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This Month in News Digest


Software Alliance Connects Two Metrology Giants


ISO 9000 Certificate Acceptance Remains Strong


ISO Considers Corporate Social Responsibility Standards


ISO Handbook Addresses Small and Mid-Size Businesses


Philip B. Crosby Medal Will Honor Distinguished Authors


49 Organizations Compete for 2002 Baldrige Award


Costly Bugs: Software Errors Add Up to $59 Billion Annually


Industry News

Software Alliance Connects Two Metrology Giants

In the latest of a series of metrology company expansions, divestments and partnerships, Wilcox Associates Inc. and RAM Optical Instruments Inc. have entered into an agreement allowing RAM Optical to sell Wilcox's PC-DMIS vision metrology software with RAM Optical's inspection products.

"PC-DMIS is the most popular coordinate measuring machine software in the industry and the leader in CAD-based inspection technology," says Bill Wilcox, CEO of Wilcox Associates. "It has become the standard for CMM measurement software in virtually all industries. This new relationship expands PC-DMIS's reach into the optical portion of the metrology market."

The partnership is a connector between two metrology conglomerates: Hexagon AB, which aims to become the leader in contact metrology, and Quality Vision International, a group of noncontact metrology companies. Wilcox is owned by Hexagon, which is also the parent company of Brown & Sharpe (which also utilizes PC-DMIS) and CEJohansson. RAM

Optical (formerly CEJohansson's noncontact division) is owned by Quality Vision International, which also owns the noncontact metrology companies View Engineering and Optical Gaging Products.

PC-DMIS is geometric measurement software that allows operators to use CAD data in the measurement of manufactured products. It works in conjunction with CMMs to allow real-time measured data to be compared directly with the nominal CAD data. Learn more at www.wilcox assoc.com.

Quality Vision International acquired RAM Optical on June 3. The company provides general purpose dimensional-measurement products. For more information, visit www.ramoptical.com.

ISO 9000 Certificate Acceptance Remains Strong

In 1997, the International Accreditation Forum and the International Organization for Standardization jointly conducted a survey to determine the acceptance of accredited certificates in international trade. The results showed that accreditation, certification and registration bodies, as well as businesses worldwide, find 99.9 percent acceptance of accredited certificates.

Last year the IAF conducted a follow-up survey of three sectors: accreditation bodies, accredited certification/registration bodies and businesses with accredited certificates. The findings suggest the rate of nonacceptance is still small, less than 1 percent.

In all categories, a high percentage of respondents said they'd benefit from a single mark on accredited certificates indicating coverage by the IAF Mutual Recognition Agreement (MLA). The benefit of joining the IAF MLA is that ISO 9000 conformity assessment certificates issued by certification/registration bodies accredited by any one of the members of the MLA will be recognized in the worldwide IAF program. Some results follow:

Accreditation bodies

n 949 ISO 9000 accreditations were issued, covering 301,600 ISO 9000 certificates. Three of the four reported nonacceptances were resolved by proof of membership in the IAF MLA.

n One-third of the respondents not covered by IAF MLA said their international trading position would be improved by coverage in the MLA, and two-thirds said it might be improved.

n Locally accredited certificates were accepted by local governments in 84 percent of responses, while nonlocally accredited MLA members were accepted only 58 percent of the time.

Accredited certification/registration bodies

n 157,639 ISO 9000 certificates were issued by the 124 respondents in this category. Of 16 nonacceptance cases, 15 were accepted after proof of MLA coverage.

n 36 percent of the respondents not covered by IAF MLA said their international trading position would be improved by coverage in the MLA, and 22 percent said it might be improved.

Businesses with an accredited certificate

n The 2,604 respondents in this category reported 58 cases of nonacceptance during the past year. Sixty-one percent said MLA coverage would have resolved the problem, and 27 percent said it might have resolved the problem.

n MLA coverage of accredited certificates is preferred by 58 percent of respondents, with another 36 percent uncertain. Eight percent said identification of MLA coverage wouldn't help.

For a complete analysis of the survey results, e-mail secretary@accreditationforum.com.

ISO Considers Corporate Social Responsibility Standards

The International Organization for Standardization Committee for Consumer Policy (ISO/COPOLCO) is recommending the establishment of a multistakeholder strategic advisory group to explore whether ISO should develop corporate social responsibility standards.

The Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire defines CSR as the integration of business operations and values whereby the interests of all stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors and the environment, are reflected in the organization's policies and actions.

According to a report summary on the desirability and feasibility of CSR standards, surveys suggest that consumers expect firms to meet high health and safety, worker, human rights, consumer protection, and environmental standards regardless of where their operations are located. Furthermore, the report states that investors and shareholders are increasingly asking their suppliers to show that they have CSR programs in place.

The recommendation for an advisory group was made at the June 10 ISO/COPOLCO workshop in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Representatives from business, industry, consumer organizations and standards bodies attended the workshop to explore the feasibility and needs for ISO to develop internationally accepted parameters in the area of social responsibility.

"It was encouraging to see the standards community seeking to reach consensus on this improvement issue and to look for a constructive way forward," says Caroline Warne, chair of COPOLCO. "We've made a very good start for finding common ground and hope we've come one step closer to considering corporate social responsibility standards a reality."

ISO standards would only be part of an effective response to maintaining a high level of CSR, says Kernaghan Webb, author of the feasibility report, suggesting that a CSR standard should be used in combination with other legal or regulatory tools developed by international organizations.

To track the progress of the corporate social responsibility standard proposal, visit www.iso.org.

ISO Handbook Addresses Small and Mid-Size Businesses

The International Organization for Standardization has made available a revised second edition of the ISO 9001 for Small Businesses handbook. The publication provides advice to small and mid-size companies on implementing ISO 9001-based quality management systems.

The handbook aligns with the ISO 9001:2000 standard, which replaced the 1994 versions of ISO 9001, 9002 and 9003. The new standard defines the requirements for a quality management system based on the process model and is aimed at achieving customer satisfaction and continual performance improvement.

Written by ISO Technical Committee 176, the committee that developed ISO 9001:2000, the handbook targets small business operators with less time and/or resources to spend on ISO 9001:2000 training courses. The full text of ISO 9001:2000 is included within the book. Explanations, examples and implementation guidance is also given for each section.

Highlighted within the handbook are the eight quality management principles on which the ISO 9001:2000 series is based, along with tips for setting up a quality management system with or without a consultant.

ISO 9001 for Small Businesses is available in English for about $30 from the ISO Central Secretariat by e-mailing sales@iso.org, or through ISO's national member institutes, a complete list of which can be found at www.iso.org.

Philip B. Crosby Medal Will Honor Distinguished Authors

The American Society for Quality's board of directors has approved the Philip B. Crosby Medal "for authoring a distinguished book contributing significantly to the extension of the philosophy and application of the principles, methods or techniques of quality management."

The late Crosby was a philosopher and practitioner of quality management. A past president of ASQ, he was named an honorary member in 2001 and was a recipient of the W. Edwards Deming Medal. His writings focused on the concept of zero defects as the quality performance standard, teamwork as the principle for work, leadership as the requirement to make progress and prevention as the means to eliminate quality problems. His 15 books have been translated into 17 languages and have sold more than 2.5 million copies.

Recognition accorded by the medal will be a certificate with a brief citation describing the recipient's personal contribution and a medal with Crosby's likeness on one side, surrounded by the words "Philip B. Crosby--Author and Philosopher of the Global Quality Community." The reverse side will be illustrated with an open book surrounded by a laurel wreath. The pages of the book will read "Zero Defects."

Eligibility criteria for the new award will be announced this month, nominations will be accepted in November and the presentation of the first Crosby award is scheduled for May 2003.

Crosby's Quality College is active in teaching the fundamentals of quality management in 20 countries around the world. For information about Philip Crosby and Associates II Inc., visit www.philipcrosby.com. To learn more about the Philip Crosby Medal, visit www.asq.org.

49 Organizations Compete for 2002 Baldrige Award

During the next few months, examiners will evaluate 49 U.S. applicants to determine which will receive the 2002 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

The group includes eight large manufacturers, three service companies, 11 small business, 10 educational organizations and 17 health care organizations. This year marks the largest number of health care applicants since the category was established in 1999. Last year, applicants included eight health care organizations, seven manufacturers, four service companies, eight small businesses and 10 educational organizations.

As part of the Baldrige process, the applicants submitted written answers to more than 100 questions on leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, information and analysis, human resource focus, process management, and results. Results-oriented questions inquire about current levels and trends in key measures and indicators.

Organizations that pass initial screening will be visited by a team of examiners to verify information and clarify issues and questions. Each applicant receives at least 300 hours of review and an extensive feedback report, highlighting strengths and opportunities for improvement.

The 2001 Baldrige winners were Clarke American Checks Inc., San Antonio (manufacturing); Pal's Sudden Service, Kingsport, Tennessee (small business); Chugach School District, Anchorage, Alaska (education); Pearl River School District, Pearl River, New York (education); and the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, Wisconsin (education). There were no winners in the health care or service categories.

This year's Baldrige recipients are expected to be announced in November. For a schedule of Baldrige-related events and for more information, visit www.quality.nist.gov.

Costly Bugs: Software Errors Add Up to $59 Billion Annually

Errors in software programs cost the U.S. economy an estimated $59.5 billion annually, or about 0.6 percent of the gross domestic product, according to a study commissioned by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. At the national level, software users shoulder more than half of the costs, and software developers and vendors bear the remainder of the costs.

The study also found that, although errors can't be removed post-production, more than one-third of the costs (an estimated $22.2 billion) can be eliminated with earlier and more effective identification and removal of software defects. These savings are associated with the development stage, in which most software errors are introduced. More than half of these errors aren't detected until later in the development process or during post-sale software use.

In 2000, total sales of software reached approximately $180 billion, supported by a workforce encompassing 697,000 software engineers and 585,000 computer programmers. The study indicates that the increasing complexity of software contributes to the high number of errors. Other factors contributing to quality problems include marketing strategies, limited liability by software vendors, and decreasing returns on testing and debugging. At the core of these issues is the difficulty of defining and measuring software quality.

The Research Triangle Institute of North Carolina conducted the study, which was funded by NIST. It will be used as part of a joint planning process to help identify and assess technical needs that would improve software-testing capabilities.

The NIST Planning Report 02-3, The Economic Impacts of Inadequate Infrastructure for Software Testing can be viewed at www.nist.gov/director/prog-ofc/report02-3.pdf. E-mail dherbert@nist.gov to obtain a hard copy.

Industry News

Web-Based CAPA Management

Pilgrim Software Inc. has released SmartCAPA, a completely Web-based corrective and preventive action management solution, as part of its SmartSolve suite of Web-based enterprise quality management solutions built on Microsoft .NET technology.

"Corrective actions can be initiated at the highest levels of the company and driven down throughout the organization," says Chris Parsons, Pilgrim's director of marketing. "This results in a faster time-to-compliance, improved operational efficiency and significant reductions in risk and costs." The solution meets the FDA 21 CFR Part 11 requirement for electronic records and signatures. For more information, visit www.pilgriminfo.com/qd smartcapa.htm.

Aviation Conference, Sept. 22-24

The 13th annual Conference on Quality in Commercial Aviation is planned for Sept. 22-24 in Dallas. The theme is "Bringing Together Operators, Maintenance Providers, Manufacturers, Suppliers and Regulators to Assure System Safety."

The conference includes representatives from airlines, aviation industry suppliers, aircraft and engine manufacturers, the Federal Aviation Administration, and civil air authorities.

Additional information is available at www.asdnet.org/cqca.

DataMyte and Applied Statistics Merge

Applied Statistics Inc. recently acquired the DataMyte business of Rockwell Automation Inc. to become ASI DataMyte Inc.

DataMyte manufactures data collection devices, quality control software, gage management software and precision measurement solutions. Applied Statistics develops SPC software for the manufacturing industry. Combined, the company will support and develop both companies' products. For details, visit www.datamyte.com.

Nikon Names New President and CEO

Hiro Kusaka has been appointed president and CEO of Nikon Instruments Inc. He is responsible for sales, customer service and new product development and will head Nikon's efforts to expand the company's presence in the digital applications business of science and industrial markets.

Kusaka began his career with Nikon in 1974 after graduating from Waseda University in Tokyo. Most recently, he was general manager of the Nikon Instruments Co. in Japan. Learn more at www.nikonusa.com.