Content By Quality Digest

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By: Quality Digest

The Lean Learning Center has released its Lean Learning Laboratory methodology and training program.

The program is designed to provide a framework for companies to learn, experiment and apply the rules, principles and tools of lean within a shop-floor environment. "The L3 concept is based on our experience that the application of lean within an organization can be accomplished faster and at less risk in a focused team," says Jamie Flinchbaugh, a partner at the Lean Learning Center. "It can then serve as a catalyst for broader application throughout a plant or company."

L3 involves a combination of orientation meetings, on-site training and post-training, application and reflection. Training is modular and applicable to both production and administrative applications. Subjects covered by the program include scoreboards, the Seven Wastes, Five S’s, standardized work, product process mapping, problem solving, visual management, setup reduction and pull systems.

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By: Quality Digest

In an effort to increase the safety of its products, phoenix|x-ray Systems + Services Inc. has created beryllium-free targets in all of its X-ray systems with open tubes.

The new targets eliminate the potential harmful residual effects that can come from X-ray exposure to beryllium targets. They also provide an added advantage to boards and components that are succeptible to overexposure and irradiation. The new material used in the targets acts as a filter, absorbing a portion of the X-ray and minimizing potential damages to samples.

The low-dose method employed by phoenix|x-ray combined with the new targets lessens the risk of exposure to various radiations and extends quality operation. Systems featuring the beryllium-free targets are available on any phoenix|x-ray system.

For more information, click here.

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By: Quality Digest

The European Commission has recognized EN ISO 13485:2003 as a harmonized standard for medical device manufacturing quality management systems for regulatory purposes under the three medical device directives, the Medical Device Directive, Active Implantable Medical Device Directive and In Vitro Diagnostics Directive.

Harmonization means that the ISO 13485:2003 standard is now formally recognized for use to demonstrate that the quality assurance requirements for CE marking of medical devices have been met. It carries a presumption of conformity with the relevant requirements of the medical device directives.

The European Commission also announced that EN ISO 13485:2000, identical to ISO 13485:1996, and EN ISO 13488:2000, identical to ISO 13488:1996, will cease to provide a presumption of conformity with relevant requirements of the medical device directives on July 31, 2006.

Source: BSI Medical Devices E-mail Update

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By: Dave Wojczynski

The following article, the first of a two-part series, outlines the growing need for Six Sigma initiatives in the outpatient health care market. In part one, we’ll compare a series of health care-specific businesses with parallel enterprises from other industries in order to categorize the means by which all business elements can fit accurately within a Six Sigma framework. Neither article is meant to portray health care providers negatively, but rather to highlight the sector’s skill gaps at various levels of business sophistication.

Multiple skill sets

Most quality pundits agree that successful service-based organizations--whether they’re industrial, manufacturing or financial--are committed to increasing their employees’ knowledge base and core-business skill sets. This increased sophistication is a fundamental and cross-functional element within their respective cultures, and thus spans various business areas such as sales, marketing, communication, finance, accounting, customer service, operations management, process efficiency, credit, risk and collections.

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By: Greg Brue

From its inception, Six Sigma was considered revolutionary. The six original pioneers who implemented the methodology at Allied Signal--the only true Senior Master Black Belts--vowed that the system would unearth inefficiencies in business operations that lead to outrageous levels of defects and extraordinarily wasteful operating costs. The quality of a company’s output would improve, they said, saving an estimated 20 to 40 percent of budget in cost of poor quality.

The methodology soon delivered everything its pioneers had promised.

Once Six Sigma was introduced to GE CEO Jack Welch, who gave the methodology his unabashed endorsement, there was no stopping the flurry of executives wanting to take the fast track to vastly improving their company’s bottom line.

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By: Quality Digest

Leap Technologies has released three new training programs for improving Six Sigma results.

The latest additions to Leap’s repertoire come on the heels of more than three years of research and testing with Six Sigma organizations, including Cott Beverages, IMC Global, Standard Register and Vytra Health Plans.

The suite of programs provides deployment leaders with a cost-effective way to equip their Six Sigma practitioners to cut project cycle times in half and improve productivity. Each program provides an interactive tool kit for conducting project meetings that get people engaged and motivated to do the work required for successful Six Sigma implementation.

The three-program curriculum includes Rapid Project Planning, Breakthrough Project Tools and Action Team Tools. Rapid Project Planning is a one-day program for Master Black Belts and Black Belts. Breakthrough Project Tools is a three-day program focused on a DMAIC-based approach to rapid core-process redesign. The final course, Action Team Tools, lasts two days and teaches core skills for leading teams in rapid solution implementation and quick-win capture. The program is designed to increase productivity for both Black and Green Belts and can serve as a platform for launching a Yellow Belt Program.

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By: Quality Digest

Aceva Technologies Inc., a developer of working capital management solutions for global enterprises, has increased use of Six Sigma methods by its enterprise clients seeking to improve financial process work flow to optimize working capital management.

To document its work, the company has released an executive research paper chronicling the effort, "Six Sigma Methodologies to Optimize Working Capital Management." The paper notes that as a strategy for securing business process improvement, Six Sigma has been proven to free up working capital for strategic investments. Six Sigma creates clear and measurable deliverables and produces high rates of process improvement in quote-to-cash, vendor manage inventory, procure-to-pay and working capital life cycles.

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By: Quality Digest

Instantis, a provider of software solutions for managing enterprise performance initiatives has established a Six Sigma executive advisory board.

Instantis created the board with hopes of bringing together key practitioners to define the company’s future direction and advise Instantis in supporting enterprise deployments with software solutions. The advisory board represents decades of Six Sigma knowledge and implementation expertise.

"We are delighted and honored to begin our engagement with this elite group of Six Sigma specialists," says Prasad Raje, CEO and founder of Instantis. "We look forward to leveraging their insight in perfecting our solutions and enhancing our capability to service customer needs. This relationship with Instantis by such a well-respected group of leaders in the Six Sigma business is an unmatched endorsement of our company."

The newly announced Six Sigma Executive Advisory Board members are:

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By: Quality Digest

Following a wave of financial institutions implementing Six Sigma, WCBF will convene its Successfully Implementing Six Sigma in Financial Services summit on June 23 and 24 in New York.

The forum, which will feature leaders in Six Sigma deployment and finance, also features preconference workshops on June 22 that can be booked separately. Topics of discussion at both the workshops and the two-day forum include:

  • Applying Six Sigma in a small environment
  • Translating customer satisfaction into bottom-line benefits
  • Governance: running and sustaining Six Sigma
  • The application of lean and DFSS methodologies to finance
  • How to realign a Six Sigma program


"The whole idea of Six Sigma is to align your business processes with what your customers want," says Joe McDaniels, executive vice president of ABN AMRO Mortgage Group.

The forum will feature speakers such as Guillermo Kopp of TowerGroup, Joe L. Valasquez of Bank of America, Kamran Jahanshahi of Citi Cards, Robin Royals of GE Employers Reinsurance Corp. and Laura Rakers of CNA Insurance.

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By: Quality Digest

Lean manufacturing certification, which helps manufacturers achieve the benefits of lean principles, has been launched by R. Michael Donovan and Co.

The certification program illustrates lean manufacturing principles and an action plan to achieve certification. It provides a numerical score that shows manufacturers how lean their company is, and lays out specific actions required to achieve more effective lean manufacturing performance.

"When asked if their companies are getting lean, most executives say ’yes,’" says Mike Donovan, a consultant at R. Michael Donovan and Co. "Very few of these companies have actually made significant progress in implementing lean manufacturing principles to the extent they could and should, however."

Donovan estimates at least 90 percent of manufacturers are missing opportunities to lower costs, increase customer service, decrease defects, reduce inventories and shorten lead times--all of which can boost profits and create a competitive advantage.