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Rath & Strong has published Whose Fault Is It Anyway? A Modern Fable About Six Sigma (2004).

In the tradition of quality-focused books such as I Know It When I See It (AMACOM, 1991), Rath & Strong’s latest entry comes on the heels of its most recent bestseller, The Six Sigma Pocket Guide (2000).

Intended to be both entertaining and informative, the 92-page book aims to help readers experience what it feels like to implement Six Sigma and run a project.

Whose Fault Is It Anyway? is set at Forgiveness Inc., a company that provides organizations with plausible explanations for their failings so they can break the news gently when customers have been disappointed. The struggling hero of the fable, Paul Bowes, is selected to lead the company’s foray into Six Sigma.

Written from Bowes’ perspective as a newly-trained Black Belt, the book takes readers through the ups and downs of his training, projects, experience with Six Sigma’s systematic approach to process improvement and the politics he encounters beneath the veneer of cooperation.

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Diagnosing heart attacks may become an even more precise science with the advent of the first of a series of new clinical standards issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Standard Reference Material 2921--human cardiac troponin complex--is intended to help manufacturers develop and calibrate assays that measure specific protein concentrations in patient blood samples to determine whether a heart attack has occurred.

The SRM is a solution containing certified concentrations of three related proteins including cardiac troponin I, purified from human heart tissue from cadavers. Users can calibrate their assays by analyzing the SRM and comparing the results to the NIST-certified value for troponin I. The standard is expected to help reduce variations in clinical test results from as much as 50-fold on the same sample to twofold. "It’s a big first step toward getting the system under control," says Michael Welch, leader of the NIST development team.

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TUV America Inc. has added Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series 18001 services to its repertoire.

OHSAS 18001 is an occupational health and safety assessment series for occupational health and safety management systems created to enable organizations to control occupational health and safety risks and to improve performance.

In response to an increasing demand by organizations that their suppliers be registered to the standard, TUV will now conduct OHSAS 18001 audits and award accredited and unaccredited registrations to the standard.

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The National Committee for Quality Assurance has released its annual report, "The Value of Care and Caring About Value."

Focused on health care quality, the report is intended to benefit employers and consumers showing increasing interest in the topic.

"Questions about value are being asked, particularly among purchasers, because we are wasting tremendous resources in our health care system and sometimes harming patients as well," says NCQA president Margaret E. O’Kane. "Medical technologies, the types of health plans being offered, the role of the patient and the way we buy health care have all been transformed. To continue to drive quality improvement, NCQA’s measures and methods must evolve accordingly. This means measuring value."

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By: Dave Wojczynski

The first article in this series, "What the Doctor Didn’t Order But Should Have," established a case for business improvement in the outpatient health care sector. More important, it provided real-life examples of how a Six Sigma framework can help outpatient facilities overcome fundamental challenges common to the industry.

In this month’s column we’ll explore one of the biggest opportunities for Six Sigma: its relationship with technology.

Health care’s appetite for technology is enormous. Although most technological advances in the industry focus on new procedural or equipment breakthroughs, recent legislation has spurred technological development at the administrative level as well. Current deadlines established by the government through mandatory Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations, combined with increasing competition in the outpatient sector, have intensified the drive to bring technology to all aspects of health care. The opportunities for improving and automating processes at facilities and clinics are limitless.

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Worldwide Conventions and Business Forums has scheduled its 2004 "Successfully Implementing Six Sigma in Financial Services" conference.

The conference, which is generally regarded as the preeminent Six Sigma conference for the financial service industry, will be held June 23 and 24 at the Westin New York Hotel at Times Square in New York. Preconference workshops will also be offered on June 22nd. Experts will meet to reveal how Six Sigma is driving sustained improvements in productivity, customer satisfaction and loyalty in order to reduce costs and increase revenue and profit.

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Pitney Bowes, a provider of integrated mail and document management solutions, has chosen PowerSteering Software to track and report on its new Six Sigma quality initiatives.

Pitney Bowes implemented the PowerSteering tracking system parallel to the startup phase of its Six Sigma programs. To date, Pitney Bowes has deployed PowerSteering across 50 quality projects with plans to grow the initiative throughout the company. The company expects to achieve at least $250,000 in savings for each project.

PowerSteering’s software--deployed in less than three weeks--is being used to provide critical project data, financial benefit tracking and templates that provide visibility into project definition, measurement, analysis, improvement and control using Six Sigma.

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Leap Technologies has entered into an agreement with Motorola University, Motorola Inc.’s corporate university, to provide corporate Six Sigma solutions.

Under the terms of the agreement, Motorola University will provide Six Sigma expertise and services to organizations looking to combine the speed and engagement of Leap Technologies’ Action Workout Methodology with the analytical rigor of Six Sigma.

"It’s an exciting opportunity to bring the combined expertise of a two-time winner of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the creator of the Six Sigma business improvement methodology with our industry-leading capability in rapid process improvement through employee engagement," says Rick Tucci, president of Leap Technologies. "Together we offer an unbeatable combination of speed and sustainability for organizations looking to maximize the bottom-line and cultural benefits of their business improvement efforts."

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The ETL SEMKO division of Intertek Group plc, a provider of testing, inspection and certification, has acquired 100 percent of the issued share capital of Entela Inc., a world leader in automotive components testing and certification.

Entela will become part of the ETL SEMKO division, now offering clients an enhanced suite of testing and certification services including more comprehensive automotive components testing and certification and management systems registration.

"The addition of Entela’s automotive expertise to our existing electrical safety, EMC and performance testing means that Intertek can provide faster and more cost effective global market access to automotive components manufacturers," says Gregg Tiemann, Intertek’s president. "Clients now have access to an expanded scope of services enabling them to become more effective in a global marketplace."

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By: Quality Digest

Worldwide Conventions and Business Forums has scheduled its 2004 "Successfully Implementing Six Sigma in Financial Services" conference.

The conference, which is generally regarded as the preeminent Six Sigma conference for the financial service industry, will be held June 23 and 24 at the Westin New York Hotel at Times Square in New York. Preconference workshops will also be offered on June 22nd. Experts will meet to reveal how Six Sigma is driving sustained improvements in productivity, customer satisfaction and loyalty in order to reduce costs and increase revenue and profit.