Content By Quality Digest

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By: Quality Digest

Michigan businesses will discover the key to success at the Henry Ford Community College event “Surviving to Thriving,” on Sept. 16.

Specialists from local agencies will be there to exchange ideas and offer resources that can vault local business to the next level of success. The event will focus on process improvement efforts to positively affect the companies’ bottom lines. Highlighted topics include ISO 9001:2000, ISO/TS 16949 implementations and transition programs, activity-based quoting, lean strategic business solutions, lean process design, Six Sigma and performance benchmarking.

Representatives that will participate in the event include:

  • Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center
  • Southeast Michigan Community Alliance
  • City of Detroit Workforce Development Department
  • Michigan HRDI
  • Small Business & Technology Development Center
  • Michigan Economic Development Corp.

The event is free and will last from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. To register, or for more information, visit www.mmtc.org.

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By: Quality Digest

Research and Markets recently announced the addition of a comprehensive and easy-to-use set of documents, The Six Sigma Toolbox, aimed at improving the use and adaptation of quality systems.

The set covers principles that can be applied to all types of businesses and provides specific plans for aligning the Six Sigma process with individual needs and goals. Some sections, for example, give suggestions on how to balance potential costs and benefits, clarify objectives and define time frames. The toolbox also focuses on implementation through a detailed and flexible roadmap tied to a company’s key customers, performance, improvement opportunities and future practices.

Six Sigma Toolbox documents include:

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By: Quality Digest

WCBF recently launched the Six Sigma Leading Minds Club, an exclusive Six Sigma and process improvement community intended to facilitate the exchange of information on best practices, new ideas and even corporate management failures.

Membership is based on individual achievement through a strict selection process. The club will promote networking via gala functions, round table discussions and breakfast meetings that will ensure members interact directly within a group of individuals who have similar responsibilities.

Selected members will receive at least four complimentary invitations per year. The next invitation-only events will take place on Oct. 19 at the Four Seasons in Las Vegas, and on Jan. 25 at The Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans.

For more information, click www.wcbf.com/quality/leadingminds.pdf

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By: Barbara A. Cleary

Donald Trump’s dramatic, “You’re fired!” on the reality show “The Apprentice” is just entertainment to most people. To teams of summer interns at PQ Systems Inc. in Dayton, Ohio, however, it meant a challenge for the ensuing work week.

The young interns, faced with the tedious task of contacting the company’s customers to verify contact information, saw a long summer ahead of them when they began in May. Cleaning up databases is a notoriously neglected job. And with the repetitive script, the mountain of names, and the difficulty of making a dent in the task, it’s neglected for good reasons.

That all changed when Larry Knight, a sales representative who had been a PQ Systems intern prior to his graduation from Wright State University a year ago, helped the six interns to develop a team approach to the task. Ultimately, they adopted the model of Trump’s popular television series.

Every two weeks, teams would gather in the company’s conference room and present the results of their activities with respect to numbers: contacts made, fax numbers gathered, e-mail addresses verified, database changes made, etc. An additional category—sales generated—was added after the interns discovered that some customers wanted to talk about the company’s products.

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By: Quality Digest

The American National Standards Institute recently awarded 2004 Leadership and Service Awards to six executives.

The winners were recognized for their significant contributions to national and international standardization activities and commitment to the standards community. The winners are:

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By: Quality Digest

School administrators looking for ways to meet tough federal requirements have found a new ally in a rather unlikely place—the quality profession.

The need for continual improvement is familiar to quality professionals, but it’s relatively new to the education community. The No Child Left Behind Act, signed into law in early 2002, includes requirements for school districts to have improvement plans and processes. That’s where the American Society for Quality comes in.

ASQ’s Koalaty Kid division recently started consulting with school districts looking to both meet federal requirements and improve the quality of their administrative processes. The results have been dramatic.

“The training approach really gives (administrators) the ability to focus on the root causes of problems and the ways to fix them in the short term and the long term,” ASQ education market manager Suzanne Keely says.

The training uses W. Edwards Deming’s plan-do-study-act (PDSA) cycle to show administrators how to get to the root causes of problems. It’s often foreign to them until they see the benefits the methodology brings.

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By: Quality Digest

Improved product design would make manufacturing products less expensive than outsourcing to countries like China, according to a recent benchmarking study.

The authors suggest that U.S. companies should do a better job of integrating cost analysis into product design. With rigorous cost analysis as a foundation for product design, domestic manufacturers would be able to develop innovative products that are more economical in the United States.

The study, co-authored by Nicholas P. Dewhurst and David G. Meeker, says it can be more advantageous for U.S. manufacturers to lower costs by redesigning products rather than by outsourcing production. The study shows this practice saves money and jobs in many instances.

To support this idea, Dewhurst and Meeker identify two principles of best design practices:

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By: Quality Digest

The latest American Customer Satisfaction Index held steady for the second quarter of 2004, remaining at its highest level in 10 years.

The index stands at 74.4, unchanged from last quarter. Economists report that the sunny news indicates high customer satisfaction, which generally contributes to increased consumer spending and a healthier economy. While satisfaction cannot completely offset recent price and interest rate hikes, the economy’s ability to deliver strong satisfaction levels should help bring spending back from its recent dip.

The report, which is produced by a partnership of the University of Michigan Business School, the American Society for Quality and CFI Group, suggests that the U.S. auto industry will have to fight to keep from losing customers to foreign carmakers, and that some domestic PC brands are gaining market shares. Industry-level satisfaction scores provide strong cues concerning which lines of business are most vulnerable to competition.

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By: Quality Digest

2003 was a year of transition for ISO 9001 and a year of significant growth for ISO 14001, reports ISO in its annual study.

Study results about ISO 9001 included:

  • Up to the end of 2003, at least 500,125 registrations had been issued in 149 countries and economies.
  • 2003 total registrations represent an increase of 200 percent over 2002, when the total was 167,210 registrations in 134 countries and economies.
  • The 2003 total represents a tenfold increase over 2001, when the total registrations were 44,388 in 98 countries and economies.

The survey found a dramatic increase in the number of registrations to ISO 14001. Among the findings were:

  • Up to the end of 2003, at least 66,070 registrations to ISO 14001 had been issued in 113 countries and economies.
  • The number of registrations to ISO 14001 in 2003 increased 34 percent from 2002—the largest increase in the nine annual surveys ISO has performed.
  • The 2003 total represents an increase of 24 percent over 2002, when the total was 49,448 registrations in 117 countries and economies.

For more information, visit www.iso.org.

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By: Quality Digest

Sypris Test & Measurement will relocate its San Francisco Bay Area calibration lab, the company announced recently.

The company moved from San Jose to Sunnyvale, California. Moving the lab places the company closer to existing customers in military, aerospace, communications, semiconductor and FDA-regulated markets. The new location also provides growth opportunities that the former location didn’t.

“The new Sunnyvale location offers some of the most advanced capabilities in our network or convenient service centers located throughout the United States,” says Derrell James, Sypris Test & Measurement general manager. “It also provides many of our customers with a more convenient pick-up and delivery location.”

For more information, visit www.calibration.com.