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News Digest

This Month in News Digest


Tooling & Equipment and Semiconductor Supplements to Expire with QS-9000


Federal Agencies Hope to Improve Manufacturing Research and Development


Manufacturing “Nobel Prize” Recognizes Lean Organizations




ANSI-RAB Responds to NAPA Report Recommendations


Countdown to ISO 9001:2000 Transition


Industry News



Tooling & Equipment and Semiconductor Supplements to Expire with QS-9000

As most automotive suppliers are now aware, QS-9000 will expire on Dec. 14, 2006. Along with its expiration go the QS-9000 Tooling & Equipment Supplement and the QS-9000 Semiconductor Supplement. This leaves many suppliers in these two industries wondering what comes next.

The Big Three’s QS-9000 Supplier Quality Requirements Task Force recently published a letter addressing supplier organizations utilizing the QS-9000 Tooling & Equipment and Semiconductor supplements.

Regarding ISO/TS 16949 registration, the International Automotive Task Force will not develop a semiconductor supplement or guidance document, or a tooling and equipment supplement or guidance document.

Addressing semiconductor manufacturing supply organizations, the letter states: “Certification to ISO/TS 16949 is available utilizing the existing ISO/TS 16949 requirements document. Refer to General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler ISO/TS 16949 customer specifics for inclusion of the QS-9000 Semiconductor Supplement as a reference manual.”

To tooling and equipment suppliers, the letter states: “Certification to ISO/TS is not available. Contact your customer for tooling and equipment requirements.”

So, what does this mean for the organizations in these two industries? Many may consider switching to ISO 9001:2000 to conform to ISO/TS 16949 as closely as possible. However, Jim Mroz, senior editor of The Informed Outlook, warns that there are potential setbacks to that plan of action. “Each OEM has its own requirements for registration and/or compliance with the TE or Semiconductor Supplement, so suppliers may not be able to just drop their QS-9000 supplement registrations and switch to ISO 9001:2000, even if they have other customers outside the automotive industry that want ISO 9001:2000 registration,” he notes.

Another option is to upgrade to ISO 9001:2000 and maintain conformance to QS-9000 supplements while they’re still in effect, Mroz says. “Many suppliers in these two industries have customers outside the automotive sector that already require the transition to ISO 9001:2000,” he explains. “There’s nothing to prevent a TE or semiconductor supplier from upgrading its quality management system to satisfy ISO 9001:2000 while maintaining QMS elements required by QS-9000. It would simply require the supplier to have its registrar cover both sets of requirements during an audit and to issue an ISO 9001:2000 registration certificate while keeping up its TE or semiconductor supplement certificate.”

To read the Big Three’s letter, visit the Automotive Industry Action Group’s Web site at www.aiag.org.

Federal Agencies Hope to Improve Manufacturing Research and Development

Six federal agencies involved in manufacturing research and development have launched a major effort to improve the exchange of information on their technical programs and collaborate to enhance the payoffs from federal investments in this area.

The Government Agencies Technology Exchange in Manufacturing will comprehensively address manufacturing R&D across the federal government. Agencies involved include the Department of Commerce, represented by the National Institute of Standards and Technology; the Department of Defense; the Department of Energy, represented by the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; and the National Science Foundation

Two topics have been identified as initial priority areas in which all six GATE-M agencies have activities underway or could benefit from new activity. These areas are:

Intelligence in manufacturing--a cross-cutting technology area that could transform how manufacturing is carried out in the future. Activities in this area could have a major impact on supply chain cost, quality and reliability. In addition, agencies with product-oriented missions might be able to apply technology developed at other agencies to specific manufacturing problems.

Nanoscale and microscale systems and technologies--this area presents many manufacturing and systems issues related to electrical and mechanical applications, assembly, and measuring techniques and tools. GATE-M activities in this area will be coordinated with the work of the National Nanotechnology Initiative.

To foster information exchange, GATE-M participants plan to conduct detailed interagency reviews of programs in the aforementioned areas. They are also considering co-sponsoring workshops, promoting and sponsoring the development of “roadmaps” in specific technical areas, and conducting multi-agency brainstorming sessions.

GATE-M’s intent is to involve the nation’s manufacturing community of industry, government, academia and manufacturing associations in an integrated effort. Other technical areas of interest to the GATE-M agencies include environmentally focused technologies and processes, homeland and national security, manufacturing education, manufacturing process development, manufacturing quality and reliability, and supply chain/systems integration and interoperability.

GATE-M also plans to issue joint white papers that represent interagency positions. Other possible strategies include issuing joint “challenges” to the research community to tackle and solve difficult technical obstacles, developing joint small business innovative research topics and awards and supporting studies by authoritative third parties to address technical issues. For more information, visit www.mel.nist.gov.


Manufacturing “Nobel Prize” Recognizes Lean Organizations

A record number of organizations applied for the 2003 Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing; in fact, there’s been a 133-percent increase in applicants since 2000. As a result, administrators of the coveted “Nobel Prize” of manufacturing have recognized a record number or organizations: 15 winners and 25 finalists.

“We’re very impressed with the lean manufacturing achievements of this year’s recipients,” says Ross Robson, the Shingo Prize’s executive director. “In an economic recession, it’s a comfort to see plants that are prepared to weather economic uncertainty by not wasting precious manufacturing and business resources.”

The Shingo Prize program is the only industrial excellence award that focuses on lean manufacturing. First implemented in the Toyota Production System, lean manufacturing has become a widely used quality improvement tool, focusing on waste reduction and increased workflow.

The Large Business category yielded the most winners--14 in all--several of which were sectors of a shared parent company. Two divisions of Autoliv ASP were winners: Airbag Module Facility of Ogden, Utah, and Inflator Facilities of Ogden and Brigham City, Utah. Two TI Automotive sites--in Caro and New Haven, Michigan--were separately recognized. Delphi Corp. saw similar results, as four of its operations received the Shingo Prize: Delco Electronics de Mexico, Delnosa 1–4 Operations in Reynosa, Mexico; Energy & Chassis Systems, Sistemas Electricos y Conmutadores of Juarez, Mexico; Flint Operations in Flint, Michigan; and Packard Electric Systems, Plant 19 of Warren, Ohio.

Large businesses that rounded out the category were Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., F-117 of Palmdale, California; Medtronic Xomed of Jacksonville, Florida; Merillat Industries in Atkins, Virginia; Symbol Technologies Inc. in New York, Texas and Mexico; The HON Co. of Cedartown, Georgia; and Vibracoustic North America, MCU Products Lead Center in Manchester, New Hampshire.

The Small Business Category generated one winner: Affordable Interior Systems Inc. of Hudson, Massachusetts. In addition, 25 finalists were recognized.

The Shingo Prize for manufacturers in the United States, Canada and Mexico is administered by the College of Business at Utah State University. Awards will be presented at the 15th Annual Shingo Prize Conference and Awards Ceremony on May 14 in Detroit.

To learn more about the winners and finalists, visit www.shingoprize.org.


ANSI-RAB Responds to NAPA Report Recommendations

In its report “Third-Party Auditing of Environmental Management Systems: U.S. Registration Practices for ISO 14001,” the National Academy of Public Administration detailed a number of recommendations to strengthen U.S. environmental management system registration practices. The American National Standards Institute-Registrar Accreditation Board’s National Accreditation Program, the U.S. accreditation body for management systems, has answered by indicating improvements that have been made in response to the report and other stakeholder input.

“The ANSI-RAP NAP has taken a thorough and measured approach in addressing the recommendations of the NAPA report and has implemented new guidance and procedures to enhance public confidence in the system,” says Lane Hallenbeck, ANSI’s vice president for conformity assessment.

Auditing and registration are based on international consensus standards: ISO 14001 for EMS and ISO 19011 for auditing of management systems. Registrars must abide by ISO/IEC Guide 66 and accreditation bodies by ISO/IEC Guide 61. Additionally, related norms of practice are developed by the International Accreditation Forum.

Issue 2 of IAF Guidance on the Application of ISO/IEC Guide 66, released after the NAPA report was published, responds directly to many of the report’s recommendations. In light of the substantial changes to the IAF Guidance, the ANSI-RAB NAP withdrew its “Criteria for Bodies Operating Registration of Environmental Management Systems.” Thus, ANSI-RAB NAP contends that the landscape has changed significantly since the NAPA report was researched and published.

What follow are some of NAPA’s recommendations and ANSI-RAB NAP’s response to each:

NAPA--The ANSI-RAB NAP should play a central role in U.S. EMS registration and “act fairly but vigorously to correct, sanction or suspend poorly performing registrars and auditors.”

ANSI-RAB NAP--For initial accreditation, re-accreditation every four years, and re-accreditation annually, ANSI-RAB NAP auditors conduct extensive office audits of registrars and observe registrar auditing and registration practices at facilities seeking registration. If these audits indicate serious nonconformances that are not addressed in a timely manner, accreditation may be suspended or withdrawn.

NAPA--The ANSI-RAB NAP should ensure uniform implementation of ISO 14001.

ANSI-RAB NAP--ANSI-RAB NAP monitors the interpretations of each accredited registrar for conformance with the standard, as well as the registrars’ conformance to IAF Guidance. The wide variety of organizations registered to ISO 14001 demonstrates that the standard is flexible enough to be applicable and useful for enterprises of any size and type of business.

NAPA--Registrars and auditors should ensure substantive conformity to ISO 14001.

ANSI-RAB NAP--An audit team with the competence required by IAF Guidance should have no difficulty identifying that an organization has a satisfactory process.

NAPA--Auditors should document all judgments that lead to findings.

ANSI-RAB NAP--The need for auditor documentation is addressed extensively in ISO 19011. Because documented evidence is an integral component of a successful registration program, ANSI-RAB NAP auditors examine how findings and nonconformances are supported by documentation.

NAPA--More guidance is needed in a number of areas, including auditor independence.

ANSI-RAB NAP--Impartiality and freedom from conflict of interest are clear requirements of ISO/IEC Guide 66:1999, and IAF Guidance requires that an auditor be fully independent of the organization being assessed.

NAPA--Pre-audit planning needs more attention.

ANSI-RAB NAP--The revised IAF Guidance addresses competence of personnel, contract review, selection of the audit team, and what the audit team is expected to address during the Stage 1 audit. ANSI-RAB NAP auditors routinely examine how registrars incorporate this guidance.

NAPA--Surveillance audits and assessments of continual EMS improvement need more attention.

ANSI-RAB NAP--The revised IAF Guidance on assessing continual improvement, surveillance and reassessment meets this need. Because continuity of an auditor and/or audit team is important in assessing continual improvement, the ANSI-RAB NAP assesses this during audits of registrars. Since the NAPA report was published, NAP has begun assigning an executive audit team leader to each registrar for the duration of the accreditation cycle.

NAPA--More uniform auditor training is needed.

ANSI-RAB NAP--Auditor certification should remain voluntary. “The latest IAF Guidance provides more specific direction to registrars on the use and conduct of auditors,” says Robert H. King Jr., RAB’s president and CEO.

More recommendations are outlined in the complete ANSI-RAB NAP response, which is available online at www.rabnet.com/pub/newsletters/NAPAresponse.pdf.



FARO Enhances Portable CMM with HighRES

Faro Technologies Inc. has formed a strategic arrangement with HighRES Inc., a provider of CAD/CAM integrated 3-D digitizing software. Under the arrangement the Platinum FaroArm, Titanium FaroArm and FARO Laser Tracker will now ship with HighRES’s reverse-engineering software modules.

The arrangement eliminates the need for FARO customers to import 3-D data from stand-alone platforms. FARO will review proposals from other third-party software companies in an effort to further broaden the digitizing options for its CMM clients. Learn more at www.faro.com. HighRES’s Web site is www.reverse-it.com.


Companies Partner to Promote Six Sigma Training

JMP, a Business Unit of SAS, has partnered with Sigma Breakthrough Technologies Inc. to promote Six Sigma training. The relationship provides Six Sigma training curriculum that integrates JMP statistical analysis software. The software allows users to link statistics with graphs and visually explore data. Customers can utilize both companies’ resources to learn how to use JMP software for Six Sigma implementation. Learn more at www.sbti-hq.com.


Smithers Undergoes Major Reorganization

Smithers Scientific Services Inc. has reorganized after acquiring an environmental toxicology and analytical studies company. The reorganization encompasses three companies structured under the name, The Smithers Group.

With worldwide headquarters in Akron, Ohio, The Smithers Group companies include Smithers Scientific Services--a testing, research and consulting firm for the tire, rubber, plastics, chemical and automotive industries; Smithers Quality Assessments--a third-party registrar; and Springborn Smithers Laboratories--a contract research and regulatory compliance firm in the pharmaceutical, agrochemical and chemical industries. For more information, visit www.smithersscientific.com.


Integral Solutions Completes Merger with ASI DataMyte

Integral Solutions and ASI DataMyte have finalized a merger that combines ISI’s quality process and control software with ASI DataMyte’s hardware components.

The combined companies will provide PC-based wireless and hand-held data collection devices; software for quality documentation, applied statistics, data analysis and reporting; gage management and attribute data collection; and product and methodology training. For more information about the merger, visit www.integralsolutions.com or www.asidatamyte.com.


Six Sigma Academy Under New Ownership, Leadership

Six Sigma Academy is under new ownership and leadership. Jack Finney, a longtime member of the company’s board of directors and one of three shareholders, has assumed the role of owner, president and CEO.

Other leadership appointments include Jim Anderson as finance manager; Phyllis Finney, Laura Joslin and Karen Riding as master consultants; Steve Marra as executive consultant; and Debby Sollenberger as vice president of breakthrough value services. Learn more at www.6-sigma.com.


ISO/TC 210 Releases FDIS 13485

The proposed new version of DIS 13485 is in its final stage before formal publication. FDIS 13485 is intended to update ISO 13485:1996, a management system for medical devices.

FDIS 13485 was released for restricted circulation to the committee members of ISO/TC 210 and the National Standards Committees on Feb. 13. Recent estimates suggest that ISO 13485:2003 will be published between May and July 2003. For future updates about the progress of FDIS 13485, visit www.bsiamericas.com/MedicalDevices/Updates.


Dorsey Supports Standard Gage Products

Following Brown & Sharpe’s announcement of the closure of the Standard Gage plant in Poughkeepsie, New York, Dorsey Metrology International, also located in Poughkeepsie, announced their intention to manufacture and support many of the products that were previously manufactured by Standard Gage prior to the plant’s closure.

Dorsey acquired much of Standard Gage’s tooling and machinery at auction and subsequently hired former Standard Gage employees to continue manufacturing many of the core products. To learn more, visit www.dorseymetrology.com.


IQS Donates $500,000 of ISO 9000 Software to Penn State University

IQS Inc. has donated $500,000 worth of its Business System and API Toolkit software to Penn State University’s Center for Manufacturing Enterprise Integration.

Funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Partnership, CMEI focuses on research to improve e-manufacturing across enterprises, distributed production control and distributed process control. The donation of IQS software augments Penn State’s efforts to provide students access to cutting-edge technologies. Learn more at www.iqs.com.