Category: Newsletter

Greetings from Belarus! Holiday Traditions Around the World

For many of us, traditions are what make the holidays so special. In the United States we celebrate many traditions as a nation: Santa Claus and his jolly crew going from house to house on the night of December 24th, the New Year’s Eve toast among family and friends, decking the halls and decorating holiday trees after November (unless of course you are in retail)! As a global company, we have such a diverse group of individuals working with us and we love to learn about the traditions in each of their native countries.

olga

Olga Chaikouskaya, Chief Financial Officer at Stratosphere Quality, celebrates many American traditions with her family, but also incorporates the traditions true to her heart from her hometown of Belarus. We sat down with Olga to learn more about her favorite holiday customs true to her Russian heritage, and thought you would enjoy them too!

New Year’s Day is the biggest celebration of the year in Russia, and is similar to Christmas in the United States. The holiday celebration begins one to two hours before midnight on New Year’s Eve. Families and friends join together and enjoy dinner while sharing reflections of the past year. This is a way to say goodbye to the old year and welcome in the new. Olga’s family would decorate their tree earlier on December 30th. They always had a live fir. For Olga, decorating the tree is one of her favorite childhood memories.

Ten minutes before midnight, the President of the Russian Federation gives a speech that is broadcast throughout the country. The President speaks shortly about the country’s life in the outgoing year, and then sends his greetings to all the Russians. The end of the president’s speech is usually followed by the first stroke of the Kremlin Clock.

At midnight, the Kremlin Clock begins to chime and rings for twelve counts. This is Olga’s favorite part of ringing in the New Year. As the clock rings, it prompts a time of reflection and an opportunity to set a sincere wish for the new year. This is not simply a general wish, it is a very specific and intentional wish that you hope to come true. Then, the Russian national anthem is played, fireworks light up the sky, and families and friends embrace, cheer, and toast with champagne. Listen to the Kremlin Clock chiming at midnight.

After the bell tolls…the party begins! Friends and family get together and sing, dance, perform skits, wear costumes or cocktail attire. Families and friends enjoy each other’s company, with the goal of starting the new year on a positive note. Olga pointed out that the belief is that how you celebrate that evening will set the tone for the year to come. So, avoiding conflict, sadness, or stress is very important while celebrating that evening.

Russian Christmas takes place on January 7th, but is a more subdued celebration and is mostly a time to spend more intimately with family and friends. This day closes out the holiday season.

Thank you, Olga, for sharing the holiday traditions that are so meaningful to you and your family!

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Giving Back to Improve The Future

Indy 500 Give Back Grants and Stratosphere Quality’s Give-Back Culture Make a Difference

During the month of May, the Indy 500 will give away over $50,000.00 in grants to local charities that can continue to improve our communities. While the focus is the race in May, many charities are able to improve the lives of others and the world in which we live because of the generosity of the Indianapolis Host Committee for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.

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Like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Stratosphere Quality embraces opportunities to give back, both financially as well as through employee volunteerism. Recently, we asked Pattie Kuhn, VP of Human Resources at Stratosphere Quality about the company’s culture of giving.

Pattie shared that Stratosphere Quality believes their employees want to make a difference and they have a sense of purpose to help the community in which they work and live. By being able to volunteer, the employees feel that they can truly make an impact.

Just recently, on April 16th, 25 Stratosphere Quality employees and their families participated in Keep Fishers Beautiful of which Stratosphere Quality was the title sponsor. From cleaning up trash in the parks to laying mulch on the playgrounds, each team member worked hard to ensure that the city in which they work remains beautiful. Fisher’s Mayor, Scott Fadness, stated, “This was the largest Fishers volunteer event to date and Stratosphere Quality was the driving force behind it.”

Not only does Stratosphere Quality participate in Civic volunteerism, they also sponsor and support JDRF in support of research to find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. They participate in the One Walk as a team, sponsor the annual Gala and each employee can wear jeans to work for $1.00 a day with all proceeds being matched and donated to JDRF. Finally, the employees also participate in food drives, providing gifts during the holidays for families in need, among other activities that make a difference in the lives of others.

Like the Indy 500 and Stratosphere Quality, we encourage everyone to embrace the spirit of giving.
When we all do, we will change the world.

Cool Things to Do in Indy

If you are attending the Indianapolis 500 there are many local activities and food for the automotive fanatic! Here are just a few:

As always there is more than just the race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this May. Check out the full schedule and other events:

Let us know on facebook if you have a chance to try any of our suggestions!

The End of the Year Scorecard

Looking back at your strategy regarding quality improvement for the year, how did you perform? As a guide, we have provided some questions for observing your end-of-year scorecard. Based on your results, how can you continue to enhance what is working, eliminate waste and yield an even stronger result?

  1. Financial – What is the end result we have provided our stakeholders?
    • Scrap Reduction
    • Rework Reduced
  2. How did we provide value to our customer?
    • PPM Reduced
    • # of Claims Reduced
  3. Where have we excelled, and where should we improve?
    • % of COPQ shifted towards prevention costs
    • Program Launch Errors Reduced
  4. How will we learn and improve?
    • RPN Reduction
    • Kaizen Event Hours

Need help? Our technical services team is available, call 877-224-8584.

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Learn More at ASQ.org

Stratosphere Quality Walks to Cure Diabetes

130The Central Indiana, Indianapolis Walk to Cure Diabetes was held on Saturday, October 4, 2014 at Military Park. Stratosphere Quality was proud to have a team walking to raise money and awareness for those living with type 1 diabetes. Walk To Cure Diabetes is the fastest growing fund raising event in the history of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Last year, nearly $86 million was raised through the Walk To Cure Diabetes to fund diabetes research. This year, the Walk To Cure Diabetes is expected to surpass $90 million.

JDRF is the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Driven by passionate, grassroots volunteers connected to children, adolescents, and adults with this disease, JDRF is now the largest charitable supporter of T1D research. The goal of JDRF research is to improve the lives of all people affected by T1D by accelerating progress on the most promising opportunities for curing, better treating, and preventing T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners who share this goal.

Since its founding in 1970, JDRF has awarded more than $1.7 billion to diabetes research. Past JDRF efforts have helped to significantly advance the care of people with this disease, and have expanded the critical scientific understanding of T1D. JDRF will not rest until T1D is fully conquered. More than 80 percent of JDRF’s expenditures directly support research and research-related education.

Stratosphere Quality has continued to support JDRF’s efforts in finding a cure to turn Type One into Type None. Won’t you join us? For more information about JDRF please visit www.jdrf.org.

Optimize Your Supply Chain Management by Using a Third Party Quality Control Company

Third party companies can allow your organization to focus energies on your core competencies and speed up the process of getting your product to market faster. Whether you are preparing for a product launch or dealing with a product recall, every minute counts. If you have more people, adherence to your workflow processes, and real- time data that gets you to market quicker, would the investment be worth it?

As a third party quality control company, we all too often witness delays in the process and a increased because many companies try manage the workload internally. Those companies are forced to pull key individuals from existing projects – usually higher value projects – and still were unable to dedicate the necessary resources for completing the project in a cost effective manner.

Some ideas to consider when weighing the options of managing a quality project internally or using a third party company:

1.) A third company can bring an abundance of trained people to the table for completing your project. From supervisors to inspectors, a fully established and assembled team dedicated to your project can drastically improve your project completion timeframe.

2.) Loss of control or fear of not understanding the scope of a project often triggers a company keeping sorting/containment work in-house. Third party companies have specific processes that tend to align with your internal processes. By working alongside your third party provider, you can benefit from an integration of your internal processes, and processes specific to quality control and quality assurance.

3.) Supplier analysis and management can be improved by utilizing an unbiased third party looking out for your best interest. Defects can occur throughout the supply chain, and a third party can often quickly identify the root cause of the defects, and oversee and manage the improvements of supplier quality.

4.) Real-time data for the project is key to identifying overall return on investment while also providing a big picture view of total quality management. There are different levels of data support, so finding a third party to provide robust and real-time data is a must when considering your options.

5.) Most third party companies understand that the relationship must be a win / win and will work hard for you to get the results you desire, and must be accountable for achieving those results.

There are many ways to optimize your supply chain management, and working with a third party provider is just one key solution. Click here for 5 more ways to optimize your supply chain management.

The Ultimate Race Fan!

Meet Steve Cage – Founder and Chairman, Stratosphere Quality


Steve is the ultimate race fan. One of his passions includes the Indianapolis 500. We asked Steve to tell us a little bit about the Indianapolis 500.

What year did you attend your FIRST Indy 500?
1963 was my very first year that I attended the Indianapolis 500.

How many years since that first race have you attended?
I went to my first race in 1963 and haven’t missed one since! This will be my 51st consecutive year attending the race. It never gets old.

What is your FAVORITE part of the Indy 500?
There is nothing – absolutely nothing – like the starting of the engines and hearing the power behind the engines. It is incredible. When the words, “Gentlemen, start your engines,” echo throughout the raceway, you know the most spectacular sound of roaring engines is next. It’s a moment of sheer anticipation and excitement.

What you provide at Stratosphere Quality really intersects with your passion for the Indianapolis 500. Why?
I was always around automotive manufacturing growing up. I was on the production line, and while now I am in the “front office”, I know how much blood, sweat, tears, knowledge and experience it takes to provide a quality product. The Indy 500 cars are all produced by the same blood, sweat and tears and continue to be produced by some of the greatest manufacturers in the world. I love that. I love how every piece, every part, every inspection impacts the safety and performance of the vehicles consumers purchase and the performance of each racing professional.

What has been the most memorable moment of any of the Indy 500’s you attended?
I mentioned safety in the last question. In 1964, I was still a kid attending the race, and I witnessed the horrible, fiery crash between Eddie Sachs and Dave McDonald. It happened on turn 4, and the smoke plume that filled the air immediately following was unbelievable. I remember asking my dad what all the smoke was. They immediately called the race, and my dad informed me that the two drivers had died. In that moment, with the horrible sound, smell and sight, I realized how dangerous the sport really was. At that point, it was like going from the happiest of emotions to the lowest sadness. That’s why the sport is so amazing.

What would you tell someone if this is his / her first year attending the Indianapolis 500?
I would tell them to get there in plenty of time to see the start (see earlier question), and to experience the awesome flyover during the National Anthem. Unbelievable. That’s really what the day is all about. It’s held on Memorial Day weekend.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the race, but it is important to appreciate, and be thankful for all those who serve or lost their lives while fighting for our country. The race is steeped in tradition and history – honoring our veterans is at the forefront of that.

Everyone should go experience this race just once! It’s the most incredible race.