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This Month in News Digest


New Deming Cup Recognizes Strategic Company Growth


L.S. Starrett Denies Allegations of Fraud


Workers Rate Commute as the Best Part of Their Jobs






ASQ Proposes Airport Security Screening Certification


CSU Dominguez Hills Offers Two New Quality Assurance Programs


Paper Explains Baldrige, Six Sigma and ISO 9001 Differences


Industry News



New Deming Cup Recognizes Strategic Company Growth

The Deming Center, an organization located within the Columbia University Graduate School of Business, has announced the creation of the Deming Cup, an award designed to recognize companies for operational excellence and creating shareholder value through strategic growth. The prize, as well as the center, are named for the late quality pioneer W. Edwards Deming.

In order to be considered for the Deming Cup, companies must demonstrate a plan for top-line growth, with significant accomplishments in expansion, including margins, market share, revenue and future potential. Results must be guided by the interests of all stakeholders, and performance improvement and assessment data must be readily available.

Companies that apply for the Deming Cup are evaluated using the following criteria:

Does the company show exceptional growth in a challenging market?

How well do the company's senior executives set strategic directions and build and maintain a leadership system conducive to superior top-line performance through organizational learning?

Is the company's information culture closely aligned with its strategic directions?

Does the applicant truly understand the needs of customers and the marketplace through real-time access to results and trends analysis?

Companies, or a division of a company, with less than $500 million in annual sales are eligible. Companies can nominate themselves for the prize, or a third party can nominate. The nominated company must have a plan that defines specific and measurable outcomes and must agree to serve as a model that can be replicated or adapted by other organizations.

Learn more about the new Deming Cup at www.demingcenter.com.

L.S. Starrett Denies Allegations of Fraud

According to an article in the Sept. 12 issue of the Wall Street Journal, the Justice Department is examining whether the L.S. Starrett Co. defrauded its customers by selling them substandard equipment.

Starrett denies all allegations and says it is fully cooperating with the investigation.

The investigation stems from a civil lawsuit filed by a subcontractor employed by Starrett. The suit alleges that the company was aware of accuracy problems with its Rapid Check line of CMMs but failed to take appropriate action to inform its customers.

"The company, on its own initiative, and as part of its review of its Rapid Check product line, made certain improvements to the machines and incorporated these improvements in new machines," Starrett's official response states. "The company informed its customers of these improvements, and in March 2002, began a program to replace all of its Rapid Check machines at no cost to customers. This replacement program has continued to the present date."

The statement goes on to announce, "[Starrett] is confident that after all the facts are reviewed, it will be determined that the company acted in a lawful and responsible manner."

The investigation is being conducted by the U.S. attorney's office in Boston, with assistance from NASA representatives, U.S. postal inspectors, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, according to the article.

Workers Rate Commute as the Best Part of Their Jobs

A recent survey concludes that American workers are less satisfied with their jobs than they once were. Overall discontent was reported for all age groups, income brackets and areas in the United States. Only about half of the Americans recently surveyed about job satisfaction said they're happy with their employment situation; this represents about a 10-percent decline in job satisfaction since the last survey in 1995.

"The widespread feeling among many Americans that their jobs aren't providing the satisfaction they once did is likely to be a growing concern for management," says Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center.

The study shows that workers are least satisfied with bonus plans, promotion policies and educational training programs. The percentage of Americans who say they enjoy working with their colleagues declined as well, from 64 percent in 1995 to 59 percent. "About the only thing workers seem exceptionally pleased about is their commute to work," adds Franco. Survey respondents rated their commute to work as the best part of their job, with a 58.7 percent satisfaction rate.

Workers 35 to 44 years old are least content, according to the survey. Less than 48 percent are satisfied, down from nearly 61 percent in 1995. About 48 percent of older workers, from 55 to 64, say they're satisfied.

The survey also shows that job satisfaction is dependent on income. Workers earning more than $50,000 a year are more satisfied than households earning less than $15,000 a year--the least satisfied of all income groups.

Other key findings include:

The largest decline in overall job satisfaction--from 60.9 percent in 1995 to 47.4 percent this year--occurred among workers between 35 to 44. People in this age bracket were once the most satisfied group.

Although the overall level of satisfaction among households earning more than $50,000 declined from 66.5 percent to 55.2 percent, this group represents the most-satisfied workers.

The New England region experienced the most significant decline in satisfaction, from 65.4 percent to 44 percent.

Although there was a decline from 62.7 percent in 1995, workers in the Rocky Mountain region are most satisfied, at 57 percent.

The survey, conduced for The Conference Board by NFO WorldGroup, is based on a representative sample of 5,000 Americans of all ages and income brackets. Learn more at www.consumerresearchcenter.org.

ASQ Proposes Airport Security Screening Certification

Since January, the American Society for Quality has been working with the U.S. Department of Transportation's Transportation Security Administration in an effort to restore the public's confidence in air travel.

With the intention of providing a renewed trust in airport security, ASQ has offered the TSA a proposal to develop and administer a certification program for airport security screening personnel. Originally requested by the Federal Aviation Administration in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, the proposal is a result of correspondence between ASQ and the FAA on ways in which quality improvement processes might be implemented as government agencies take over the responsibility of security at airports across the United States.

As outlined in the proposal, ASQ is interested in taking the following responsibilities:

Giving the TSA access to its certification process and assisting in the implementation of that process

Retaining copyright of the certification to protect the security of the examination and administering it according to a schedule determined by the TSA. ASQ will partner with the TSA in determining the cost of the examination to each candidate.

Conducting all logistical elements necessary to administer successful examinations, including registration, fee collection, establishment of test sites, arranging for proctors, scoring exams and reporting results. ASQ will also provide the TSA with analytical reports on each exam.

Conducting the certification under guidelines established by the TSA and other relevant agencies identified by the TSA

Providing all assistance pro bono

The proposal states that the those passing the exam would be certified by TSA, not ASQ. Successful candidates would receive a certificate identifying them as a TSA Certified Airport Screener or similar title. ASQ's role would only be that of the administrator of the certification. TSA's role would be to act in an oversight capacity to guarantee the accuracy and integrity of each exam.

The ASQ position paper on quality in airline security screening services is available at ASQ's Web site, www.asq.org.

CSU Dominguez Hills Offers Two New Quality Assurance Programs

Overwhelming interest from quality assurance and metrology professionalshas led California State University, Dominguez Hills to add two new quality programs to its curriculum: Bachelor of Science in Quality Assurance and Bachelor of Science in Quality Assurance with a Measurement Science Option. The two new programs are in addition to CSU Dominguez Hills' existing Master of Science in Quality Assurance and Quality Certification programs.

According to the university, about 40 percent of quality professionals don't have a degree in their fields. "Many quality assurance professionals obtained their quality education in the military or at a community college," says Gene Watson, director of quality assurance programs at the university. "The BSQA programs allow these professionals to complete their bachelor's degree in their chosen field."

Students of the BSQA program can customize their method of study, including via the Internet, on campus or at a job site. Areas of personal and professional interest can be honed through CSU Dominguez Hills' broad-based curriculum, which includes a culminating project and an off-campus internship.

Course subjects include physical, electrical and dimensional metrology, measurement uncertainty, analog electronics, manufacturing processes, quality improvement, safety and reliability, purchasing and procurement, chemistry of materials, quality auditing, technical communications, system failure analysis, fundamental properties of materials, value-based quality, interpretation of technical documentation, general physics, and statistical quality control and inspection.

Scholarships are available, as the university recently received a $150,000 endowment to fund scholarships for the BSQA with Measurement Science Option. Classes will open this fall, and prospective students should contact Roger Hamrick at (310) 243-3880 or visit www.csudh.edu/bsqa for more information.

Paper Explains Baldrige, Six Sigma and ISO 9001 Differences

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has released a CEO issue sheet explaining key differences among the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, Six Sigma and ISO 9001:2000.

Although all three are performance improvement tools, each offers a different emphasis in helping organizations improve their quality and increase customer satisfaction. Among other information, the issue sheet explains each tool:

The Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence focus on performance excellence for the entire organization and identify and track important organizational results regarding the customer, finances, human resources and organizational effectiveness.

Six Sigma concentrates on measuring product quality and improving process engineering, and drives process improvement and cost savings.

ISO 9001:2000 concentrates on fixing quality system defects and product/service nonconformities.

The quality performance improvement tools can be complementary, according to businesses that have received a Baldrige National Quality Award. "Baldrige gives our company an overarching set of criteria questions to determine where we are, ISO helps us document what we're doing, and Six Sigma helps us to implement the processes to correct the problems," says Tim Marvil, president and CEO of Ames Rubber Corp., a 1993 Baldrige Award recipient.

Baldrige, Six Sigma and ISO: Understanding Your Options is available at www.quality.nist.gov/Issue_Sheet_ Options.htm or by calling (301) 975-2036. Other issue sheets are available at www.quality.nist.gov.

Industry News


Integral Solutions and ASI DataMyte Merge

Integral Solutions Inc., an advanced product quality planning software and training firm, and ASI DataMyte, a data collection device manufacturer, have signed an agreement to merge.

"Although product development will still be driven by customer suggestions and changes in ISO and FDA requirements, our two companies will begin to integrate the software and hardware to

create a seamless quality control platform," says Dane Barrager, CEO of Integral Solutions. "The ASI DataMyte products, working with Integral Solutions' quality documentation software, offer manufacturers a complete package of integrated quality control."

To learn more, visit www.integralsolutions.com or www.asidatamyte.com.

Six Sigma Roundtable This Month

The American Society for Quality Six Sigma Forum will host the second annual Six Sigma Forum Roundtable Oct. 10-11 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A Six Sigma Black Belt certification exam will be offered Oct. 9.

Top-level Six Sigma practitioners will address key topics, including transactional applications, sales and marketing, project selection, and lean manufacturing.

To register online, visit www.asq.org and click on "conferences."

Case Study Outlines Benefits of Six Sigma

"Building Six Sigma Excellence: A Case Study of General Electric," is available for download at www.benchmarkingreports.com.

The study explores how GE saved more than $500 million while increasing the success rate of new products, shortening cycle times and reducing production time.

The report was implemented by Best Practices LLC, a research and consulting firm that studies best practices, operating tactics and business strategies. Learn more by calling (919) 403-0251, or visit the Web site.

Yo Conozco la Misión de Mi Organización

"Are We Making Progress?" a questionnaire designed to help business leaders assess their organization's improvement process, is now available in Spanish.

The assessment, designed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, contains 40 statements and asks respondents to check one of five boxes ranging from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree." For example, one of the statements reads, "I know my organization's mission (what it is trying to accomplish)."

Both the English and Spanish versions are available at www.quality.nist.gov/Progress.htm. The Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence is available at www.nist.gov/Criteria.htm.