News Digest

This Month in News Digest

Web Site Shows Educators
How to Achieve Baldrige Success

Educational organizations proved capable of implementing Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Criteria for Performance Excellence, as three of the five 2001 Baldrige Award winners were schools and school districts. But now that representatives of educational groups have been shown that Baldrige quality concepts can successfully be applied to schools, they might need help implementing those quality processes. Baldrige in Education is a new Web site designed to provide just that.

 The site will help educational representatives at the state, district, school and classroom levels learn about and start implementing Baldrige criteria. But the site isn't only designed for organizations interested in winning the Baldrige, according to Richard Laine of the Illinois Business Roundtable, which developed the site. It's also intended to show educators that Baldrige criteria can be used as a continuous improvement process.

 The site, available at , features tips, links and resources leading educators through a step-by-step process to implement improvement strategies. Resources are divided into four categories: state, district, school and class. Users can choose the category that best fits their situation and then follow the improvement process, which includes strategic planning, structuring an improvement process and examining results. The site prompts users to assess their improvement by connecting to NIST's self-assessment pages. Video clips from NIST are also offered to give visitors more insight into the basics of Baldrige quality processes.

 The recently launched site is quickly growing as more states, districts and educators become involved. It already hosts several articles, how-to pages and success stories of Baldrige implementation. And, according to Laine, it will eventually include a "rate this tool" section, where visitors can leave input and share their own implementation strategies.

 The site's new "North Star" link provides insight into how the core Baldrige criteria values fit within each category. These pages feature questions that educators can answer in order to judge how closely their organization is adhering to those values.

 "We have found and added the most substance at the district level and are now working hard to identify additional tools and resources at the classroom, school and state levels," Laine explains. Educators who have any materials, documents, Web links or other Baldrige-based information can contact Laine at  about the possibility of contributing to the digital library of resources.

 To learn more about Baldrige in Education, visit the Web site, contact Project Manager Richard Laine or e-mail Project Coordinator Jo Ann Kratz at .


NIST Seeks $577.5 Million for 2003 Fiscal Year

President George W. Bush has submitted to Congress a fiscal year 2003 budget request of $577.5 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

 The request reflects three separate appropriations: $402.2 million for scientific and technical research and services, including $396.4 for NIST laboratories and $5.8 million for the Baldrige National Quality Program; $120.8 million for industrial technology services, including $107.9 million for the Advanced Technology Program and $12.9 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership; and $54.5 million (part of which will go toward finishing construction on the Advanced Measurement Laboratory in Gaithersburg, Maryland) for construction of NIST research facilities.

 The MEP request would return the assistance program for small manufacturers to its original funding plan. This called for a phase-out of federal monies to centers affiliated with the MEP nationwide network after six years of funding.

 The 2003 request for the NIST laboratories marks a $75.5 million increase from the 2002 fiscal year appropriation. That increase would include:

  $35 million to equip the AML

  $6 million to upgrade the NIST Center for Neutron Research

  $4.7 million for NIST's intramural program to speed the development of cutting-edge measurement capabilities

  $4 million for NIST programs in nanotechnology measurements and standards

  $3 million for support of health care measurements and standards

  $2 million to develop standards, technology and practices to improve the safety of buildings, occupants and emergency first responders

  $2 million to strengthen the security of critical information infrastructures

  $1 million for the Computer Expert Assist Team to help federal agencies identify and fix information technology vulnerabilities

 More information about the proposed 2003 budget can be obtained from NIST's Web site at


Assessing Performance During a Slow Economy

Measuring a company's performance during an economic slump can prove difficult for chief financial officers, especially when using traditional assessment methods such as "earnings per share" and "net income" values. Because few companies are chalking up stellar performance marks, many are turning to more innovative ways to assess just how they're doing.

 A new report by Best Practices LLC explains how top-performing companies are handling performance assessment when it can't accurately be measured by traditional methods. Beyond the Balanced Scorecard: Measuring Corporate Performance, offers profiles of 38 organizations, including AT&T, Coca-Cola, American Express, Motorola and Cisco Systems. The report provides detailed information about the different approaches these companies have used in order to better assess their efforts to maintain continuous improvement during a slow economy.

 "Companies have adopted measures like 'economic value added' as primary financial measures to show investors how their returns exceed expectations," explains Kristen Ryals, project manager at Best Practices LLC. "Measures like EVA correlate better with company share prices than traditional measures such as EPS."

 One alternative performance assessment tool is to track nonfinancial information. For example, America Online Inc. tracks the number of daily e-mails and online stores to provide the company with additional growth indicators, which can then be used to estimate future revenue generation. Other assessment tools include measuring earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

 The study presents consolidated performance measurement spreadsheets with a compilation of company-specific performance measurement profiles. They have been analyzed and divided into leading and lagging indicators. Other features include corporate profiles; balanced scorecard profiles, which provide examples of benchmark partners' balanced scorecards; and an appendix featuring a graphic presentation of the balanced scorecard design-and- implementation process.

 The 105-page report is available for purchase through Best Practices LLC's Web site, .


Steelmaking Facilities Conform to Environmental Standard

In an industry not typically associated with environmental consciousness, one company has shown that steel manufacturers are capable of adhering to an environmental management system standard. U.S. Steel has become the first U.S. integrated steel company to register all of its domestic steelmaking facilities to the ISO 14001 standard, according to the company.

 "The company and its employees are committed to being an industry leader in safety, quality, service and environmental performance," confirms Thomas J. Usher, chairman, CEO and president of U.S. Steel. "Achieving ISO 14001 registration at our steelmaking facilities clearly demonstrates our dedication to continuous environmental improvement and going beyond compliance to set new standards of environmental performance."

 U.S. Steel is a major supplier to the automotive industry and has facilities in Gary, Indiana; Pittsburgh and Clariton, Pennsylvania; Birmingham, Alabama; and other locations.

 U.S. Steel is the country's largest integrated steel maker with an annual domestic raw steel capability of 12.8 million tons. U.S. Steel's PRO-TEC joint venture, which produces automotive-grade hot-dip galvanized steel, has also been registered to ISO 14001. Learn more at U.S. Steel's Web site,


New ISO Standard Focuses on Managing Business Records

The International Organization for Standardization has developed a new standard to help businesses, large and small, manage their records. ISO expects that companies that utilize the standard will see cost savings and improved risk management.

 ISO 15489, Information and documentation—Records management, provides businesses with a common method of recording and filing records in any medium, format or combination of media. The standard shares basic principles behind records management and information on establishing a records management program.

 "The standard clearly shows how an organization can systematically and effectively improve its record keeping, and do so in a way that the business objectives are supported," says Robert McLean, member of ISO Technical Committee 46, Information and documentation, Subcommittee 11, Archives/records/management, which developed ISO 15489. "Senior management will be able to identify tangible benefits such as reduced costs and better managed risks, thereby contributing to better corporate governance."

 The new standard is aimed specifically at helping those responsible for setting policies, standards and guidelines for information management within an organization. These individuals include records managers, archivists, special librarians, knowledge management professionals, database managers and business administrators.

 ISO 15489 is a two-part standard. Part 1 costs about $50, and Part 2 costs about $70. Both are available from ISO national member institutes and from the ISO central secretariat at . For more information, visit


Digital Cockpits Track IT Business in Real Time

A new software solution called the digital cockpit is providing companies with the ability to view "invisible" business processes by way of graphically displaying business transactions performed through information technology.

 Digital cockpits, designed for processes that depend on information technology—such as e-commerce and customer relationship management—provide business process owners moment-to-moment information about current service levels, areas of IT breaches and comparisons to archived information. After reviewing digital cockpit information, business process owners can use the data to better manage IT business and correct any trouble areas. When IT problems occur, executives can take steps to mitigate the impact of the problem on the business, rather than making inquiries to the IT department and waiting for further information or suggestions on a solution. As a result, business process owners have more control over correcting problems in their particular areas of responsibility.

 Because the digital cockpit is designed for a businessperson and not an IT expert, the software is business-oriented and can be designed to adhere to the company's existing interfaces, like an intranet home page.

 Proxima Technology, a provider of service-level management solutions, offers a digital cockpit package and notes the following benefits to utilizing such a system:

  Provides a single point for defining, measuring and reporting on service-level agreements

  Prioritizes problem resolution to ensure that service is maintained where the business needs it most.

  Supports continuous service improvement by capturing service-level information for root cause analysis, trending and reporting

  Provides effective distribution of service-level information to business users and IT staff by automatically generating and updating HTML-based reports that can be made immediately available on the corporate intranet


For a comprehensive list of a digital cockpit's benefits and features, visit .


Tips for Successful Virtual Meetings

Travel restrictions and tightened budgets are at least partly responsible for the expected rise in popularity of the virtual meeting, according to a survey conducted by Equation Research. As a result, business leaders face a new set of challenges when attempting to plan and conduct a successful meeting. Among various hurdles to overcome are compensating for different time zones, languages and technologies; keeping track of who is speaking, who is about to speak and who is still in attendance; and judging participants' reactions by body language.

 To help organizations successfully conduct a virtual meeting, Development Dimensions International has released "Leading Virtual Meetings," a learning tool designed for companies that are leaning toward a virtual setting for meetings rather than face-to-face encounters. A survey of DDI's clients showed that, although only 28 percent had led a virtual meeting in the past year, 100 percent said they have plans to do so in the next 12 months.

 When preparing for a virtual meeting, DDI makes these suggestions:

  Don't invite more than eight participants, unless the meeting is a virtual presentation.

  Ask the company's technological director to attend.

  Test the technology well in advance.

  Create and distribute a communication list that includes all of the participants' contact information, including an emergency phone number for participants to call if technology problems arise.

  Allow extra time to deal with unexpected technology difficulties and late starts.

  Distribute the agenda, background information and reference materials in advance.

  Establish a site on the company's intranet for participants to monitor progress, reference materials and post materials.

  Confirm that all participants have access to and knowledge of needed background information, technology and your company's intranet site.

  Have a backup plan if the technology fails.

  Attendees of virtual meetings should prepare by reading all advance materials; double-checking the location, Web site and technology in advance; hooking up to the meeting 10 minutes early; muting excess noise in and around the office; and clearly identifying themselves before speaking and each time they speak.

 To order an abridged version of "Leading Virtual Meetings," or the full version, visit



Online Forum Discusses Social Responsibility
ISO has launched a message board to provide input for debate for the Corporate Social Responsibility—Concepts and Solutions workshop, slated for June 10. The platform allows users to gain insight and comment on ISO's Corporate Social Responsibility and Standards Forum, launched last August. The message board is intended to increase awareness and promote discussion of new and existing social responsibility initiatives and their relevance to existing or potential standards projects. To join, e-mail Forum Facilitator Kernaghan Webb at .


Tennessee Registrar Accredited for ISO 9000 Certification
Signature Management Certification Services, headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, was recently presented with the Raad voor Accreditatie (Dutch Council for Accreditation) certificate. SMC is the first quality systems registrar in Tennessee to achieve accreditation for the ISO 9000 certifications of their clients.

 The certification was presented by Congressman Bob Clement to Richard P. Conover, president of Signature Management Certification Services.


Advanced Systems & Designs Acquires QMS
Advanced Systems & Designs, an 18-year-old statistical process control solutions provider, has acquired Quality Measurement Systems. ASD will manufacture and support the complete QMS product line. Existing QMS customers can continue to use Lighthouse software.

 ASD solutions include SPC software, industrial PCs and gage interfaces. Learn more at .


Big Three Choose
Covisint and Powerway Inc. have announced that Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. will join DaimlerChrysler AG in using for advanced product quality planning. The OEMs will  use one standard Web-based environment for APQP communication and collaboration with their customers and suppliers.

 During the next year, will be integrated into Covisint's quality solutions as Advanced Quality Planner.

 The solution enables communication and connectivity within the automotive supply chain, organizes key APQP information and provides a means of sharing quality information and displaying part quality readiness between customers. Learn more at

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