Content By Quality Digest

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By: Praveen Gupta

Six Sigma was first practiced in product development and manufacturing environments to improve customer satisfaction. There, significant improvements were achieved and sizable savings realized. After successfully implementing Six Sigma in manufacturing, Motorola applied Six Sigma in support functions and again achieved significant savings. Since then, banks, insurance companies, restaurants, hospitals, schools and many other types of service organizations throughout the world have successfully implemented Six Sigma. Some have even improvised Six Sigma by combining it with lean principles.Service functions have been an integral part of most corporations. Organizing service functions into a business entity creates a totally different mindset. A service organization acts differently because of a focus on customer requirements and prompt feedback from customers. Service offerings are experienced much faster than products, which sometimes are stocked in a warehouse or a showroom: Once service is delivered, the customer experiences it and expresses satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Because problems must be resolved faster, the challenges in service are different. Customers prefer fast service delivery rather than quality of service.

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By: Quality Digest

WCBF has announced its two major Six Sigma conferences—one on Six Sigma in the health care industry and one on Six Sigma in the pharmaceuticals industry. The Six Sigma in Healthcare conference is the largest of its kind, according to WCBF. It will take place in New Orleans March 3–4, 2005, and includes an outstanding panel of speakers in from the health care supply chain. The conference will feature case studies and discussions with CEOs, clinicians and Master Black Belts, with a special focus on lean and Six Sigma. This will be WCBF’s third annual Six Sigma in Healthcare conference.

WCBF’s Six Sigma in Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals conference will be held Feb. 16–17 at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas. It will be chaired by Jeff Keller, GE Fanuc manager of Six Sigma operations, and feature expert discussions about how Six Sigma can be used in the pharmaceutical industry to improve productivity and customer satisfaction while reducing costs and increasing profit. The conference will also feature five separately bookable pre-conference workshops.

For more information, visit www.wcbf.com.

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By: Quality Digest

The University of Colorado recently became one of only a handful of colleges that offer Six Sigma training. “Six Sigma Black Belt” is a course offered through the university’s Center for Advanced Engineering and Technology Education. Those enrolled in the course are both students and professionals, and they use statistical analysis software to identify solutions to expensive problems in real-world scenarios.

The course can be completed in three ways: for one week per month for four months; as an evening course running two weeks per month for four months; or as a distance education course on the Web. All courses begin on Feb. 7, 2005.

“At its heart, Six Sigma is a business initiative, not a quality initiative, so it’s imperative that the students use tools that can provide them with the broadest capabilities to solve problems,” says Steven Ouellette, president of the ROI Alliance, which offers the course in cooperation with the University of Colorado and the Boulder chapter of the American Society for Quality.

For more information, visit www.colorado.edu.

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By: Quality Digest

Prentice Hall recently announced that it has published two books on the use and value of Six Sigma in differing workplaces. Six Sigma for Green Belts and Champions: Foundations, DMAIC, Tools, Cases and Certification by Howard S. Gitlow and David M. Levine contains a step-by-step guide for implementing Six Sigma into management and improvement programs. The authors use case studies from a service company and a manufacturing company to illustrate important Six Sigma concepts. The book integrates management issues with detailed coverage of statistical methods appropriate for Champion and Green Belt certification.

Six Sigma Beyond the Factory Floor: Deployment Strategies for Financial Services, Healthcare and the Rest of the Real Economy by Ronald D. Snee, Ph.D., and Roger W. Hoerl examines how to use Six Sigma in industries other than manufacturing. The book identifies the key statistical and technical hurdles that nonmanufacturing Six Sigma practitioners face, such as the lack or normal distributions and the extensive use of discrete vs. continuous data.

For more information, visit www.prenticehall.com.

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By: Quality Digest

Xerox Corp.’s chairman and CEO recently credited her company’s rosy financial state with its implementation of lean and Six Sigma.Anne M. Mulcahy reports that Xerox achieved more than $100 million in profit from lean and Six Sigma projects that have driven revenue, reduced costs and sped up work processes—all while improving quality.

“Our success in lean Six Sigma has become another defining competitive edge for Xerox,” Mulcahy says. “Not only has it strengthened Xerox’s bottom line, but we’re also applying [the] lean Six Sigma methodology to help our customers reduce document costs and improve the efficiencies of their operations. Like us, customers want a positive bottom-line impact and they’re partnering with Xerox to get it.”

The company reports that through the third quarter of this year, it has reduced its debt by $1 billion over last year. Xerox ended the third quarter with $3.4 billion in cash, an increase of $1.1 billion over last year. Mulcahy added that she expekcts revenue to grow 3 percent in 2005 and 5 percent in 2006.

For more information, visit www.xerox.com.

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By: Quality Digest

In hopes of making ISO 14001 easier to implement, the International Organization for Standardization recently published a revised version of the standard.ISO 14001: 2004 provides a framework for organizations to control the environmental impacts of their activities, products and services, and requires that registered organizations focus on continual improvement of their environmental management systems. ISO 14004: 2004 provides guidelines on the elements of an EMS, its implementation and the main issues involved.

“These standards represent the state of the art in environmental management practice,” says Alan Bryden, ISO secretary-general. “[They] are at the leading edge of ISO’s comprehensive offering to help organizations address all three dimensions of sustainable development—social, economic and environmental.”

Oswald A. Dodds, chairman of ISO/TC 207/SC 1, which developed ISO 14001 and ISO 14004: 2004, reports that the revised standard uses feedback from organizations that have implemented ISO 14001, making it easier to understand and implement. Additionally, the revised standard is more applicable to small- and medium-sized companies.

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By: Quality Digest

Pitney Bowes Inc. and Bank of America have reached an agreement that will deploy Six Sigma across the bank’s extensive mailing operations. Under the $112 million agreement, Pitney Bowes will provide Bank of America with technology and expertise from across its broad solutions portfolio, including software from its management services and global mailing systems businesses. Bank of America will also continue to use Pitney Bowes’ document messaging technologies as well as a pre-sorting service that will reduce postage costs.

In addition, the two companies will create a system that will institutionalize Six Sigma across the bank’s mailing operations. Through the program, Pitney Bowes’ Six Sigma specialists working at Bank of America locations have committed to deliver millions of dollars in savings over the life of the contract.

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By: Quality Digest

A new training course being offered by the American Society for Testing and Materials will examine the roles of precision and bias in the standards development process. “Statistics in Standards and Standards Development: Getting to Precision and Bias” will focus on statistical issues associated with the development, application and assessment of test methods. It’s designed to assist people trying to develop measurements for use in evaluating the quality of a product, process or service.

The course will be held March 14–15, 2005, at the Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel in Philadelphia. Topics to be discussed include test results, alternate scales, how to perform an interlaboratory test and analyze the results, and how to develop a precision and bias statement after running an interlaboratory test. The course fee is $795.

For more information, visit www.astm.org.

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By: Quality Digest

The Juran Institute recently announced its plans to create the William W. Barnard Award for Personal Excellence in honor of Dr. Barnard, who recently passed away. William W. Barnard, Ph.D., was a senior vice president who worked for the Juran Institute for more than 18 years. The award bearing his name will be presented annually to one Juran employee and one Juran client. Barnard was a professional member of the American Society for Quality and devised innovative methods of process improvement to reduce the cost of poor quality. He originated the Institute’s facilitator training courses. Barnard also co-authored Juran Institute’s Six Sigma: Breakthrough and Beyond (McGraw Hill, 2004), with Joseph A. DeFeo, Juran Institute president and CEO.

For more information, visit www.juran.com.

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By: Quality Digest

Breakthrough Management Group recently announced the release of an enhanced version of its popular ProjX software suite. ProjX 2.0 is billed as a complete Six Sigma solution and includes enhancements such as advanced project selection and evaluation, expanded multilanguage and multibrand capabilities and expanded personalization features. It also provides new and innovative ways for users to instantly evaluate the results of their Six Sigma deployments using dashboards, ad-hoc reporting and decision-making tools.

“ProjX 2.0 is a powerful infrastructure development and management tool for supporting Six Sigma and performance improvement programs,” says Kamal Hassan, Breakthrough Management Group vice president of business development. “While our competitors are struggling to meet market needs, BMG is leveraging its expertise in Six Sigma and performance excellence to closely align ProjX with the true needs of its users. This expertise has allowed BMG to be very successful in attracting worldwide companies as customers.”

For more information, visit www.bmgi.com.