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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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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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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.

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The world’s standards development community is gearing up for World Standards Day on Oct. 14.

The celebration is in its 35th year. The theme is “Standards Connect the World.” World Standards Day is celebrated every Oct. 14 as a way of paying tribute to the collaborative efforts of the thousands of experts around the world who develop the voluntary technical standards that are published as international standards.

With the pervasive nature of the global marketplace, the importance of standards has become increasingly important. Sei-ichi Takayanagi, International Electrotechnical Commission President, Oliver Smoot, International Organization for Standardization president; and Yoshio Utsumi, International Telecommunications Union president, together signed the World Standards Day message.

The three leaders point out that international standards smooth trade between nations and harmonize the delivery process. In addition, the international standardization system helps ensure efficiency, effectiveness, environmental care, safety and interoperability in diverse manufacturing processes.

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The National Standards Strategy Committee recently met in Washington, D.C., to discuss the progress made toward revising the U.S. National Standards Strategy.

Twenty-two representatives of the standards and conformity assessment community participate on the NSSC, which has been divided into four subgroups to tackle various elements within the NSS. At the September meeting, each group presented draft recommendations for potential revisions. They will report back to the larger body to discuss the input received and begin to coalesce their reports into a full-draft version.

The report will be made public in early 2005, when the NSSC plans to release it for review and comment. The American National Standards Institute is expected to give final approval to the document in May 2005.

For more information, visit www.ansi.org/nss.

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The International Organization for Standardization has assigned representatives of Brazil and Sweden to lead the working group that will develop its social responsibility (SR) standard.

ISO deliberately paired Sweden, an industrial country with Brazil, a developing country, to encourage participation by developing nations on ISO committees. In a recent message, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed ISO’s decision to develop a standard on social responsibility, describing it as “an initiative which dovetails well with the universal principles of the UN Global Compact on human rights, labor conditions, the environment and anti-corruption.”

ISO will soon issue a new work item proposal to its members for the SR standard development. Member bodies participating in the development will be encouraged to nominate up to six experts representing the following categories of stakeholders: industry, government, labor, consumer, nongovernmental organizations and others. The designated working group will then develop a draft standard that represents the collective views of the experts.

ISO expects to publish the new standard in 2007. For more information, visit www.iso.org.

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The International Organization for Standardization agreed on a five-year road map of progress at its 27th General Assembly last month.

The assembly was held Sept. 14-16 in Geneva. Delegates approved the ISO Strategic Plan 2005–2010, which outlines seven key objectives for the organization while defining the ensuing actions and expected results. The key objectives are to:

  • Develop a consistent, multisector collection of globally relevant international standards.

  • Ensure stakeholder involvement.

  • Raise the awareness and capacity of developing countries.

  • Be open to partnerships for the development of international standards.

  • Promote the use of voluntary standards as an alternative or as a support to technical regulations.

  • Remain the recognized provider of international standards and guides relating to conformity assessment.

  • Provide efficient procedures and tools for the development of a coherent and complete range of deliverables.