Member Facility Tours?

I'm nearly 2 years into my QA career. It's a small company and a lot of room for Q improvements. I can only learn so much from books and YouTube video. My supervisor mentioned professional organizations may sometimes offer facility tours; he did a few as a member of ASME. Has there ever been any facility or QC lab tours offered by ASQ members?

I understand there may be proprietary knowledge at risk but I know I would certainly learn a lot from touring a large member facility and seeing the ISO or AS programs in action. I'd also be interested in seeing digitization and co-bot implements.

12 Replies
Grace Duffy
87 Posts

Local ASQ sections in past years did attempt to schedule a company tour each year as part of their regular program. I do not know whether that practice is still encouraged. If you are active in your local section, you might suggest it to your section program chair.

Sent from Mail for Windows

This is definitely something that varies by section. Our section (La Crosse/Winona) does mostly tours for meetings based on feedback from our members and participation.

I encourage you to attend ASQ Meetings to enhance your knowledge. My experience at ASQ meetings and conferences has been that the presenters are experts and provide tools and information for me to apply and use in my organization. I have learned tremendously from people like Phil Crosby, Grace Duffy, Duke Okes, Joe DiSimone, and others when attending ASQ meetings and conferences. And meeting other Quality people can provide a network of resources for exchanging knowledge and experiences.

ASQ Section Leadership usually arranges tours (this was pre-COVID) of the businesses that the section members work at or through friend-of-a-friend networking. I have attended many company tours and learned much.

Learning is a wonderful thing. No one can ever take from you what you have learned. Learning about quality can improve your personal life and the company to which you contribute. I wish you success.

My experience as a member leader for many years is that tours were held annually in our section about 7 to 10 years ago. Then it became increasingly more difficult to find local willing companies primarily due to concerns of Liability and Logistics. I know where I work, you no longer can just have a group visit the plant. Now there must be an approved gate pass, safety orientation for all visitors, designated escorts, and all visitors must leave cell phones in their car or at the gate. The logistics to pull this off is no where near the past practice of getting permission to have the plant sponsor a tour and asking a few friends to help host. Then there are making sure things like the plant is running and not on shutdown or changeover. Most of all, what are the current COVID policies on visitors. On the liability side there are the obvious concerns about visitor safety, but now many companies are concerned sharing what could be intellectual property, trade secrets, or someone taking pictures of areas not meant for public view and posting them on the internet. Unfortunately, these items have lead our section to no longer try to schedule tours of local companies.

If you want to see how other companies are doing some of the items mentioned is is possible to arrange visits to your suppliers (say as part of an audit) or a customer (say as part of a sales call). I have been able to do both of these items and learned a lot. Visiting a customer is a great opportunity to see how your product is handled, managed, and processed. This experience accomplishes two critical items: having contacts with your customer and starting to learn how they think. Both of these are well worth the time and expense of the visit.
Steven

We offer tours - we are appx 110k sq ft facility with appx 160 employees, both ISO9001 and ISO14001 certified, located in upsate NY - where are you?
Jose Perez
4 Posts

Facility tours are refreshing and widen your perspective, but often not relevant to your needs. I stay most curious about the needs in my own organization, but look to publications like Quality Progress and my Section meetings to expand my awareness of other organizations and industries, and how they implement trends in quality practices.

Totally agree with Gary. While facility tour gives new perspective and workplace insight to quality professional, it requires a lot of internal coordination and logistics to arrange a external group visit. For example, pass-through access, safety briefings, escorts, work area hosting, briefing rooms; risk assessments, and in some cases require visitor to wear safety protections (shoes, vest, helmet, etc). Recently adding to this is the company safety protocols which require health screening, testing, health declaration, limited or totally restricting visitors in workplace. Some company are also very cautious against possibilities of operational disruptions, visitor injuries or exposure of trade information on social media.

Being a host of external visitor and as a visitor to a external facility provides rewarding experience and growth both academically and professionally. Im still optimistic that, with the lesson learnt from this pandemic, there will be organisations who are still willing to open their doors for students and professionals to gain insight of their quality activities and best industry practices.

Steven, where are you located?

Hello Valued Contributors,
Good Day.

My 2 cents on the ASQ Member facility tours.
The idiom “ walk the talk” for the benchmarking of Quality practices is realized by these tours.
It prevents the reinvention of the wheel and we get fresh ideas.
Normally the facility tours are conducted in the afternoon shifts followed by Q&A sessions at the company premises.
These visits create a great networking opportunity within ASQ membership and also the host company.
At Section 402(Toronto) we have been having at least one plant tour to companies such as Ford, Toyota in the pre-Covid era.

Thanks.

Best Regards,
Girish Trehan
QMS Lead Auditor-independent contractor
Partial Load Professor-Sheridan College
ASQ Education Chair-Section 0402

What State do you live in? Our Section in Southern Ohio typically arranges to do facility tours each month in our region. It's a little more sporadic right now with all the pandemic restrictions, but we are still squeezing in an occasional facility tour.

Mike MacCrae
QA Manager, Innovative Solutions Unlimited
Current Chair of ASQ Section 815
Good morning
Could there be a virtual aspect to the tours for 2 reasons
1 COVID 19
2 To include members that are located elsewhere.

Horseheads, NY