Canada ultimately adopted the international standard in 1991 proving we were right.

While being a member of the ASQ, I participated in the activities of the Club Maillage Qualité Lanaudière. Although on a regional basis, seminars were organized by Section 0404 of the ASQ, the Lanaudière region of the Ordre des Ingénieurs du Québec and the Association Québécoise de la Qualité members and non-members were invited to participate in our conferences.

With the Club Maillage Qualité Lanaudière, we have developed the concept of “Clinique Qualité” which encourages discussion and the involvement of everyone during dinner meetings of the Associations. Several Quality Clinics have been carried out by ASQ Section 0404 over the years.

The greatest benefit that I have been able to derive from my associations is my improvement as a quality professional by participating in professional activities, meetings with quality specialists from different sectors and through the exchanges with my peers.

My articles in Joseph Kélada’s “Qualité” magazine and then in the Section 0404 newsletter have helped to demonstrate my involvement and my skills.

It was important to me that we develop a dynamic, in Quebec, that was very much oriented towards the world. I participated in a symposium of the EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management) in Brussels and then in France at the Institut Universitaire de Technologie de St-Étienne where I made a presentation.   We should talk about friendly rivalry between the two divisions ASQ Montreal Section 0401 (English) and 0404 (French). The two sections competed for many years in a tournament on a golf course in my region of Lanaudière. What a pleasure! Thank you to Ovide Coté for the organization.

In closing, times have changed and the association must evolve:

We must recognize that times have changed. Participation in the activities of an association is no longer valued at company level. It used to be possible to participate in a lunch conference, in a symposium. It was rewarding. Even the cost of joining the association was paid for by the company. Perhaps there will be a return; the need for employee retention will encourage some companies to respond to the need for training and improving knowledge through activities and exchanges in peer associations.

Undoubtedly exploiting the possibilities of the WEB and social networks are tools to master to better serve our members and help recruit the next generation. Finally, unlike many other Sections of the ASQ which represent a city, the new Section 0401 which now includes Section 0404, must represent all of Quebec.

If you enjoyed this article, please write to the Membership Chair, and we will share it with the author.

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