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It took upward of two years, but System Improvements Inc. announced recently that it has developed its TapRooT software into an advanced management system.

The new software is written with an SQL database that allows it to be set up for a single user working on a local hard drive, as a group database with 8-10 simultaneous users or as an enterprise database allowing for unlimited simultaneous users across a wide area network. It also provides users with a single program to report incidents, analyze root causes, develop corrective actions, write and approve reports, track fixes, validate the effectiveness of fixes and trend performance—all in a secure, password-protected environment.

New to TapRooT’s investigative management system is the ability to control investigation information, reports and specific software techniques. Its multi-user versions include built-in security and multi-level password protection, advanced search and sort features for incidents and audits and integrated e-mail support.

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Cognex Corp. will host a series of free seminars designed to show how its vision sensors perform automated inspection tasks in the automotive, medical, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, and electronics industries, officials announced recently.

The seminars, Understanding and Applying Machine Vision Sensors, will last a half-day and include demonstrations of the new industrial-grade In-Sight 5000 series vision sensors and ID readers. The tutorial covers how vision sensors work in manufacturing applications to accurately gage, guide, identify and inspect products to reduce scrap costs, inventory problems and achieve a superior product quality.

Participants will receive free In-Sight Explorer trial software, providing hands-on experience in developing vision applications. The CD also includes application examples, preliminary design considerations, a multi-media tutorial on building vision applications, lighting and optics videos, and a utility package to help determine the field of view and resolution requirements of vision applications.

The seminars begin in August and run through December, and will tour major cities in the U.S., Mexico, Canada and Puerto Rico.

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The Society of Manufacturing Engineers recently announced five keynote speakers for its upcoming fuel cell conference.

The conference, which will focus on emerging fuel cell technology and its impact on manufacturing, will feature the following speakers:

  • Ulf Bossel, PhD, director of the European Fuel Cell Forum
  • Spencer Abraham and David Garman of the federal Department of Energy
  • Hiroyuki Watanabe, chief quality control officer of Toyota Motor Corp.
  • General Paul J. Kern, U.S. Army Material Command
  • Steven Taub, director of Cambridge Energy Research Associates’ Emerging Generation Technologies

The conference is designed to help manufacturers become future suppliers to the growing advanced energy technologies industry, and to teach them to implement lean energy principles and reduces costs. In addition to the speakers, the SME conference will feature more than 50 other presentations with topics including: reducing the cost of advanced energy technology, high tolerance materials, scalability of components, designing fuel cells for manufacturability, supplier requirements and lean energy management.

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The American Society for Quality awarded John E. (Jack) West with its Freund-Marquardt Medal for his longtime service to the quality profession and to the organization.

West is a consultant with Silver Fox Advisors in The Heartland, Texas. He mentors senior managers to help them achieve their business goals.

West holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Emory and Henry College. He’s an ASQ-certified quality engineer and a well-known author and speaker on topics related to quality, quality management and ISO 9000. He is the co-author of ISO 9001:2000 Explained and the co-editor of the ISO 9000:2000 Handbook and ISO 9001:2000, An Audio Workshop and Master Slide Presentation. West is also a columnist for Quality Digest magazine.

For more information, visit www.asq.org.

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In an effort to revolutionize the way worldwide organizations measure and improve organizational performance, the American Productivity & Quality Center recently announced a new alliance with industry leaders.

The Open Standards Benchmarking Collaborative seeks to establish, lead and promote an open, universal process framework with related performance measures and benchmark data, all created by industry and for industry. The initiative also includes the formation of an advisory council to ensure the relevancy of the group’s work. Advisory council members include representatives from the following companies: Alvarez & Marsal, Boehringer Ingelheim, Booz Allen Hamilton, CEMEX, Fuji Xerox, Gartner Consulting, IBM, PeopleSoft, Procter & Gamble, Raytheon, Shell Oil Co., the University of Texas, the U.S. Navy and the World Bank.

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Hitachi Computer Products’ American division will replace its quality management processes with MetricStream software, the company announced recently.

The solution is currently being implemented at Hitachi’s Oklahoma manufacturing division, where it manufactures large disk storage systems.

“Our Lotus Notes-based system needed to be upgraded to support our vision for world class quality management processes and for meeting updated ISO 9000 standards,” says Gary Riggs, vice president of IT and HR at Hitachi Computer Products Inc. “Using MetricStream, we were able to implement an integrated quality management system with CAPA and training management in about three months.”

He adds the company plans to implement three additional MetricStream modules over the next few months—document management, equipment management and supplier management.

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The International Organization for Standardization will develop a standard for social responsibility, although it will not be intended for formal certification.

The decision was made at a senior ISO management meeting this June in Stockholm, following an international conference in the Swedish capital. The conference provided a platform for stakeholders to give their views on whether ISO should address the social responsibility of organizations, and, if so, what form that assessment would take.

Stakeholder feedback was overwhelmingly positive for ISO to develop social responsibility guidelines. Because the feedback was so supportive, ISO decided a further feasibility study was unnecessary and the work should be undertaken immediately.

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President George W. Bush recently signed into law the Standards Developing Organizations Advancement Act of 2004 (H.R. 1086), providing new shelter for standards developers from treble damage liability in current antitrust laws.

The approval amends the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993, which addressed the antitrust treatment of certain joint ventures, such as standards development organizations. The new bill recognizes the assistance that SDOs provide to government agencies in developing standards for regulatory and procurement functions and allows SDOs the opportunity to submit a notice describing the scope of their work with the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission. That filing may avoid unnecessary and costly litigation against organizations that have no commercial interest with regard to the technical specifications contained in the standards. The act provides that the federal antitrust “rule of reason” apply to SDOs while they are developing standards, and limits attorney’s fees in any antitrust case challenging an SDO’s work.

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The International Organization for Standardization recently announced a new standard to help organizations satisfy dissatisfied customers.

ISO 10002 is a standardized complaints-handling process that can be easily integrated into established quality management systems—especially ISO 9001:2000, which requires top management to focus on customer satisfaction and continual improvement. It provides instructions on the delivery of a complaints-handling process that provides responsive treatment to unhappy customers, and focuses on problem areas for improvements and cost savings for organizations.

“At the same time, the standard is complete enough for stand-alone implementation, or in support of other quality management and customer satisfaction tools,” says Bill Dee, a member of the working group that developed ISO 10002. “The standard gives complete guidance—including principles, issues for consideration and structural aspects—for the management of the overall complaints-handling process, with numerous checklists, sample forms and practical examples.”

For more information, visit www.iso.org.

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By: Quality Digest


The Registrar Accreditation Board and the Quality Society of Australasia Ltd. have agreed to form a new global personnel certification body by the end of this year.

The new organization will combine the auditor certification and training course accreditation of RAB with QSA’s auditor and specialized personnel certification and training provider programs.

“The new organization will capitalize of the strengths of both organizations,” reports Michael K. Carmody, QSA director and CEO. “In addition, it will facilitate expansion into new markets and the development of a broader international service profile.”

RAB President and CEO Robert H. King Jr. is equally optimistic about the new venture. “Combining QSA’s and RAB’s capabilities represents the joining of forces of two organizations very similar in mission, size and financial resources that are focused on serving the global marketplace,” King says.