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ASQ Presents Annual Medals

At the 52nd Annual Quality Congress and Exposition in Philadelphia, the American Society for Quality recognized 39 new fellows; named two honorary members, J. Stuart Hunter and Genichi Taguchi; and announced ASQ medals and awards during its annual awards ceremony.

Medal and award winners include:

Qdbullet  John F. MacGregor, who received the Shewhart Medal for contributions and leadership in the quality control field.

Qdbullet  Spencer Hutchens Jr., who won the Edwards Medal for leadership in applying quality control methods.

Qdbullet  Irving Bluestone, who was named the Ishikawa Medal recipient, an award given to teams or individuals who improve the human side of quality through exceptional leadership.

Qdbullet  Edward M. Baker, who was awarded the Deming Medal, which recognizes individuals who successfully blend management and statistical thinking, resulting in quality services and products.

Qdbullet  Ray A. Klotz, who received the Grant Award, which honors individuals for developing exceptional quality control educational programs.

Qdbullet  Yoshio Kondo, who was named the Lancaster Award winner, a citation for meritorious contributions to the quality community.

Qdbullet  George E.P. Box and Alberto Luceno, who received the Brumbaugh Award for their paper, "Discrete Proportional- Integral Adjustment and Statistical Process Control," published in the Journal of Quality Technology, vol. 29, no. 3. The paper was determined by ASQ to have made the greatest contribution to developing quality control's industrial applications of any papers published in 1997.

For more information about these award programs, contact the ASQ at telephone (800) 248-1946 or visit www.asq.org.


Dilbert Drives Quality at Honda

In the coming months, 13,000 Honda associates will step off the production lines and take a computer-based quality improvement training course featuring the popular cartoon character Dilbert.

What does the comic strip character have to do with quality?

"We wanted to make sure people really got the message," explains John Young of Honda's quality assurance department. "When you have a tradition of quality, it's easy to take it for granted. Dilbert makes it easy to remind people why we work so hard at maintaining quality in our production."

Months before launching the Honda Quality Keys program, the company launched an awareness campaign featuring posters, video spots and life-size replicas of the Dilbert characters. They chose Dilbert for a special reason, says Young. "Dilbert has kind of an edge to him, and he gets people's attention," he observes.

All Honda associates at the company's Ohio manufacturing plants--which produce Accords, Civics, Acuras and Gold Wing motorcycles--will participate in the 45-minute, self-paced course, presented on an interactive CD at computer training stations. In addition to Dilbert and his comic strip colleagues, the program features company associates sharing their quality perspectives.

For more information about this program, contact Karen DiMattia at telephone (800) 208-3535.


ISO 9000 Survey Needs Participants

A Web survey is currently soliciting responses from interested parties in order to determine the software needs of ISO 9000-certified companies.

The survey's goal is to understand the needs of ISO 9000-certified companies regarding computer systems, software applications and future software requirements, says Berry Yeung, quality auditor of Hong Kong Quality Assurance and the survey's coordinator.

The survey asks participants about their company's computer systems, quality-related software, electronic distribution of quality management systems and various questions regarding quality and computerization. Anyone interested in these subjects is welcome to complete the survey, which may be accessed at members.tripod.com/~byeung/qs1.htm or www.geocities.com/eureka/plaza/2280/qs1.htm.

The survey's results will be posted on the Web sites at the end of August. For more information, e-mail Yeung at byeung@usa.net.


EpaEPA Supports ISO 14000 to Improve Environmental Performance

In a recent edition of the Federal Register, the Environmental Protection Agency released a statement regarding its position on environmental management systems.

"Implementation of an EMS has the potential to improve an organization's environmental performance and compliance with regulatory requirements," says the report. "EPA supports and will help promote the development and use of EMSs, including those based on the ISO 14001 standard, that help an organization achieve its environmental obligations and broader environmental performance goals."

The EPA particularly encourages the use of EMSs focusing on improving environmental performance and compliance, and pollution prevention, according to the notice. The agency is using initiatives such as Project XL and the Environmental Leadership Program to promote testing EMSs to achieve superior environmental performance. However, the EPA doesn't currently offer any regulatory incentives to organizations that implement an EMS and/or ISO 14000 certification.

For more information, contact the Office of Reinvention--EMS, Environmental Protection Agency at telephone (202) 260-4261, e-mail reinvention@epamail.epa.gov.


GlobalcoTo Compete, Ask Questions

How can companies compete in an increasingly global marketplace, where technology changes every day and customers are more demanding? Companies can cope with rapid changes by improving their question-asking abilities, suggests Michael Panzer, a Greensboro, North Carolina-based consultant.

Among Panzer's suggestions:

Qdbullet  Learn all the facts. Take the journalistic route: Ask who, what, when, where, why and how, then find the answers to all of these questions.

Qdbullet  Show genuine interest. When seeking information, listen carefully and be responsive to those being questioned.

Qdbullet  Adopt a positive point of view. Reality is often a matter of perspective. Instead of asking negative questions, ask instead, What can we do better?

Qdbullet  Be open-minded. Some of the best, most important research brings to light the unexpected.

Qdbullet  Work toward what matters. Decide on the important issues, then target those with specific inquiries. Asking the right questions will help a company stay on track.

Qdbullet  Encourage everyone to ask questions. Being informed helps everyone work smarter. Teach employees at every level about the resources already at their disposal.


Customer Satisfaction Remains Weak in Most Industries

Despite a healthy and active U.S. business environment, the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index shows that customer satisfaction remains weak. Although the national index rose a little more than one point, to 71.9 on a 0100 scale, this slight improvement was overshadowed by declines in a number of industries.

Results include:

Qdbullet  Impacted by the UPS strike, the parcel delivery/express mail services index declined a full two points to 78 from a year ago, capping a seven-point drop in two years.

Qdbullet  The U.S. airline industry index fell two points to 65, its lowest level since the ACSI began in 1994.

Qdbullet  ACSI scores for electric utilities, representing power producers nationwide, remained at 74, down two points from 1994's baseline figure.

Qdbullet  Telecommunications companies, including local and long-distance carriers, scored 74 points, a one-point drop from a year ago on a continuing downward trend.

Qdbullet  Satisfaction among hotel and motel guests remained stable at 71; however, those scores reflect a steady downward trend recorded over the ACSI's four-year history.

Qdbullet  Customer satisfaction for U.S. hospitals rose five points to 72, still two points behind where it was during the ACSI's first year, 1994.

The ACSI--the only uniform, national, cross-industry indicator that links customer satisfaction to financial performance--is produced through a partnership between the University of Michigan Business School, The American Society for Quality and Arthur Andersen. For more information, call the ASQ at (800) 248-1946.


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