Quality Control Case Study

Case Studies

Presence of Mercury Indicates Potentially Counterfeit Version of Medication

A client recently approached RJ Lee Group with a suspected counterfeit version of their patented injectable medication. Unlike the cloudy solution the company produces, the two samples provided were more translucent, almost clear. The client was concerned that the samples were either a counterfeit or contaminated version of their product, and asked our laboratory to ...
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Test Chamber Simulation Studies Confirm Respirator Effectiveness for Airborne Coal Dust

A number of personal injury claims asserted that NIOSH-approved respirators worn by coal miners were tested using silica dust and therefore were not effective for miners exposed to airborne coal dust. The NIOSH method evaluated the performance of air-purifying respirators according to Title 30, Part 11 of the Code of Federal Regulations. A law firm ...
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Are There Health Implications from Exposure to Engineered Nanoparticles Emitted from Laser Printers?

The following case study explores engineered nanoparticles released during laser printing.
CHALLENGE: Characterize the engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) in toner formulations and study the release of the ENMs during consumer use of laser printers. Characterize their physiochemical, morphological, and toxicological properties.
SOURCE: Printers from the four most commercially available manufacturers and models using a variety ...
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Do Engineered Nanoparticles Emitted from Laser Printers have Health Implications?

CHALLENGE: Characterize the engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) in toner formulations and study the release of the ENMs during consumer use of laser printers. Characterize their physiochemical, morphological, and toxicological properties.
SOURCE: Printers from the four most commercially available manufacturers and models using a variety of printer toner powder and paper were used during printing.
PROCESS: The ...
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Micro/Nano-Scale Investigation Addresses Polystyrene Manufacturing Challenges

Challenge: A manufacturer was experiencing production issues associated with polystyrene vessels in a life science application. Our challenge was to investigate the problem, which was impacting multiple product lines, to determine the root cause of failure and provide a means of resolution.
Material: Polystyrene is critical to biomedical research and science. Its optical clarity ...
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Raw Material Specification Changes Resolve Problem with Cured Silicone

Silicone elastomers, foams, coatings, and adhesives are widely used in virtually all aspects of manufacturing, in construction, the automotive industry, and medical and personal care products. The properties that contribute to making silicones indispensable in many applications, such as their ability to repel water, their excellent heat stability and chemical resistance, are also responsible for ...
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PVC Pipe Failure Results from Improper Installation

Polyvinylchloride (PVC) is one of the most widely produced plastics in the world and accounts for approximately 70% of new buried water distribution and sanitary sewer pipes being installed in the U.S. and Canada today. With so much more PVC in use today, there are more situations in which pipes can fail. Whether caused by ...
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Multi-Faceted Support for International Liquefied Natural Gas Production

RJ Lee Group provides significant technical support to Fortune 500 companies for international liquefied natural gas production, including those involved in energy production. Technical challenges that are already significant become magnified when working across continents, cultures, and environments – e.g., the middle east is particularly harsh from a corrosion standpoint.
In this example, RJ Lee ...
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Failure Analysis Determines Faulty Workmanship to be Cause of Defective Building Materials

RJ Lee Group's petrographic scientists used in-house laboratory capabilities to prove that poor workmanship—rather than faulty materials—was the cause of delamination and cracking in stucco used in a residential construction project.
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Enterprise-Wide Data Integration Solution

Customized web interface provides decision makers ability to assess weapons readiness.
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Collected Intelligence Promotes Safety and Readiness

Customized web interface provides decision makers ability to assess weapons readiness.
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Extending the Safe, Healthy Life of Jet Engines While Improving the Readiness and Availability of the Fleet

Software tools support decisions that extend the safety and health of jet engines.
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Capacitor Testing Provides Data for Possible Patent Infringement

RJ Lee Group received several de-mounted multi-layer ceramic SMT capacitors for examination. The devices were involved in a patent infringement case dealing with device design and the electrical properties of the insulator material.
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Outsourced Component Did Not Contribute to Medical Device Implant Failure

When the manufacturer of a medical device implant saw an increase in the device’s failure rate after implant, they alleged that a component provided by a supplier was responsible.
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Did a Cracked Pipe Cause a Landslide?

RJ Lee Group was retained to investigate the role that a failed municipal water pipe played in a landslide that resulted in environmental concerns. After performing a comprehensive investigation, our experts determined that the pipe failed as a result of the landslide rather than the pipe failure causing the landslide.
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Delamination Problem Requires Multi-Layered Approach

RJ Lee Group investigated the cause of the delamination of acoustic fireproofing attached to steel beams in public facilities. After thoroughly investigating samples from many locations, we identified the material issues and recommended remediation solutions as well as modifications to future product applications.
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Concrete Failure Analysis Reveals Multiple Causes

Using a combination of visual observation and petrographic analyses, RJ Lee Group determined the root cause of concrete failure in a swimming pool with recurring leaking and cracks—contractor deviation from the pool design.
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Product Failure Analysis: Consumer Product Affected by Inappropriate Raw Material

When homeowners issued complaints about staining on roofing shingles, the manufacturer took action. Through a full-scale forensic investigation, RJ Lee Group determined the source of failure and maintained the client's reputation.
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Establishing the WTC Dust Signature: Managing Post 9/11 Environmental and Damage Assessments

RJ Lee Group served as the lead scientific management team, collecting and processing more than 100,000 samples over a three-year period — the most comprehensive environmental impact study ever performed in Class-A building structures.
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Exemplar Comparison Eliminates Aircraft Engine as Cause of Fatal Accident

In an effort to determine if mechanical failure may have contributed to the cause of a fatal airplane crash, an airplane engine manufacturer retained RJ Lee Group to examine components of the 30-year old engine involved in the accident.
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Industrial Plants Can Face Costly Nuisance Dust Claims

RJ Lee Group was retained by an industrial plant to investigate — and ultimately refute — nuisance dust claims. We issued an expert report and provided supporting data and a deposition testimony.
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Experts Distinguish Corrosive Property Damage from Normal Deterioration

When 60 tons of chlorine gas were released in a catastrophic event, RJ Lee Group was called in to assess more than 360 property locations and 500 vehicles. Our expert testimony ultimately helped to refute unsubstantiated damage claims in the surrounding area.
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Award-Winning ASCAT Technology Provides Accurate, Rapid and Detailed Inclusion Data to Improve Productivity and Product Quality in the Steel Industry

RJ Lee Group developed the ASCAT with a 1999 grant from the Department of Energy, and commercialized it in 2007. Now, instead of taking a week to complete analysis manually, the tool automatically analyzes several hundred inclusions in less than an hour.
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Improving Laboratory Productivity at the World’s Largest Nuclear Waste Site

In 2009, RJ Lee Group was subcontracted to provide support services for the largest nuclear waste site in the world. In less than a year, we improved the on-time delivery rate by 40% and reduced testing turnaround time from 30 to 10 days.
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Personal Care Products Manufacturer Needs Analytical Method with Sufficient Level of Detail

RJ Lee Group develops analytical methods to ensure personal care products complies with quality standards.
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Maintaining FDA Approval: Substitute Material

RJ Lee Group helped a client demonstrate that a change in source materials would not affect patient safety or product performance. Ongoing FDA approval was granted without the need for costly re-resting and re-submission.
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Manufacturer of Fire Resistive Materials Needs Materials Performance Answers

When a manufacturer uses materials from different sources, it can impact final product consistency. By evaluating a client's raw materials for deviations and variation, RJ Lee Group helped increase supply sources and reduce material costs.
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A Test Chamber Designed to Measure Respirable Dust for Product Stewardship

RJ Lee Group designed and constructed a test chamber to simulate a controlled environment in which we could sample for respirable dust.
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Uncovering an Art Treasure’s Hidden Secret

An art collector, who owned a painting purchased by a family member from an art gallery in Europe just before the German invasion of Paris, contacted RJ Lee Group to determine when the painting had been created. The painting was signed by a well-known early 20th century artist and was true to the artist’s style, but it was not listed in the artist’s portfolio of known works. The owner wanted to determine if the painting could be the work of this artist based on its age. Our mission was to establish a timeframe in which the painting could have been created by investigating the pigments and other materials used and examining the construction of the painting.
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Nanotechnology- RJ Lee Group Designs and Conducts a Multiphase Study

Nanotechnology- RJ Lee Group designs and conducts a multiphase study to help identify and manage potential health and safety hazards as well as environmental impacts related to unbound engineered nanoparticles (UNP).
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Failure Analysis Investigation Points to QC Solution to Maintain Profits and Customers

Shatter-prone glass syringes pose any number of risks — to patients and health care workers — and costly, potentially dangerous waste. One well-known medical device manufacturer wanted reliable data on why syringes from an overseas manufacturer would shatter upon loading.
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Improving the Recovery Process by Defining Simulant Composition for Hazardous Waste

RJ Lee Group designs a program that determines the compositional mix of waste byproducts of our national defense plutonium in order for it to be turned into a more stable, usable glass form.
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Analyses Reveal Viaduct Concrete Failure Not Consistent

RJ Lee Group was retained to provide information on the current state of the concrete, failure analysis, and an estimation of service life for a viaduct on a main north-south highway that handled approximately 75,000 vehicles a day.
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Quality techniques and tools help lower the costs of people-intensive service processes and improve customer satisfaction. A process approach enables service organizations to standardize the ways they work, achieving improved consistency, faster cycle times and fewer errors. And employees are empowered to provide individualized customer service when it counts most.

Innovating Social Media Marketing Strategy via TRIZ
Using TRIZ, a marketing team created a social media marketing strategy for electric folding bicycles. Their goal was to generate 100,000 social media followers. After defining the target, the team analyzed their system through a combination of the nine windows tool and TRIZ’s basic principles. This provided the team a detailed picture of the project and thus, following different standardized steps, to come up with several different innovative ideas for the social media strategy. Download Innovating Social Media Marketing Strategy via TRIZ (PDF). November 2017

Ideality: The Pinnacle of Quality and Competition
For any given contradiction, TRIZ has a solution for improving the process by making changes to a process step. Within TRIZ lies a concept called ideality, or the ideal state of a system where all functions are achieved without problem. In this case study, the author explains how ideality can be achieved using real-life examples. Read the online case study presentation or download Ideality: The Pinnacle of Quality and Competition (PDF). July 2016

Faster Lean and Six Sigma Project Completion via TRIZ
Lean Six Sigma (LSS) problem solving consumes a lot of effort in identifying the root cause and involves a trial and error method for confirming significant factors. For any given contradiction, TRIZ has a solution for improving the process by making changes to a process step. Combining TRIZ and LSS through a structured approach can help reduce the effort and duration of LSS projects by nearly 10 times. Read the online case study presentation or download Faster Lean and Six Sigma Project Completion via TRIZ (PDF). March 2016

YMCA Upgrades Day Camps Using Six Sigma
When a senior leader at the YMCA of the USA introduced Six Sigma to the youth development department, a new method for managing and tracking projects was ushered into the organization. Upon completing a Green Belt-level training course, a YMCA project team used Six Sigma tools to improve the culture of the organization’s summer day camp. As staff became more comfortable using Six Sigma, project work became more organized and data-driven, and the project team exceeded its first-year goals. Read the online case study presentation or download YMCA Upgrades Day Campus Using Six Sigma (PDF). January 2016

Indian 5-Star Hotel Front-Line Staff Find Happiness, Empowerment in Solving Attrition Problem
Muri, a Japanese term that means stress, exists throughout organizations, and the elimination of it plays a crucial role in its growth and sustainability. While the hotel industry is growing at a very fast rate in India and other parts of the world, attrition has become a very big problem, one of the primary reasons being work stress. This article discusses the techniques that were used to understand the root causes of stress, to quantify it, and arrive at solutions for a popular Indian hotel chain that will remain anonymous. Read the online case study presentation or download Indian 5-Star Hotel Front-Line Staff Find Happiness, Empowerment in Solving Attrition Problem (PDF). August 2015

Forensic Techniques Reveal Conclusive Evidence in West African Pipeline Construction Dispute
Forensic intelligence and forensic interviews can be used to assess the level of compliance and effectiveness of a project’s quality management system (QMS). In this case study, the extent of a contractor’s implementation of the project’s QMS, created for the engineering, procurement, and construction of a pipeline in West Africa, was disputed between the contractor and the project owner/client. To assess the effectiveness of the project’s QMS, data collection through forensic intelligence and forensic interviews was conducted to assist in resolving the dispute. October 2014

Six Sigma Optimization of Mystery Shopping
Mystery shopping (MS) can be a very valuable exercise for studying and evaluating service delivery performance within the banking industry. Using Six Sigma tools and hypothetical data, this case study tests the approach and results to gauge poor service from excellent service delivery. The MS approach is highly applicable as a balanced scorecard parameter to measure delivery within service centers. September 2014

Origami Lean Training Exercise
Providing hands-on experiences to students is essential for lean workshops. Origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, can be used to provide students with a hands-on experience for understanding process thinking and process steps. The activity can be effective at conveying quality tools and concepts for all age groups. August 2014

India-based Life Insurer Improves Customer Retention Through Six Sigma, Quality Tools
Recognizing the company’s customer retention rate dipped below acceptable levels, Max Life Insurance Company leaders initiated improvement project Unnati to reclaim deeply lapsed policyholders. Using Six Sigma and quality tools, team members identified more than one dozen possible opportunities for agents to improve customer relationships, tripling the retention rate and generating millions in revenue. May 2014

New Zealand Port Company Stems Tide of Overdue IT Tickets
The Ports of Auckland aimed to reduce the number of IT call tickets that are not completed within agreed-upon timeframes. The organization initiated a Six Sigma project using tools to improve customer service, communication, and prioritization. As a result, the project realized a 50 percent reduction in past-due IT tickets during a sustained period. See an executive summary of the case study, or download New Zealand Port Company Stems Tide of Overdue IT Tickets (PDF, 219 KB). January 2014

Lean Six Sigma Increases Efficiency for Financial Services Firm (PDF, 457 KB)
A fund services organization used a Lean Six Sigma approach that featured kaizen events to enhance process control and increase capacity. In just four months, nine quick-fix projects achieved savings of $220,000, paving the way for larger strategic improvements. April 2012

A Broader View of Quality Through Certification (PDF, 561 KB)
Nancy Garcia, a senior engineering support technician for InfinityQS, is an ASQ Certified Quality Engineer and Certified Software Quality Engineer. Not only did Garcia gain confidence from ASQ Certification, she also developed deeper insight into the quality field. September 2011

Supporting Customers and Driving Excellence Through Quality (PDF, 703 KB)
A Firstsource Solutions team used Six Sigma to improve its processes for handling inbound customer service calls for a client’s new business, lowering the repeat call rate from 15 percent to 9.6 percent. May 2011

Reducing Check Returns With Six Sigma (PDF, 681 KB)
A Firstsource Advantage cross-functional team used Six Sigma to reduce the check return rate for a top client by more than 20 percent over a six-month period. April 2011

Service Provider Improves Client's Metrics With Six Sigma (PDF, 480 KB)
Firstsource Solutions used Six Sigma to reduce a retail mortgage client's turnaround time to approve applications, boosting the client's revenue by 6.9 million pounds. April 2011

Solid Commitment to People Is Main Ingredient for Texas Restaurant Excellence (PDF, 275 KB)
In 2010, K&N Management became the second food service recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the first restaurant group ever to receive the Texas Award for Performance Excellence. March 2011

No Evil Lasts More Than 96 Hours (PDF, 342 KB)


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