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By: Arthur G. Davis


Falling revenues and changing customer requirements have forced many companies to look for ways to reduce the workload on current staff while developing long-term solutions. When companies are forced to downsize, the increased workload on remaining employees frequently results in stress, anxiety and decreased productivity.

Long-term solutions might lie in the development of more efficient systems. Some businesses shift from mass producing standard products to small-lot production of customized products, with even greater focus on quality. This often proves to be shortsighted in the long run. However, if a company can omit steps from its design, manufacturing and servicing processes, as well as fine-tune those that remain, it would be able to deliver better products to customers faster and cheaper.

Lean Six Sigma has taken root across corporate America over the past two years. Companies are using the techniques to analyze and improve tasks ranging from simple processes like customer credit checks to complex product design challenges. Lean is a systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste--nonvalue-added activities--through continuous improvement to allow product flow at the pull of the customer in pursuit of perfection.

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By: Quality Digest

BSI Management Systems has reissued its position on the harmonized standard for electromagnetic compatibility testing for medical devices.

EN 60601-1-2:2002, the international standard for EMC testing of medical electrical equipment, is formally recognized as a harmonized standard under the Medical Devices Directive, published in the European Official Journal on Dec.13, 2002. The previous version of this standard will lose its harmonized status, and with it the presumption of conformity with the essential requirements of the MDD, on Nov. 1.

The standard is voluntary, but it reflects the expectations of the technical community in Europe for addressing the relevant essential requirements of the MDD. Manufacturers of active devices are strongly recommended to obtain the new standard and consider it in any design, development and testing program intended to meet the MDD and CE marking requirements.

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The Society of Automotive Engineers will dedicate the DTI-SAE Global Knowledge Center at Tsinghua University in Beijing with a formal signing ceremony and reception on June 15.

A cooperative effort between SAE International and the Delphi Tsinghua Institute, the Global Knowledge Center will make the full range of SAE technical information and services including books, technical papers, standards, and engineering education and training programs available to China’s automotive community.

As part of the dedication, SAE will announce the availability of an inaugural series of four SAE automotive engineering seminars to be held from Aug. 30 to Sept. 3. The four seminars in the inaugural series include: Gear System Design and Analysis; Technical Survey of Modern Vehicle Transmission Systems; Design for Manufacture and Assembly; and Automotive Engineering Project Management.

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A new standard intended to increase public safety around construction sites has been published by the American Society of Safety Engineers. A10.34-2001, Protection of the Public on or Adjacent to Construction Sites, establishes safety guidelines for employers, contractors, building owners and rescue personnel to protect the public from construction hazards in the air, on land or at sea. The standard was approved by the American National Standards Institute on Aug. 11, 2001, and covers issues such as cutting, welding, forming and pouring concrete, blasting or pile-driving, hoisting, shoring and other activities that can jeopardize public safety. "The public needs to be made aware of the potential hazards at or around construction sites and protected to the highest extent possible," says Barry A. Cole, chairman of subgroup A10.34. "This consensus standard covers virtually all construction, including new or renovated office buildings in city environments, roadway construction, work on or near harbors, waterways, airports and even light, commercial and home building construction." A10.34-2001 is available in print and as an electronic file. The cost is $37 for ASSE members and $53 for nonmembers. To order a copy of the standard, click here.

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Datasweep Inc., a recognized leader in software solutions that help global manufacturers drive performance, quality and value across the product lifespan, is named in Red Herring’s prestigious "100 Top Private Companies" for 2004.

The list sets the standard as the industry’s definitive list of private technology companies that impact the marketplace. Datasweep was selected from 500 private global companies for its ability to thrive in today’s challenging economy while providing lasting value to global manufacturers.

"At Red Herring, we scour the industry to identify the best and brightest technology companies that are transforming the current markets and creating new ones," says Alex Nieux, publisher of Red Herring. "The Red Herring 100 is our annual list of the most promising private companies. Like Google, eBay, Salesforce.com and other previous Red Herring 100 alumni, these 100 have the potential to become the next titans of technology."

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SupplyWorks Inc., a provider of direct materials supply management software for manufacturers, has released SupplyWorks MAX version 5.0.

New functionality in the suite includes enhanced kanban-based replenishment to support lean manufacturing, new wireless connectivity based on Microsoft .NET architecture, advanced globalization features and a host of customer-driven elements to support enhanced configurability and usability.

The new features will free up more clerical time for strategic supply management, lower inventory levels without compromising operations and increase flexibility to configure the software to business processes.

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The Quality Function Deployment Institute will host its 16th annual symposium in Lombard, Illinois, from July 7 to July 16.

The event features presentations from quality experts and industry leaders, case studies and forum discussions. Attendees will learn QFD in theory and in practice, network with other quality professionals and learn what others are doing to enhance their bottom lines.

The 16th Symposium on QFD features Green and Black Belt courses, along with tutorials on how to expertly link design for Six Sigma to QFD and analytical hierachy process, a Hoshin Kanri Workshop (a quality approach to strategic planning and policy management), a Kansei engineering workshop (product development focused on unspoken customer needs and emotional branding), a critical chain project management workshop and update courses in both QFD Green and Black Belt certification.

For more information, click here.

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Lilly Software Associates Inc., a provider of enterprise and supply chain solutions for manufacturers and distributors, will host a regional lean manufacturing seminar series this month in nine U.S. cities.

Attendees will hear from Lilly Software representatives and other industry experts about the priniciples of lean manufacturing and how companies in a host of industries have implemented lean solutions. Several of Lilly Software’s customers will discuss their success stories, as well.

"We used to quote six to eight weeks for delivery and had a very difficult time making good on those promises," says Tom King, president of ThemoFab. "All of a sudden, we’re shipping everything on time--even the rush orders. Eight months after implementation, our on-time delivery is 98 percent."

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Top companies depend on savvy purchasing techniques to increase supply chain performance measurements, according to research by benchmarking and consulting firm Best Practices LLC.

Supply chain research, drawn from executive interviews and surveys of more than 100 top-performing companies, includes these findings:

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Supply chain and inventory management professionals will gather in San Diego Oct. 10-13 for the 2004 APICS International Conference and Exposition.

The conference will feature speeches from industry leaders and authors, along with more than 100 educational workshops addressing enterprise quality management, lean strategies, project management, small business issues, emerging trends, personal and professional development and supply chain management tools and essentials. Other conference highlights include: