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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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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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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."

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The Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ annual meeting, "Where Manufacturing Comes Together--to Give You a Competitive Edge," is slated for June 9-13 in Cincinnati.

The meeting provides an arena for manufacturing professionals to share best practices and expertise about new technology, manufacturing innovations, business solutions and to improve their business skills to compete in today’s global manufacturing environment.

Featured at the meeting is a management forum called, "Making it in America: Rising Up to the Global Challenge With Lean Manufacturing." The forum will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 9, and will include executives from Ariens Co., Boeing Co., Carver Pump Co., John Deere Co., Lean Investments LLC and Toyota Motor Manufacturing. Participants will discuss how they reduced their company’s operational costs, improved efficiency, increased productivity, enhanced product quality, compressed product development cycles, and accelerated speed-to-market of new products without having to outsource production overseas to low-wage countries.

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Frost and Sullivan has presented its 2004 Mechanical Test Company of the Year Award to GE Inspection Technologies.

The award was given at Frost and Sullivan’s annual Excellence in Industrial Technologies Awards Banquet in recognition of GE Inspection Technologies’ overall performance in the nondestructive testing equipment industry and its commitment to developing technology-driven inspection solutions.

GE Inspection Technologies, formed by GE’s acquisition of the Agfa NDT business unit, benefits from the legacy of NDT technology development and product innovation of both parent organizations.

"GE Inspection Technologies has gained industrywide recognition in the NDT industry as a near-total solutions provider by virtue of its significant presence in the radiography, ultrasonic and hardness tester equipment markets worldwide," says Jaidev Ram Mohan, a Frost and Sullivan industry analyst.

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Axsys Technologies Inc. has acquired Telic Optics Inc., a privately owned manufacturer of infrared optics and optical assemblies.

Headquartered in North Billerica, Massachusetts and founded in 1986, Telic employs 32 people and sells its products to manufacturers of thermal imaging cameras, defense prime contractors and research laboratories that design systems used in long-range reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting applications for the defense and homeland security markets.

Axsys is a leading supplier of metal optics and opto-mechanical assemblies used in reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting applications, primarily for air- and space-based applications. The acquisition of Telic provides Axsys with several strategic benefits.

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The International Organization for Standardization has launched a Web site to support the International Conference on Social Responsibility to be held on June 21 and 22 in Stockholm, Sweden.

As well as addressing the practical aspects of the conference--including online registration and the program--the site includes the report prepared by the ISO advisory group on social responsibility. The social responsibility report reviews initiatives and identifies issues that should be taken into account by ISO. In addition, the site contains the advisory group’s recommendations to ISO.

One of the group’s key recommendations is that ISO should only proceed with a guidance document in the area of social responsibility under specific conditions. All interested parties--including those unable to participate directly in the conference--are encouraged to submit comments and recommendations via the Web site.

The report, recommendations from the advisory group and feedback from the conference and Web site will assist ISO in deciding whether or not to propose the development of international standards or other ISO tools addressing the social responsibility of organizations. Any proposal would be subject to a vote by all ISO members.

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Members of an American National Standards Institute delegation have collaborated with senior representatives of the world’s leading radio, information and communications technologies standards organizations in Seoul, Korea, at the ninth Global Standards Collaboration meeting.

Among the ANSI delegates were Amy Marasco, ANSI vice president and general counsel, and Dan Bart, co-chair of the ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel and member of the ANSI Board. Bart also led the delegation for the Telecommunications Industry Association in his role as TIA senior vice president of standards and special projects.

Marasco delivered a presentation on intellectual property rights and standards, providing examples of recent updates in the areas of patents, copyright and antitrust. Bart delivered a presentation on the ANSI-HSSP. ANSI-accredited standards developers also in attendance included TIA, the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions and several ANSI company members.

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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.