The Face of Quality

MeredithName: Meredith Hutchison.

Residence: Logan, Utah.

Education: History education major with political science minor at Utah State University.

Current part-time jobs: Teaches theater to middle  school students through a federally funded after school program called REACH; office information specialist for National Scenic Byways Online; some editing of papers.

Activities: Directed Doctor Faustus at a high school; freelance college newspaper editor.

Noteworthy achievement: At 17, became an ASQ certified quality improvement associate in conjunction with a former part-time job as a medical records clerk, which made her the youngest person ever to receive an ASQ certification.

Other accomplishments: Placed in 99th percentile of intensive two-year high school International Baccalaureate Higher Level Diploma program; various roles, from leading to cameo, with Shenandoah Shakespeare's Young Company in Staunton, VA.

Personal: Getting married Dec. 5, 2003.

Favorite ways to relax: Reading everything from Tolkien to historical biographies; woodworking; caring for a bad-tempered slider turtle; finding sushi in the middle of Utah's Wasatch Front; cooking.

Quality Quote: I believe in practical quality. I've used quality principles when managing or directing more than two dozen theater productions. We've run our family using quality principles and even joke about my parents teaching a class called Deming in Love: Quality Principles of a Good Marriage. My father's diabetes is marvelously controlled because he manages his blood sugar using quality principles. My specialty is making order out of chaos--helping people understand their work and living spaces and their practices.


Team Competition Final Round Slated for AQC

The Association for Quality and Participation's (AQP) 2004 National Team Excellence Competition will take place during ASQ's Annual Quality Congress (AQC) in Toronto May 24-26, 2004. AQP is an affiliate of ASQ.

The competition combines the application of continuous improvement tools, problem solving processes, team dynamics, project management and communication skills to generate performance improvements within organizations. AQP reports the 27 team finalists in 2003 saved more than $19 million for their companies.

In the preliminary round competition, participating teams submit a 25-minute video explaining their projects and processes. These presentations are judged on how well they meet 36 criteria, which include such areas as impact on organizational goals, project selection, implementation and results. All finalists will make live presentations at AQC and receive trophies, while the top three teams will receive the Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards during AQC's final session.

All competition entrants receive a feedback report and score sheet detailing how they rated in each criterion. The live competition at AQC will provide all attendees an opportunity to benchmark best processes and teams.

Video entries are due Dec. 12, and judging takes place in January and February. Entry materials from partner awards--agreements with state partner groups and other organizations --are due Feb. 6.

Notification of finalists will be made on March 12. AQP reports 20 teams have already entered the competition for 2004.

For additional information, e-mail geetha@aqp.org or visit www.aqp.org.

Quality Stocks Again Top S&P; New List Released

As shown in the chart, the Q-100, an index of quality stocks, beat the Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500 by about half a percentage point in the third quarter ending Sept. 30.

A $10,000 investment in the Q-100 on July 1 went to $10,278, compared to $10,220 for the S&P. Long-term improvements were even more significant. For the 12 months preceding Sept. 30, the Q-100 went up nearly 24%, while the S&P rate was slightly more than 22%. From inception of the fund on Sept. 30, 1998, to this Sept. 30, the Q-100 went up 14.6%, while the S&P has taken a loss of about 2%.

As of Sept. 30, the Q-100 annual rescoring took place, with 13 organizations added and 15 removed (two caused by creation of spinoffs). This is a 13% change in names, but the market weighted effect is less than 5%. "Companies are compared to their industry group peers, so being dropped by the Q-100 doesn't necessarily mean decreased quality but could mean being moved into a different industry group by the S&P," explains Craig Robinson of Robinson Capital Management, Minneapolis, who co-created the Q-100 with Mark Billeadeau.

"For example," says Robinson, "Johnson Controls was added a couple of years ago when it was recategorized by the S&P from the conglomerate group to the auto parts group."

2003-2004 Q-100 Companies

Agilent Technologies Inc.

Alcoa Inc.

Air Products & Chemical Inc.

American Express Co.

American Int'l Group Inc.

Amgen Inc.

Petroleum Corp.

Devices Inc.

Anheuser-Busch Co. Inc.

AOL Time Warner Inc.

Applied Materials Inc.

AT&T Corp.

Bank of America Corp.

Bank One Corp.

International Inc.

BellSouth Corp.

Bemis Company Inc.

Best Buy Co. Inc.

Black & Decker Corp.

Boeing Co.

Health Inc.

Caterpillar Inc.

Cendant Corp.

ChevronTexaco Corp.

Systems Inc.

Citigroup Inc.

Sciences Corp.

Corning Inc.

Deere & Co.

Dell Inc.

Chemical Co.

Duke Energy Co.

E.I. DuPont
de Nemours

Kodak Co.

Eaton Corp.

eBay Inc.

Emerson Electric Co.

Entergy Corp.

Exxon Mobil Corp.

Fannie Mae

FedEx Corp.

First Data Corp.

FPL Group Inc.

Electric Co.

Motors Co.

Gillette Co.

Halliburton Co.

Harley-Davidson Inc.

Foods Corp.

Hewlett-Packard Co.

Home Depot Inc.


Intel Corp.

Paper Co.

Int'l Business
Machines Corp.

Intuit Inc.

J.P. Morgan & Co.

& Johnson

Johnson Controls Inc.

Knight-Ridder Inc.

Martin Corp.

International Inc.

Marsh &
McLennan Cos.

MBNA Corp.

Medtronics Inc.

Merck & Co. Inc.

Merrill Lynch &
Co. Inc.

MetLife Inc.

Microsoft Corp.

Monsanto Co.

Motorola Inc.

Nike Inc.

Northern Trust Corp.

Nucor Corp.

Oracle Corp.

PepsiCo Inc.

Pfizer Inc.

Procter & Gamble Co.

Progress Energy Inc.

Progressive Co.

Sara Lee Corp.

Sears, Roebuck
& Co.

Selectron Corp.

Southern Co.

Airlines Co.

Staples Inc.

Starbucks Corp.

SunTrust Banks Inc.

Target Corp.

Instruments Inc.

3M Co.

Verizon Communications

Walgreen Co.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Walt Disney Co.

Management Inc.

Wells Fargo & Co.

Whirlpool Corp.

Xerox Corp.

Yahoo! Inc.

TSA Airport Screener Testing Called Leno-Like by Senator

comedianThe U.S. Department of Homeland Security's acting inspector general has found some questions on a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) test for airport security workers were very simplistic or worded in a way to make the correct answers obvious.

The official also observed trainers rehearsed most of the questions with trainees prior to the test.

"These shortcomings point to the need for independent, unbiased third-party testing and certification of screeners--by someone other than those responsible for staffing and training," said Melissa Hartman, chair of ASQ's Certification Board.

Hartman is part of an ASQ team that submitted a proposal to the TSA more than a year and a half ago volunteering the ASQ certification process for certifying airport security screeners.

"One of the main points we made in talking to TSA was the need for the agency to instill confidence that the screeners safeguarding air transportation have indeed covered and mastered a rigorous body of knowledge," Hartman said. "You can't do that by feeding students the answers to softball questions."

The inspector general's observations were originally contained in a letter from Clark Kent Ervin, acting inspector general, to Sen. Charles Schumer of New York. Schumer had contacted the TSA in response to a report of training problems at LaGuardia Airport and released the letter in October at the request of the Wall Street Journal.

On Oct. 9, the senator was quoted in the New York Times as saying, "When you read the test, you'd think it was written by Jay Leno's scriptwriters rather than by a testing agency."

The TSA had hired a private company to provide training and testing materials and another company to train screeners. The latter had subcontracted another company to administer the tests.

Shortly after 9-11, ASQ offered to create a TSA certification for airport security screeners, baggage handlers and other appropriate airport personnel at ASQ expense. ASQ repeated that offer in recent letters to various federal

Consultancy Offers Tips On Listening to Dissent

086CMC01In the wake of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's report citing inadequate and ineffective feedback channels for funneling critical information from lower level engineers to top management, L. M. Dulye & Co., a workplace communications consulting group, recommends the following tips for handling workplace dissent:

  • Don't allow a problem to fester.
  • Give others a chance to respond without interrupting.
  • Communicate openly.
  • Don't make assumptions or interpretations about what the other person is saying.
  • Make sure you understand what is being said.
  • Move forward to solve the problem after each side has had a chance to speak and respond.
  • Find common goals that unite the group.

For additional information, visit www.lmdulye.com.

ASQ Webinars Are New Learning Option

A new online way to learn called "webinars" was successfully piloted by ASQ this spring, with more than 1,100 participants taking advantage of programs on measurement and healthcare.

Additional live webinars are scheduled for upcoming months, but another benefit of this new option is the archived webinars--prerecorded events allowing the flexibility to participate according to personal schedules.

The following upcoming live webinars are scheduled (times are Eastern Standard):

  • Team-Based Approaches to Safety: The Essentials, 12:30 to 4 p.m., Dec. 2.
  • Administrative Control: The Role of the Organization and Management in Frontline Performance and Safety, 2:30 to 4 p.m., Dec. 18.

Titles of archived webinars and additional information can be found by going to Webinars on the left of the homepage.

Central Florida Student Chapter Embraces ASQ Mission

Fifteen members of the student chapter of ASQ at the University of Central Florida (UCF) are involved in ASQ Community Works Initiative Six Sigma projects in cooperation with the Orlando Section 1509.

This pilot program has ASQ volunteers helping a community organization solve a problem using the Six Sigma approach and tools. The UCF participants receive Six Sigma training from the Harrington Group and participate in one of three Six Sigma projects:

  • Helping a Seniors First, Meals on Wheels program improve the process of volunteers delivering meals to senior citizens and helping measure and ensure the temperature compliance of the meals.
  • Helping an organization at UCF better deliver engineering courses via a streaming video on the Web.
  • Working on two subprojects for the Seminole County Community Alliance, one helping to define a governance model for the Community Alliance Board to improve its effectiveness and the other performing a needs analysis to define gaps and overlap in children's services.

40 Participants

Half of each project team consists of students and half of Orlando Section members-- for a total of 40 project members across the three projects. The entire group meets once a month for Six Sigma training delivered by ASQ member Frank Voehl of the Harrington Group. The monthly meeting includes project team time, but the teams also meet as needed to work on their projects at other times.

The program started in June 2003 when each team developed a work plan to complete its project by April 2004. Each team is led by a certified Six Sigma Black Belt. Voehl, a Master Black Belt, provides overall guidance and advice. Team members will receive Green Belts from the Harrington Group and, having completed a project, will be eligible to eventually take the ASQ Six Sigma Black Belt certification exam.

Other recent activities of the student chapter include sending three students to present at ASQ's Annual Quality Congress in Kansas City, MO, in May 2003. The presenters were Ana Ferreras, Gorana Zec and Sandy Furterer, all doctoral students in the industrial engineering and management systems department who are focusing their research on quality engineering.

The student chapter recently installed new 2003-04 officers: Ferreras, president; Furterer, vice president; and Archana Magadi, secretary. Ahmad Elshennawy is advisor. Its website at www.iems.ucf.edu/asq was also updated and enhanced.

Calibration Technician Certification Exam Scheduled

The deadline for applications to take ASQ's new certified calibration technician (CCT) exam on June 5 will be April 2, 2004.

The CCT process began in 1999 and was sponsored by ASQ's Measurement Quality Division (MQD) following a challenge from ASQ Fellow Philip Stein, who writes Quality Progress' "Measure for Measure" column.

The MQD voted to support initial funding and development of the certification program. The CCT committee included representatives of all four branches of the U.S. armed forces, the Department of Energy, NASA, the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program, the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation, large and small businesses, and academic institutions.

Presentation at AQC

A subcommittee formulated an initial CCT program proposal for presentation to ASQ's Certification Board, and it was soon determined the May 2002 Annual Quality Congress (AQC) in Denver would be the optimum time for presentation of the final CCT program proposal.

The program proposal addressed the following topics: uniqueness within the quality profession; application within industry; public domain breadth of the body of knowledge (BOK); consistency with ASQ's objectives, policies and procedures; training availability; support and commitment; and market needs.

At the Denver AQC, ASQ's Board of Directors voted to forego formal presentation of the proposaland to allow creation of the CCT program. The next step was a job analysis survey to help determine the BOK for the program.

Six Topic Areas

The BOK was divided into six major topic areas: general metrology, measurement systems, calibration systems, applied mathematics and statistics, quality systems and standards, and uncertainty.

After an exam review workshop, the CCT pilot exam was finalized and administered, and a cut-score study was conducted to determine the threshold necessary for passing it.

Christopher L. Grachanen is chairperson of the MQD's CCT program. For additional information about the program, exam dates and reference listings, go to ASQ's homepage and click on Certification or go to www.asq/measure/.

Group Seeks Grant To Expand Supply Chain Portal

A consortium of professional and industry organizations has applied for a Department of Labor grant to expand its www.leanscm.net supply management portal.

The portal's goal is to expand and provide technical and career management tools to engineers and other professionals involved with outsourcing and supply chain management.

The grant consortium consists of the American Association of Engineering Societies, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, California State University's Hayward Extension and Lean SCM LLC.

The www.leanscm.net site includes articles on managing business, careers, customer relationships, design, inventory, lean, logistics, projects, purchasing, quality, risk, Six Sigma, supply and teams.

ISO Releases Documents On Statistics, Medical Devices

The International Organization for Standardization, known as ISO, has released a new technical report on statistical techniques and a new quality management standard for the medical device industry.

ISO/TR 10017:2003, Guidance on statistical techniques for ISO 9001:2000 identifies statistical techniques that could help managers improve the quality of products and processes. It replaces the 1999 version and is aligned with ISO 9001:2000.

ISO 13485:2003, Medical devices--Quality management systems--Requirements for regulatory purposes is based on worldwide medical device regulations as well as requirements of ISO 9001:2000. Annex B of ISO 13485:2003 contains a side-by-side, section-by-section comparison of the two standards.

The medical device standard is intended for use by organizations involved in the design, production, installation and servicing of medical devices as well as in the design, development and provision of related services. It replaces a 1996 version.

The technical report and standard are both available from ISO national member institutes (the American National Standards Institute at www.ansi.org  in the United States) or by e-mailing sales@iso.org.

Six Sigma Training Fraud Alleged in Indianapolis  

Athletes and corporate executives aren't the only ones who have run afoul of the law lately. The Associated Press recently reported the Marion County prosecutor in Indianapolis was investigating fraud allegations and possible misuse of money at the state Family and Social Services Administration.

The investigation includes the purchase of $250,000 in Six Sigma training from TQM Network, a company founded by Mayor Graham Richard.

Indianapolis television station WISH reported prosecutors were investigating illegal contracts, alleged kickbacks and possible cover-ups involving the training program. A mayoral spokesperson said Richard had severed ties with TQM when he became mayor about four years ago, and the mayor claims no wrongdoing.

Newly Expanded Engineers Week Set for Feb. 22-28

National Engineers Week 2004, Feb. 22-28, has expanded to include engineers from around the world. The celebration is co-chaired by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Fluor Corp.

The globalization effort recognizes contributions of young engineers worldwide in a program called New Faces of Engineering. Another program, Connecting the World to Engineering, offers a Web based communication and discussion vehicle for engineering students, young professionals and business leaders to start and maintain interest in engineering careers.

Other features of National Engineers Week include Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, now in its fourth year, and the Future City Competition for middle school students, now in its 12th year.

A Sightseers Guide to Engineering at www.engineeringsights.org), created by the National Society of Professional Engineers in 2001, features engineering accomplishments from all 50 states. Another website, www.discoverengineering.org, launched in 1999, targets middle schoolers on how and why to become an engineer. DiscoverE provides thousands of engineers with educational materials to help them reach K-12 students.

Information on all National Engineers Week programs and events is available at www.eweek.org.

Patient Safety Survey Shows Hospital Progress

More hospitals than ever before are sharing patient safety information with consumers, according to the results of an ongoing patient safety survey conducted by the Leapfrog Group.

Compared with results from the previous year, the number of hospitals submitting survey responses rose from 637 to 1,012. Nearly 80% of consumers nationwide now have access to patient safety data on at least one hospital in their area.

In the 22 rollout regions where Leapfrog members actively work with hospitals to gain their participation, the submission rate went up by nearly one-third, from 496 to 635.

The Leapfrog survey collects data on a hospital's progress toward implementing three proven safety practices: physician computer order entry, intensive care unit staffing and evidence based hospital referral.

The Leapfrog Group began surveying hospitals in 2001 and makes hospital patient safety data available at www.leapfroggroup.org. In addition, member corporations and organizations make survey information available to employees through corporate websites and employee healthcare benefits materials.

The Leapfrog Group was founded in late 2000 by the Business Round-table and has support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


MICROSOFT RETURNS AS SIX SIGMA CONFERENCE SPONSOR For the second year, Microsoft will be the lead sponsor of ASQ's Six Sigma Conference, slated for Feb. 2-3, 2004, in Phoenix. The conference will feature case studies presented by industry representatives, who will relate personal Six Sigma experiences. For additional information on the conference, presentations, programming for executives and networking opportunities, including a golf outing and a Super Bowl party, go to ASQ's homepage and click on Conferences. Bosses can participate in the Executive Edge at half the regular registration price. The executive programming will feature Ken Lewis, CEO of the Bank of America, and Blanton Godfrey, editor of Six Sigma Forum Magazine. For more information on the Executive Edge, call Dale Tuttle at 800-248-1946 (United States and Canada only) or 414-272-8575 x7438.

TWO DIVISIONS PLAN RELIABILITY AND MAINTAINABILITY SYMPOSIUM The 50th Annual Reliability & Maintainability Symposium (RAMS), sponsored in part by the Electronics & Communication Division and Reliability Division, will be held Jan. 26-29, 2004, in Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.rams.org.

PAPERS SOUGHT FOR 2004 CHINA CONFERENCE The Customer-Supplier Division has issued a call for papers for its China Conference on quality tools and technologies Sept. 6-8, 2004, in Shanghai. Those interested in participating by presenting half-page abstracts should contact the conference co-chairs: Tom Scroggins at tom12345678@earthlink.net or 805-501-5468 or Dennis Arter at auditguy@earthlink.net or 877-597-9498. Translation requirements will be handled by the conference, and speakers will receive a credit on conference fees.

HERTZ AND WATSON TO ADDRESS MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE Harry Hertz, director of the Baldrige National Quality Program, and Greg Watson, ASQ past president, will be two of the keynote speakers when the 16th Quality Management Conference is held March 4-5, 2004, in Dallas. Even more sessions, tracks, courses, pre- and postconference tutorials and networking occasions will be provided than in previous years.

ISO 9000 SUMMIT MARCH 22-23 The 11th annual ISO 9000 Summit will be held March 22-23 in San Francisco. The conference will feature courses, case study presentations and the U.S. Standards Group meeting. Presentations will include information on lean, Six Sigma, Baldrige, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, ISO 14000 (environmental), ISO/TS 16949:2002 (automotive), AS 9100A (aerospace), ISO 13485 (medical devices) and AG 9000, a standard being developed for agriculture. ASQ is offering a free 12-month subscription to Quality Systems Update to all attendees. For more information and to register, go to ASQ's homepage and click on Conferences.

A/S&D 2004 CONFERENCE SCHEDULED The Federal Aviation Administration and the ASQ Aviation/Space and Defense Division have set Sept. 8-9, 2004, as the dates for the Civil Aviation Safety Symposium (CASS). Formerly this event was called the Conference on Quality in Commercial Aviation. The 2004 conference will be held in Dallas. It will bring together industry leaders, project managers, regulatory authorities, and quality and maintenance leaders from major airlines and their suppliers.

EACH ONE REACH ONE WINNERS NAMED September produced two winners in ASQ's Each One Reach One member-get-a-member program. The program recognizes members who refer the most new members in a month. There is also a monthly random drawing. Kuang Kok Hoo of CQE Training and Consultancy in Perak, Malaysia, recruited 23 members. He has recruited more than 100 members since joining ASQ in 1996 and received ASQ's Century Club award earlier this year. Jeffrey Henderson of US Cotton LLC, Imperial, MO, was randomly drawn for recognition from a pool of all September sponsors. For more information, call 800-248-1946 (United States and Canada only) or go to the Membership area of ASQ's website.

THOMAS FACKLAM WAS RE-ELECTED the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) Inc.'s chair at its September annual meeting in Slovakia. New members welcomed at the meeting represented Slovenia, Korea, Romania and Iran.

MICROSOFT IS USING ITS OFFICE 2003 PLATFORM to build what it calls Solution Accelerators, designed to show the capabilities of the new Office suite and related Windows products in hopes of accelerating upgrades from previous versions. The accelerators will be rolled out in coming months, with Six Sigma, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance and business scorecards slated among the first introduced.

THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY Administration, ordered by Congress to rate passenger vehicles for rollover risks after the Firestone tire failures in 2000 and 2001, has begun conducting road tests.  

RESEARCH DOCTORS from Johns Hopkins University and the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality have concluded medical injuries caused during hospital stays kill tens of thousands of American patients annually, result in potential medical charges of more than $9 billion and require at least 2.4 million extra hospital days. The research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

THE NATIONAL ACADEMY of Public Administration's Center for Improving Government says the Commerce Department's Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) serves a critical need and fills a unique position as a provider of assistance to small manufacturers. This report comes at a time when the Bush administration is recommending MEP funds be cut to less than $13 million next year, which would eliminate funding in all but two states. Congress restored funding last year to $106 million, the level for the last five years, but has yet to determine 2004's funding.

CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY'S SOFTWARE Engineering Institute has published the first maturity profile for the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Product Suite. The profile presents the latest CMMI adoption trends based on 100 standard CMMI appraisal methods for process improvement appraisals using CMMI version 1.1 models conducted between April 2002 and June 2003. To download a PDF version of either the CMMI or software CMM maturity profile, go to www.sei.cmu.edu/sema/profile.html.

ACADEMIC RESEARCH is having a long-term impact on industrial performance, whether in the form of advanced surgical techniques, improved aircraft design or upgraded internet browsers, according to a report from the National Academy of Engineering. But the report says the benefits of academic research could be expanded by increasing the number and scope of collaborations between industry and universities. Details are available at http://nationalacademies.org.

A NEW PROGRAM FUNDED BY A GRANT from the Education Foundation of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers will encourage students in Grand Rapids, MI, public schools to pursue manufacturing and engineering careers. The program will start with middle schoolers and continue through graduate school. It will provide access to career advice, mentoring, internships and motivational activities for students in an area where 19 of the 20 top employers are manufacturers.

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