Short on News
InteGreat, an electronic health record technology company, was recently selected by the Ohio State Medical Association in Columbus, Ohio, to participate in its Standards of Excellence Program. www.igreat.com
Underwriter Laboratory’s new Water Quality Check program will help facility owners better manage a water quality gap left by the Safe Water Drinking Act. www.ul.com
In the March edition of the BioProcess International journal, John Avellanet, managing director of Cerulean LLC, discusses control risks associated with supply chains in “Shared Risk: A Regulatory Management Strategy.” www.bioprocessintl.com
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards has named Pilgrim Software the 2008 North American Enterprise Compliance and Quality Management Company of the Year. www.frost.com
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a cryogenic sensor and a microrefrigerator on a single microchip, making the possibility of precision analysis of materials such as semiconductors and stardust cheaper, simpler, and faster. www.nist.gov
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has developed 1241-2000 -- “Terminology and Test Methods for Analog-to-Digital Converters,” an American National Standard that provides specifications for using digital converters. www.ieee.org
Quality in India
To outsiders, India is a mysterious, mystical place. The very idea of creating standards and implementing new workplace methodologies in a country so complex seems mind-boggling. However, intense global competition and rapid growth are forcing Indian firms to raise the quality bar. Through quality management standards, such as ISO 9001, and the deployment of new quality methods such as Six Sigma, TQM, lean, 5S, and the Malcolm Baldridge criteria, India is creating a new focus in many of its industrial and service sectors. But along with a thriving economy and optimism for new opportunities, India faces very human challenges in its effort to rise in the global arena.
“One of the key drivers to quality improvement in India has to be the quality of imports from China, Korea, and other countries,” says Praveen Gupta, president, Accelper Consulting. “Consumer expectation for quality has gone up. Local manufacturers and service providers must keep up with the multinationals. ISO 9001 certification has helped in this regard because ISO 9001 puts the Indian company at par with multinationals.”
Although ISO certification has allowed for a more level playing field internationally, effectively implementing specific methodologies internally can be challenging. According to Prasad Nair, deputy vice president of business excellence for Tata Capital Ltd., although the issue of quality control was always a concern, it is only recently that Six Sigma was recognized as a major strategic business initiative by many organizations in the country.
“Six Sigma and workplace transformation tools like lean and 5S are catching on and are the new focus areas for organizations, especially in the services sector,” says Nair. “But as a country, the society is not mature in terms of service delivery. The infrastructure services and other support services, especially those run by government organizations, are experiencing issues related to quality, customer care, and delivery capabilities.”
It seems that the biggest challenge for India is to bridge the gap between “quality as a workplace methodology and quality as a state of mind,” according to Gupta. Amid the rush for companies to get certified in various areas, there is the perception that quality in the daily lives of the people is not equal to the awareness of quality at work.
“There is a saying that continual improvement begins with good housekeeping,” says Gupta. “ India has a way to go in demonstrating good housekeeping, but that is changing. However, until every citizen becomes aware of good housekeeping in the community, in regard to roads, restaurants, and outside their homes, a quality state of mind will not manifest, and the lack of it will reflect in the quality of work. Though quality of life, goods, and services have improved a lot in recent years, the quality journey still continues.”
In places such as The City Montessori School (CMS) of Lucknow, India, educators Jagdish Gandhi and his wife, Dr. Bharti Gandhi, are teaching children from an early age that quality at home and in the workplace are synonymous. By imparting three types of education--material, human, and divine--along with quality control circles based on kaizen , the ancient Japanese philosophy of pursuing continuous improvement as a way of life, CMS is attempting to instill a more holistic quality approach in upcoming generations.
“Such students, when they enter the world of business, are more likely to effect positive changes in modern business practices by integrating innovative business practices with social welfare goals,” observes Ghandi.
By working in collaboration with other countries, and examining its own internal ideas about quality, India seems poised to take the next step in globalization.
International Standards and Climate Change
International standards are the vehicle for the dissemination of innovative technologies, particularly for alternative and renewable sources, by reducing time to market, creating global interest, and developing a critical mass of support to ensure the economic success of such technologies. Out of a current total of more than 17,000 ISO normative documents, some 570 are environment-related, including recent standards specifically developed to support greenhouse-gas (GHG) emission accounting, claim verification, and trading.
The newly developed standards ISO 14064 and ISO 14065 provide an internationally agreed framework for measuring GHG emissions and verifying claims made about them. They thus support programs to reduce GHG emissions as well as emissions trading programs. ISO 14064 is emerging as the global benchmark on which to base such programs.
ISO standards offer tools for addressing climate change at four levels:
• Monitoring climate change
• Quantifying GHG emissions and communication on environmental effects
• Promoting good practice in environmental management and design
• Opening world markets for energy- efficient technologies
For more information, visit www.iso.org/iso/hot_topics/hot_topics_climate_change_tools.htm.
Do the Math
Last month’s “Do the Math” required that you remember your high school electronics or physics class. The key to solving the puzzle was the equation P = IE , or power is the product of current and voltage.
In this case, the error was in one of the specification statements for the 2008 Kawasaki KLR650 motorcycle, which read: “Alternator output has been increased from 14.5A to 17A. Total capacity is 36W to provide ample power for the new headlight as well as add-on grip heaters and other accessories.”
Almost all readers noted that 36 watts is hardly enough power to even run the lights, let alone the entire motorcycle and all its accessories. Assuming that the motorcycle has a 12-volt system, the alternator’s output at 17 amps would mean that the alternator’s capacity is at least 204 watts. One reader suggested that the spec meant that there were roughly 36 extra watts available.
Or, there is no error; perhaps we simply don’t understand motorcycle alternators.
The winner of this month’s fabulous prize is Denise Silveira.
Once again our puzzle has been submitted by Dan Montgomery (who is amassing a remarkable store of worthless, semifunctional gifts). Read the following story on Manufacturing.net, find the error, and you might win a prize: www.manufacturing.net/News-Motorola-Icahn-Lawsuit-An-Unnecessary-Distraction.aspx.
Send your entry to us by clicking the feedback link at the bottom of this page.
Don’t let Dan get all the good prizes. Send us your math murder from a news item in print, web, or television. If we use it, you win. Send your entry to us by clicking the feedback link at the bottom of this page.
Legislating Good Behavior
Does your coworker offend you? Are you rude and inappropriate and don’t know it? Quint Studer’s Results That Last: Hardwiring Behaviors That Will Take Your Company to the Top (Wiley, 2008), explains how to standardize conduct through what Studer calls a “standards-of-behavior contract” to establish a more cohesive, happy, and profitable working environment.
“You may worry that enforcing standards of behavior will create a company of robots--a company in which human differences are discouraged in favor of mindless conformity,” he writes in Results That Last. “That is not true! An office unified by agreed-upon standards is a far more pleasant place to work. Plus, individual responsibility flourishes because it’s clear what everyone’s responsibilities are. That contributes to an environment of fairness, cleanliness, and good manners--and happy customers who keep coming back for more.”
When creating new standards be sure to:
• Seek input from all employees in creating the documents.
• Align desired behaviors with corporate goods.
• Be crystal clear and very specific on your wording.
For further information, visit www.studergroup.com.
Kids, Kats, and Six Sigma
Parents wanting to educate their children in the wisdom of the Six Sigma path will soon have a teaching aid in the form of Six Sigma for Kids, an animated series of short lessons projected to be launched in mid-July by the Lucky Kat Television Network.
The series is being created by Delfino Media Group in collaboration with Six Sigma authority Mikel Harry and will use a cartoon version of Maneki Neko--the lucky cat of Japanese folklore--to deliver child-sized doses of Harry’s Six Sigma formulations to the tykes.
“The Six Sigma lessons will be broken down into episodes from 30 seconds to two minutes long,” says Don Ashley, founder and CEO of Delfino Media Group. Each episode will provide an example of a Six Sigma principle that can be understood and implemented into the everyday lives of the show’s target audience of 5- to 12-year-old children.
Harry’s goal with the program, as stated in an interview with the cartoon cat that is viewable on the Lucky Kat TV web site, is to “take Six Sigma from the board room to the family kitchen table,” and to help kids learn to “think about the ordinary in an extraordinary way.”
In a letter from Harry to “Burt and Jane” that is also posted on the web site, Harry says, “Owing to the phenomenal feedback we have received thus far (from encounter groups and conference presentations), I am most confident this is developing into a very inspiring and educational venture, especially from a profitability point of view. Certainly, feedback from the corporate world has been exceptionally positive, even more so when compared to the first release of classical Six Sigma (more than 20 years ago).”
To check it out, visit www.luckykattv.com.
Editorial by Carey Wilson
Standards That Make a Difference
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) would like to know which officially recognized standards are making a difference in “today’s ever-changing global marketplace.” To that end, and in commemoration of ANSI’s 90th anniversary, the institute, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is reinstituting a popular survey that originally ran in 2002.
As all quality professionals know, standards play a major role in the global economy, and those that are globally relevant have a tremendous effect on the lives of millions of people around the world.
With that in mind, ANSI invites interested parties to select a standard or family of standards and enter the relevant details in this year’s survey. The deadline for submission is Friday, September 19, 2008.
Entries may be standards developed by ANSI, the International Organization for Standardization, or the International Electrotechnical Commission, or from any other domestic, regional, or international body--including consortia. Each entry must refer to a standard that is already published and in use in the marketplace; standards that are still works in progress will be excluded from this survey.
All eligible entries will be entered into a random drawing for one of three $100 American Express gift cards. The drawing will be held at the conclusion of the ANSI Annual Business Meeting during World Standards Week, Oct. 20-23, 2008, in Bethesda, Maryland. Entries will be published on the ANSI web site and displayed during World Standards Week.
Multiple entries will be accepted, but each must be submitted separately. ANSI reserves the right to reject any entry that does not reference a currently valid standard. Submissions are published at ANSI’s discretion and are subject to editing for space and clarity. ANSI employees and family members are invited to submit entries but are not eligible to win the prizes.
Quality Digest’s “I on the News” applauds this attempt to document and recognize which standards really are making a difference and would like to see the survey expanded to determine which standards have made no discernible difference, and which standards, if any, are viewed as being detrimental to doing business in the global marketplace.
For more information and a link to the ANSI survey, visit www.ansi.org.
New ISO Energy Management
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) recently approved the formation of a project committee (PC 242) to develop a new international standard on energy management. The new standard will provide all types of organizations with an approach to increase energy efficiency, reduce costs, and improve their environmental performance.
The guidance developed by PC 242 could influence as much as 60 percent of the world’s energy demand by application from industries such as utilities, manufacturing, commercial building, general commerce, and transportation. The practical application of the standard is designed to identify and implement improvements that may contribute to a continual increase in energy efficiency, assist organizations to better utilize existing energy-consuming assets, reduce costs, expand capacity, and offer guidance on benchmarking, measuring, documenting, and reporting energy-intensity improvements and their projected effect on reductions in greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. The new standard will also create transparency and promote energy management best practices, thus reinforcing the value of good energy management behaviors.
“The urgency to reduce GHG emissions, the reality of higher prices from reduced availability of fossil fuels, the need to promote energy efficiency, and the use of renewable energy sources provide a strong rationale for developing this new standard building on the most advanced best practices and existing national or regional standards,” says ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden.
For more information, visit www.iso.comor www.ansi.org/news_publications/news_story.aspx?menuid=7&articleid=1781.
Construction Auditor Gets Audited
National Quality Assurance (NQA)- USA, a third-party auditing firm, has recently audited the construction-auditing firm, Quality Built, and given the company its highest marks during its first annual ISO review.
Quality Built focuses on helping builders achieve higher quality and eliminate risk, and is the only such firm in the nation to achieve registration to ISO 9001, which it received in February 2007.
Quality Built is the only registered quality assurance firm in the United States that focuses on builder quality. Of the more than 230,000 builders in the United States, only four builders have attained ISO registration, under which companies are monitored by third-party registered auditing firms that check a company’s compliance to the international standard.
“It’s ironic that we are an auditing company that must get audited,” says Stan Luhr, Quality Built’s founder and CEO, who has been nominated to serve on the 2008 board of examiners that evaluates organizations eligible for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award program. “But having ISO registration as our core culture sets us apart and gives us the credibility to practice what we preach.”
Luhr believes it is just a matter of time before construction companies and other organizations in the building industry see how profitable it is to have a culture for quality driving their entire business, such as Zurich, an insurance company that has adopted ISO 9001.
Quality Built’s inspection services use three patent-pending technologies to identify problems that must be corrected to improve quality. The company also created a builder-risk audit program that is used by insurance companies to judge builders’ construction quality and provides a baseline from which to improve. Quality Built’s field staff utilizes specialized computers to track everything from foundation rebar to finishes on a project. The electronic data and digital photographs taken during construction provide builders and their insurers with important information to improve construction and deliver higher quality homes.
“It’s a new wave for the construction industry, to embrace true quality metrics and justify that it is worth it,” Luhr says. “Everyone sleeps well at night when quality systems are in place, and that gives me encouragement that this is good for our industry.”
For more information, visit www.qualitybuilt.com.
Our April 2008 article, “ISO 22000 Links Quality Practices to Safer Food,” by Carey Wilson, should have included the credit line, “For more information, visit ‘ISO 22000 Food Safety Standard in Plain English,’ by Praxiom Research Group Ltd. at www.praxiom.com/iso-22000.htm.” We regret the omission.