ASQ Distributes Long Awaited ISO 9000:2000 Series Revision

isoKeepingcurrent02Following the International Organization for Standardization's approval of the final drafts of the ISO 9000:2000 series of quality management standards, ASQ is now distributing the standards in the United States.

The series includes ISO 9000:2000, Quality management systems--fundamentals and vocabulary; ISO 9001:2000, Quality management systems--requirements; and ISO 9004:2000, Quality management systems--guidelines for performance improvements.

"The requirements of ISO 9001:2000 maintain a greater focus on customer satisfaction, user needs and continuous improvement than the 1994 version of the standard. The revised standard also shifts the requirements away from previously used manufacturing oriented terminology and simplifies requirements for documentation," said Jack West, ASQ senior member and chair of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to ISO Technical Committee 176.

West continued, "ISO 9004:2000 has been developed to serve with ISO 9001:2000 as a consistent pair of quality management standards, with ISO 9004 providing a much more comprehensive guide to improving the overall performance of an organization."

Unlike ISO 9001, ISO 9004 is not intended for certification purposes.

Explanatory and guidance documents are available on the ASQ Standards Group Web site at http://standardsgroup.asq.org. The standards can be purchased by calling 800-248-1946 (United States and Canada only) or 414-272-8575. Pricing of the full set is $120 list/$96 member. Cost per standard is $50 list/$40 member.

The December and January issues of THE INFORMED OUTLOOK, a standards newsletter co-published by INFORM and ASQ, provides details of a survey of accredited quality management system registrars regarding certification to ISO 9001:2000.

GM Supplier Quality Initiative Uses Traffic Light Standard

A new General Motors quality initiative using the universal traffic light standard described in the February issue of Quality Progress (Paul Palady, "Exploiting the World's Most Recognized Standard," p. 54) has been designed to evaluate and track a supplier's overall quality.

Supplier quality performance metrics and overall ratings are categorized into one of the three colors of the traffic light. The red, yellow and green colors will be used to report performance metrics such as parts per million, problem report and resolution, controlled shipping and major disruptions classified as quality problems that result in production shutdowns.

GM purchasing uses this initiative as one of the deciding factors when awarding new business to suppliers, and it helps the automaker manage and facilitate the evaluations of suppliers globally. Each supplier manufacturing facility receives an overall color rating, which allows comparisons across commodities and other supplier classifications.

GM Worldwide Purchasing (WWP) says it launched the traffic light evaluation initiative to quickly and effectively establish a universal and uniform evaluation system throughout GM and its supply base. For additional information on the initiative, contact Michael P. Guercio, group manager, WWP, at michael.p.guercio@gm.com

Details on the GM creativity team list bulletin outlining WWP's quality performance metrics are available by going to www.gmsupplypower.com. Select "my bulletins." Then scroll to and select bulletin 1119. Suppliers can access their own quality performance metrics by selecting "quality power" at www.gmsupplypower.com. Then select "application" and then "quality reports."

Teacher Group Proposes Standards for Online Colleges

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has proposed a set of quality standards for college based distance education programs while stating opposition to major changes in federal rules affecting online education.

The Distance Education Guidelines for Good Practice is based on a survey of AFT members who teach distance learning classes, previous studies and a resolution at last year's AFT convention.

The guidelines call for clear standards or content support; technical support and counseling for students; close personal interaction among students and between teachers and students; equivalent library materials and research opportunities; rigorous assessment of student knowledge, skills and performance; courses shaped by academic faculty; protection of intellectual property rights; proper training for faculty; and the inclusion of classroom based coursework for undergraduate degree programs.

The survey of distance learning practitioners revealed that about 70% believed no more than 50% of classes offered in a degree program should be delivered through distance learning.

The AFT also responded to recommendations of a congressional panel, the Commission on Web Based Education, for a full review of regulatory barriers that impede the Internet, including the prohibition of federal student aid to students who are not in a classroom seat for at least 50% of their academic program. The AFT said that while it might favor some changes to the requirements, it strongly opposes their wholesale elimination.

'BusinessWeek' Columnist Says War for Better Quality Not Won

In a column in the Dec. 15, 2000, issue of BusinessWeek headlined "The War for Better Quality Is Far From Won," Jeffrey E. Garten asked, "... could Corporate America be deluding itself into thinking that quality no longer is the huge problem it once was?"

While Garten cited progress in the quality arena, particularly in manufacturing, he noted the Firestone fiasco, new investigations into Goodyear, crashing servers at Sun Microsystems and recalls of Intel circuit boards. In addition, he pointed out poor customer service, compliance lapses, the lack of a "rigorous analytical framework for the new range of quality problems related to e-business" and the need for higher quality standards for the biotech revolution.

"In fact, key aspects of the New Economy culture may be antithetical to a fundamental focus on quality," said Garten. He said that among the 40 top business leaders he interviewed for an upcoming book, the word "quality" wasn't mentioned once as a major strategic challenge.

Consumers Measure Health Care Quality By Medical Errors, Malpractice Reports

A new survey of residents of the United States by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reveals that medical errors and malpractice are among the public's top measures of health care quality.

People are also more likely to rely on recommendations of friends, family and health professionals they know than on standardized quality indicators, according to the survey, but the gap between the two sources of information has begun to narrow since the survey was first conducted in 1996.

Americans are now much more likely to say there are big differences in the quality of local health plans, hospitals and specialists. The foundation and AHRQ point to media attention on medical errors to bringing this issue to the forefront in a short period of time.

Details on the survey results can be found at www.ahrq.gov/news/press/pr2000/kffsurvpr.htm

Internal Accreditation Forum Raises Standards for Accreditation Bodies

At its annual meeting, members of the Internal Accreditation Forum Inc. (IAF) approved revised rules for the IAF Multinational Recognition Arrangement (MLA). The rules will require higher standards of performance by accreditation bodies that are admitted to the MLA and extend coverage to environmental management systems and product certification, in addition to the quality management systems currently covered.

The IAF MLA program includes guidance to both accreditation bodies and certification/registration bodies on the operations of their programs to ensure international acceptance. It also includes peer assessments of members to ensure compliance with IAF rules.  

The Dow Chemical Co. announced it is using Six Sigma to improve its water purification technology manufacturing operation in Minneapolis to maintain high quality and customer response time.


Cahners Business Information reports it is selling several publications, including Quality magazine, to Business News Publishing Co. of Troy, MI. At press time, the deal was expected to close at the end of January.


Ford Motor Co. admitted that quality snafus cost it more than $1 billion in profits in 2000 in the Jan. 12 issue of the Wall Street Journal. In the same issue, the newspaper reported that Bridgestone Corp.'s CEO and president, Yoichi-ro Kaizeki, had resigned along with three executive vice presidents. Shigio Watanbe, a senior vice president, replaced Kaizeki. Both companies were affected by reports of roll-overs of Ford Explorer SUVs equipped with Bridgestone/Firestone tires.


NIST's fiscal year 2001 budget includes $5.2 million, the amount requested by President Clinton, for the Baldrige National Quality Program. In other NIST news, Ray Kammer, director since 1997, retired on Dec. 29. Deputy Director Karen Brown is serving as acting director.

The Institute of Internal Auditors recognized the following organizations with its Commitment to Quality Improvement Award: AC Transit Internal Auditing Department (IAD); Astoria Federal Savings and Loan IAD; Board of Commission-ers of the Port of New Orleans IAD; City of Scotts-dale, AZ, Office of the City Auditor; Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Audit Department; Florida Depart-ment of Agriculture and Consumer Service, Office of the Inspector General; Oak Ridge Associated Universities Audit Services; and SCANA Corp. Audit Services Department.


Applications for the Michigan Quality Leadership Award, facilitated by the Michigan Quality Council, are available. Applications and starter guides can be obtained by calling 248-370-4552 or Pat Wightman at 513-372-7466 or on the Web at www.michiganquality.org


SolidWorks Corp., a provider of 3-D computer aided design (CAD) software, received Machine Design Magazine's Excellence in Manufacturing Technology Achievement Award for 2000.


A call for papers has been issued for the 1st Regional Conference on Quality & Integrated Management Systems in the Mediterranean and Gulf countries. Deadline is March 17.

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