1. Quality and Innovation for Growth

    December 29, 2011 by
    eCubed Building Workshop
    The NZGBC 5 Green Star Rating
    Right specifications, right time, right price and customer satisfaction. We hear these phrases everywhere and any in industry because as it is important that an organisation’s financial policies and marketing strategies are well designed and established, it is also essential for  organisations to have  an clearly defined quality system and follow it but is that enough?

    Years ago the demand of customers was for quality products and services but now in the present information age, customers are more aware of quality  and can often find a choice of “quality” suppliers. Therefore organisations need to provide something additional in order to delight the customer. That’s why delivering a service that is unique to each customer is becoming more important than delivering a standard solution.  In other words, organisations need to offer innovative solutions instead of trying to cut the cost of goods or services if they want to stay in business.

    One of these organisations is eCubed Building Workshop Ltd a leading sustainable building services consultancy with offices in Auckland and Wellington. eCubed specialises in green buildings design and have a strong commitment towards customer service. In 2010 one of their buildings was certified by the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) as New Zealand’s second six-star building, with a rating of 83 points. It is currently New Zealand's highest rated Green Star building and  received a record four out of a possible five points for innovation. Due to eCubed’s focus on innovation and customer service they have won 9 awards since 1999.

    Below is an interview with eCubed’s Director Patrick Arnold talking about his journey with eCubed Building Workshop Ltd.

    Ahmed Abbas

    When eCubed Building Workshop director Patrick Arnold was young, he was angry at how New Zealand houses were damp, inefficient and cold. So, he developed a service to change that, even if it was only one house at a time.

    The entrepreneurial building science graduate teamed up with fellow building science guns Quentin Jackson and Barbara Joubert to form the Wellington company Building Workshop. The company offered technical services such as thermal, daylight and energy modelling.

    As the green building sector grew, the team realised they needed an engineering component to offer a whole solution to customers so in 2005 it merged with Auckland engineering consultancy eCubed.

    A typical project? "We get asked in by an architect who will have a concept sketch of a building which could be anything from a couple of lines on the back of a napkin to a full computer drawing. They'll say – this is what I want to do. What do you reckon?"

    Sustainable design was optimising the building and making sure it would work, Arnold said. The building science aspect meshes with the engineering side to assess the design, using computer simulation before building begins to make sure the design team is on the right track.

    "Once the building is complete and operational, we can go in again and do things like energy audits and post-occupancy evaluation to provide more feedback on how things actually worked."

    eCubed Building Workshop is trying first and foremost to be the best at what it can do. "If we end up taking over the world that's great – as long as there's no drop in the quality of our work."

    Why did you become an entrepreneur?

    "A couple of reasons. Firstly, my previous work experience had been in London on OE in a nine-to-five office job and I was determined not to work for `the man'. More seriously, the larger, more traditional companies didn't really offer the opportunity to do building science as a career per se."

    What have been the biggest obstacles in running your company?

    "A lot of the construction industry in New Zealand has a very short-term focus, particularly on upfront capital costs. So to start off, we had to really educate the market, and industry in general, as to what we did and why it was worth it.

    "We were lucky in that we were doing this at the same time as the natural tipping point occurred and a lot of what we were talking about became mainstream.
    "Recently we've also had a combination of the [global financial crisis] which has tightened everybody's purse strings – unfortunately sustainability in construction is still often seen as a nice-to-have, which makes it one of the first things to go when money gets tight … coupled with certain political frustrations."

    Name one thing you've learnt while in business and from whom?

    "This is going to sound like a cop-out but we all learn things every day from the other directors, the staff, clients and even the hard way – from our competitors.

    "Learning (or at a corporate level, research) is fundamental. As soon as you stop learning or doing research or creating innovative solutions on projects, it's probably time to stop and have a think about what else you could be doing."

    What are your business and personal goals?

    "When I was younger (and probably more naive), I was really quite angry at how New Zealanders' houses were cold, damp and inefficient. I wanted to provide a service to change that – even if only one house at a time. Nowadays I'm less angry but I've extended my focus to all buildings and making sure they work.. .

    "As a company we're focused on trying to be the best rather than the biggest, so we're very focused on the quality of our work. This means we don't like to walk away as soon as the mayor has cut the ribbon, but prefer to stay involved, monitoring the building to make sure it's behaving and learn from it."

    Do you have any tips for budding entrepreneurs?

    "Don't be scared to be bold, but be prepared to be patient."

    Article source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/6191136/Hatred-of-cold-homes-motivated-entrepreneur

  2. Graphing Marathon Measures # 3 – Scatter Diagram

    December 24, 2011 by


    Following on from  the last post by Adam’s Stoehr (Excellence Canada Vice President) where he explained how to use the Run chart  by tracking his weight loss, this time Adam writes about scatter diagrams and how to use them including some tips and rules.

    Graphing Marathon Measures #3 – Scatter Diagram

    Adam Stoehr

    A Scatter-brain usually refers to a person who makes no sense, who doesn’t employ logic, and who takes irrational approaches toward problem solving. A Scatter-diagram has a similar name but it’s used to do pretty much the exact opposite in understanding relationships between numbers. It’s used to make lots of sense of data, it’s used to employ logic, and it’s used to make rational approaches toward problem solving.

    One strategy I’ve been using lately to be less of a scatter-brain is to go for as many runs as possible.  I just ran in my second half-marathon this past weekend and it was an amazing time to think and focus. Sometimes I come up with my most important ideas while I’m running around my neighborhood with my music blaring. In this article I’ll use some of my marathon training data to explain a very useful chart called a scatter diagram.

    Half Marathon Finish

    Before we draw some graphs, let’s set some general ground rules for chart creation.

    Rule 1: Make sure you have a clear purpose for your graph and that it will convey an important message.
    Rule 2: Try to use simple pictures to depict complex data.
    Rule 3: Try to make your data talk and tell interesting stories.
    Rule 4: Remember to adapt your graph to suit the audience.
    Rule 5: Don’t be afraid to experiment with various options and graph styles.

    A Scatter Diagram is used to show whether or not a relationship exists between two variables. Scatter diagrams display what happens to one variable when another one changes. The pattern of plots (sometimes scattered) on the diagram suggests the possible relationship.

    Figure 1: 100% relationship
    In Figure 1 we see a very strong relationship between my Body Mass Index (BMI) and my Weight in pounds. I can say that because the points are not scattered at all. They are tight and linear from the bottom left to the top right. I chose this example because I wanted to show what a perfect relationship between data should look like. As my weight goes up my BMI also goes up. This is however not a ground breaking revelation. Those of you who know how BMI is calculated understand that BMI is a function of weight and height. Since my height is fixed my weight is the only variable that affects my BMI.  Hence the perfect relationship.

    Figure 2: More common scatter
    In figure 2 I’m analyzing the relationship between my weight in pounds and my body fat %. This relationship is positively correlated (because generally as one goes up so does the other) but still scattered (because the point don’t climb in a perfect line).  This would be a more common outcome for a scatter diagram in the workplace. Based on an output like this you could conclude that a relationship seems to exist.

    To draw a scatter diagram you need at least 20 “paired variables” which basically means you need 3 pieces of information about the 20 dots on the chart.  You need the first variable like weight in figure 2, a second variable like body fat in figure 2, and something that pairs the two variables together like the date in figure 2.  Each single dot on the chart represents a point in time for both weight and body fat.  If I was hand drawing this chart I ask myself what was my weight on September 30, and what was my body fat on September 30.  My weight on that day was 210 pounds and my body fat was 24%, I look at the Y axis (the one on the left) and find 210 pounds then I look at the X axis and find 24% and draw a dot in the spot that lines up with those 2 measures. I use this exact method at least 20 times for all the data and I end up with my scatter diagram.

    You use a scatter diagram whenever you need to study and identify the possible relationship between two different sets of variables. In figure 3 we are looking at the relationship between weight loss and number of km’s run in the previous month.


    This is referred to as an inverse relationship because as the monthly KM’s goes up the monthly weight goes down.  The relationship is not as “tight” as figures 1 and 2 but there still seems to be something tying these two things together.  

    It’s important that I point out that I’m not saying that any of these relationships are “cause and effect” relationships. Looking at scatter diagrams alone we can never make this claim. To understand cause and effect relationships more work and tools are required. Scatter diagrams show relationship, not cause.

    At the end of the day you want the charts to tell stories. For example looking at the three charts we can make the following fact based statements.

    Figure 1: There is a very strong positive relationship between my BMI and my weight.  As my weight goes up, so does my BMI.
    Figure 2: There is a relationship between my weight and my body fat. Generally as my weight goes up my body fat also goes up.
    Figure 3: There seems to be an inverse relationship between the number of KM’s I run and the number of pounds I lose. If I run more km’s I seem to lose more weight in the next month.

    Common uses for scatter diagrams:

    • Relationship between customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction
    • Relationship between turnaround time and volume of work
    • Relationship between employee engagement and commitment to quality
    • Relationship between anything and anything…

    Adam Stoehr, MBA


  3. World Quality Day & QPSP Annual Quality Awards 2011

    December 22, 2011 by
    World Quality Day & QPSP Annual Quality Awards 2011

    World Quality Day was celebrated throughout the world in November 2011. This day has become a symbol for the nations across the world to focus and promote Quality Improvements in all sectors of society. The key international promoters of the day include American Society for Quality, Chartered Quality Institute UK, European Foundation for Quality Management, Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers, Asian Network for Quality and Middle East Quality Association. Quality and Productivity Society of Pakistan, an effective association of Managers and Professionals of Pakistan, has also commemorated the Quality Month with its 2nd Quality Award ceremonies at Lahore and Karachi cities of Pakistan. QPSP is an affiliate of Asian Network for Quality (ANQ), Asia Pacific Quality Organization and Middle East Quality Association (MEQA).

    Quality & Productivity Society of Pakistan arranged Public Awareness Seminars, Forums and Discussion sessions during the month. Quality Symposiums for Professionals followed by Quality Awards distribution held on 26t h & 29th November 2011 at King Edward Medical University , Lahore and Usman Institute of Technology, Karachi respectively.

    2011 Quality Awards distribution to distinguished Quality Professionals was core category of the event. Award Recipients were selected after a rigorous evaluation process conducted by Award committee comprising on QPSP experts and headed by QPSP Chairman.

    Click here to read the full press release.

  4. BPIR Newsletter – No.6 2011


    Check out our latest BPIR newsletter:

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  5. World Business Capability Congress – Call for Papers

    December 14, 2011 by
    Conference Auckland


    This is your invitation to come and see one of the most beautiful countries in the world and learn, share and network with your peers from all around the globe at the same time!

    Next year in December New Zealand will host a premier business improvement-orientated congress. New Zealand Organisation for Quality (NZOQ) and Centre for Organisational Excellence Research (COER) are organising the World Business Capability Congress Incorporating the 27th NZOQ Conference, 7th International Benchmarking Conference and New Zealand Business Excellence Awards in Auckland.

    The main theme of the congress is “Driving Excellence> Innovation> Productivity> Export Growth” and in line with that theme the conference organising committee is seeking contributions from organisations and individuals about Developing Business Capability, Leadership, Strategy, Customer and Market Focus, Measurement, Analysis and Knowledge Management, Human Resource Focus, and Process Management. The best papers will be considered for the Best Paper Award, and fast-tracked for publication in one of the local or international journals.

    Abstracts for papers will be due by 1st of April 2012 and the early registration deadline will be 1 July 2012. The congress website is available at WorldBusinessCapabilityCongress.com and more details on abstract submission and registration is posted there, please visit the website periodically as it evolves and more details become available, also you can also download the congress flyer from here .

    The World Business Capability Congress 2012 is a not to be missed event, make sure you include this conference in your diary and travel plans for 2012.

    Ahmed Abbas