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News Digest

This Month in News Digest


International Organization for Standardization Backs Children’s Environmental Program


Online Database Lists Pharmaceutical Best Practices


Count Down to ISO 9001:2000 Transition


Report Offers Statistical Techniques


Six Sigma Business Scorecard Debuts


New Strategy for Pushing Baldrige Nonprofit Category


Thirteen Organizations Earn Baldrige Site Visits


U.S. Production Adopting Pull-Based Manufacturing


Industry News

International Organization for Standardization Backs Children’s Environmental Program

As more youngsters around the globe increase their awareness of environmental issues, the International Organization for Standardization has seized an opportunity to educate children on ISO 14000.

ISO is increasing its support of promoting and spreading the Kids’ ISO 14000 Programme to develop environmental awareness among children around the world and enable them to take practical steps to improve the environment.

The Kids’ ISO 14000 Programme draws upon the organizing principle of the ISO 14000 environmental management system standards. It was created and is operated by the Japanese nonprofit organization ArTech. Since the program’s launch in 2000, more than 50,000 Japanese schoolchildren have participated. ArTech and ISO now wish to expand the program internationally.

The United Nations University is cooperating with the program and the United Nations Environmental Program also supports it.

On Oct. 24, ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden and ArTech Director General Takaya Kawabe signed a memorandum of understanding in Tokyo, confirming an October 2002 agreement between the two organizations when ISO first lent its name and logo to the program. Under the new memorandum of understanding, ISO has pledged active support by using its communication media to promote the program and encouraging its dissemination worldwide through ISO’s network of national standards institutes in 147 countries.

“Just about everyone is agreed on the need to do something to control the negative effects of man’s activities on the environment,” says Bryden. “Practical tools for achieving this, and for improving environmental performance, are provided by international standards like ISO 14001, which is implemented by more than 50,000 organizations in 118 countries. Therefore, it’s normal that ISO should respond positively to ArTech’s desire for cooperation because the program demonstrates even to young children that the small, practical steps they carry out can have incremental, positive results.”

The three principal aims of the Kids’ ISO 14000 Programme are:

To stimulate environmental awareness among children

To teach children to implement a simplified form of the plan-do-check-act cycle at the heart of ISO 14001 and use it to monitor and reduce energy and water consumption in their homes

To encourage the formation of networks of these children, both locally and worldwide, in order for them to work together on global environmental issues

“In many cases in Japan, the parents of children participating in the program work in business organizations that are implementing ISO 14001, and the families live in municipalities registered to or seeking ISO 14001,” says Kawabe. “ISO 14001 enjoys recognition on an international scale as a tool for improving environmental performance. ArTech is therefore happy to incorporate reference to the ISO 14000 family in the name of its program because it aims at educating children to the practical measures they can take to improve the environment--first in their homes and then in their communities.”

Learn more at www.iso.org.

Online Database Lists Pharmaceutical Best Practices

As the Food and Drug Administration strengthens its guidelines for pharmaceutical manufacturing processes, many quality control laboratories in that sector are seeking advice in the form of case studies, proven tactics and lessons learned. As an answer to such inquiries, the Best Practice Database, produced by Best Practices LLC, includes a new section that lists tips for improving productivity and quality in the pharmaceutical quality control laboratory.

Research available on the site includes staffing levels, structures, sample testing and documentation processes, performance metrics and innovative workflow technologies gathered fromin-depth interviews with laboratory managers and directors at seven leading pharmaceutical companies.

The Best Practice Database also includes detailed demographic and performance data for pharmaceutical laboratories, including:

Number of products supported

Number of different test methods

Number of tests per year

Personnel employed at each lab (categorized by full-time, part-time or contractor)

First-pass yield rate

Percentage of total testing costs consumed by rework

Percentage of rework caused by a variety of root causes

The Best Practice Database provides best business practices, metrics, presentation slides and flowcharts on key business topics. Members use the database to prepare for meetings, conduct primary research, create presentations and strengthen management reports. The database, available on a subscription basis, provides simplified and ongoing access to key decision support material for quality control professionals.

To learn more, visit www.bestpracticedatabase.com.



Report Offers Statistical Techniques

Most of the time, when quality-minded people think of statistical process control, they relate it to Six Sigma and the define-measure-analyze-improve-control method. However, statistics is a major part of any quality initiative, including standards like ISO 9001:2000.

Statistical techniques offer insight into the nature, extent and causes of variability in products and services and, in doing so, help control and reduce problems that could arise from such variability, and which exists throughout the life cycle of products, from market research to customer service and final disposal.

A new technical report is expected to help users of the ISO 9000 series identify statistical techniques that will improve the effectiveness of their quality management systems.

Published by the International Organization for Standardization, the new technical report, “ISO/TR 10017:2003, Guidance on statistical techniques for ISO 9001:2000,” is intended to assist managers in statistical techniques that could help improve the quality of their organizations’ products and processes.

“The effective deployment of statistical techniques is largely governed by how well their potential application and benefit are understood by management,” says Lally Marwah, convener of the working group that developed the new standard. “This need is well served by the technical report, which offers a clear and concise view of a range of widely used statistical techniques and their potential value in driving quality improvement.”

It can be used by organizations in developing, implementing, maintaining and improving a quality management system based on ISO 9001:2000, although the use of ISO/TR 10017 isn’t a requirement for registration.

ISO/TR 10017:2003 replaces ISO/TR 10017:1999. It’s aligned with ISO 9001:2000 and will serve as a strategic tool for managers who may not necessarily be experts in statistical techniques.

ISO/TR 10017:2003 is available from ISO national member institutes, a list of which can be found at www.iso.org.

Six Sigma Business Scorecard Debuts

Quality Technology Co. has developed the Six Sigma Business Scorecard for achieving growth and profitability. The methodology is documented in the new book The Six Sigma Business Scorecard (McGraw-Hill, 2003) by Praveen Gupta.

“The Six Sigma Business Scorecard merges two powerful performance improvement processes: Six Sigma and the balanced scorecard,” explains Bill Wiggenhorn, who wrote the foreword to the book explaining the methodology.

The Business Scorecard provides a clear way to produce inspiring leadership by CEOs, breakthrough improvement by managers and innovation by employees.

The Six Sigma Business Scorecard includes a way to measure performance, called the Business Performance Index. It provides a method to determine corporate sigma levels and is based on the proven concepts of Six Sigma.

The Six Sigma Business Scorecard combines the two methodologies by creating:

Key performance metrics for companies already using Six Sigma to determine their sigma level

A well-defined measurement system that builds on the Balanced Scorecard, for use throughout a corporation

A business performance index specifically designed for CEOs

A methodology for effective implementation at all levels in a corporation

“The Six Sigma Business Scorecard is a powerful set of measurements to help an organization in predicting and improving its total performance, especially the bottom line,” says Frank Brletich, president and CEO of the Centre for Strategic Management in Chicago.

To learn more, visit www.qtcom.com.

New Strategy for Pushing Baldrige Nonprofit Category

As 2003 draws to a close, proponents of a nonprofit category for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award are pushing to amend the program before year’s end. On Oct. 29, representatives Brad Miller and Melissa Hart introduced H.R. 3389 to the U.S. House of Representatives, which would establish a not-for-profit category for the award program.

Similar language had been included in a Senate authorization bill earlier this year and, with support from the American Society for Quality and other Baldrige backers, passed the Senate Commerce Committee in July. However, that bill has been stalled by unrelated procedural issues, and its consideration in the Senate is currently halted. Therefore, an alternative strategy has been devised to help ensure that a bill could still be advanced this year.

The Miller-Hart bill, H.R. 3389, represents the first step in that strategy.

Using accelerated procedures, plans are now to bring the bill directly to the House floor for an anticipated favorable vote. Then, using similar methods for noncontroversial issues, the House-passed bill would be brought straight to the Senate floor for a vote.

Although this is a positive development, passage this year is not certain, as there are several procedural hurdles to cross and little time left in the congressional session to do so.

The amendment would add the words “nonprofit organizations” to Section 17(c)(1) of the Stevenson-Wylder Technology Innovation act of 1980, which was originally established to create the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

To learn more, visit baldrige.nist.gov or www.asq.org.


Thirteen Organizations Earn Baldrige Site Visits

Teams of business, education and health care experts have been busy conducting site visits for 13 organizations vying for the award.

The group of 13 competing organizations includes three manufacturers, three service companies, two small businesses, two educational institutions and three health care organizations. These companies are all that remain of a list pared down from 68 original entrants. As of press time, the winners had not been announced.

More on the Baldrige Award: Check the January 2004 issue of Quality Digest for comprehensive coverage of the Baldrige Award winners.

U.S. Production Adopting Pull-Based Manufacturing

A recent survey conducted by DemandStream, a leading lean enterprise automation software provider, indicates rapid adoption of lean manufacturing principles among U.S. producers as a primary strategy to ensure global success.

“American manufacturing is facing stiff global pressure, particularly from China,” says Randy Tofteland, president of DemandStream. “We’re seeing U.S. and world producers embracing lean principles and software automation to enhance their global competitive positions and streamline their supply chains.”

A lean enterprise focuses on the elimination of waste at every level of the organization. Lean manufacturing is an approach in which manufacturers make a product only at the time their customer buys or orders it, thus eliminating unnecessary inventories. “This is a concept in which a customer’s order effectively has a pull effect on the production process,” Tofteland explains. “It differs from traditional manufacturing where a factory builds a product based on an estimated sales forecast and ‘pushes’ that product out the door. Unfortunately, in this traditional method, the product or its component parts, more often than not, are shipped to an expensive warehouse where they sit until someone wants to buy it.”

Traditional “push”-oriented manufacturers spend 20 to 30 cents of every sales dollar to maintain adequate inventory levels. But with lean manufacturing, working capital outlays can be as low as five cents of every sales dollar, therefore freeing up cash to invest in more productive areas.

The company’s study involved approximately 280 manufacturers and was conducted in July of this year. Forty percent of U.S. manufacturers described lean manufacturing as their primary business strategy. “U.S. manufacturers are finding ways to improve and compete more effectively through lean principles, which include kanban-based pull manufacturing systems, continuous flow production and cellular production,” says Tofteland.

Sixty percent of respondents cited their move toward kanban-based pull-manufacturing systems vs. traditional push-based manufacturing systems. Additionally, the survey indicates that 60 percent of respondents have adopted or have taken steps to adopt continuous flow production practices in their factories. Continuous flow production is a form of lean manufacturing in which machines and operators handle uninterrupted flow of material at a given rate.

Finally, the company’s study found that 55 percent of manufacturers have implemented “cellular manufacturing” concepts, in which families of parts are produced within a single production line of machines controlled by operators who work only on that particular line.

“We believe U.S. manufacturing is a cornerstone to our economy’s long-term health,” says Tofteland. “Lean manufacturing is clearly a huge trend to ensure not only manufacturing competitiveness but also U.S. economic advantage around the world.”

To see more results, visit www.demandstream.net.


BMG Provides Six Sigma Certification to MBA Students

MBA students at the Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business in Winter Park, Florida, now have the opportunity to secure Six Sigma Green Belt certification as a result of a new partnership with Breakthrough Management Group.

The Green Belt course will be offered as part of a three-course concentration in process improvement and will utilize a blended learning solution that combines BMG’s Six Sigma eCourses with instructor-led Six Sigma training. The training program alternates six days of intense classroom training (48 hours) with 14 modules of Six Sigma eCourse material (16 hours). To learn more, visit www.bmgi.com.

APICS Offers Lean Manufacturing Workshops Via CD-ROM

The Educational Society for Resource Management and the APICS Educational and Research Foundation Inc. have collaborated to develop two CD-ROM workshops: Inventory Control Series and Lean Manufacturing Series.

The inventory control series includes four-hour sessions on the basics of inventory management, cycle counting, distribution inventory management, material requirements planning, bills of material and physical inventory.

The lean manufacturing series is a seven-session workshop beginning with an eight-hour introduction to lean manufacturing and followed by six four-hour sessions on other topics. Issues covered in the workshop include lean mapping, 5S, process improvement and quality in lean manufacturing, lean scheduling, scheduled work, lean teams, lean design and accounting. For more information about the workshop series, visit www.apics.org.

Minitab Updates MINITAB Statistical Software

Minitab Inc. has released the 14th edition of its MINITAB statistical software for Windows.

Extensive graphical enhancements mark the largest advancements in the new MINITAB edition. The upgraded software also features upgraded graph creation and editing capabilities, increased graph flexibility and new quality tools like multivariate control charts and process capability analysis.

New statistical features include partial least squares, expanded design of experiments and additional reliability analysis methods. Further facilitating ease of use are newly customizable menus, toolbars and settings that can be used to create sharable profiles. To download a free, functional demo version of MINITAB statistical software, visit www.minitab.com.

PeopleSoft Acquires Demand Flow Software from JCIT

PeopleSoft Inc. has acquired JCIT International’s Demand Flow software in a move to help customers improve agility, reduce inventory and eliminate organizational waste.

The Demand Flow technology at the heart of JCIT’s corresponding software is a popular lean manufacturing methodology. PeopleSoft has already made the product available in limited release and anticipates general availability in 2004. Both companies have planned to collaborate in marketing software, training and consulting services. Details can be found at www.peoplesoft.com.

Calibration Manager 4 for Oracle Reaches Market

Blue Mountain Quality Resources Inc. has released Calibration Manager 4 for Oracle. The application manages global compliance of calibration processes with a Windows interface linked via ASP pages to a COM+-based middle-tier component, which accesses an Oracle database. The application tracks mission-critical calibration data, including Part 11-compliant electronic signatures, audit trails, custom security and validation support.

The design of Calibration Manager 4 for Oracle allows organizations to host the application centrally while retaining worldwide access to all departments and facilities. Designed and distributed by Blue Mountain Quality Resources Inc., the solution is intended to reduce costs in application licensing, corporate IT resources, validation, training and internal auditing. Learn more at www.coolblue.com.

ASQ Offers Quality Webinars

The American Society for Quality has added online seminars to its roster of quality learning options. The Webinars are presented in conjunction with teleconferencing. As visual information is communicated online, corresponding audio is transmitted accordingly via telephone. Interaction with presenters is possible both online and via telephone contact. Archived Webinars are pre-recorded events.

Topics to be discussed at the ASQ Webinars include A Multidisciplinary Field of Research and Practice, Decision Making in Knowledge-Intensive Domains, Team-Based Approaches to Safety, Administrative Control: The Role of Organization and Management in Frontline Performance and Safety, ISO/TS 16949:2002, Lean Applications in Product Development, and Project Management From A to Z.

For a schedule and descriptions of upcoming offerings and archives, visit www.asq.org and click “Webinars” on the left sidebar.