TIA, Other Groups Launch Wireless Partnership
The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and several world standards organizations recently met in Vancouver, BC, and created a Third-Generation (3G) Partnership Project to advance standardization for the International Telecommunications Union's (ITU) International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000) program.
The Organizational Partners (OPs), representing standards development organizations (SDOs) from Japan (Association of Radio Industries and Businesses and the Telecommunications Technology Committee), the United States (TIA), and Korea (Telecommunications Technology Association) refer to this initiative as "3GPP2" since it is the second such effort to accelerate IMT-2000, the ITU effort to create global, 3G wireless systems.
This initiative began in 1998 in response to an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) group's recommendation that TIA and other ANSI SDOs use the partnership model to accelerate ITU work.
Ed Roney, vice president and corporate
director of standards and technology
transfer from TIA member company Motorola Inc., was the chairman of the ANSI group that recommended serious consideration of this approach.
"As noted during the global wireless informational session organized by TIA during last year's ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, the global market for mobile communications is expected to grow from approximately 200 million users in 1998 to nearly 2.4 billion by 2015," said TIA President Matthew J. Flanigan. "That figure indicates that today's market represents less than 10% of the future for mobile communications. Efforts such as 3GPP2 will accelerate the standards for that market."
The meetings in Vancouver, attended by nearly 100 delegates from six countries, included a final OPs meeting that resulted in the signing of the partnership project agreement, a steering committee meeting, and the initial meetings of the technical specification groups.
TIA has been active in IMT-2000 work, and TIA engineering committees contributed three of the Radio Transmission Technologies (RTTs) evaluated in the ITU process last year:
CDMA 2000, submitted under the auspices of TIA Engineering Committee TR-45
UWC-136, submitted under the auspices of TIA Engineering Committee TR-45
WIMS/W-CDMA (Wireless Multimedia and Messaging Services), submitted under the auspices of TIA Engineering Committee TR-46.
The WIMS RTT has since been harmonized with Committee T1, sponsored by the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions, to create the RTT known as wideband packet CDMA or WP-CDMA (http://www.tiaonline.org/pubs/press_releases/1999/99-08.html). All three of these U.S. RTTs are being considered in cooperative activities with other SDOs, either in partnership projects, or in bilateral arrangements.
For more information on IMT-2000, visit the ITU Web site at http://www.itu.int/imt/. For more information on TIA's 3G activities, contact Dan Bart at (703) 907-7703 or e-mail email@example.com.
Electrical Group Develops New Standards Organization
The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) has launched the IEEE Industry Standards and Technology Organization, an independent, not-for-profit corporation offering industry standards activities and services and a forum for post-development standards activities, including marketing, accreditation, certification, branding, and conformity assessment.
The new organization is an affiliate and complement to the existing IEEE Standards Association.
"This initiative is a major step forward in the IEEE commitment to addressing the needs and expanding the ways in which we work with industry," said Daniel J. Senese, IEEE executive director.
According to Andrew Salem, IEEE Industry Standards and Technology Organization president and CEO, the new organization was developed to meet the particular needs of such industries as telecommunications and information technology, which have rapid product development and marketing cycles.
For additional information on the IEEE Industry Standards and Technology Organization, contact Peter Lefkin at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (732) 562-3802.
Benchmarking, Best Practices Conference Set for May 14
The Best Practice Institute (BPI) and the Benchmarking Exchange will hold a one-day conference for both newcomers and advanced benchmarkers on May 14 in San Jose, CA.
Because Silicon Valley companies face tight cycle times, the conference will highlight what can and can't be done to implement business improvements within the time constraints of rapid deployment.
Quality leaders will share how they have developed and implemented technologies to keep their improvement projects short and effective.
Guest speakers will include Bob Camp, BPI; Tom Dolan, BenchNet; Dave Franceschi, Granite Rock; Linda Welsh, Sun Microsystems; Mike Adams, Florida Power & Light; Leroy Boatwright, Corning Inc.; Sam Neeman, Cisco Systems; and Al Pozos, California State Automobile Association.
Call 800-662-9800 or (408) 662-9800 or fax (408) 662-9855. The Benchmark Exchange's European office can be reached at 46 8 722 7045 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Customer Service Ranks High As Key to Corporate Success
How important is customer service to a company's success?
According to the first phase of a study being conducted by the Association for Investor Assistance (AIA), companies that can identify their customers, know what their customers want, and exceed those expectations are able to retain their existing customer base while expanding their market share.
The AIA's research was conducted using a blind audit, which included contacting companies' investor relations departments to determine their efficiency, expediency, and the overall tone of the organization.
The AIA believes this personal contact provides a feel for how oriented to customer service an organization is. The AIA also welcomes direct feedback from investors regarding their satisfaction with a company's performance.
The AIA is a no-charge service that currently is seeking input on a number of companies. The organization can be reached at http://www.investoraware.org.
Two Surveys Released for National Engineers Week
Seat belts, air bags, water pollution controls, magnetic resonance imaging and other noninvasive diagnostic techniques, television, and computers were chosen as the most significant engineering developments of the 20th century, according to a survey of American engineers released as part of National Engineers Week in February.
According to another survey conducted by the National Engineers Week Commit-tee, young people expect technological advances--such as nonpolluting transportation alternatives, further repair of the ozone layer, wider access to education and health care, human organ growth in laboratories for use in transplants, and repair of severed spinal columns--to become realities early in the next century.
The surveys were released to raise awareness of the critical role of engineers in society.
Interim Auditor and Course Agreement Ends
The Registrar Accreditation Board (RAB) announced that it has withdrawn from an interim mutual recognition agreement (MRA) with three other auditor certification and training course accreditation bodies.
The MRA is no longer necessary because all signatories have signed a similar agreement under the International Auditor and Training Certification Association (IATCA) program. The other signatories to both agreements are the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand, the Quality Society of Australasia, and the United Kingdom's International Register of Certificated Auditors.
"The interim agreement signed in 1994 was always intended to remain in effect only until mutually acceptable, international, uniform requirements were established for quality system auditor certification and training course approvals. These goals were achieved with the IATCA Multilateral Recognition Agreement [MLA] that was signed in August 1998," stated Joseph Dunbeck, RAB CEO.
RAB will continue to accept current auditor and lead auditor certifications from either IRCA or QSA for like certification under the RAB quality management system (QMS) auditor certification program until Aug. 1, 1999. All auditors accepted in this fashion must meet the ongoing requirements for maintaining RAB QMS auditor certification.
Current certification as a QMS auditor or lead auditor (but not provisional auditor) from either IRCA or QSA will now fulfill the training component of the requirements for RAB QMS auditor certification.
Courses accredited by other signatories to the 1994 agreement may claim acceptance and/or recognition by RAB until July 31, 1999.
Students attending such a course must successfully complete it prior to Aug. 1, 1999, in order to use it for fulfillment of the training component of the requirements for RAB quality management system auditor certification. Such training will be accepted for three years from the date of successful course completion.
Certificates of successful completion from courses accredited to the IATCA criteria by other IATCA MLA signatory bodies may be used to fulfill the training component of both the RAB QMS auditor certification programs for three years following completion of the course.
Auditors with specific questions about these changes should contact RAB's auditor certification department via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 888-722-2440 or (414) 272-3937.
RAB also reports that the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and RAB's National Accreditation Program (NAP) has adopted the system of scope categories recommended by the International Accreditation Forum. This defines the areas of economic activity for which QMS registrars may be qualified.
To assist an organization in determining its scope category, RAB offers a document called "Tips for Selecting a Registrar," which includes a complete listing of the new scope categories and subgroups. In addition, RAB publishes a directory of NAP-accredited registrars and their scope categories. Both the document and the directory are available on RAB's Web site in the QMS Registrar section at www.rabnet.com or can be requested by telephone.
Survey Reflects Changes in MRO Supply Procurement
According to a 1998 survey by W.W. Grainger Inc. of Lincolnshire, IL, many companies are changing the way they manage their maintenance, repair, and operating (MRO) supply procurement. Grainger commissioned the survey for the third consecutive year to identify current issues in MRO supply procurement and management.
When asked to rate the importance of various MRO supplier services, 76% of those interviewed ranked replacement-part availability as the most critical issue. Additionally, more than two out of three respondents believed business-to-business suppliers were more reliable than retail outlets as a source for replacement parts.
In an attempt to save costs, two-thirds of the respondents have standardized the use of certain products within the past two years. Supplier consolidation and outsourcing were only common among large companies (500 or more employees), but nearly 40% of these companies said they have recently decreased the number of MRO suppliers they use.
Of the large companies that have not initiated product standardization, 78% planned to implement some form of MRO management within the next two years. Almost half of those plan to consolidate the number of MRO suppliers, and another 25% plan to outsource some of their MRO purchasing or management functions.
For more information on the study, call Grainger at (312) 856-8816.
Apparatus Measures Thin Thermal Barriers
Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed an apparatus to measure the thermal conductivity of thermal-barrier coatings (TBCs) as thin as 20 micrometers.
TBCs, used in aerospace materials, gas turbine engines, and diesel engines, are thermal coatings applied to metal substrates for protection from high temperatures and excessive wear or corrosion.
The NIST device uses an infrared microscope to measure temperature differences on millimeter-sized specimens. For information, call Sarabeth Harris at (303) 497-3237 or e-mail email@example.com.
NIST also offers a publication that provides a comprehensive description of its calibration service for capacitance standards at low frequencies. These standards are used by industry to calibrate secondary laboratory standards that ensure the quality of other capacitors contained in electrical and electronic products. *
NIST Special Publication 250-47 can be ordered under order No. PB 98-144587 from the National Technical Information Service at 800-553-6847.
NIST also reports that giant magnetoresistance (GMR) sensors designed by Nonvolatile Electronics Inc. of Eden Prairie, MN, are being incorporated into a variety of products, including vehicle-counting systems on highways and devices for detecting land mines and counterfeit aircraft parts.
GMR devices are sandwiches of thin magnetic and nonmagnetic materials that exhibit an unusually large change in electrical resistance in the presence of a magnetic field. The sensor applications are spin-offs of new materials, designs, and techniques developed by the firm with cofunding from NIST's advanced technology program.
Study Links Employee Training, Business Success
A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers/IndustryWeek study indicates that investments in new technology won't be enough for manufacturing firms to succeed. To keep pace, companies must also train employees comprehensively and forge new relationships with customers and suppliers.
Specifically, the study results reveal three keys to business success:
Invest in people and share knowledge. Leaders in manufacturing provide more than 40 hours of training per employee per year. They also give employees more authority to make decisions, break down barriers that separate various job functions, and disperse institutional knowledge.
Tear down company walls. These leaders find new ways to build bridges with suppliers and customers that help them reduce inventory and meet customer needs faster. In particular, 11% continuously replenish customer stocks, 7% foster extensive interaction between customers and production employees, and 20%
require suppliers to deliver materials on a just-in-time basis.
Employ technology selectively. The leading firms are likely to have established electronic data links, including the Internet, to customers and utilize the latest
production planning and scheduling software.
According to the study's findings, companies that employ these
strategies achieve superior results across a range of performance
measures, including the
Productivity is growing rapidly.
Quality is nearing perfection.
Operations are efficient.
The study results were obtained by analyzing telephone interviews of 316 manufacturing executives and written questionnaires completed by 2,116 plant managers.
Small Manufacturers in California Work Toward Standards
One-third of all small manufacturers that worked with the California Manufacturing Technology Center (CMTC) in 1998 had the goal of reaching worldwide quality standards for their operations.
CMTC says of 555 manufacturers it worked with last year, 183 requested consulting assistance to help them meet quality standards set by prime contractors, industries, and international agencies.
The standards include ISO 9000, QS-9000, AS9000, the CE mark of many European Union countries, Boeing's DI-9000, U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations, and various environmental standards.
CMTC has 112 business and technical consultants on staff to help small to midsized manufacturers (fewer than 500 employees) become more productive, efficient, and profitable. It assists in areas of quality systems, management and business, manufacturing operations, and work force development.
For more information, call 800-300-2682 or visit http://www.cmtc.com.
Quality Web Watch
Looking for a quality Web site? Here are quality-related sites the Quality Progress staff has found:
Standards Australia at http://www.standards.com.au
This site contains news about standards and information about the organization. It also offers standards and most of their guides via immediate download at discounted rates from the hard copy.
Standards Australia's catalog search engine at http://secure.standards.com.au/catalogue/script/search.asp?Search=true
On this site is Standards Australia's catalog search engine (as opposed to the site search engine) for finding standards by number, title, or key word.
The California Manufacturing Technology Center (CMTC) at http://www.cmtc.com
This site provides information about the programs offered by the CMTC, a private, nonprofit corporation funded by government and clients to provide analysis and advice required of manufacturers for them to become registered to meet world-class quality standards.