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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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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.

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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.

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Six Sigma Management Institute, a consulting and training venture associated with the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University, and IdealHire, a provider of human resources services, have formed the Six Sigma Global Registry, a joint venture for driving Six Sigma Generation III standardization.

Six Sigma Generation III focuses on driving the savings from reduced errors to the bottom line of small and large companies. The online service will provide standards for registry, assessment, training, qualification and certification of practitioners, and access to consulting services for enterprises of any size.

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BSI Management Systems has launched a series of Webinars focused on CMDCAS and ISO 14971.

The Canadian Medical Device Conformity Assessment Schedule Webinar is designed for businesses that sell medical devices in Canada. The Webinar is intended to advise participants on how CMDCAS affects their business efforts in Canada, and the interactive session will give participants the opportunity to ask medical devices experts specific questions about CMDCAS. The Webinar will also address the following general learning objectives:

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Carl Zeiss SMT AG has incorporated the electron beam technology business formerly marketed under the LEO brand.

LEO will become the new Nanotechnology Systems Division of Carl Zeiss SMT. LEO has been a wholly owned subsdiary of Carl Zeiss SMT AG since 2001. "With this step, we’re accomplishing the complete integration of electon beam technology into the Carl Zeiss SMT portfolio," says Dirk Stenkamp, CEO of the LEO group. "We expect many different synergies. The innovative power of electron beam techology will receive a clear boost under the aegis of SMT and will simultaneously benefit from the worldwide image provided by the Carl Zeiss brand."

Carl Zeiss SMT is already one of the global market leaders in the manufacture of light optical systems for semiconductor production. The integration of electron beam technology adds a range of applications in the field of semiconductor manufacture. One of the first applications is the repair of photo masks for semiconductor lithography.

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TUV America Inc. has appointed three new product safety engineers to its machinery, information, technology and consumer products group.

"The addition of highly qualified engineers in each of our three regions will allow TUV to continue to provide a high level of customer services to our customer base," says Ulf Schmidt, MIC product director. "They each bring with them a unique approach and diverse background which IÂ’m confident will result in their success at TUV America."

Mandy (Liyuan) Zhao, an engineer with testing, certification and field inspection experience, served at the TUV product service Guangzhou branch in China. There she acted as senior project engineer, performing factory assessment and inspection services and safety evaluations for electrical and electronic products to diverse standards, including IEC, EN and UL.