ISO 9000 Conference, Standards Group Meetings Held in Atlanta

The ISO 9000:2000 transition was on everyone's minds as ASQ held its 6th Annual ISO 9000 Conference in conjunction with meetings of the U.S. Standards Group on QEDS (quality management, environmental management, dependability, and statistics) in late March in Atlanta, GA.

Pierre Caillibot, quality management advisor for Hydro-Quebec and chairman of ISO/TC 176 (the technical committee for quality management), set the tone for the conference when he discussed the highlights of the ISO 9000 changes during his opening keynote address.

Caillibot said the primary improvements to ISO 9000:2000 were expected to include:

  • Making the voice of the customer fundamental

  • Creating a clear and coherent set of terms and definitions

  • Creating a process-based structure and focus

  • Enhancing the compatibility of the quality and environmental auditing standards

  • Being sure the standard creates value for organizations and customers

  • Maintaining the credibility of third-party certification

"ISO 9000 and its assurance, environmental, and auditing standards, must be reduced to what is necessary," Caillibot concluded.

Session highlights

The conference included 18 sessions covering corrective action and cost benefit, auditing, documentation, and management review. Highlights of a few sessions include the following:

  • During a Registrar Accreditation Board (RAB) panel discussion on the transition to ISO 9001:2000, Paul Dunbeck, CEO of RAB, said that in the past companies could embrace ISO 9000 without embracing its spirit. "Under ISO 9000:2000, continuous improvement is mandatory."

  • The father-and-son team of Fred Kaempffe, a quality consultant, and Dr. Fred Kaempffe, an orthopedic surgeon, told how a small medical practice in the Rochester area of New York became ISO 9002 registered in nine months and saw quality, customer satisfaction, and profitability improve even prior to registration.

  • Consultant Bob Bowen told how the school district of Lancaster, PA, became the only school system in the country with districtwide ISO 9000 registration. Decreases in suspensions, better conflict management, and improved attendance quickly followed in this system where a static tax base is combined with increases in both enrollment and poverty levels, according to Bowen.

  • Joe Tsiakals of Baxter Healthcare Corp. attempted to bring some clarity to the preventive action (steps taken to eliminate the cause of an existing nonconformity or other undesirable situation) vs. corrective-action (research and development work toward eliminating the cause of a potential nonconformance) debate, asserting that it differs from one industry to another.

  • Consultant Jack Small said ISO 9000 can improve the bottom line without a revolution in current practices if executives lead the way and ISO 9000 activities are integrated with other quality improvement methods. "Make your business drive the quality system, and not vice versa," he concluded.

Standards Group meetings

sm_20figure1.jpg (6046 bytes)The Standards Group meetings included strategic planning sessions as well as meetings of the the Standards Group Leadership Council, ASQ's Standards Committee and Z1 Committee (the U.S. accredited standards committees that deal with the development of national standards), and various U.S. technical advisory groups (TAGs) and sub-TAGs, which deal with the development of U.S. positions on international standards. (Figure 1 shows the interrelationships among these various groups.)

At the full day of Standards Group strategic planning sessions, attendees developed implementation tactics for market surveys, customer analysis, liaison relationships, product development, volunteer recruitment, coordination with ASQ, and leadership succession planning.

Attendees at the TAG and TAG task group meetings spent hours analyzing various clauses and subclauses of the proposed ISO 9000:2000 revisions and developing a position on each during their meetings. Committee Draft 2 (CD2) had just been released prior to the meetings.

CD2 comments

The American public is also invited to comment on CD2. Copies may be obtained from ASQ customer service by calling 800-248-1946 and requesting item T1400. The cost is $30. Comments must be provided electronically using the template available via the ASQ and Standards Group Web sites at http://www.asq.org or http://standardsgroup.asq.org.

The Draft International Standard, the next version of the revision, will be available in the fourth quarter of 1999, and the new standard is expected to be published in the fourth quarter of 2000.

The Standards Group fall 1999 meetings will be held Nov. 14-18 in the Washington, DC-Baltimore, MD, area. The spring 2000 meetings will be held in conjunction with ASQ's 7th Annual ISO 9000 Conference, which is slated for March 20-21 in Dallas, TX.

Members sought

The Standards Group constituent committees are seeking members. Those interested in participating in the development of standards by attending meetings and providing organizational representation from their company or industry are invited to apply for membership.

As Caillibot said in his ISO 9000 Conference keynote address, "Remember that standards are written by those who show up."

MEPs Offer Way to Lower ISO Certification Costs

Many of the 70 National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers across the country are offering a program designed to reduce the costs for small manufacturers seeking ISO 9000 certification.

Through the MEP program, five firms can share one instructor, who explains the process of how to obtain certification to the quality standard. The cost of about $11,000 is estimated to be about $4,000 lower than that of hiring an individual instructor. MEP says another advantage is the ability to share information with representatives of other firms.

For additional information, contact your area's MEP center, which can be located by visiting http://www.mep.nist.gov.

webwatch artQuality Web Watch

ASQ Quality Press at http://www.asq.org. Learn about new releases, request a catalog, prepare a book proposal, or order books and other resources from the world's largest publisher of quality-related products.

U.S. Standards Group on QEDS news page at http://standardsgroup.asq.org. This new site contains up-to-date information on standards development and other related areas from the quality, environmental, dependability, and statistics group.

European Organization for Conformity Assessment Marking Discussion Forum at http://www.eotc.be/forum. This site offers an opportunity to automatically e-mail viewpoints to forum participants and provides a structured archive of all e-mail contributions made to the forum.

The American Quality Mall at www.americanquality.com. This site has news articles, a discussion group, lists of quality job openings and links to other quality resources.

Resources for Managing Quality and Productivity at http://pobox.com/~scalies. While a commercial site, this site also contains much free information, including an experts corner, a free self-assessment, and links to other quality sites.

@academyonline at http://www.academyonline.com. A partnership between University Access and the  International Association for Management Education, this quarterly on-line journal focuses on forces affecting distance learning and higher education. (Editor's note: For a version without all the bells and whistles, access the site through "click on" and go to the bottom of the first page.)

Study Reveals CEOs Optimistic About Future

ASQ BIZ MANCEOs are optimistic about their companies' growth during the next three years, according to an annual global CEO survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoo  pers and the World Economic Forum. Even in Asia, where the financial crises of 1998 are beginning to show signs of easing, 70% of CEOs are optimistic about the future.

"This is a significant finding given that the survey was conducted during a period of considerable economic uneasiness marked by a downturn in major financial markets," said Klaus Schwab, president of the World Economic Forum. "That CEOs remained so sanguine suggests a great capacity for resilience and confidence in underlying economic factors."

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, pervasive optimism among CEOs is significant for another reason: It signals that CEOs will not be hesitant to make investments necessary to fuel growth.

PricewaterhouseCoopers CEO James J. Schiro said, "They believe the growth, however, will be the greatest in their own geographic region. The dependability of home markets remain critical components of growth expectations."

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