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By: Quality Digest

California Manufacturing Technology Consulting will present a workshop from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 23 at the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington Beach, California. The workshop is focused on the principles of lean manufacturing through classes and simulation.

Senior CMTC lean consultant Saeed Madjiki will officiate. The workshop will also teach companies how to tap into funds set aside specifically to help train employees. The event will focus on eight wastes in manufacturing and how to apply various principles, such as standardized work, visual signs, batch size reduction and pull systems that eliminate these wastes.

Business owners, presidents, controllers, plant managers and anyone responsible for cost management or the manufacturing process are encouraged to attend.

Registration is $99 per person. To register, call (800) 300-2682 or register online by clicking here.

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By: Quality Digest

The International Organization for Standardization revealed its Fourth International Environmental Children’s Drawing Contest Feb. 3 at the United Nations Office in Geneva.

"The operating principle of ISO 14001 has been adopted in simplified form from the ISO-supported ’Kids’ ISO 1400 Programme,’ which we publicize to encourage children around the world to develop and express their environmental awareness," says ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden.

The fourth edition of the drawing contest attracted nearly 12,500 entries from 60 countries by children aged 7 through 15. This year’s exhibition of the 100 winning entries was shown in Geneva.

To learn more, visit here.

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By: Quality Digest

The 2004 Crystal Ball User Conference will be held June 16-18 in at the Denver Marriott City Center in downtown Denver.

The first day of the two-day conference will feature speaker Paul C. Nutt, professor of management sciences and public policy and management at Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University. His speech is entitled "Decision Debacles and How to Avoid Them."

On June 18, James Franklin, CEO of Decisioneering Inc. will present "Decisioneering--Past, Present and Future."

Objectives of the conference include learning new strategies for using Crystal Ball to meet business objectives, learning advanced tips and tricks for simulation, optimization and forecasting, networking with other Crystal Ball users, and providing feedback to Decisioneering’s executives.

Decisioneering is currently accepting paper abstracts for those who want to share their knowledge. The deadline for submissions is March 15.

To learn more, click here.

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By: Rick Beaver

Would you spend millions of dollars for a return of more than a billion? Sure you would, but that’s just a fantasy, right? It wasn’t just a pipedream for GE’s CEO Jack Welch, who expected to reap a hefty return for every dollar his company spent on Six Sigma. Needless to say, he did. In 1997, GE invested $380 million in Six Sigma-mostly for training-and received about $700 million in documented benefits from increased productivity and decreased waste. It’s no wonder Six Sigma devotees at GE and elsewhere speak of the initiative in terms bordering on miraculous.

Unfortunately, not all stories are as rosy as GE’s. Many companies that adopted Six Sigma failed to sustain results, and therefore the program was either put on the back burner or eliminated completely. They didn’t realize, or couldn’t accept, that the program takes years of dedicated work to implement successfully. To succeed with the initiative, organizations must look at their business processes in an entirely new way. They must understand that Six Sigma brings about sustained, long-term change as opposed to a quick fix. Any company that applies it as a Band-Aid will reap little or no benefit. The changes must be fundamental to the business companywide and persistently pursued.

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By: Kamal Hassan

Would you spend millions of dollars for a return of more than a billion? Sure you would, but that’s just a fantasy, right? It wasn’t just a pipedream for GE’s CEO Jack Welch, who expected to reap a hefty return for every dollar his company spent on Six Sigma. Needless to say, he did. In 1997, GE invested $380 million in Six Sigma-mostly for training-and received about $700 million in documented benefits from increased productivity and decreased waste. It’s no wonder Six Sigma devotees at GE and elsewhere speak of the initiative in terms bordering on miraculous.

Unfortunately, not all stories are as rosy as GE’s. Many companies that adopted Six Sigma failed to sustain results, and therefore the program was either put on the back burner or eliminated completely. They didn’t realize, or couldn’t accept, that the program takes years of dedicated work to implement successfully. To succeed with the initiative, organizations must look at their business processes in an entirely new way. They must understand that Six Sigma brings about sustained, long-term change as opposed to a quick fix. Any company that applies it as a Band-Aid will reap little or no benefit. The changes must be fundamental to the business companywide and persistently pursued.

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By: Jim Mroz

What roles do quality and quality management systems play in a business sector facing revolution? The term isn’t too strong for what’s currently underway in the telecommunications industry. Competitive pressures and customer demands are driving the sector to introduce next-generation network technologies to lower operating costs and support new services. These are designed and sped to market as quickly as possible to offset revenues lost from traditional voice traffic. In addition, fixed, mobile and data services as well as customer demands for new and better products have transformed the telecommunications landscape. More than at any other time in the industry’s innovative history, quality and quality management are critical to its survival.

At the Quality Excellence for Suppliers of Telecommunications Forum’s 2003 Best Practices Conference, Richard Woodruff of Belgacom CAO, 2003 QuEST Forum chair, captured the state of the industry and the forum’s future role in the following comments to attendees:

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By: Howard Cooper

To succeed in our increasingly competitive global economy, many companies have implemented lean manufacturing, a step beyond just-in-time production systems. Other companies claim they’re "lean" but hedge on the concept. They maintain work-in-progress inventories because they fear the consequences when critical-path machines go down for maintenance breaks—a familiar and time-consuming nightmare.

Some managers simply bolster their maintenance department with people, training, equipment and spare parts so they can quickly address problems when downtime occurs. Or they’ll increase their expenses in order to hand maintenance responsibilities to outside subcontractors. Regardless of whether these vendors service you better than you could, it’s comforting to be able to blame someone outside the company when downtime cripples production.

Still, it’s your downtime.

Inevitably during your progress toward lean manufacturing, you’ll be faced with the necessity of combining new machinery with decades-old equipment. Do you know how to get the near 100 percent uptime that lean manufacturing requires for both? Or will maintenance become the tail that wags your dog? This article describes how lean maintenance can help prevent equipment downtime and all its accompanying costly frustrations.

Overcoming entropy

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By: Robert H. King Jr.

Contrary to what alarmists with an interest in fueling controversy might say, ISO 9001 is still on the rise-and with good reason. The standard is capable of producing the desired results (i.e., consistent quality in goods and services globally), and its full potential is yet to be realized.

Organizations registered to ISO 9001 are widespread, and their numbers continue to grow. These companies implement the standard for a variety of reasons, and some are arguably better than others at anticipating the ultimate benefits. An organization seeking the greatest value from registration needs its top executives to support the effort. They must think of quality as a strategic issue and understand the role quality management systems play in organizational survival and growth.

Regrettably, many organizations probably don’t realize ISO 9001’s potential. It’s no wonder, then, that some of them have decided not to upgrade to the newly revised standard. Still, the most common reasons for not upgrading have little to do with lack of value. Rather, they include the need to conserve resources during an economic downturn, no customer requirement to maintain registration, and no plans to transition to sector standards or consolidate multiple registrations. Nonetheless, predictions of negative growth in ISO 9001 registrations seem misplaced.

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By: Quality Digest

Brown and Sharpe USA, a member of Hexagon Metrology Group, has chosen Metris as its strategic partner for noncontact scanning solutions.

As a result of the newly forged alliance, Brown and Sharpe will promote Metris’ range of laser scanners and inspection and reverse engineering software in the United States. The companies have already completed the integration of Metris laser scanners in Brown and Sharpe’s inspection solutions.

"At Brown and Sharpe, we strongly believe that in the near future, laser scanning will play a critical role in everyone’s inspection process," says Bill Gruber, CEO of Brown and Sharpe USA. "With this strategic alliance, we’re in a perfect position to offer our customers fully integrated, CMM-based noncontact laser scanning solutions."

The alliance completes the existing partnership between Metris and Europe-based DEA, another member of the Hexagon Metrology Group.

For more information about Brown and Sharpe, click here. To learn more about Metris, click here.

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By: Gary Card

How many dimensional data points are enough to accurately describe a part feature? The key to answering this question is understanding the stability of the manufacturing process. In general, components should be measured only as often as required to ensure the stability of manufacturing processes. This requires identifying and monitoring part features that are critical to the part’s end-use function and developing a strategy to control the dimensions of those features.

The choice of manufacturing technique is the key factor in choosing a process control method. If, for example, the manufacturing process reliably produces a critical bore with good form, its size or position may vary. In this case, control of the size and position will be important but not necessarily roundness or cylindricity control. By contrast, if the machining process produces features with significant form variation (i.e., the variability of the form is a significant proportion of the form tolerance), then understanding where and how the form errors occur becomes important.

Some features may need to mate with other parts for the end-use product to work correctly. In many cases, the form or profile of these features is critical to the functional fit; consequently, the processes used to make these features must be precisely controlled.