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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Things to think about when purchasing tablets

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Quality, criteria and requirements apply everywhere even when considering tablets, hardware and software.

Overall requirements to consider:


Wi Fi or 3G, Speed and Offline


Finger, pen or both


Ease, compression, multiple images


Speed, simplicity, reliability, offline


Tracking, follow ups, reminders, priorities, live knowledge capture


Record size and compression, versioning


Other considerations include:

·         Integrated software

·         Simple (intuitive)

·         Fast (fewer clicks the better)

·         Efficient (what fits on the screen)

·         Mobile (rugged) Things you need to do in the field while on the move:

o   Observe

o   Record

o   Photograph

o   Annotate

o   Communicate

o   Question

o   Answer

·         Learn the good and the bad (about both hardware and software0

·         Versatile (touch or write or both – can this be done in the cold, with gloves on)

·         Compact (screen size & weight)

·         Cost effective (best value)

Finally, of course use PDCA.

Plan for what you want, get input from other builders and your field and office staff on what they need, want and desire.

Detail what they actually do. Then before translating to the new system IMPROVE IT!

Pilot the product and change over before making a decision.

Then get feedback on what works and doesn’t so you can make adjustments.


(Data from Brian Palmquist, Auditing at the Edge, ASQ Audit Division Conference, 2011)

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