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News Digest

This Month in News Digest

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Survey Says Small Job Shops Need Lean Help

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Gallo Toasts to ISO 9001:2000 Registration

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Medical Device Professionals Invited to Upcoming Event

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Correction

 

 

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U.S., Canada Cooperate on ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 Accreditation

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Free E-Learning Course Provides the Basics for Standardization

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How to Make Your Web Site Customer-Friendly

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E-Filing Makes Individuals Happier With the Internal Revenue Service


Survey Says Small Job Shops Need Lean Help

A recent survey conducted by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers reports that small job shop owners and their employees need help with learning more about lean manufacturing and workforce development principles, general business analysis and how to reduce setup cycle time.

A Reporting of the Lean Manufacturing Needs Assessment of Northeast Manufacturers was compiled late last year from attendees of the EASTEC Advanced

Productivity Exposition and identified the specific lean manufacturing needs and production challenges of Northeast manufacturers.

Among other information, the survey reported:

Thirty-four percent of manufacturers recognize the need for a lean approach or would like to implement lean principles but aren't sure how to proceed.

Forty-one percent of respondents are not familiar or slightly familiar with lean principles but haven't considered implementing them.

Respondents from companies with fewer than 50 employees are less likely to be familiar with lean and are less likely to have implemented it.

Midsized companies or OEMs are likely to be more familiar with lean principles and have systems in place.

Job shop owners and corporate executives are less familiar with lean concepts than manufacturing engineers or quality managers.

"It was alarming how few manufacturers even knew what lean was," comments Dan Radomski, show manager for SME's EASTEC 2003. "But along with alarming numbers comes an opportunity for learning."

As a result of the survey, SME developed a Lean Manufacturing Pavilion and Conference at EASTEC 2003, scheduled for May 20-22 in West Springfield, Massachusetts. The pavilion will provide a forum for attendees to meet with lean consultants and equipment providers. The conference will offer workshops and present case studies on lean principles.

"One of the many issues we'll address is the breakdown of communication between those who know about lean and those who allocate the funds within their companies," adds Radomski. "Not only will the show focus on lean manufacturing through products and services, but there will also be discussions on why lean isn't implemented so there can be a better connection between people who understand lean with those who are in charge of the money or operations."

To learn more about the survey or EASTEC 2003, visit www.sme.org.

Gallo Toasts to ISO 9001:2000 Registration

The E. & J. Gallo Winery has achieved registration to ISO 9001:2000. It's the first winery to become compliant to ISO 9001:2000, according to BSI Inc., which granted the company registration.

Gallo's Brandy facility, Fresno Winery, Livingston Winery and Gallo Glass Co., all located in California, obtained registration.

"The ISO certification process allowed E. & J. Gallo Winery to establish a robust quality system that is standardized throughout our facilities and easy for our employees to use," notes Doug Rinfret, corporate quality management representative. "We anticipate improvements in product quality, and we expect this will increase customer satisfaction."

Rinfret added that the registration of these four facilities is the first step in the company's initiative to have the entire Gallo business registered. "Our corporate facility; Modesto, California, bottling facility; and Sonoma Winery will be working toward registration in 2003."

Medical Device Professionals Invited to Upcoming Event

The Medical Design and Manufacturing West Conference and Exposition is slated for Feb. 18-21 in Anaheim, California. The event is an information exchange and networking forum for medical device designers and quality systems professionals.

Program highlights include expanded FDA participation featuring a full day of basic issues and a full day dedicated to advanced regulatory issues, new training workshops by leading instructors, a two-day track featuring new developments in biomaterials and tissue engineering, and about 3,000 exhibitors. To learn more, visit www.mdmwest.com.

Correction

In the January issue of Quality Digest, the name of the new Secretary-General of the International Organization for Standardization was incorrectly printed as Alan Dryden. The correct name is Alan Bryden. Quality Digest regrets the error.

U.S., Canada Cooperate on ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 Accreditation

The first meeting of the SCC-ANSI-RAB Harmonization Committee was recently held to establish collaboration between the Standards Council of Canada and the

American National Standards Institute's Registrar Accreditation Board. Under the committee's Mutual Recognition Agreement, both organizations have agreed that ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 registration certificates issued by their accredited certification/registration bodies are equivalent.

Both organizations base their decisions to accredit certification/registration bodies on the same criteria. The committee will focus on accreditation body program operations, consistency in the application of accreditation requirements and harmonization of accreditation body procedures.

The SCC and ANSI-RAB National Accreditation Program are developing joint processes and procedures for sharing information and joint audit activity.

"Establishing joint procedures and processes leverages the strengths of both organizations and ensures a uniform level of competence," explains Pat Paladino, director of conformity assessment for the SCC. "This leads to the recognition of each other's audit results, thereby decreasing duplication of activities."

The Harmonization Committee includes representatives from the SCC, the ANSI-RAB, the International Association of Accredited Registrars, the Canadian Conformity Assessment Conference, and SCC and ANSI-RAB accreditation auditors. To learn more, visit www.ansi.org, www.rabnet.com or www.scc.ca.

Free E-Learning Course Provides the Basics for Standardization

"Why Standards Matter," a free e-learning course that introduces the basics of the voluntary standardization process, is available from the American National Standards Institute, a nonprofit organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standardization system.

The course is part of ANSI's instructor-led and Web-based education and training program to teach users how to participate in regional, national and international voluntary standards. It's targeted to those who are not familiar with ANSI, including higher education faculty and students, engineers, technologists, and government and corporate management. It's also recommended for ANSI members as an orientation for new employees or new committee members.

A second course, "National and International Standards Development," is planned this year.

ANSI is the official U.S. representative of the International Accreditation Forum, the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission. To learn more, visit www.standardslearn.org.

How to Make Your Web Site Customer-Friendly

If you've ever used the Internet to purchase something, you've probably encountered the frustration of wading through a company's Web site, trying in vain to find the information you need. The difference between a well-organized site and a confusing one is considerable:

Customer-friendly sites get more business, and customer-unfriendly sites get forgotten.

Ron Zemke, author of Knock Your Socks Off Service (AMACOM, 2002), says the following criteria are musts for any organization interested in starting or improving online customer service:

Easy customer access to phone numbers. Too many consumer Web sites don't list a phone number, or the number is too small or difficult to locate. Every customer-driven company should post a toll-free number clearly on its home page.

One-click help. Customers shouldn't have to click more than once to find information on product availability, billing, order confirmation, delivery tracking or other important details. If customers can easily find what they need online, they're less likely to call for help.

A list of frequently asked questions. FAQs take the pressure off live phone or online support by giving customers access to the most commonly asked questions about the company and its products or services. Some experts advise creating two layers of FAQs--one for prospective or new customers with fundamental questions and another for continuing customers.

Standards for e-mail response. Long delays in response time can dull customer loyalty. Set standards for response time to e-mail inquiries--ideally within the same day--and clear guidelines for answering questions and addressing problems in customer-sensitive ways.

Product return channels that complement each other. When customers order a product online, they want the same refund, return and exchange guarantees as they would at the company store. A company's Internet return policies should mirror in-person product return.

E-Filing Makes Individuals Happier With the Internal Revenue Service

The latest American Customer Satisfaction Index indicates that Americans who file their taxes electronically are more pleased with the Internal Revenue Service than those who file by mail. The ACSI's fourth-quarter 2002 results, which contain scores for government agencies, show a score of 78 (of a possible 100) among those who filed their taxes electronically, compared with a mark of 53 for individual paper tax filers.

"Tax filers view electronic filing as simple and efficient," says Claes Fornell, professor of business and director of the University of Michigan Business School's National Quality Research Center, which compiles and analyzes the ACSI data. "Although the overall score for individual tax filers is substantially low at 62, it still represents a 22-percent improvement since 1999."

No organization, public or private, has shown similar improvement in the same period of time, according to Fornell.

The average ACSI score for all government agencies, including those that are regulatory and those that administer benefits, fell to 70.2 from the previous year's record high of 71.3. Large declines in satisfaction occurred within Medicare and divisions of the IRS, which account for most of the drop in the overall score.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services received a score of 76, down four points from the previous year. The score for the IRS among its small business corporate users is down 9 percent to 60. Midsized and large businesses gave the IRS a score of 52, a six-point drop.

The U.S. Mint registered the highest score among all agencies. Its mark of 84 was followed by the Social Security Administration's score of 83 for retirement benefits recipients.

ACSI is produced through a partnership among the University of Michigan Business School, the American Society for

Quality and the CFI Group. For a look at all ACSI scores, visit www.theacsi.org.