Salary Survey Questionnaire To Be Online This Year

Quality Progress' annual salary survey will be conducted entirely by electronic means this year.

Randomly selected members who have previously agreed to accept e-mail from ASQ will receive the survey questionnaire by that method beginning July 1.

Portions of the survey results will appear in the December issue of the magazine. The complete results will be posted on the ASQ member site at www.asq.org. 

Manufacturing Skill Standards Issued; Include Quality Assurance

Core and concentration skill standards for manufacturing employees have been issued by the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC), in partnership with the National Skill Standards Bureau. The standards enable employers to identify qualified workers and allow workers to prove their qualifications.

"Even as the United States maintains its position as the world's leading economy, it faces a serious challenge to that ranking: the need for skilled workers," said a spokesperson for MSSC. "The growing dependence on technology has only increased the demand. With a large number of baby boomers set to retire in the coming years, this issue will only grow in importance."

Only 40% of manufacturing jobs were skilled in 1950, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Today that number is 70%, and it is expected to rise to 85% by 2005.

The MSSC standards are divided into concentration areas of production; health, safety and environment; logistics and inventory control; maintenance, installation and repair; production process development; quality assurance; and core skill.

Quality assurance responsibilities

Under the quality assurance concentration area, the major responsibilities involved in carrying out the function are listed as:

  • Ensure materials meet quality specifications.
  • Monitor production operations for product and process quality.
  • Correct the product and process to meet quality standards.
  • Suggest and implement continuous improvement actions.
  • Coordinate work teams to facilitate quality assurance.
  • Produce product to meet customer needs.
  • Maintain a safe and productive work area.
  • Maintain quality and implement continuous improvement processes.
  • Communicate with co-workers and/or external customers to ensure production meets business requirements.

Each critical quality assurance work function then lists from four to seven duties and tasks for carrying it out. Performance indicators (between three and eight for each key activity) in turn provide information on how to determine when someone is performing each activity competently.

MSSC is made up of businesses, unions, trade associations, professional societies, educational institutions, community based organizations, civil rights groups and government. It is managed by the National Coalition for Lean Enterprise and the AFL-CIO Working for America Institute. John Rauschenberger, manager of Personnel Research and Development for Ford Motor Co., chairs the MSSC Steering Committee.

Rauschenberger believes growth in use of the standards to surge immediately as employers use them for selection and training needs, workers for documentation of existing skills, education and training professionals for guidance in focusing curriculum and government officials for a definitive set of clearly articulated benchmark capabilities they can require government and government funded private sector work force enhancement service providers to meet.

"When you contemplate the impact of a fully operational MSSC system on standardizing the conversation and skill enhancement practices in manufacturing and examine the resulting ability to assure the right workers with the right skills are deployed in the right jobs,' Rauschenberger said, "the positive impact on productivity and on the quality of U.S. products and services may well be so large as to be inestimable."

Winners Announced in Final Quality Cup Competition

trophy/hands Rochester Institute of Technology and USA Today have announced the winners of the 2001 RIT/USA Today Quality Competition.

Cups were awarded in five categories:

  • Government--Tennessee Valley Authority, Chattanooga, TN, for redesigning the integration of operational processes.
  • Health care--Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, Wilkes-Barre, PA, for reducing the incidence of infections in postoperative heart surgery patients.
  • Manufacturing--Iomega Corp., Roy, UT, for developing a more efficient product development cycle; and Longaberger Co., Frazeysburg, OH, for implementing a new method of material delivery into the manufacturing process.
  • Service--Providian Financial Corp., San Francisco, CA, for designing initiatives that reduced complaints and improved customer retention.
  • Small business--Wes-Tex Printing, Brownwood, TX, for expediting production while maintaining product quality.

The Quality Cup honors small teams of employees for cutting costs, solving problems and increasing efficiency through teamwork and total quality management principles. RIT and USA Today received 146 nominations in this, the final year for the Quality Cup.

NIST Releases New Baldrige Video, CDs On 2000 Winners, Award Program

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released a new set of audiovisual materials showcasing the 2000 recipients of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the award program.

The videotape contains both a short and long version. A CD-ROM package includes the video programs along with the Baldrige Performance Excellence Criteria for 2001 and presentations given by the 2000 award recipients at the recent Quest for Excellence XIII conference.

The materials (item TA997 for the videotape at $20 and item T1092 for the CD-ROM at $35) can be ordered from ASQ at 800-248-1946 (United States and Canada only).


Metrology Automation Association To Develop Common Machine Interface

The Common Machine Interface (CMI) is under development by members of the Metrology Automation Association (MAA). The CMI facilitates communication between inspection software and machine controllers.

Groundwork toward the CMI has already been conducted through the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Metrology Interoperability Consortium and MAA. Results are expected by this October. A coordinating committee representing users, suppliers, general interest participants and the European I++ Consortium was formed this May.

MAA says, "The potential of the CMI to reduce costs in manufacturing is immense. The reality is that different coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) don't support the same software; they confound the use of common inspection models; and they require different training for support and operation."

"Millions of dollars are spent annually to build and rebuild redundant measurement programs that do not agree," says Robert Waite, manager, Vehicle Engineering Operations, Advanced Metrology Group, DaimlerChrysler Corp. "The most significant impact industry could accomplish is to begin to specify neutral data exchange protocols as a function of purchasing systems."

New E-Baldrige Tool Aids Assessment and Improvement

A new Web based tool called the e-Baldrige organizational profile has been set up to help determine whether an organization is ready to use Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria as a way to assess and improve performance.

The tool asks a series of questions about an organization's environment and relationships with customers, suppliers and other partners. Other questions focus on describing the organization's competitive environment, key strategic challenges and system for performance improvement.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology says using e-Baldrige takes only a few minutes and helps identify key gaps and areas for which an organization has conflicting, little or no information.

The profile is available at www.quality.nist.gov

Providers and Administrators Say Health Care Quality Unacceptable

Health care providers and administrators believe the quality of health care in the United States needs dramatic improvement, according to survey results released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The nationwide survey of more than 1,000 health care professionals shows 58% think health care in this country is not very good, with as many as 95% of physicians reporting they have witnessed a serious medical error. Four of five providers say they believe fundamental changes are needed in the health care system, and nearly one-third think they personally can be leaders in improving the system.

The survey results were launched as part of a $20.9 million initiative funded by the foundation and managed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) to help hospital and physician organizations dramatically improve the quality of health care by pursuing perfection in processes.

According to Lewis G. Sandy, M.D., executive director of the foundation, pursuing perfection means striving to:

  • Deliver services accurately and correctly at the right time.
  • Avoid services that are not helpful or cost effective.
  • Prevent safety hazards and errors.
  • Respect each patient's unique needs and preferences.

"The automobile industry realized what was possible in product service quality when Toyota set entirely new benchmarks, beginning in the 1970s," says Donald M. Berwick, M.D., president and CEO of IHI. "In a similar way, this initiative presents a wonderful opportunity for the health care community to see what is possible."

JCAHO To Review Relevance Of Standards, Compliance Requirements

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) has launched a review of its hospital standards and requirements for demonstrating compliance with standards.

An 18-member task force will pinpoint which accreditation standards are most relevant to the safety and quality of patient care and target for elimination or modification those standards that do not contribute to good patient outcomes.

In addition, the task force will identify redundant and overly burdensome documentation requirements for potential streamlining as well as areas needing additional focus. Standards relating directly to Medicare Conditions of Participation for hospitals will receive special consideration.


NCQA Issues New Edition of Managed Care Quality Profiles

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), with support from Pfizer Inc., has issued the second edition of Quality Profiles: In Pursuit of Excellence in Managed Care.

The edition catalogs quality improvement efforts from NCQA accredited health plans and includes tools and advice on implementation challenges and required resources.

The profiles are being distributed free of charge to health plans, medical groups, employers and other health care related associations and advocacy groups. For information, call 202-955-5104 or 202-955-5197.

Grant Provided To Combat Shortage Of High-Tech Workers

The Council on Competitiveness has received a $2.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to support the establishment of BEST (Building Engineering and Science Talent), a new nonprofit organization designed to overcome the shortage of women and minorities in the high-tech work force.

John Yochelson, council president, says BEST will recruit leaders from industry and government to join the effort. Once fully incorporated, BEST will spearhead a three-year, $10-million initiative to broaden the demographic base of the technical work force by increasing public awareness and private financial support and by launching new policy initiatives.

Eventually, one-third of the agency's funding will come from federal agencies and two-thirds from the private sector.

The grant includes funds from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce (including the National Institute of Standards and Technology), Defense and Energy.

KPMG has issued a white paper, New Strategies for Success in E-business, describing how organizations can use risk management to boost shareholder and consumer confidence, and support goals.


ISO/IEC Standard 17025, General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories, is now available from the American Society for Testing and Materials. It is available by calling 610-832-9585 or e-mailing service@astm.org


The application deadline for 2002-2003 Fulbright traditional lecturing and research grants worldwide from the Fulbright Scholar Program is Aug. 1. For additional information, visit www.cies.org


The International Organization for Standardization, known as ISO, has published a new edition of ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 Accreditation and Certification Bodies. The directory includes 729 bodies in 94 countries offering management system auditing and certification/registration services to the standards. This compares with 557 in 1999 and 316 in 1995. The directory can be purchased from sales@iso.ch

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