Nicolette Dalpino  |  01/11/2009

News Digest


2008 Baldrige National Quality Award Winners

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and President Bush recently announced the recipients of the 2008 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest honor for organizational innovation and performance excellence. The winners are:

• Cargill Corn Milling North America, Wayzata, Minnesota, (Manufacturing)

• Poudre Valley Health System, Fort Collins, Colorado, (Health care)

• Iredell-Statesville Schools, Statesville, North Carolina, (Education)


“Each of the recipients we honor today serves as a role model embodying the values of excellence, principled leadership, and commitment to employees, customers, partners and community,” said Carlos M. Gutierrez, U.S. secretary of commerce.

The award recipients were selected from a field of 85 applicants, all rigorously evaluated by an independent board of examiners in seven areas: leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; process management; and results. The evaluation process for each of the recipients included about 1,000 hours of review and an on-site visit by a team of examiners to clarify questions and verify information in the applications.

Quality Digest’s exclusive interview with Terry Holliday, Ph.D., superintendent of Baldridge winner Iredell-Statesville Schools, appears below.

For further information, visit


Speaking About the Baldrige: Terry Holliday Interview

Quality Digest : How did Iredell-Statesville Schools begin its Baldrige journey?

Terry Holliday : When I was hired in 2002, the board of education was looking for a plan to develop the school system into one of the top districts in North Carolina. I described the Baldrige criteria and how I used it to run a school system, and they were very interested. We began our journey at that time, and what’s crucial is that the leadership at the school board had a commitment from the very beginning to use the Baldrige criteria to reach performance excellence.

QD : Tell us about a big improvement opportunity that the Baldrige examiners gave you.

TH : The big one that kept us from achieving recognition in 2007 was that we had a well-deployed Baldrige criteria at the classroom level, but were so focused on meeting the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act in student learning that we missed opportunities for improvement on the operation side, for example, in maintenance, transportation, and child nutrition. We were using Deming’s plan-do-study-act cycles, and once we got into the operation side of the house we found all kinds of expenses that could be reduced, with the savings then used in the academic side of the house. So, it was a great feedback report. It gave us the impetus to go to the next level.

QD : What was the biggest challenge that you faced in the process?

TH : The challenge for everyone who implements any program is change management. You’re asking people to do their jobs a little differently, to be more accountable for results, and to look at ways to improve, which means you’ve got to change the way you’ve been doing things.

QD : Can you give us an example?

TH : Classroom teachers. What teachers always did before was to deliver the content and say, “Here it is, if you learn it, great; if you don’t learn it, you fail.” We asked teachers to define the key elements of a curriculum that kids need to learn and then put those elements into kid-friendly language that the kids and parents could understand and buy into. Then, we turned the classrooms into learning systems rather than teaching systems, where the teachers have to work with the students weekly on a classroom improvement cycle, and look at the progress the class and each individual student is making. This is why our academic performance has continued to rise.

QD : What does it mean for Iredell-Statesville Schools to win a Baldrige award?

TH : It’s still sinking in. Number one, it’s the credibility that the things we’ve been doing are recognized by experts in the field as being good for kids. It gives us the credibility that, indeed, we’re going in the right direction. We’re certainly proud to be in an elite group of winners. To have the recognition all the way to the presidential level is a very humbling experience. I think that what’s happened to us has pulled our whole school system together. I think it will accelerate improvement even more, and this means helping more kids achieve more success.


Do the Math

It’s interesting which “Do the Math” puzzles get a lot of responses and which don’t. That’s all we have to say about that, other than last month’s puzzle got a lot of responses.

Last month we steered you to a 2005 Time magazine article, “The Man Who Turned Sharon Into a Softie,” by Matt Rees, who wrote: “On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 representing the extreme left wing and 5 the far right, [Reuven] Adler figured Sharon was a 4.7. The winner of every previous election had been a little right-of-center, Adler judged--somewhere from 2.6 to 3.2.”

The mistake, as all of you pointed out, is that Adler, of the Tel Aviv advertising firm Adler, Chomsky & Warshawsky, didn’t realize that the center of a 1 to 5 scale is 3, not 2.5, which is the assumption he was going by when he said that previous election winners were right-of-center. That’s why he’s in advertising, see?

This month’s winner is Jay Dick, randomly chosen from all correct entries to receive a cheaper-than-usual prize from

Next month’s puzzle
Here’s an easy puzzle submitted by Robin Dunham. This one is from an Assembly magazine blog. Try your best to type this URL correctly: Do not scroll down the screen and read the comments to the blog entry unless you really don’t see the error. Send your answer to us at

Send us your error
Don’t forget to send us your suggestions for errors found in the news or other equally public venues. If we use your example, you win a prize from Send your error to


The Manga Guide to Statistics

Can learning statistics really be fun? In The Manga Guide to Statistics by Shin Takahashi (No Starch Press, 2008), readers learn real statistics through manga , a popular style of Japanese cartoon. Takahashi teaches tough concepts like probability, coefficients of correlation, hypothesis testing, and tests of independence, all of which come alive in this entertaining yet educational Japanese-style cartoon guide. By combining an engaging story with instructional content, readers master each concept quickly as they learn alongside the story’s main characters, Rui and Mr. Yamamoto.

As readers follow along with Mr. Yamamoto’s distinctive real-world examples, they learn how to:

Calculate the mean, median, and standard deviation of bowling scores.

Graph ramen noodle prices on a histogram.

Determine the probability of getting an A on a math test.

Calculate the Cramer’s coefficient to determine how boys and girls prefer to be asked out.

Use standard score to adjust test results when teachers grade on a curve.


The book is a translation from a bestselling series in Japan, co-published with Ohmsha Ltd. of Tokyo, Japan.

For further information, visit


CMM Standard Revision

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers recently published ASME B89.4.10360.2-2008--”Acceptance Test and Reverification Test for Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs) Part 2: CMMs Used for Measuring Linear Dimensions (Technical Report)” ( This represents the final step in a decade-long effort led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to unite the United States with the rest of the world in evaluating the performance of CMMs.

CMMs, which make 3-D measurements of objects, are critical in such industries as aerospace, automotive, and heavy-equipment manufacturing. CMMs ensure that parts match blueprints, perform reverse-engineering, and manage process control. Previously, U.S. standards developers were concerned that the current version of the ISO 10360-2 international standard did not evaluate major error sources and contained ambiguities in the interpretation of the performance specifications, making the United States the only major country with its own national standard for CMM performance evaluation. In an effort to facilitate performance comparisons among machines by unifying terminology, general machine classification, and the treatment of environmental effects, the U.S. version also added tutorials and optional tests to address concerns specific to the United States.

This is a redesignation and update of B89.4.1-1997. It was created to harmonize the B89.4.1 standard with ISO 10360.2 by incorporating the entire 10360.2 document and adding additional requirements that can be found in text boxes throughout the technical report.

For further information, visit


Driving a Green Supply Chain

There has been a notable increase in the number of enterprises that are beginning to incorporate conservation and sustainability goals into their strategic agendas, according to Spinnaker, a Denver-based supply chain consulting company. This has resulted in many organizations looking to their supply chain executives to help identify, refine, and execute plans that will drive the desired results.

“The fact is that greening up the supply chain is now as much about solid economic choices as it is about doing the right thing,” says Mathew Stava, co-founder and managing principal of Spinnaker. “A company can make a serious impact to the bottom line and improve the environment of any operation by setting attainable goals and taking action to incrementally improve the ways in which we do business.”

Incorporating sustainability and green goals into business, operations, and the supply chain needs to be promoted at all levels of an organization. According to Spinnaker, leading by example and cross-functional involvement are crucial to making sound decisions and setting realistic goals.

Spinnaker discovered reductions in cost and waste and an increased atmosphere of participation by implementing a few practical steps:

Converting from mercury vapor to florescent lighting

Installing water-efficient toilets and motion detectors, retrofitting lighting fixtures, and instituting preventive maintenance programs for operating equipment and building infrastructure

Recycling programs for all consumables, pallets, cardboard, and supplies

Encouraging such practices as virtual meetings, employee self-service, online payroll, carpooling, and bike riding to work


To find out more about Spinnaker’s supply chain sustainability program, visit


Customer Satisfaction Takes a Dip

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which measures aggregate customer satisfaction, found that the decrease in customer satisfaction for the third quarter was small. The ACSI lost 0.1 percent, which brings the Index to a score of 75.0 on a 100-point scale. The decline in buyer satisfaction has precipitated a softening of consumer demand, with household spending actually falling in the third quarter for the first time in 17 years. Despite the overall drop in the ACSI, many companies are actually improving customer relationships: gainers lead decliners 46 percent to 27 percent, with 27 percent unchanged.

“The good news is that there has not been a collapse in customer satisfaction, but rather that the slide in ACSI might be flattening,” says Claes Fornell, founder of the ACSI and author of The Satisfied Customer : Winners and Losers in the Battle for Buyer Preference (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). “The bad news is that customer satisfaction will not contribute to aggregate consumer spending as much as it used to. Households are strapped for cash, have little savings, and credit is tight. But for individual companies, customer satisfaction actually matters even more in a recession. Now is the time to make sure customers don’t leave and that margins don’t evaporate. Firms without strongly satisfied customers will face a very difficult challenge.”

Among the top scores in the index:

Nike leads the way (with an ACSI score of 78) for customer satisfaction in athletic shoes.

H.J. Heinz Co. (89) leads the food industry category, followed by Quaker Foods (87) and Mars (86).

For personal care and cleaning products, the Clorox Co. is still at the top of the industry (87).


For a complete list of measured companies and scores, visit


Short on News

Education institutions should adopt the Six Sigma method to improve student performance. Graduates can use the system to map out their career path and play an active role in generating improvements and cost reductions.

It’s like an individual who has lost his job,” says Ron Harbour, a manufacturing consultant who for years has advised Detroit’s Big Three on how to streamline their plant operations. “If you absolutely don’t need it, it’s getting cut.”

Business sentiment among Japan’s largest manufacturers deteriorated over the past quarter at the fastest pace in more than three decades, highlighting how the global financial crisis is causing pain for the country’s economy, according to the Bank of Japan’s tankan survey.,28124,24801973-36418,00.html

Internal audits find lack of accountability, faulty testing processes, and weak standards attributed to Long Island Rail Road disability mismanagement controversy.



About The Author

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Nicolette Dalpino

Nicolette Dalpino is a news editor for Quality Digest.