ASQ - Energy and Environmental Division

The Energy and Environmental Division joined with ASQ Headquarters to present a comprehensive conference on ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 at the Reno Hilton Hotel in Reno, Nevada, on March 19-22, 2001. ASQ Headquarters has previously organized conferences on ISO 9000, and EED has been presenting conferences on ISO 14000 since 1996. The Reno Conference was the first time that ASQ Headquarters and EED have collaborated to present both ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 topics at a single event. The result was an excellent conference with very good attendance.

The conference was held in conjunction with the U.S. Standards Group Meeting, at which the U.S. Technical Advisory Groups for four ISO Technical Committees (i.e., TC 56, TC 69, TC 176, and TC 207) met to discuss current standards development work on behalf of the United States in the areas of reliability, statistics, quality management, and environmental management. Holding the Reno Conference in conjunction with the U.S. Standards Group Meeting provided access to standards experts for speakers and provided an additional attraction to attendees.

More than 475 people participated in the Reno Conference. Most of the attendance was during the ISO 9000 sessions, which was not surprising given that the ISO 9000:2000 standards were just released last December. The ISO 14000 sessions attracted over 190 attendees and speakers, almost doubling the attendance from the March 2000 conference in Las Vegas.

Planning and implementing the conference

The Reno Conference was actually two conferences in one. Participants were able to attend either the ISO 9000 sessions or the ISO 14000 sessions, or both. The two sessions were connected by a Common Interest Program, which included topics that applied to both quality management systems and to environmental management systems. The Common Interest Program also included discussions of conformity assessment and the ISO 19011 combined auditing standard currently under development. ASQ Headquarters staff assembled the technical program for the ISO 9000 sessions with some assistance from the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to ISO Technical Committee 176 on Quality Management (TAG176). The Common Interest Program and the ISO 14000 sessions were compiled by EED volunteers, including Mary McDonald, Rick Chinn, Terrell Horne, and myself. Experts from the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to ISO Technical Committee 207 on Environmental Management (TAG207) were featured prominently as speakers in the Common Interest Program and the ISO 14000 sessions.

The Reno Conference included supplemental courses to augment topics presented during the technical program and an extensive array of ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 exhibitors. The combined event was very popular among the exhibitors as more than 30 companies participated and expressed their pleasure at being able to reach the quality and environmental management community in one venue. The value of "one-stop" shopping that this conference offered was a clear asset.

EED worked with ASQ Headquarters in all facets of the conference planning. As part of this joint undertaking, ASQ Headquarters provided all of the logistical services for the conference, including publicity, registration, exhibits and sponsorships, publications, and on-site arrangements. The resources available through ASQ Headquarters resulted in a more extensive publicity outreach than the division could have accomplished on its own. EED and ASQ Headquarters combined their mailing lists and exhibitor lists, and as a result, ASQ was able to send out "alumni letters" to invite attendees of the ISO 9000 conference in Dallas and the MSI-2000 conference in Las Vegas to come to ReNumber

The technical program

Last summer, EED and ASQ Headquarters issued a formal Call for Papers for the ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 sessions. The response to the ISO 14000 call was exceptional, and it became clear that these sessions would offer a dynamic and diverse array of subjects. The ISO 9000 call also yielded many good papers on timely topics, but the ISO 14000 sessions actually offered more presentations.

The conference opened on Monday, March 19, with Charles Cianfrani giving the ISO 9000 Keynote Address on the new ISO 9000:2000 family of standards. The ISO 9000 sessions on Monday and Tuesday included two general plenary sessions addressing ISO 9000 and sector-specific applications, and four concurrent sessions containing four tracks each. Some of the topics included

  • Global ISO 9000 Approach
  • QMS Auditing Requirements
  • Management Review
  • Measuring Customer Satisfaction: For the Business and for ISO
  • Corrective and Preventive Action: So What is the Difference?
  • Multiple ISO 9001 Registration
  • ISO 9000:2000 Documentation Requirements
  • ISO 9000: Training the Distributed Company

The Common Interest Program contained topics applicable to users of ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 and began after lunch on Tuesday with a plenary panel discussion on conformity assessment led by Joe Dunbeck of the Registrar Accreditation Board. This was followed by another plenary panel discussion on ISO 9001/ISO 14001 integration issues in four business sectors: telecommunications, aerospace, automotive, and health care/medical devices. On Wednesday morning, there was a plenary session on ISO 19011, the combined QMS and EMS auditing standard now in development, that featured three U.S. technical experts to the international group developing the standard. This was followed by four concurrent sessions dealing with the following management systems integration issues:

  • QMS/EMS Integration: Getting Started
  • Benefits of Management Systems Integration
  • Using Integrated QMS/EMS in the U.S. Army Chemical Weapons Disposal Program
  • QMS/EMS Integration: Lessons Learned

On Wednesday afternoon, the ISO 14000 Keynote Address was delivered by Joe Cascio, Chair, U.S. Technical Advisory Group to ISO TC 207 on Environmental Management. While much of the initial work program of TC 207 has been completed, Cascio outlined the current role of ISO 14001 and the EMS in the changing global business climate. He noted that while ISO 14001 growth has not achieved the Numbers enjoyed by ISO 9001 worldwide, ISO 14001 appears to be following the same trajectory and predicted that ultimately ISO 14001 certifications would surpass that of ISO 9001.

Following the keynote address on Wednesday and through Thursday afternoon, six concurrent sessions on ISO 14000-related topics were presented with four tracks offered in each session. One track included five sessions pertaining to Executive Order 13148, Greening the Government Through Leadership in Environmental Management, which requires federal departments and agencies to implement environmental management systems (EMS) at all appropriate facilities by the end of 2005. The topics included

  • Overview of Executive Order 13148 Requirements
  • Implementing EMS at Federal Facilities - Two Case Studies
  • Life Cycle Assessment Methodology - Getting Started
  • Applying LCA to Federal Facilities Operations
  • U.S. EPA Oversight Role in the Executive Order Implementation

With a focus on providing attendees with useful and usable information that could be taken home and applied to their organizations, the remaining 18 sessions emphasized case studies and practical tools. Many of the presentations featured leading experts in the subjects, including Jim Highlands discussing changes proposed for ISO 14001 and ISO 14004, Jim Fava describing basic concepts on Life Cycle Assessment, and Bud Smith describing the use of a "toolbox" approach to EMS development and implementation. The session topics covered include

  • Identifying Your Impacts and Aspects
  • Revisions to ISO 14001 and ISO 14004
  • Going Beyond Compliance with Your EMS
  • Implementing EMS in Academic Institutions and Facilities
  • ISO 14001 and Regulatory Compliance Issues
  • Your Company and Its EMS: Life After Registration
  • ISO 14001 EMS Database
  • Selling Your EMS to Your Organization and the Community
  • Selecting an EMS Consultant
  • Selecting an EMS Registrar
  • Expectations from Your EMS Registration Audit
  • A Toolkit Approach to ISO 14001 Implementation
  • Implementation Lessons Learned: New York Transit Authority EMS

The diversity of EMS applications includes academia, government (federal, state, and local), and business. Dr. Pete Andrews of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill demonstrated this potential when he gave an excellent presentation on the EMS database, which provides historical information on EMS implementation nationally and can help organizations facilitate their own EMS implementation from the experiences of others. Dennis Enriquez, from the City of Scottsdale, Arizona, presented a lively description of the highly successful and innovative EMS marketing program implemented there.

Expectations for future conferences?

Expectations for future conferences are promising. Attendance was good, and expectations are that the Reno Numbers can be exceeded next year in Indianapolis. The new ISO 9000:2000 family of standards has been published, and the transition to the new ISO 9001 standard is under way. There should be exceptional interest in what these standards now say and how they will affect current business operations. ISO 9002 and ISO 9003 are no longer included in the family. ISO says that ISO 9001 may be "tailored" to address equivalent criteria, but how will this "tailoring" unfold in a practical sense? Moreover, ISO 14001 and ISO 14004 have begun their mandatory revision process, and there will be questions about the proposed changes and about compatibility with ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 9004:2000. The new ISO 19011 standard on auditing has reached the Draft International Standard stage and is going to replace six existing quality and environmental auditing standards when it is issued. There is still much to do and much to discuss.

Final reflections

Reno was an exciting place to be last March. If an organization was beginning its EMS or QMS journey, then the Reno Conference offered the basics to help them choose a pathway. If an organization was already certified to either ISO 9001 or ISO 14001, the Reno Conference offered information on what has changed or is about to change, as well as lessons on improving on what others have done in implementing their systems.

The ultimate indication of success may be found in the feedback from the attendees, and this feedback universally applauded the quality and the timeliness of the conference and the technical program presented. EED is pleased to have been a partner in this success.

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