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By: Quality Digest

Senators unanimously passed H.R. 3389 on Sept. 24, a bill that establishes a not-for-profit category for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

“This is great news for the entire country as well as the quality community and the American Society for Quality, which has been the driving force behind the effort to expand the Baldrige to the not-for-profit sector,” says Danny Duhan, ASQ president.

The House of Representatives also unanimously passed the bill in March, so it will now be sent to President Bush for his signature.

Supporters lobbied members of Congress for two years to pass the bill. Legislators who worked on this bill include representatives Melissa Hart (R-PA), Brad Miller (D-NC), Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), Bart Gordon (D-TN), and Vern Ehlers (R-MI), and Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Ernest Hollings (D-SC).

For more information, visit www.asq.org.

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By: Quality Digest

MetricStream Inc. announced the inclusion of application delivery (“zaplet”) via e-mail in its latest release, MetricStream 3.5.

The capability will allow organizations to engage relevant internal casual users and external partners in the compliance process through e-mail without having to learn the entire application. “MetricStream continues to leverage its architecture to lead the industry in delivering the most innovative quality and compliance solution to the marketplace,” says Shellye Archambeau, MetricStream CEO. “Ensuring 100 percent adoption of application by casual internal users and partners is a real issue that needs to be addressed for a world-class deployment of a compliance application. I am very excited about MetricStream’s ability to address such hard issues.”

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The U.S. health care system has huge quality gaps that contribute to 42,000 to 79,000 avoidable deaths every year, according to a recent survey released by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

“State of Health Care Quality 2004,” released on Sept. 23, found that the quality of care delivered by health plans improved markedly from last year. But it also indicates that, because those improvements were applied to only one-quarter of the system, health care is deeply polarized and delivers excellent care to some people and generally poor care to others.

“The data we have tell a great story—health care quality for some is improving consistently and dramatically,” says Margaret E. O’Kane, NCQA president. “But we have only data for accountable health plans. Why don’t we have performance data for the other 75 percent of the U.S. health care system? All types of health plans, hospitals and doctors should report on their performance. How else can we made informed choices?”

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By: Quality Digest

Xspect Solutions Inc. saw business in the first half of the year increase well above company predictions, a trend that demanded expansion.

As a result, the company, which remanufactures pre-owned CMMs, moved into a new 24,000 sq. ft facility in Wixom, Michigan.

“We have been thoroughly amazed at how fast our re-manufactured CMM business has grown since our founding just 18 months ago,” says Keith Mills, Xspect Solutions president.

The company has sold close to 100 remanufactured machines in just 18 months, along with upward of 10 new Wenzel CMMs in the same time frame. Mills says he expects the upward trend to continue.

For more information, visit www.xspectsolutions.com.

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By: Quality Digest

Sypris Test & Measurement has relocated its New Jersey calibrations laboratory from Union to Sayreville, New Jersey.

The new facility is 63 percent larger than the old laboratory and will enable Sypris to handle increased demand. The new laboratory is A2LA-accredited, as was the former facility.

“The relocation of the calibration lab demonstrates our commitment to pursuing growth opportunities in the region,” says Ryan Wilde, branch manager. “The financial strength of Sypris has allowed us to invest in expanding the capabilities of the facility, which is designed to facilitate more efficient workflow to better serve customers’ high-end electrical calibration needs.”

In addition, moving the lab places it closer to existing customers in military, aerospace, communications, semiconductor and FDA-regulated markets.

For more information, visit www.calibration.com.

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Frost & Sullivan named Datasweep Inc. as the global market leader in manufacturing execution systems (MES) in its recently released report, “World Manufacturing Execution Systems 2004.”

The report evaluates companies based on real-time information management, shop floor management, quality management and manufacturing ability to assess vendor strength. Frost & Sullivan also performed extensive research on the candidates’ manufacturing market value, technology, customer results and innovation before publishing the report. Datasweep has been successful in developing and introducing new technology and innovating product performance.

“Datasweep shows a lot of potential in the manufacturing software segment in the years to come,” says Sathyajit Rao, Frost & Sullivan industrial automation and process control industry manager.

“From its inception as a company, Datasweep has been committed to delivering innovative solutions for manufacturing, a market that was underserved by legacy MES vendors,” says Vladimir Preysman, Datasweep president and CEO. “We are delighted that industry research has proven the significant value of our solutions.”

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Sigma Breakthrough Technologies Inc. recently announced a major quality effort for the health care industry.

The consulting company has developed a strain of Six Sigma and lean principles that apply specifically to health care professionals, an initiative that will increase return on investment and ease implementation. The new project uses the Six Sigma methodology to streamline processes, save resources and improve patient care.

“Typically, the pressing issues facing our hospitals and health systems are [to] lower patient lengths of stay, increase patient satisfaction scores, increase survey scores, increase profit and reinvestment margins, increase patient volumes and [the] restrictive lack of resources to attain these important business goals,” says Ian Wedgwood, Ph.D. and executive champion. “Results vary process by process, but rolled up to a hospital or system level, 5–8 percent of revenue savings in 18 months to two years is not unusual.”

For more information, visit www.sbtionline.com.

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Organizers of the 2004 International Manufacturing Technology Show are calling the event a resounding success and are already planning the 2006 show.

“Everything went exactly the way it was supposed to,” says AMT representative Lucy Coburn. “It was a big success.”

A total of 86,232 people registered for the 2004 show, up slightly from 2002, when 85,071 registered. Both figures are significantly lower than 2000’s IMTS, when 114,675 registrations were tallied. The terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, along with a the slumping economy and generally smaller travel budgets are at least partially to blame for the smaller attendance figures, Coburn suspects.

Two new additions to the show this year—the Emerging Technology Center and the Junkyard Wars exhibit—were big hits, Coburn says. She’s not sure whether they will return for the 2006 show, but she says there has been interest about it.

“They were a big hit. People really seemed to like them,” she says. “They were both really interesting.”

Preparations are already underway for the 2006 IMTS, which will be held Sept. 6-13 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

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More than 100 leading providers of software for supply chain management, manufacturing execution systems, MRP/ERP, logistics and materials management will attend the 2004 APICS International Conference and Exposition in San Diego.

The conference will take place Oct. 10-13 and include product demonstrations on Oct. 11 and 12. Featured session leaders include:

  • Sudipta Bhattacharya, SAP Inc. vice president of manufacturing application solutions, will discuss the effect of supply-delivery cycle times on stock inventory.
  • Mike Dempsey, Red Prairie Corp. product strategist, will speak on the pressures of compliance and competitive positioning.
  • Les Wyatt, PeopleSoft Enterprises vice president and general manager, will demonstrate how to best line up plants and warehouses to accommodate evolving RFIF standards.
  • Rob Leonard, Workbrain Inc. area vice president, will explain how workforce management systems help manufacturers effectively allocate their resources.
  • Dennie Norman, SAS strategist, will offer solutions to help companies become more efficient and reduce inventory.

For more information, visit www.apics.org.

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By: Quality Digest

FARO Technologies Inc. recently released two new and less expensive versions of one of its most popular devices.

The FARO Gage and FARO Gage-PLUS will sell for $12,500 and $19,900 respectively. Both devices provide smaller machine shops with 3-D measurement capabilities.

“Calipers, height gages, etc., have low initial costs, but it’s the hidden, in-process expense that’s costly,” says Simon Raab, FARO CEO and president. “They can’t meet the increasing demand for parts-inspection certification data.”

The devices were specifically created to be convenient for machinists, and intuitive enough for shop floor personnel to produce faster and more accurate results. They can be assembled in seconds and are ready to measure right out of the box.

“Basically, it makes a shop more productive and profitable by making their machinists’ jobs more efficient,” says Shaun Mymudes, FARO hardware product manager. “They don’t have to transcribe numbers, or perform any calculations.”

For more information, visit www.faro.com.