ISO 9000/9001/9004 Drafts Expected To Move Ahead Despite U.S. Reservations

Despite U.S. conditional "no" votes on two of the Draft International Standards (DISs) for the 2000 revisions to the ISO 9000 series of quality management standards, it is expected that the drafts will be elevated to final draft standards (FDISs) during meetings planned for early July in Kyoto, Japan.

John E. "Jack" West, chair of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to Technical Committee (TC) 176 of the International Organization for Standardization, stated the basic U.S. positions as follows:

  • ISO/DIS 9000:2000--The United States submitted a conditional "no" vote on the standard, covering vocabulary and definitions.
    West explained, "We see key weaknesses in a number of definitions offered and a lack of consistency with both ISO/DIS 9001 and ISO/DIS 9004. In many in-stances, this occurs as a result of ISO 9004's scope being broader than that of ISO 9001. We recommend that definitions be cleared for alignment with ISO 9001 and noted when expansion of a concept is required when referring to ISO 9004."
    It was noted that the U.S. "no" vote could be amended to a positive vote if definition issues related to work environment, process and measurement process are resolved to U.S. satisfaction.
  • ISO/DIS 9001:2000--The United States also submitted a conditional "no" vote on ISO/DIS 9001:2000, the quality management system requirements. The U.S. "no" vote may be amended to a positive vote if the several issues are resolved to U.S. satisfaction.
    These issues include the need for improvement in language to maintain consistency between ISO 9000 and ISO 9001, to recognize auditing to an organization's internal requirements, to clarify auditor impartiality, to permit "use as is" or "scrap" as methods for treatment of nonconforming product and to clarify the use of some terms.
  • ISO/DIS 9004:2000--The US voted to approve ISO/DIS 9004:2000, the guidelines for performance improvement.

Despite the U.S. conditional "no" votes, all three standards received sufficient approval from other participating member bodies. West said the confirming vote in favor should guarantee elevation of these DISs to FDISs during the Kyoto meetings of Working Group (WG) 18 of ISO/TC 176.

Jeff Hooper of Lucent Technologies, the WG 18 project leader for the revision of ISO 9001 and ISO 9004, said that despite the strong mandate for approval, WG 18 will be reviewing all comments submitted in the balloting and will attempt to increase support for approval of the DISs in Kyoto.

The FDIS ballots for all three standards will likely take place between Sept. 1 and Nov. 1. If balloting is successful, publication of the international standards will take place about Nov. 15.

For additional details on the status of the ISO 9000/9001/9004:2000 revision process and on the U.S. positions, see the May and July issues of The Informed Outlook, co-published by ASQ and the International Forum for Management Systems Inc.

27298P24Report Says U.S. Auto Quality Still Below Foreign Competition

In early May, J.D. Power and Associates said its 2000 Initial Quality Study revealed a second consecutive year of quality improvements for the industry, despite record sales that increased production demands. Toyota and Lexus models top eight of 14 segment awards, and Toyota dominated the overall plant results.

The overall industry average shows a 5% reduction in reported problems compared to the previous year's results, the same percentage improvement shown in the 1999 J.D. Power study. Additionally, many of the redesigned models for the 2000 model year show fewer problems than their predecessors.

But a day later on May 4, a Wall Street Journal headline read "Reputation for Poor Quality Still Plagues Detroit: Ratings Show U.S. Car Makers Lag Behind Foreign Rivals Despite Years of Efforts."

The article discussed both initial quality and long-term reliability. "And complacency about quality has started to give way to something closer to alarm. Much of the concern is coming from the automakers themselves," it said.

In addition, WSJ reported that senior executive performance bonuses at Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. were cut last year because companies missed internal quality targets. 

Winners, Finalists Named In Quality Cup Competition

Rochester Institute of Technology and USA TODAY recently named winners and finalists in their Quality Cup competition. The award recognizes teams making significant contributions to the improvement of quality products and/or services by applying principles of quality management.

The five winning teams, by category, are The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, education; Florida Department of Revenue, Tallahassee, FL, government; Baptist Health Care, Pensacola, FL, health care; Honeywell, Torrance, CA, manufacturing; and Electric Insurance Co., Beverly, MA, small business.

The 11 finalists were Trident Technical College, Charleston, SC; U.S. Postal Service, Northeast Area, Albany, NY; Tennessee Valley Authority, John Sevier Fossil Plant, Rogersville, TN; Hospital of The University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Veterans Health Administration, Birmingham, AL; Cordis Corp., Miami Lakes, FL; Iomega Corp., Customer Service and Quality Department, Roy, UT; Merrill Lynch, Somerset, NJ; NCR Quality Management, Peachtree City, GA; First Union Insurance Group, Charlotte, NC; and Ellison Surface Technologies Inc., Hebron, KY.

For the ninth annual competition, 166 nominations were received.

Benchmarking, Self-Assessment, Six Sigma Named Most Used Quality Methodologies

A benchmarking study, Quality Approaches for the New Millennium, was recently conducted by the American Productivity & Quality Center. It tells how best practice organizations use quality approaches to improve, sustain competitive advantage and demonstrate long-term excellence.

The study says the three methodologies most commonly used among leading companies to improve quality are benchmarking, self-assessment and Six Sigma. Other conclusions are that a major consideration for best practice organizations is flexibility and that the practice of gaining industry and competitive information is being increasingly recognized as an essential exercise for implementing continuous improvement efforts.

Companies chosen for the study for their best practices in quality are Appleton Papers, AT&T, Buckman Laboratories, Chevron Corp., Eaton Corp., Federal Express, Intel Corp., Lockheed Martin Government Electronics Systems, Merrill Lynch Credit Corp., TNT UK Ltd., TRW Automotive and USAA.

The executive summary can be found at www.store.apqc.org. Click on "browse by topics" then "benchmarking."

Four New Members Named To Baldrige Award Panel

Four new members have been named to the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award panel of judges.

They are Ramon A. Alvarez, former vice president and group executive, sensing control strategic business unit, Honeywell Inc.; Kathleen Goonan, vice president, clinical performance improvement, University of Massachusetts Memorial Health Care; Susan G. Hillenmeyer, vice president for administration and planning, Belmont University, Nashville, TN; and Joseph A. Muzikowski, vice president, total quality, Solvay Polymers Inc.

They join continuing board members Kathleen Herald-Marlow (chair), David J. McClaskey, David F. Quattronne, Vicki L. Spagnol and James A. Stahley.

URAC Releases Draft Health Organization Quality Standards for Comment

URAC, the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission, released a draft set of core standards for organizational quality.

When they are completed later this year, the new standards will be available as a standalone accreditation program for a range of organizations involved in the administration or management of health services and will serve as the foundation for URAC's entire accreditation system.

The standards cover various functions and areas including consumer protection, confidentiality of health information, oversight of delegated functions, staff qualifications and management, and quality management.

For information, visit www.urac.org or call 202-216-9010.

Catholic Health Assn. Supports Patient Safety Initiative

The Catholic Health Association (CHA) has adopted a public policy position supporting a medical errors reduction program generally reflecting the recommendations of the 1999 Institutes of Medicine report, "To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System."

CHA's position includes support for a national and uniform mandatory reporting system on the condition that several quality stipulations are met. These include:

  • The system should include legal liability protections.
  • The primary purpose of the system should be improvement of patient safety, not punishment of providers.
  • Medical errors reports should not contain any information that identifies individuals.
  • An independent, third party, preferably in the private sector, should collect and maintain all information.

CHA's 2,000 members include not-for-profit health care sponsors, systems, facilities, health plans and related organizations.

DePaul University Announces Quality Institute for Companies

DePaul University in Chicago has a Quality Institute that will serve as an umbrella for 25 training programs and on-site services designed to help businesses incorporate internationally recognized quality standards into their processes.

The institute serves government offices and small and mid-sized

companies in traditional manufacturing, service and medical industries. Instructors are Registrar Accreditation Board lead auditors. Manufacturing companies that enroll may qualify for grants to defer up to half of a program's cost.

For information, contact David Millunchick at 312-362-6327 or dmillunc@wppost.depaul.edu

About 4,000 East Coast employees of Teradyne Inc. came to Boston on May 18 to celebrate TQM Days 2000. Another 600 participants joined the event via downlinks in the Midwest and Europe. Then 500 sales, service and applications personnel were in Tucson, AZ, on May 22, for the West Coast celebration. They were joined through satellite downlinks by another 2,000 California employees. According to a company spokesperson, the event marked Teradyne's 10 years of successful implementation of total quality management. Teradyne, with $1.8 billion in 1999 sales, develops products to test semiconductors, circuit assemblies, systems, networks and software.


ConsumerLab.com (www.consumerlab.com) tests of 26 brands of vitamin C dietary supplements indicated that 15% didn't contain all of the claimed ingredients or failed to break down as needed for absorption in the body. The company said that it did not expect to find this many quality control problems among manufacturers of the supplements because there is a great deal of manufacturing experience with vitamin C and it is not an expensive raw material.


CIMNET Inc., Applied Statistics Inc. and Advanced Systems & Designs Inc. signed a letter of intent merging the three companies. The combined CIMNET product portfolio will include manufacturing execution system factory floor management and real-time statistical process control.


Quality management topped the list of services provided by the nation's independent physician practice associations (IPAs), according to a survey of more than 300 IPAs by the Managed Care Information Center. More than 82% of the IPAs offer quality management services, followed by nearly 79% that offer credentialing and just under 78% that offer utilization management.


The Baldrige National Quality Program has a new brochure, "Getting Started--A Guide to Self-Assessment and Action," for organizations thinking of beginning to use the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria to drive performance improvement. For free copies of the brochure or the criteria, call 301-975-2036, fax 301-948-3716 or visit www.quality.nist.gov


Abstracts are being requested for the Sixth International Scientific Symposium on Improving the Quality and Value of Health Care sponsored by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. The goals of the symposium are to encourage, accelerate and improve the science of continuous improvement in health care and health professions education. The meeting will be held Dec. 6 in San Francisco. Abstracts are due Sept. 8. For information on abstract submission, visit scientificsymposium.org or call Steve Zepp at 216-778-8489.


TradeCard. Inc. and Bureau Veritas have announced a partnership to ensure that imported products meet expected standards prior to shipment. TradeCards' business-to-business e-commerce infrastructure allows access to a system of document compliance and online financial settlement. Bureau Veritas provides a range of services related to quality, health and safety, and environmental management services.

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