The Face of Quality
Name: Vivek "Vic" Nanda.
Residence: Voorhees, NJ.
Education: Graduate degree in computer science (software engineering) from McGill University, Canada; undergraduate degree in computer engineering from University of Pune, India.
First job related to quality: Operations developer at Ericsson Research Canada; part of the core team that helped Ericsson achieve software Capability Maturity Model level three.
Current job: Senior software quality assurance engineer at Ulticom Inc., Mount Laurel, NJ.
ASQ activities: Member of the reviewer panel for the Software Quality Professional journal; member of the Standard Review Board for ASQ Quality Press; certified software quality assurance engineer and certified quality auditor; author of the Quality Press book ISO 9001:2000--Achieving Compliance and Continuous Improvement in Software Development Companies.
Other accomplishments: Active writer for several quality publications; speaker on quality related topics at international conferences; member of the reviewer panel of the IEEE Software magazine; author of the upcoming CRC Press book Quality Management System Implementation Handbook for Product Development Companies.
Personal: Married to Dipti.
Favorite ways to relax: Meeting friends, spending a day at the beach, traveling, camping and hiking.
Quality quote: Quality is about organizational maturity, which cannot be achieved overnight. It is critically important to realize that deployment of an effective quality management system (QMS) requires fundamental changes and gradual maturing of an organization. Quality professionals should have a vision for their organization's QMS. They are more likely to be successful in effecting change if they proceed in the direction of the eventual goal by asking for and accepting incremental improvements as opposed to radical change.
ASQ Says Excess Capacity Affects Space Industry Quality
Responding to the report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, which cited NASA's culture as the main contributor to the Feb. 1 Columbia space shuttle disaster, ASQ asserts excess capacity in the space industry is affecting quality and safety.
"Current production capacity exceeds what is needed to support worldwide space operations and is causing many organizations to cut costs to remain in business. Unfortunately, many of these cuts come in the form of reduced quality checks and controls," ASQ said in its response.
ASQ believes risks are significantly magnified as parts and services are contracted out to a variety of suppliers. "Given that NASA has significantly reduced its own inspections, the reduction of contractor controls represents risk, especially when no other means of process controls are in place."
The answer, ASQ believes, should not necessarily be to add NASA inspectors, but rather to hold contractors more accountable--as does the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in overseeing the U.S. civil aviation production system with little more than 150 FAA safety inspectors.
While exonerating quality assurance (QA) programs for any responsibility for the shuttle's destruction on re-entry, the investigation board believes major deficiencies it uncovered in the Kennedy Space Center's QA program could lead to a future accident.
According to the board report, these shortcomings include an ISO 9001 program that may not be appropriate for NASA and the erosion of control that occurred as NASA's manned flights transformed from experimentation to something more akin to an orbital trucking operation.
The board made several recommendations related to NASA's QA program, including:
- An independently led review of the program and its administration.
- The consolidation of the space center's QA program under one mission assurance office that reports to the center's director.
- The training of Kennedy QA personnel in conjunction with NASA and potentially the Department of Defense.
- An examination of which areas of ISO 9001 apply to the shuttle program.
In its statement ASQ disagreed with the investigation board's questioning of ISO 9001, saying, "NASA, much like any other business, deploys a series of business processes that need to be controlled. ISO 9000 simply states the expectations for such controls. This is not inconsistent with the way NASA views process controls."
ASQ's comment continues, "Because NASA's production volumes are so small, traditional statistical process controls are not as obviously applied. Likened to the work of a surgeon, each operation is unique unto itself; nevertheless, one would expect the surgeon to be skilled, support staff capable, support equipment controlled and specific protocol to be followed. These are among the elements ISO 9000 addresses."
ASQ says compartmentalization of flight centers, each having significant discretion in defining employee skills and quality processes, signifies variation and is a detriment to quality.
"For the report to state NASA has a culture problem does not do justice to the significance of the problem. Each center represents its own macro culture that contains countless subcultures ... ," says ASQ. "NASA should consider itself one organization as opposed to a multitude of centers and establish a common leadership voice for performance and process."
ASQ's response to the NASA investigative board's report was prepared by Michael Dreikorn, chair of the ASQ Aviation, Space and Defense Division. The response can be found on ASQ's homepage.
Look for a follow-up article on quality lessons learned from the Columbia disaster in the January 2004 issue of QP.
New Risk Management Standard
Related to this topic is the fact that the International Organization for Standardization, known as ISO, recently announced a new standard for risk management related to space projects.
ISO says ISO 17666:2003 supplies a roadmap to guide the risk management process at all stages in the life of a space project, regardless of its complexity, size and duration. ISO says the standard can also be used by other industry sectors or businesses aiming to minimize project risks.
Health Expert Says Quality Reduces Costs
Harvey Fineberg, M.D, president of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies, recently told health plan representatives that plans focusing on quality improvement priorities can lower their costs.
In addressing the American Association of Health Plans' Medical Management Forum in September in Chicago, Fineberg said, "Emphasizing quality is key to reducing costs in a way that is politically acceptable to the American public."
IOM has developed 20 quality improvement priorities and is focusing on five. For more information, visit www.iom.edu.
ASQ Considers New Membership Model
A new membership model is being constructed for ASQ. The model will serve different member needs by providing a variety of both short- and long-term membership options. The existing traditional membership type will not be eliminated, however.
Besides advancing the ASQ vision, the new model must:
- Be inclusive and encourage diversity.
- Enhance ASQ's economic viability.
- Provide for a public source of information about quality.
- Focus on developing communities.
- Include special interest groups and local entities.
- Embrace concepts applicable to all individuals interested in quality anywhere in the world.
- Fully reflect board approved design principles.
Key concepts of the model will include multiple avenues of access, varying degrees of involvement determined by individuals, multiple relationship options, mass customization, and member and customer communities.
Four categories of membership are proposed:
- Electronic subscriber/forum only, with base benefits and choice of add-on benefits, such as discounted rates on books and courses.
- Affiliate and student, such as those interested only in receiving Quality Progress or access to the ASQ website.
- Regular members, including Senior, Fellow and Honorary, reflecting many of the benefits of the current member type. (This will likely include an opportunity for international members to select electronic only delivery of all member benefits, including Quality Progress.)
- Association organizational memberships and sponsorships, including special interest groups and corporate memberships and corporate sponsorships.
Members are invited to review the proposed model on ASQ's homepage, and send comments to email@example.com.
SME Foundation Encourages Engineering Careers
The Education Foundation of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) has focused on building awareness and interest in manufacturing, engineering, science and technology as careers.
SME says by 2010 the United States will have half a million new manufacturing jobs but fewer young people pursuing these careers. Minorities and women are particularly underrepresented.
To counter this, the foundation initiated a Building for the Future Award, this year presented to the Careers in Engineering for Women program at the University of Texas at Austin. Receiving honorable mention were the Building Big program sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Girls Reaching Our World project at Kansas State University and the Tech Ed Program at Southwest Middle School in Rapid City, SD.
For more information on the award program, go to www.sme.org/pressroom.
NIST Stats Handbook Now on CD-ROM
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and International SEMATECH, a consortium of worldwide semiconductor companies, say their E-Handbook of Statistical Methods is now available free on CD-ROM.
The handbook provides modern statistical techniques and updated case studies for those who want to use statistical tools without becoming statisticians.
The CD version allows users to work on their own computers without accessing the Web. It is free and can be obtained by sending a request to firstname.lastname@example.org , including a geographic address. The Web based guide came out in July and is available at www.nist.gov/stat.handbook.
ANSI-RAB Supports IAF ISO 9001 Transition Deadline Affirmation
As expected, the American National Standards Institute-Registrar Accreditation Board (ANSI-RAB) National Accreditation Program has announced its full support of the International Accreditation Forum's (IAF) adherence to the Dec. 15 deadline for certified/registered organizations to make the transition to the revised ISO 9001 standard.
The original designation of the transition deadline for ISO 9001:2000 was made in 1999 by IAF, the International Organization for Standardization, known as ISO, Technical Committee 176 and the ISO Committee on Conformity Assessment.
The deadline allowed a three-year transition window after adoption of ISO 9001:2000 on Dec. 15, 2000. Therefore, registrations to ISO 9001:1994, ISO 9002:1994 and ISO 9003:1994 cease to be valid this Dec. 15.
Robert H. King Jr., president and CEO of RAB, expects only 5 to 10% of companies currently registered not to meet the deadline.
Six Sigma Conference Feb. 2-3 in Phoenix
ASQ's fourth Six Sigma Conference Feb. 2-3 in Phoenix will include five preconference workshops, 28 sessions and seven postconference courses.
New this year will be a Six Sigma Forum Master Black Belt dinner on Monday evening, where a limited number of participants will dine with experienced Master Black Belts and observe a moderated panel discussion of personal experiences, insights and demonstrations of the application of advanced tools.
The Executive Edge, offered at half the regular registration price to executives only, returns after its debut in 2003. Keynoters will include Ken Lewis, CEO of Bank of America. Blanton Godfrey, the editor of Six Sigma Forum Magazine, will return to moderate the morning workshop. Register for the Executive Edge by calling Dale Tuttle at 800-248-1946 (United States and Canada only) or 414-272-8575 x7438.
Other networking opportunities include a golf outing and Super Bowl party. Obtain additional information or register at http://sixsigma.asq.org.
Fewer U.S. Visas Slated For Foreign Workers
One of the visa programs used to bring foreign workers into the United States recently became smaller, and some members of Congress are proposing that another be reduced.
H-1B visas allow special professional workers, usually those with college degrees, to work in the United States for up to six years. While mostly used for computer programmers, engineers and the like, recently they have gone to teachers and healthcare workers.
On Oct. 1, the annual cap for H-1B visas reverted to 65,000, down from a yearly limit of 195,000 in effect since 2000.
L-1 visas allow companies to transfer executives, managers and workers with "specialized knowledge" of the company from overseas operations to U.S. based divisions. About 314,000 L-1 visas were issued in 2002, according to the Wall Street Journal.
American workers and labor unions have criticized the use of the visas, saying companies replace American workers with lower-paid foreign workers.
Legislation to limit L-1 visas was introduced by Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut in July. Separate legislation in the House would limit L-1 visas to 35,000 annually, with other restrictions.
Economic Data May Indicate Growth
Signs of possible economic recovery continue to appear.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) says economic activity in the manufacturing sector grew in September for the third consecutive month, while the overall economy grew for the 23rd consecutive month.
Particular strength was reported in the areas of new orders and production. Unfortunately, however, manufacturing employment continued to decline.
At about the same time, the Conference Board was announcing U.S. leading economic indicators, including the interest rate spread, vendor performance, real money supply and building permits, had increased again in August.
NEW ENGLAND BIOMED PROGRAM The Biomedical Division's New England Discussion Group will hold a program on clinical trials for medical devices on Nov. 18 at the Sheraton Hotel in Needham, MA. For more information, contact Debbie Iampietro at 508-259-7374 or Debbie@qarahelp.com. To register by phone, call Kelly Blakely at 800-492-6961.
AUTO DIVISION SYMPOSIUM JAN. 27 The upcoming Automotive Division symposium will focus on case studies related to Six Sigma, lean and error proofing projects plus Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria implementation. The seminar will be held Jan. 27, 2004, at Madonna University in Livonia, MI. For additional information, contact Bharath Vijayendra at email@example.com.
QUALITY MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE The Quality Management Division's 16th Quality Management Conference will be March 4-5, 2004, at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Dallas. In addition to conference offerings, for the first time there will be both preconference and postconference courses. Harry Hertz, director of the Baldrige National Quality Program, and Greg Watson, ASQ past president, will be keynoters. Visit www.asq-qmd.org for course and session descriptions, online registration or information on special events and tours.
AQP TEAM EXCELLENCE TIMELINE SET The Association for Quality and Participation's (AQP) 2004 National Team Excellence Award timeline has been released. Judges' applications are due Nov. 14, and selection will be announced by Nov. 28. Video entries are due from teams by Dec. 12, and preliminary judging will begin in January 2004. The final competition will take place at the Annual Quality Congress May 24-26, 2004, in Toronto.
CALL FOR SERVICE QUALITY PAPERS ISSUED The Service Quality Division has issued a call for papers for the 12th Annual Service Quality Conference Sept. 13-14, 2004, in San Antonio. To apply, provide a short excerpt (40 words or less) of your topic. Note that case studies and best practice presentations must include results. Consultants submitting presentations for a plenary session should do so with a client. Consultants with new or breakthrough approaches may present on their own at a breakout session. Outlines of tutorials are requested, but tutorial presenters may indicate their desire to also present at the main conference. The submission deadline is Feb. 15, 2004. For more information, call Marlene Yanovsky at 914-273-6854. E-mail submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
VARIETY OF AUDITING COURSES OFFERED The Society is offering a full roster of more than 12 auditing courses for the first quarter of 2004, in response to the December ISO 9001:2000 transition deadline. New courses include Enterprisewide Supply Chain Management; Internal Quality Auditor Training for the Medical Device Industry/ISO 13485, which is Registrar Accreditation Board (RAB) accredited; and QMS Internal Quality Auditor Training for the Aerospace Industry/AS9100, also RAB accredited. To learn about all the courses, dates and locations, visit the Courses area of this site and click on Auditing and Supplier Quality.
MEMBER CONTEST WINNERS NAMED August produced two winners in ASQ's Each One Reach One (member-get-a-member) program, which recognizes members who refer the most members in one month. There is also a monthly random drawing. All winners receive a Quality Press gift certificate. Yong Kok Seng of QMC Resource Centre in Penang, Malaysia, recruited 10 new members in August. He is an ASQ Senior Member and country councilor. Irene Chan of FLIR Systems in North Billerica, MA, recruited two new members and was randomly drawn for recognition from a pool of all August sponsors. For more information on the program, call ASQ at 800-248-1946 (United States and Canada only) or e-mail email@example.com, and ask for item B0132. Or visit the Membership area of this site.
BOSTON CONFERENCE PAPER DEADLINE NOV. 7 A call for papers has been issued for the 24th Annual Boston Quality Conference April 8, 2004. The location of the conference was recently changed to the Crowne Plaza in Woburn, MA. For more information, you may e-mail Herschel Clopper, program chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.asqboston.org/BOSCON.
STUDENT SECTION HONORED The Student Quality Society (SQS), ASQ's student branch at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was recognized for its outreach program, Teamwork Through Tinkertoys (TTT), at Engineering EXPO 2003. SQS received an honorable mention and was named people's choice through popular vote. The teamwork building exercise elicited interest from both educators and engineering students. Other recent SQS programs have included promotion of engineering careers and speakers from industry. Professor Donald Ermer has been counselor of the branch for 10 years.
THE MINNESOTA COUNCIL FOR QUALITY and Inver Hills Community College's Center for Professional and Workforce Development have agreed to an alliance that will bring several management and organizational improvement courses to council members at a 15% discount. All management courses, the management academy and seminars on project management, process improvement, customer service, leadership and business ethics are included.
A DIRECT PARTS MARKING GUIDELINE to aid in traceability has been released by the Automotive Industry Action Group. The guideline is designed to help educate the auto industry on the supply chain's most common marking methods. To order B-17: 2D Direct Parts Marking Guideline, call 248-358-3003.
DAIMLERCHRYSLER HAS RELEASED its new customer specific requirements for the first and second editions of ISO/TS 16949 and the third edition of QS-9000. They are available at www.aiag.org.
BUSINESS SOLUTIONS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST Federal Acquisition Awards have been presented to three agencies and acquisition teams for their strategic use of acquisition. The 2003 winners were involved with an air defense systems integrator program that captures and processes data; a high altitude, long endurance unmanned aerial reconnaissance system; and a Central Intelligence Agency joint project with In-Q-Tel that functions like a venture capital fund in seeking out technologies applicable to the agency's mission. The awards are given by the Council for Excellence in Government and Government Executive magazine. Visit www.excelgov.org for more information.
THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION'S report on the future of statistics, Statistics: Challenges and Opportunities for the 21st Century, is now available. To view the report or comment on it, go to www.amstat.org.
UNDERWRITERS LABORATORIES INC. (UL) is celebrating its 100th anniversary in standards development this year. Since 1903 UL has published more than 800 safety standards for products ranging from building materials to IT equipment to electrical household appliances.
URAC AND J.D. POWER AND ASSOCIATES have formed a strategic alliance to recognize health plans for their commitment to providing service excellence based on consumer reported experiences. URAC is a nonprofit that promotes healthcare quality through accreditation and certification programs. J.D. Powers is an ISO 9001 certified firm known widely for its market research reports.