Content By Quality Digest

Craig Cochran’s picture

By: Craig Cochran

Supplier management is one of the most troublesome disciplines within a management system. There’s nothing inherently difficult about it, though. Companies make it difficult by instilling the process with lots of unwieldy bureaucracy. The trick is to strip the process down to its essential elements, doing only those activities that add value. Let’s take a look at some of the typical elements of supplier management and discuss some lean approaches for each.

Selecting suppliers

Selecting suppliers is a remarkably easy task. Think about what drives your purchasing decisions when you’re using your own money; this same criteria make sense for your company. Here are some common-sense selection factors:

Denise Robitaille’s picture

By: Denise Robitaille

Do not ever, ever, do anything just to please an auditor. This is quickly becoming one of my new favorite mantras. For many individuals, this statement would seem to be self-evident, and yet there are instances when an organization has felt compelled to change a process or implement a new practice in response to an auditor finding or upon the recommendation of a consultant. They end up crippling their quality management system with layers of bureaucracy that add no value. They often do so grudgingly, unconvinced that the action is right or necessary. "Why," they grumble, "should we throw away valuable resources on unfunded mandates handed down by an organization that has no idea what our business is really about?" Even more detrimental than the waste of resources is the damaging effect it has on top executives’ commitment to the entire quality management system.

This is not to accuse consultants and auditors of malice or incompetence. The reality is that these errors of excess are usually rooted in their desire to ensure that the organization’s system is robust, compliant and responsive to customer expectations.

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By: Ronald J. Bowen

After undergoing an often costly and usually painful process to achieve ISO 9001:2000 registration, organizations invariably ask, "What do we do now to ensure that we maintain our registration and gain maximum benefit?" Under ISO 9001:1994, the old answer was fairly straightforward: Continue doing what you say you do. However, ISO 9001:2000-registered companies that follow this advice will lose out on the benefits the revised standard has to offer; and in most cases, they’ll fail to maintain their registration.

In the course of its evolution, ISO 9001:2000 moved from a product-focused and quality control-oriented standard to a quality management system concerned with continual improvement of customer satisfaction. This new focus requires companywide support, but management-in particular-must understand what’s required and commit to leading the company accordingly. This will happen only if management is able to translate the standard into what Joseph M. Juran has described as the "language of management" (i.e., money).

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By: Quality Digest

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."

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By: Quality Digest

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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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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By: Quality Digest

TUV America Inc. is now certified to perform ANSI/ESD S20.20 registration services.

ANSI/ESD S20.20, Electrostatic Discharge Control Program Standard, was created to help U.S. military and commercial corporations design, establish, implement and maintain an electrostatic discharge control program for activities that manufacture, process, assemble, install, package, label, service, test, inspect or otherwise handle electrical or electronic parts, assemblies and equipment susceptible to damage by electrostatic discharges greater than or equal to 100 Volts.

S20.20 registration proves to customers, suppliers and competitors that an organization has an effective ESD control program in place and that it has been certified by a third party. TUV America, an accredited ISO 9001 registrar, is one of only six registrars able to perform S20.20 registration.

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By: Quality Digest

Breakthrough Management Group, a provider of Six Sigma training, consulting and software, has signed a strategic reseller agreement with Iowa-based GeoLearning Inc., a developer of learning management platforms and Web-based training solutions.

Under the terms of the agreement, GeoLearning will resell and host BMG’s extensive content library of Six Sigma eCourses and Web-based training.

"GeoLearning is one of the top e-learning solutions providers in the world," says David Silverstein, president and CEO of Breakthrough Management Group. "This partnership opens up a significant sales channel for us. By offering BMG’s Six Sigma eCourse library to GeoLearning’s customers, the e-learning community will have more options for accessing BMG’s complete Six Sigma online belt programs, basic skill and awareness training, as well as BMG’s custom content services. Their young workforce, high growth rate and reputation for excellence makes them a perfect match for a partnership with BMG."

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By: Quality Digest

TSYS has been awarded two Visa Service Quality Performance Awards for having the lowest assured transaction rate and lowest transaction response time.

Visa Service Quality Performance Award Programs recognize members and processors for exceptional operating performance and focus on service quality improvement. Within each tier, members and processors are recognized for outstanding operating performance in operation areas directly affecting their customers. TSYS won in Tier 1, which recognizes companies with annual Visa sales volume of $5 billion or more. Tier 2 and Tier 3 recognize $2 to $5 billion and $500 million to $2 billion, respectively.

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By: Quality Digest

Microsoft Corp. has released new enhancements for its Microsoft Office Solution Accelerator for Six Sigma.

The additions to the software are intended to help businesses cut costs, improve processes and reduce the time it takes to complete projects. Available now at no charge to all Microsoft industry partners and customers, the accelerator--which now fully leverages support for the new Microsoft Office System--delivers standardized tools, support and structured implementation methods that are crucial to successful Six Sigma adoption.

"We are seeing an increasing need from Motorola’s customers and suppliers with business improvement initiatives for an integrated, scalable, easy-to-use system that enables teams to manage and monitor their Six Sigma projects," says Tom McCarty, vice president of Motorola University Consulting Services. "That’s why Motorola University is working with Microsoft to offer the Office Solution Accelerator for Six Sigma to our clients."