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By: Quality Digest

A survey of more than 1,700 banks from 63 countries reveals that improving data quality is regarded as a key issue for risk management.The survey, conducted by AIM Software and the Vienna University of Economics, and sponsored by Reuters, quizzed banks about 11 key topics involving reference data management and risk management. It shows that financial institutions worldwide are making considerable efforts to deepen their data management and increase data quality.

Respondents indicated that regulatory requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley and Basel II are driving the efforts. The requirements will be implemented in 100 countries in coming years.

“The results show that companies realize the close connection between a comprehensive data management and an efficient risk management,” says Martin Buchberger, AIM Software head of marketing. “The effort that financial institutions are making to improve their data management is noticeable.”

The full results of the survey are available at www.aim-sw.com.

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By: Paul Mullenhour

Six Sigma is a powerful tool for effecting change within an organization. Since its development in the late 1980s, it’s helped companies dramatically improve business processes, increase customer satisfaction to new levels and save hundreds of millions of dollars. To say it has the ability to transform a company is certainly not an exaggeration.

Yet, for some companies, Six Sigma hasn’t lived up to its reputation. This appears to be a source of wonderment to those who fail to realize that embarking on Six Sigma implementation is more than signing on to a good idea. Six Sigma success takes realistic goals, a strong leadership team and, above all, an empowered workforce.

Recently, while visiting a client site, I was involved in a round table discussion with Six Sigma Master Black Belts. As I listened to the group discussing their frustrations with the early stages of their Six Sigma launch, one common complaint became apparent. They weren’t working together on project improvement. Regardless of if they were senior management, a lean champion or an hourly worker, there seemed to be no sense of team.

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By: Quality Digest

Pelion Systems recently announced the availability of a new solution for managing implementations of lean, Six Sigma and Demand Flow technology. The company, which produces manufacturing process optimization solutions, reports that its new Pelion MPO software complements existing ERP/MRP and APS systems and helps manufacturers visualize, define, design, implement and sustain best practices.

“Over 40 percent of all manufacturing plants are using lean, Six Sigma or a combination as a management program to improve their operations,” says Ralph Rio, director of ARC Advisory Group. “Nearly all are using manual methods and they’re constrained from achieving the full benefits these programs can provide.”

Pelion MPO is offered through an enterprise suite of integrated software components and powered by advanced algorithms supplemented with “drag and drop” visual modeling to help users analyze and design shop floor configurations and processes. It provides mathematical calculations to help customers quickly respond to changes in mix or volume while balancing line and load requirements.

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By: Quality Digest

Palisade Corp. was recently accredited as a registered education provider with the Project Management Institute. Palisade Corp., which provides desktop risk analysis software and training services, reports that the accreditation will allow project management professionals who attend its project risk assessment seminars to earn professional development units (PDU).

“Palisade has offered quality risk assessment training since 1997,” says Randy Heffernan, Palisade vice president of marketing and services. “We are proud to partner with PMI to grant PDUs to project management professionals attending our project risk analysis seminars.”

For more information, visit www.palisade.com.

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By: Quality Digest

An increasing number of organizations are using Six Sigma to sell and market pharmaceuticals, and a December forum will focus on this new trend. Standardizing and improving the quality of pharmaceutical sales and marketing is more important now than ever as the industry faces increasing regulations. Failure to meet compliance standards can result in severe penalties, delayed developments and significant costs.

With this situation in mind, the Strategic Research Institute will present its Six Sigma for Sales and Marketing in Pharmaceuticals forum Dec. 7–8 in Philadelphia. Experts will demonstrate how applying the methodology can improve sales and streamline marketing in the pharmaceutical industry. In addition, attendees will learn how to leverage current resources to support Six Sigma implementation, ensure senior management support, modify Six Sigma to fit the pharmaceutical industry, choose the right people for the right projects and successfully deploy the methodology into the fabric of an organization.

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By: Quality Digest

More than half the respondents in a recent survey on Six Sigma in manufacturing said they planned to implement the methodology in their work forces within the next six months to two years. The survey also revealed that manufacturers are faced with many challenges specific to labor management. Ninety-four percent indicated they don’t have access to real-time labor data, and many said they still rely on manual data collection processes. With foreign labor cost pressures mounting, many managers see Six Sigma as a way to monitor and reduce labor costs, optimize their work forces and improve output.

The survey was conducted by IndustryWeek and sponsored by Kronos Inc. The results were announced at the 2004 APICS International Conference and Exposition, held Oct. 10–13 in San Diego.

“We have always known that too many of today’s manufactures are relying on manual processes to manage their work forces,” says Shawn O’Brien, manufacturing industry manager at Kronos Inc. “The survey results certainly confirm this. However, the good news is that these organizations realize that these processes are hindering productivity and they recognize the need to change.”

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By: Quality Digest

United States Navy leaders got an early quality Christmas present from the government: a requirement to take a course on process improvements, lean and Six Sigma. They have until Nov. 30 to complete the new Fleet Business Course, an eight-hour training session in advanced leadership, lean principles, Six Sigma and theory of constraints.

“We’re providing our leaders with some inspiration and understanding, and a few tools they can use to maintain our warfighting culture, with the added dimension of business discipline,” says Rear Adm. James Winnefeld, director, Warfare Programs and Transformational Concepts, U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

Realizing the importance of educating leaders as part of a cultural change toward quality and efficiency, the Naval Education and Training Command and the Center for Naval Leadership produced a computer-based training course that provides practical instruction to command-level leadership in the methodologies.

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Trillium Software was recently recognized with Customer Relationship Management magazine’s highest possible score for customer satisfaction.

The magazine ranked data quality vendors for customer satisfaction in its September issue. The award is given to “reward excellence and achievement among vendors in the CRM industry,” the magazine announced. This is the first year that it included data quality vendors in the list.

Representatives for Trillium Software, a division of Harte-Hanks Inc. that provides the Total Data Quality solution, say they are pleased with the award. “Data quality is the cornerstone of all data management and is the lynchpin of CRM in particular,” says Len Dubois, vice president for marketing for Trillium Software at Harte-Hanks Inc. “We are heartened that the polled industry analysts and CRM magazine ranked Harte-Hanks Trillium Software as the leader in customer satisfaction with a ranking higher than any other dedicated data quality vendor in the industry.”

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Sypris Test & Measurement recently announced the addition of a field emission scanning electron microscope (SEM) to its destructive physical analysis and failure analysis laboratory.

The new Hitachi 4700 SEM offers high magnification and clearer images, enhancing the laboratory’s already comprehensive abilities in semiconductor analysis, design verification, wafer inspection and surface electroscopy. It features an air-lock chamber to allow the exchange of samples without breaking the vacuum, which helps save time and preserve filaments. It also includes an electron detector for secondary ion and backscattering emissions.

“The new SEM positions Sypris to offer a broader level of analysis services to meet the evolving and challenging demands of our military and aerospace customers,” says Mike McEntee, Sypris Test & Measurement’s division general manager. “The higher resolutions offered by this leading-edge equipment provide the technical answers to the challenging questions posed by our clients.”

For more information, visit www.sypris.com.

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phoenix/x-ray Systems + Services Inc. has moved its U.S. headquarters from Camarillo, California, to St. Petersburg, Florida.

The move afforded the company a more central location to support its American markets and a closer integration with its corporate headquarters in Germany. phoenix/x-ray Systems + Services Inc. produced the first commercially available nanofocus X-ray system and first fully automated failure analysis system.

The new address is 100 First Ave. South, Ste. 208, St. Petersburg, Florida, 33701.

For more information, visit www.phoenix-xray.com.