The $14 Million Woman
Ginger Lirette holds a record that will be hard to beat--she’s completed 11 Black Belt and two Green Belt projects in five years, and saved Cummins Inc. nearly $14 million.
Lirette, an OEM account manager for Cummins, was one of nine employees honored recently with the company’s J. Irwin Miller award in recognition for their work in reducing costs and improving efficiency.
During her two-year stint as a full-time Black Belt (Cummins rotates the positions every two years), Lirette spent one to two days a month simply walking the shop floor and watching production, looking for signs of waste.
“I’d go down and look at where people were sitting down,” she says. “Sometimes, it’s just that it’s break time, but often, you’ll find there’s people with no work to do. I’d also look for the scrap bins that were most full, and examine the data to see where results didn’t match up with the production rates I’d expect to see. Just walking around and watching the way things are done on the plant floor has been very helpful to me.”
Lirette’s Six Sigma projects can be divided into four types: efficiency projects, in which she uses lean tools to remove bottlenecks and rework; scrap reduction, which employs lean and Six Sigma tools to increase the quality of first-run products; customer-focus projects, in which she works directly with Cummins customers to improve the quality of their processes; and a catchall category that includes projects such as freight-cost reduction.
Her first Six Sigma project involved reducing scrap in the heavy-duty, high-pressure injector manufacturing process at Cummins’ fuel system plant. Realizing the task was too big and broad, she narrowed the focus to improving the percentage of injectors ready to be sold to the company’s engine plant. The strategy paid off, scrap was reduced and the project was declared a success.
Lirette also worked directly with a Cummins’ client, Penske, a rental truck company, to reduce its cost of repairs to its engines. After analyzing the company’s processes, Lirette and her team made recommendations that reduced Penske’s costs at its Indianapolis plant by 42 percent--far in excess of the goal of 15 percent.
Cummins is a global designer and manufacturer of service engines and related technologies based in Columbus, Indiana. It implemented Six Sigma companywide in 1999 and has realized annualized savings of $632 million per year, which equals 2 percent of revenues.
For more information, visit www.cummins.com.
Mexico to Host Workshop on ISO 9001
An international workshop to help local governments implement quality management systems based on ISO 9001 will be held May 22-23 in Veracruz, Mexico.
The aim of the meeting is to produce an international workshop agreement (IWA) to allow faster ISO 9001 implementations in governments. IWAs require a shorter process compared to the traditional ISO process of developing standards through its technical committee structure. The workshop will be hosted by the Dirección General de Normas, Mexico’s national standards body. The agency hosted a similar workshop in 2002 that developed IWA 2: “Quality Management Systems--Guidelines for the Application of ISO 9001:2000 in Education.”
“Since the first ISO 9000 standards were published in 1987, this approach to ensuring the quality of the output of organizations has been taken up firstly by the manufacturing industry, then by the service sector, and in more recent years, by public administrations,” says Alan Bryden, ISO secretary-general. “This evolution would not have taken place unless the ISO 9000 approach provided concrete benefits for the organizations that implemented it.”
“The latest version, ISO 9001:2000, is even more suitable for implementation by service providers, whether in private or public sectors, and the development of guidelines specifically for local government authorities will further encourage the spread of quality management systems where they can make a positive difference to the lives of the citizens served by those authorities,” Bryden continues. “By securing a high-quality performance of the municipal government, public policies coming from other government levels can be corrected and improved, allowing the whole system to improve itself.”
There is no registration fee for ISO members to participate in the workshop.
For more information, visit www.iso.org.
Chinese Give Thumbs Up to Tourism
A recent study of domestic tourism in the Shanghai area revealed that the industry is healthy and improving.
The survey was conducted by the Shanghai Association for Quality’s Customer Evaluation Center. It was sponsored by the Shanghai Tourism Management Committee. The customer satisfaction index reached 80.49, a slight increase from last year’s result of 79.6. Respondents indicated particular satisfaction with the information desk, transportation and attractions available to tourists. Tour guide services ranked fourth in terms of satisfaction.
Survey organizers solicited 8,114 respondents, including 130 travel agencies from 19 districts of the Shanghai area. The survey quizzed respondents about their perceptions of information desk service, travel schedule arrangement, tour guide services, transportation, attractions, accommodations, shopping and entertainment. It was scored using a 100-point scale, with one being unacceptable and 100 being excellent.
Hospitals Take Quality Cues
A recent study shows that more hospital administrators are heeding advice from third-party quality improvement organizations (QIO)--outside consultants that specialize in health care quality improvement--to integrate and embrace quality initiatives.
Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine interviewed 100 directors of quality management from a randomly selected cross-section of acute-care hospitals and compared their responses with those from a similar study performed in 2001. The results show that more than 90 percent of respondents’ hospitals had undergone quality improvement efforts, and 60 percent of respondents reported that these efforts were helpful or very helpful.
“This generally positive view among hospital quality improvement directors concerning QIO interventions suggests that QIOs are potentially poised to take a leading role in promoting quality of care,” the study authors say in their report.
The study found that hospitals are now significantly more receptive to quality improvement than they were just four years ago, says David Schulke, American Health Quality Association executive vice president. He attributes the trend to a 2002 incentive by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and near-simultaneous encouragement of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations to offer increased reimbursements to health care facilities that use and report on quality improvement efforts.
“We saw QIOs getting out to hospitals, showing administrators how to do these reports and interpret the data, and then they started seeing that many of the problems they saw in other facilities were also problems they themselves had. That knowledge enabled them to fix those problems and improve quality,” says Schulke.
The research, published in the March issue of the bimonthly journal Health Services Research, reports that administrators are increasingly seeking the counsel of physicians, executives and hospital staff in their quality improvement efforts--something earlier researchers had recommended.
For more information, visit www.ahqa.org.
A new book concludes that medical practitioners need a better grasp of quality management principles, methods, programs, systems and experiences.
This issue is the topic of a recently published book, Core Curriculum for Medical Quality Management (American College for Medical Quality, Jones and Bartlett Publishers Inc., 2005). It features the contributions of nationally recognized leaders in medical quality management and encourages greater accountability within the industry.
According to the new book, part of the quality gap in the U.S. health care system is due to an inadequate number of quality-minded physicians to facilitate quality improvement projects. Reversing that trend requires education, and the book aims to show physicians and health care providers how to integrate quality into their practices.
“I believe that in the years to come this book will be the definitive resource for all quality-minded physicians,” says Dr. Robert Pendrak, president of the American College for Medical Quality. “We will use it as the basis for our own education programs and will promote its use to medical schools and residency programs.”
For more information, visit www.jbpub.com.
ISO Takes on Social Responsibility
Nearly 300 delegates attended the first meeting of the new International Organization for Standardization working group that will develop ISO 26000, a new standard on social responsibility (SR).
By the end of the meeting, the working group had formulated 32 resolutions, mainly regarding the scope of the standard, which will include guidelines on product manufacturing, fair pay rates, appropriate employee treatment and hiring practices.
Unlike SA8000, which was released by Social Accountability International in 2000 and specifically addresses employee working conditions, ISO 26000 will be advisory in nature. It’s not a management system and will not be used for certification purposes. ISO opted to develop the standard in response to its members’ strong interest in the issue. Interest was particularly high among developing nations, where the new standard has the potential to affect thousands of workers. Of the 37 member countries that voted to form a committee to develop the standard, 32 asked to be part of the process.
The meeting was held March 7-11 in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, and represented ISO’s first venture into social responsibility standardization. It was attended by 43 ISO member countries--including 21 developing nations--and 24 organizations with liaison status.
The broad interest represented by the meeting’s high turnout will allow ISO 26000’s working group to address the complex issues that will arise in the standard’s development. Representation will be balanced geographically and by gender for six designated stakeholder categories: industry, government, labor, consumers, nongovernmental organizations and others.
“Despite the large numbers and the fact that for many participants it was their first-ever contact with the ISO stan dards-development system, a good, balanced representation was achieved and the meeting was very productive, formulating resolutions that begin to pave the path forward for the actual work on the standard itself,” says Jorge E.R. Cajazeira, co-chair of the ISO 26000 working group. “There were a lot of hands raised, questions and long debates. However, the delegates worked with great enthusiasm and commitment, including during coffee breaks, lunch and after hours.”
The working group also formed an editing committee, agreed to establish a Spanish Translation Task Force, adopted operating procedures for decision making and adopted operating procedures to help implement the memorandum of understanding ISO previously reached with the International Labor Organization.
“ISO’s work is intended to add value to, and not to replace, existing intergovernmental agreements with relevance to social responsibility, such as the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and those adopted by the ILO and other UN conventions,” says Cajazeira. “ISO can add value by developing an international consensus on basic guiding principles that will bring clarity, encourage communication and allow meaningful comparisons in the field of social responsibility.”
For more information, visit www.iso.org.
RABQSA, NQI Partner to Boost Canadian Certification
RABQSA International and the National Quality Institute of Canada have joined to promote personnel training and certification.
The agencies will temporarily allow people and organizations currently registered to standards by NQI to also be registered to one or more of RABQSA’s certification schemes. The joint certifications will be administered by RABQSA and coordinated from NQI’s offices in Toronto.
“This is a significant development in gaining international recognition for NQI’s current certification services,” says Catherine Neville, vice president of NQI. “With the introduction of RABQSA certification into the Canadian market, NQI management systems auditors will benefit from RABQSA’s international standing as one of the world’s leading certification bodies.”
“We are immensely proud to establish this partnership with NQI,” says Michael Carmody, RABQSA CEO. “Joining with our principle offices in Sydney and Milwaukee, and our partners in New Zealand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Japan, NQI will add considerable expertise and momentum in our drive to innovate and improve personnel and training certification.”
For more information, visit www.rabqsa.com or www.nqi.com.
Quality Digest Partners With CMSC
The Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference and Quality Digest magazine announced a partnership this month that will help improve visibility for this unique conference. The CMSC is solely devoted to the users, services and OEMs of close-tolerance coordinate measurement systems, software and peripherals, including electronic theodolites, laser projection systems, laser trackers, laser radar, photogrammetry/videogrammetry systems, scanning devices and articulating arms.
“This is a perfect match,” says Scott Paton, publisher of Quality Digest. “The CMSC is a critical show for anyone involved in 3-D metrology. It needs to be seen by more people--many of whom are Quality Digest readers.”
The CMSC is entering its 21st year. Although small--last year’s conference had about 300 attendees--the CMSC is considered a must for CMM vendors and users. Unlike shows such as Quality Expo or IMTS, where equipment is displayed but little knowledge on CMM issues is shared, CMSC provides a venue for discussing measurement issues with vendors, engineers and operators one on one and through the many workshops and sessions.
This year’s CMSC show will be held July 18-22 at the Hyatt Regency in Austin, Texas. For more information or to sign up for the conference, visit the CMSC Web site at www.cmsc.org.
ASQ Expands ‘Fellow’ship
The American Society for Quality announced that its board of directors elected the following quality leaders as ASQ Fellows:
Inteaz Alli, Ph.D., professor of food quality assurance at McGill University
G. Dennis Beecroft, president of G. Dennis Beecroft Inc.
Ronald Gary Berglund, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center quality systems project manager
Dean L. Bottorff, Ethics Quality Inc. principal
Ronald J. Bowen, author and president of Quality Station Inc.
Barrett C. Craner, Lipid Science Inc. quality assurance director
John R. Dew, University of Alabama director of continuous quality improvement and planning
Kent M. Ehley, president of Creative Quality Solutions Inc.
Milton Joseph Kowalewski Jr., author and Dallas County Community Colleges professor
John I. McCool, Penn State University professor of systems engineering
Daniel R. Rand, Winona State University associate professor
Daniel E. Sniezek, program and quality manager, Lockheed Martin Corp.
James E. Stuart, statistician, Eastman Chemical Co.
Neil R. Ullman, County College (Morris, NJ) retired professor of mathematics
Francisco Paulo Uras, Consultoria em Qualidad (Brazil) technical director
John Frank Vandenbemden, consultant, contract instructor and auditor
Cindy Pound Veenstra, consultant
Michael G. Walmsley, Robert Bosch Corp. reliability technical specialist
John E. West, Quality Digest magazine columnist, consultant and chair of the U.S. TAG to ISO TC 176
For more information, visit www.asq.org.
In the 2005 Gages Directory (April 2005 issue), we inadvertently left out Comtorgage Corp. Its information should have appeared as follows:
- Comtorgage Corp.
- 58 N.S. Industrial Drive
- Slatersville, RI 02876
- Ph: 401-765-0900 Fax: 401-765-2846
Quality Digest regrets the omission.