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Conformity Assessment and Safety Groups Hold Liaison Meetings

The Industry Cooperation on Standards and Conformity Assessment (ICSCA) and Partners for World Safety (PWS) have been holding joint meetings to promote common understanding on ways to increase public health, safety and protection of the environment while eliminating nonvalue-added conformity assessment processes. They have scheduled their third joint meeting Sept. 24-26, 2001, in Berlin.

The first meeting resulted in a basic agreement that includes:

  • Concurrent harmonization of regulations, standards and conformity assessment processes globally on a sectorial basis.

  • One-standard, one-test global acceptability on a sectorial basis.

  • Support for the International Electrotechnical Commission System for Conformity Testing and Certification of Electrical Equipment CB-Scheme as a benchmark model for other sectors.

At the second meeting, some joint actions related to four interconnected issues were agreed on:

  • Develop a suppliers' declaration of conformity form.

  • Develop a content of the compliance folder.

  • Develop a white paper on market surveillance.

  • Advise governments on how to incorporate supplier declaration of conformity into their regulatory systems.

ICSCA is an informally organized group of corporate standards professionals and business executives from 14 countries, more than 50 globally active companies and 13 industry associations. PWS is an informally organized group of national certification body executives and conformity assessment and standards experts from nine countries and 10 companies. For information, contact dale.misczynski@isoagile.com or Don Mader at donald.a.mader@us.ul.com


IBM and IQS Form Alliance For Integrated Web Software

IBM and IQS Inc. have announced a global alliance to co-develop, market and deliver integrated Web based e-business software for manufacturers in the automotive sector. This will include software to implement and enhance quality processes, including Six Sigma and QS-9000.

The enterprisewide IQS Business System application suite has more than a dozen software products for automotive quality oriented processes, including QS-9000 requirements involving advanced product quality planning, the production part approval process, failure mode and effect analysis, document control and supply chain effectiveness.

For information, contact Mike Shore of IBM at shore@us.ibm.com or Anita Hurd of IQS at ahurd@iqs.com


ANSI Approves Standards Strategy; Congressional Hearing Scheduled

The American National Standards Institute approved a new national standards strategy at its August board meeting.

The strategy aims to strengthen U.S. participation in global standards setting activities, particularly those that influence access to export markets, and to ensure that domestic health, safety, environmental and consumer needs continue to be addressed.

According to ANSI, the strategy establishes a framework that can be used by all interests--business, government, nongovernmental organizations, standards developers and consumers--to improve U.S. competitiveness abroad while providing support for domestic markets and addressing quality of life issues.

The first hearing on the strategy was scheduled to be held in September in the technology subcommittee of the House of Representatives Science Committee.


APQC and Best Practices Issue Benchmarking Reports

Two organizations--the American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC) and Best Practices LLC--recently issued several new benchmarking and best practice reports:

Four of the reports issued by APQC are:

1. Leveraging Customer Information: Driving Strategic Direction and Marketing Profitability, which delves into how organizations capture, manage and integrate customer information to shape direction and business operations.

2. Measure What Matters: Aligning Performance Measures With Business Strategy, which focuses on designing a performance measurement system, implementing and operating the system, and communicating and driving behaviors.

3. Successfully Implementing Knowledge Management, which introduces a model illustrating five stages.

4. Using What Customers Value To Guide Your Business, which reports on innovative ways to effectively use customer value analysis and make customer value a key factor for decision making throughout organizations.

Executive summaries of the first three studies can be read or the full reports can be purchased by both APQC members and nonmembers at www.store.apqc.org. The customer value analysis will not be available to nonmembers of APQC until after Feb. 22, 2001.

Three reports issued by Best Practices are:

1. Best Practices in Customer and Employee Satisfaction Management, which reports on how leading companies survey regularly, setting quantitative goals for satisfaction and basing managers' incentive pay on survey results.

2. Improving Customer Satisfaction and Retention Through Differentiated Service Levels, which explores the importance of providing a clear path to understand customer needs, design services to address these needs and develop customer retention strategies.

3. Achieving World Class Customer Service, which draws from interviews with 92 companies to identify several actionable practices used by leading companies to expand their customer bases and increase customer loyalty.

The latter report followed a national survey showing that almost half of the consumers surveyed had stopped doing business with a company during the past year due to poor service.

To purchase a Best Practices' report or view the executive summary, visit www.benchmarkingreports.com/. Samples and free summaries of many other Best Practices' reports can be viewed at www.bestpracticedatabase.com


Few U.S. Employers Measure Quality When Hiring

Only 5 of 362 or 2% of employers are measuring the key quality characteristics when hiring, according to a survey conducted by Staffing.Org, a Web based human resources measurement service.

The results were presented at the recent national conference of the 130,000-member Society of Human Resource Management.

"The number one question in hiring today is, 'When can you start?'" says Staffing.Org. "While companies pay close attention to the cost of hiring and to emerging low cost Web solutions, measurement of key quality characteristics is rare."

According to Tony Lee, editor in chief of Careerjournal.com, "The demand by line managers to fill jobs fast often means that the best person isn't hired. Until corporate HR departments make a better effort to measure the quality of new recruits, the problem of poor hires--and high turnover--will worsen."

Staffing.Org adds, "What you don't measure doesn't count. ... measuring, just measuring, improves performance." For additional information, visit www.staffing.org or www.shrm.org

"Quality Is Still Job One" was the title of a column by Doug Bartholomew in the Sept. 4 issue of IndustryWeek. Bartholomew points to recent recalls to answer consultants who say that quality is now a given.

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A conference hosted by the Strategic Research Institute on how to develop, implement and manage Six Sigma customer relationships for utilities and energy service companies will be held Nov. 29 and 30 in San Francisco. Presenters will include representatives of General Electric, Andersen Consulting and American Management Systems. For information or a brochure, call 212-967-0095 or e-mail nharris@srinstitute.com

A call for papers has been issued for the Second China-America Conference on Quality Tools and Technologies slated for June 11-14, 2001, in Beijing. A half-page abstract and half-page outline from potential speakers are due by this Nov. 15 to arter@quality.org. Finished papers of selected speakers are due by the end of March 2001. For information, call Dennis Arter, U.S. conference representative, at 509-783-0377 or visit www.wwdir.com/quality

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Quality Systems International Inc. (QSI) has been named one of the "New England Technology Fast 50" for 2000. The ranking of the region's fastest growing technology companies, based on 5-year revenue growth, is co-sponsored by the professional services firm of Deloitte & Touche and the law firm of Hale and Dorr, LLP, in association with Mass High Tech, the Journal of New England Technology. QSI develops software applications to help businesses comply with quality and environmental management standards.

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Herzler Systems Inc. and Minitab have built a seamless interface between MINITAB statistical software and Herzler's GainSeeker real-time data acquisition software. The first phase allows users to move data from the GainSeeker suite into MINITAB. The two firms say the interface will help manufacturing organizations effectively implement Six Sigma business strategies.

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Now that a federal appeals court has ruled that software and business methods can be patented, one of the first to be so protected is related to quality. Customer-Inspired Process Deployment methodology from Shaw Resources shows companies how to improve the processes used by customers to judge product and service quality. For information, visit www.shawresources.com

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According to a survey of 500 North American managers and senior executives conducted by Primix Solutions Inc., an Internet services firm, nearly half of all companies make no attempt to capture and transfer knowledge from departing employees, or do so poorly. The resulting loss of their knowledge and expertise leads to loss of customers and revenue opportunities, says Primix. For information, visit www.Primix.com.


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