ISO Publishes International Trade Reference
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has published a reference work for all engaged in or concerned with international trade issues.
The fourth edition of the ISO/International Electrotechnical Commission compendium, Conformity Assessment: Guides and Standards (ISBN 92-67-10287-7), gathers in one volume the current portfolio of trade facilitating documents developed within the ISO Committee on Conformity Assessment (CASCO).
The 230-page compendium is available from the ISO Central Secretariat by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Up to 10 copies of an additional 12-page ISO/CASCO report, "Marks of Conformity Assessment," are free, with a handling and postage charge for larger orders. An electronic copy of the report is posted on ISO's Web site at www.iso.ch.
Survey Reveals Difficulties in Executive Recruiting
F-O-R-T-U-N-E Personnel Consultant, a national franchise network of 99 executive search firms, says a recent survey showed that industries having the most difficult time finding qualified candidates in today's tight labor market include high tech, manufacturing and professional business services.
Results also revealed the following:
About 55% of respondents say on-line resume databases are the least effective recruiting tool for filling management-level positions.
Only 13% said executive recruiters were the least effective tool.
About 12% said referrals were least effective.
Nearly 85% of respondents said the importance of lifestyle related benefits, such as vacation time, casual dress, and flex time availability, had increased over the last decade, but only about 25% said they were important.
Traditional benefits, such as stock options, 401Ks and competitive salary were said to be most important to candidates when negotiating compensation.
F-O-R-T-U-N-E says the survey was conducted by an independent market research firm, with the sample pool including Fortune 500 companies.
Transportation Execs Discuss
Need for Quality
In the deregulated transportation market, is there still a place for service quality or are shippers only interested in signing contracts with the lowest priced carrier? So asked two transportation executives at a late summer conference sponsored by the California Council for Quality and Service.
During their presentation, Michael Beard, Australia-New Zealand Direct Line (ANZDL) president and CEO, and Stuart Rattray, executive vice president, argued that with ocean carriers having virtually the same rates, vessels, containers, port rotations and sailing schedules, it is only quality of service that sets one apart from the other.
"We've used the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria ... as a blueprint for our organization for five years," said Beard. "With our entire organization applying the Baldrige criteria, we've experienced substantial growth in overall customer satisfaction, ultimately leading to increased market share."
ANZDL says it uses customer surveys, focus groups and daily customer feedback to determine exactly what their customers need. Regarding cost levels associated with service quality, which are difficult to reduce or eliminate, the shipper finds there are often options and innovative approaches to this problem. These include the electronic data interchange and the Internet, telemarketing and virtual offices.
"New market conditions may dictate a reduction in some areas, but on a relative basis, high-end service providers will continue to outperform the market, which proves there is definitely still a place for quality in this and any other industry," the speakers concluded.
New Directory Reveals Growth of ISO 9000 and ISO 14000
The number of ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 certification bodies around the world has risen by more than 260 over the last four years.
The newly published ISO Directory of ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 accreditation and certification bodies lists 573 certification bodies, compared to 309 when the previous edition was published in 1995. The number of countries in which certification bodies operate increased from 73 to 93.
Germany, with an increase from 21 to 76, experienced one of the highest rates of growth. The Netherlands also saw a significant rise, from 17 to 53. In the United Kingdom, the already high 1995 total of 49 increased to 62. The United States registers an increase from 43 to 52.
The number of certification bodies has more than doubled in China (from 14 to 32) and in Japan (from 16 to 33), and more than tripled in the Republic of Korea (from five to 16).
The directory also reflects the recent establishment of national accreditation bodies to provide some control over the certification bodies. In 1995, the directory listed 33 accreditation bodies, while the new edition shows that 40 countries now have a national accreditation body.
The ISO Directory of ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 accreditation and certification bodies (ISBN 92-67-10302-4) is available from the ISO Central Secretariat email@example.com.
NIST Offers Free Y2K Tool Download
In order to help small business owners address year 2000 (Y2K) computer concerns, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has added a free tool to its existing Y2K resources.
Developed by NIST's Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, the Rapid Response Management Tool helps small business owners address Y2K-related software, hardware and embedded system failures. The program was created for those who believe they will experience a computer problem come January 1, 2000, and those who aren't sure how to correct a Y2K failure should one occur.
NIST says the tool outlines time-critical, action-oriented damage control and recovery procedures to help users correct Y2K problems and mitigate losses. While the tool doesn't suggest remedies for specific software packages, it does outline procedures for controlling the damage; assessing the failure; choosing the best correction; renovating, replacing and retiring software; and validating the final solution.
The Rapid Response Management Tool, its Quick Start guidebook and the Rapid Response source book can be downloaded for free at http://y2khelp.nist.gov. For more information, call the Y2K Help Center for Small Business at 800-925-7557.
Compaq has taken two major steps to resolve product quality and customer support issues. The computer maker announced the appointment of William "Bo" McGee, former head of its supply chain management organization, as vice president of the newly established Quality and Customer Satisfaction Division. He will report to CEO Michael Capellas.
Compaq will also implement a four-part quality and support strategy, which will include tying employee compensation to customer satisfaction, assembling quality leadership teams across product lines and business processes, and measuring quality control using standard performance measurements.
The Institute of Internal Auditors approved a revised definition of internal auditing in its new Professional Practices Framework. The new framework applies to both assurance and consulting services. The definition is:
Internal auditing is an independent, objective, assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organization's operations. It helps an organization accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve effectiveness of risk management, control and performance processes.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is seeking project proposals for two research grants for 2001 in the field of precision measurement and fundamental constants. Each grant of $50,000 for one year may be renewed for up to two additional years. Prospective candidates must submit summaries of proposed projects and biographical information by Feb. 1, 2000. For information, call Barry Taylor at 301-975-4220 or visit http://physics.nist.gov/ResOpp/grants/grants.html.