Q100KeepingcurrentQ-100 Drops 9.3% In Volatile Market

The Quality Progress Q-100 fell again in the fourth quarter of 2000 as overall market volatility continued to take its toll on companies with  strong quality management systems.

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The Q-100, created by Robinson Capital Management, a Minnesota money management firm, to track the stock market performance of companies that emphasize the use of quality tools and systems (Quality Progress, September 2000, pp. 24-25), fell 9.30% in the fourth quarter, compared to a 7.82% drop in the S&P 500. This steeper loss can be attributed to the smaller breadth in the Q-100.

Longer term, the Q-100 is still ahead of the S&P 500. If you invested $10,000 on Sept. 30, 1998, when the Q-100 started, you would have $14,195 today, compared to $13,345 for the S&P 500. That's a 41.95% increase, compared to 33.45% for the S&P 500.


AIAG Announces Initiative for Occupational Health and Safety

The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) announced a new global occupational health and safety initiative.

"The automotive industry spends billions of dollars each year on work related injuries and illnesses," said Kenneth W. Godzina, AIAG executive director. Godzina explained that with the new initiative, AIAG will help identify key health and safety issues and educate the supply chain on how to reduce and prevent injuries and illnesses.

The guidelines and standards are also expected to help the industry reduce worker compensation costs and to result in common specifications, cost effective approaches to global issues, labor harmonization and a common voice to influence national standards bodies.

General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler Corp. are supporting the initiative. Initial work groups are being set up in the following areas:

  • Industrial truck operator restraint and pedestrian safety guidelines.

  • Machine/energy controls best practices.

  • Industrial guarding of machinery guidelines.

  • Handling of hazardous materials guidelines.

  • Optimum shopping and receiving system.

The AIAG Occupational Health & Safety Steering Committee will hold numerous sessions at AIAG's 2001 Auto-Tech Conference and Exhibition Aug. 28-30 in Detroit. AIAG members interested in joining the work groups are asked to call Ron Tillinger at 248-358-3570.


U.S., EU Agreement Reduces Telecom, Electronic Trade Barriers

The United States and the European Union (EU) have mutually recognized each others' testing labs for telecommunications and electronic equipment, according to an announcement by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

The recognition concludes a two-year effort to facilitate trade on both sides of the Atlantic by allowing manufacturers to bring their products to market in a more timely fashion.

The EU accepted 33 U.S. organizations nominated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology as competent to test and approve equipment, while the United States will recognize testing by 32 EU designated labs.

The trade office estimates that implementation of this part of a 1998 mutual recognition agreement covering multiple industry sectors will eventually save about $30 million annually.


Standards Institute Signs Agreements With OSHA and NIST

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) announced agreements with both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The OSHA agreement focuses on the coordination of national and global voluntary standards in the areas of safety and worker health. It includes a commitment from OSHA to collaborate with ANSI on international standardization activities.

A memorandum of understanding with NIST is designed to facilitate the implementation by both parties of the U.S. national standards strategy. The memorandum is expected to lead to economic growth, enhanced U.S. global competitiveness, improved health and safety, and more protection of the environment.


Federal Agency Participation On Standards Committees Continues to Decline

While federal agencies are markedly increasing their use of voluntary standards, their participation in private sector standards committees is continuing a worrisome decline. So reports the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in its recent second annual review of standards related activities in the federal government.

The number of people participating in standards activities fell to about 2,800 in 1999, a 12% decrease from 1998.

But NIST says 26 agencies retired 542 government unique requirements and standards, replacing them with voluntary standards in 1999. This is four times greater than the number of substitutions made in 1998.

In support of procurement, regulatory and other activities, agencies also adopted nearly 2,700 voluntary standards that did not entail replacing On-Site governmental standards. The Department of Defense (DOD) led in this category, adopting 627 voluntary standards and retiring 491 DOD unique specifications.

The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act directs the federal government to use private sector standards whenever practical, with NIST assigned to coordinate the transition.


Project Management Institute Releases Member Salary Survey

The Project Management Institute recently polled a statistical sample of its 70,000 members to determine where they worked and their salaries. The typical respondent was a male between 35 and 54 years old employed full-time as a project manager or in a higher management position.

According to the survey results, the representative respondent works more than 40 hours a week on two or three $2 million projects and earns an average salary of $65,000 (U.S.) after two years in the field.

To order a copy of the full survey, visit www.pmibookstore.org or call 412-741-6206.


International Leaders To Tackle Quality Issues in Education

The Global Alliance for Transnational Education Ltd. (GATE) will host an international leadership symposium to tackle issues of quality assurance in transnational education on April 17 in Washington.

GATE defines transnational education as any learning activity in which the student is in a different country from the institution providing the instruction. It can include virtual universities.

The goal of the forum is to forward GATES' mission of building a worldwide consensus about quality assurance for education and training and to address its initiatives in conducting voluntary certification of schools and companies that offer transnational education.

The symposium will include identification of mechanisms to enhance collaboration between private and public quality assurance bodies, discussion of qualifications graduates of transnational programs must have to seek and obtain employment, creation of cooperative programs between higher education and business, consideration of mutual recognition of international quality assurance standards and development of accreditation programs.

GATE, a forum for educators, businesses, quality assurance agencies, governments and intergovernmental organizations, works to build consensus and has devised a standard of best practices. For information on GATE or to register for the symposium, call 800-525-7002, ext. 8274.


JCAHO Releases Self-Assessment Checklist, Lab Standards Publication

Joint Commission Resources, a subsidiary of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), recently released two publications: The 2001 Self-Assessment Checklist for Hospitals and the second edition of How To Meet the Most Frequently Cited Laboratory Standards.

The checklist is a tool for hospitals to gauge compliance with all JCAHO standards by identifying poor compliance areas, noting actions needed, indicating the responsible parties and tracking progress. It covers revised standards on restraint and seclusion, medical staff, patient and family education, management of information and management of the environment of care.

The lab standards text identifies the 27 most challenging issues for lab accreditation and includes examples of successful strategies. Topics covered include quality control; waived testing; leadership; and management of the laboratory environment, information and human resources.

To order these publications, call 630-792-5800 or visit JCAHO's Infomart at www.jcaho.org.  The checklist costs $65 and has order code HSAC-01; the lab standards publication is $50 with an order code of FCLS-01.

In addition, JCAHO announced the availability of revised standards for preferred provider organizations. The standards appear in the second edition of the Accreditation Manual for Preferred Provider Organizations.


General Motors Corp. (GM) and Medscape, a clinical information company, announced a three-year program to encourage U.S. physicians to use handheld computer devices for prescribing drugs and accessing digital health care records. GM will sponsor Medscape's distribution of its handheld units to about 5,000 physicians who treat GM enrollees across the country.


While saying there is no single cause for the failures of Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.'s tires, an outside expert agrees with the firm that vehicle weight is a key factor in belt separation. Last August, Firestone began recalling 6.5 million tires that had been linked to deaths in the United States and overseas, mainly during rollovers of the Ford Explorer sport utility vehicle. Sanjay Govindgee, an associate professor of civil engineering at the University of Berkeley, was hired by Firestone to conduct the study. Meanwhile, BusinessWeek (Feb. 12) reported that the newly redesigned Ford Explorer went through exhaustive inspections before any models were sent to dealers, as the automaker responded to profits lost over the past year as a result of defects.


The Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership honored the Cole Hersee Co. of South Boston for adapting to lean manufacturing principles. The company makes switches for heavy-duty vehicles and says lean manufacturing has resulted in a 10 to 15% efficiency gain, 50% savings in floor space and a 20% inventory reduction.

Mário Gilberto Cortopassi, who owns a technical and consulting company in São Paulo, Brazil, has begun a two-year term as president of the International Organization for Standardization, known as ISO. He is the first ISO president from Latin America.


The National Nutritional Foods Association (www.nnfa.org), representing manufacturers and retailers of natural products, planned a March seminar on issues related to ensuring dietary supplement quality.


There are standards for everything. The American Ostrich Association recently announced that it plans to establish the standards for meat and leather quality in the industry.

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