Homeland Security on the Standards Radar Screen

Governmental and nongovernmental organizations are increasingly becoming involved in standards and other quality related homeland security issues.

The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recently partnered to sponsor a briefing on applying management standards to homeland security.

Citing concerns about proper targeting of funding and maintaining the right capabilities for the long term, GAO and ANSI invited members of Congress and their staffs involved in homeland security policy or oversight to attend.

Randall Yim, GAO’s managing director of homeland security and justice, said existing management standards covering such elements as risk assessment, planning, capability building and performance evaluation could offer a rigorous approach to better meet and assess expectations.

The briefing included presentations on standards development and the use and potential value of homeland security or integrated risk management and security standards.

For additional information about the ANSI-GAO initiative, contact David Karmol, ANSI vice president of public policy and government affairs at dkarmol@ansi.org or 202-331-3610.

Also getting in on the terrorism prevention act is the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) through its newest committee, E54 on Security Applications. ASTM hopes to bring government and business interests together under its umbrella to develop relevant standards and guidance materials related to the following:

  • Protecting borders, ports and transportation systems.
  • Advancing and harnessing science and technology.
  • Preparing for and responding to national emergencies.
  • Protecting critical infrastructure.

For more information on the ASTM initiative, visit the E54 homepage at http://www.astm.org.

In addition, the National Institute of Standards and Technology contributed to newly adopted Department of Homeland Security standards for first-responder equipment and radiation detectors. The standards provide state and local government with purchasing guidance.

ASQ’s proposal to the Transportation Security Agency to develop and administer a certification program for federal airport security screeners remains in limbo.


AQP Names Toronto Team Competitors

Of the 27 Assn. for Quality and Participation (AQP) team competition finalists, 26 will be taking part in live demonstrations during ASQ’s Annual Quality Congress in Toronto May 24-26.

The 26 include international teams from Costa Rica and Mexico and 10 teams representing Boeing business units. Among the finalists, only Denso Manufacturing Ten-nessee Inc.’s THEM team from Maryville, TN, will not attend.

AQP is an affiliate of ASQ.



Government Online Info Gets High Marks

The latest quarterly American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) e-government report shows government comparing well with the private sector in delivering information online.

In some cases, e-government is rivaling giants of the internet commerce world such as Amazon.com in terms of success in providing positive online experiences.

The ACSI report says government health information sites are doing an exceptional job. Career and recruiting sites are also standout performers, particularly in specialized fields such as State Department and CIA jobs.

The CIA career site registered an 80 on the ACSI’s 100-point scale, six points above the national average of all goods and services measured by the index and better than most commercial websites. The State Department’s career site had a score of 79. The government’s comprehensive careers portal earned a respectable 73 while serving more than six million visitors a month.

MedicinePlus, a general health site operated by the National Institutes of Health, earned a score of 86, putting it within striking distance of the undisputed champion of the e-commerce world, Amazon.com, which scored 88, one of the highest scores ever in the ACSI.

Although all categories of sites have improved on average, there are some challenges: Portals and main agency websites tend to have the least impressive scores, and meeting the multiple expectations of diverse audiences remains elusive.

Participation in the ACSI e-government index is voluntary. Currently the index includes 44 sites in four categories, with the number growing each quarter. The e-government index is produced quarterly by the University of Michigan in partnership with ASQ, the CFI Group and ForeSee Results.

For the full report, go to http://www.theacsi.org/overview.htm.


National Governors Association Issues Manufacturing Report

The National Governors Assn. recently issued a comprehensive report on the state of manufacturing in the United States, the impact of productivity and global competition on manufacturing jobs, and prospects for growth.

Available at http://www.nga.org, Manufacturing’s Performance and Prospects concludes the following:

  • Since the turn of the 21st century, manufacturers have suffered through weak demand, withering global competition and languishing pricing and profits.
  • Manufacturers have responded by curtailing new investments and slashing payrolls.
  • Manufacturers’ travails have been so significant they pushed the broader U.S. economy into recession and weighed down the recovery until recently, even though manufacturing is now only a small part of the overall economy.
  • Conditions have improved in recent months, and near-term prospects for manufacturers are about as good as they have been in a decade.
  • Demand and production have strengthened, pricing has firmed, and profits are increasing.
  • Factory job losses continue, but the worst is over and there may be modest net hiring this year.
  • The longer-term prospects for U.S. manufacturers remain clouded.
  • Pressure on factory jobs will be substantial as manufacturers work hard to increase productivity.

The FACE of Quality

Name: Christopher L. Grachanen.

Residence: Spring, TX (just north of Houston).

Education: MBA (online) from Regis University, Denver; two bachelor’s degrees: in technology and management from the University of Maryland extension school program at military bases and in electrical engineering (remote learning) from Cook’s Institute of Electronics and Engineering.

First job related to quality: Avionics Sensor System technician with the U.S. Air Force before cross training into the metrology field (all work performed on an aircraft had to be inspected and approved, and all servicing and inspection activity had to be documented). He extended his four-year Air Force enlistment to six when he trained at the Air Force Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory at Lowery Air Force Base.

Current job: Manager of Hewlett-Packard’s Metrology Group in Houston.

ASQ activities: Spearheaded effort to develop the calibration technician certification; secretary of the Measurement Quality Division and its representative to the National Conference on Standards Laboratories International.

Other activities: Developed the Uncertainty Calculator and Tolerance Calculator, free software that is used throughout the world. Go to http://www.reed-electronics.com/tmworld for an article about Grachanen’s fascinating career.

Recent honor: Named Test & Measurement World magazine’s Test Engineer of the Year.

Recent publications: Co-author of The Metrology Handbook, just published by ASQ Quality Press.

Personal: Married to Patricia; son, Christopher, 12, and daughter, Abbey, 11.

Favorite ways to relax: Almost anything outdoors—hiking, swimming, fishing and camping.

Quality quote: Trust but verify. Never assume the measurement data you obtained from a measurement instrument are absolutely correct (all measurement data have uncertainty associated with them). It is up to users of measurement data to determine whether a given level of measurement uncertainty is acceptable for a particular application.


NIST Researchers Help Auto Industry Engineers

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers have identified a potential source of error in the surface roughness data used in the auto industry to predict how friction affects production of metal parts during forming.

NIST says this improved analysis should allow automakers to more easily use lighter weight materials in their products and thereby improve fuel efficiency. The findings were presented at the Society of Automotive Engineers’ World Congress.

A NIST team is continuing this work and developing a new analytical approach for industry to use for more reliable predictions of surface roughness and friction.

For more information, go to http://www.nist.gov.


ISO Offers Online Interpretation Service

The International Organization for Standardization, known as ISO, is offering users of ISO 9001 an online interpretation service to clarify the intent of requirements.

According to ISO, the service’s goals are to prevent ambiguous and vague interpretations of the requirements and develop a database of interpretations. The interpretations are related to what to do, not how to do things.

Requests must be submitted via ISO national member institutes that can be accessed at http://www.iso.ch/iso/en/commcentre.

ISO also recently published a new CD-ROM edition of the catalog of all its valid standards. ISO Catalogue-Plus 2004 contains information in both English and French on all published ISO standards and technical work programs of draft standards.

The CD-ROM offers search functions by subject area, ISO number, technical committee and keyword index. It can be ordered from national member institutes (such as the American National Standards Institute at http://web.ansi.org in the United States). A list of links to all other national standards institutes can be found at http://www.iso.ch.


Baldrige in Education Webinar Offered

ASQ is offering a new online training opportunity, mainly for educators seeking to use the Baldrige process to improve quality. The program will cover two Baldrige categories: leadership and strategic planning.

Practical coaching experience in the leadership category will be presented by representatives of Community Consolidated School District 15 of Palatine, IL, a 2003 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient.

Under strategic planning, District 15 representatives will share how they developed a five-year, constituent driven strategic plan and why they conduct detailed reviews of each action plan annually to assess progress against performance goals.

To access the webinar, visit www.asq.org/education. System requirements include an internet connection, a Microsoft Windows Media Player (available for free download) and a computer with sound card and speakers.

Short Runs

THE QUALITY EXCELLENCE for Suppliers of Telecommunications (QuEST) Forum has created a chief operating officer position to direct and manage operations. Don Pickens, who retired from Bell South as vice president, network reliability, in 2002, has been named to fill the position.

SAE INTERNATIONAL, formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers, will mark its 100th year in 2005. A website commemorating its history can be accessed at http://www.sae.org/sae100.

THE 2004 SHINGO PRIZE for excellence in manufacturing practices will be presented at the 16th Annual Shingo Prize Conference May 17-21 in Lexington, KY. The deadline for intent to apply for the 2005 prize will be June 2, with achievement reports due June 27. For information, go to http://www.shingoprize.org/busprize.

STOCKS OF THE 2003 WINNERS of the Canadian Awards for Excellence outperformed those of the TSX 300 by a margin of 2.75:1, according to Canada’s National Quality Institute (NQI). While it’s no guarantee, NQI says when organizations commit to the strategic implementation of excellence criteria, their stocks outperform others on a collective basis. For more information, go to http://www.nqi.ca.

NQI IS OFFERING customer and employee satisfaction surveys to be used with performance improvement programs. For additional information, including sample screens, go to http://www.nqi.ca/nqistore/survey_qualitytools.aspx.

CONSUMERS ADVANCING PATIENT SAFETY (CAPS), a nonprofit formed to advance patient centered and systems based healthcare, has been established following an initiative sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. For additional information, go to http://www.patientsafety.org.

 ASQ News

GOVERNMENT DIVISION LAUNCHES LEADERSHIP DIALOGUES Benchmarking service excellence in the public sector will be the focus of the first in a series of Government Division leadership dialogues May 27 in Toronto following the Annual Quality Congress (AQC) there May 24-26. The initial dialogue will bring together North American practitioners of public sector benchmarking to discuss the challenges ahead. Keynoters will include Jonathon Walters of Governing Magazine, Noel Landeyut of the Office of Organizational Effectiveness at the University of Texas at Austin, Ron Gibson of the Ontario Municipal Benchmarking Initiative and Charles Vincent of the Initiative of Citizen Centred Service. For program up-dates or to register online, go to http://www.gov.mb.ca/executive/sm/psb.

NEW E-LEARNING COURSES OFFERED The ASQ e-Learning Center has added three courses. Continual Improvement Assessment teaches audit methods to determine whether improvement actions are adding value and how to audit process performance for improved efficiency. Requirements from A to Z is for auditors, supervisors and managers and is based on the ISO 9001 portion of a certified lead auditor class. Certified Quality Auditor helps participants prepare for ASQ’s certified quality auditor examination and will also broaden anyone’s knowledge base about quality auditing. For more information, visit http://www.asq.org and click on e-Learning Center.

UP-TO-DATE MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION More information is now available about the Living Community Model and benefits under each of the membership categories. For regular members, a geographic section will be a part of regular membership. Additional sections, including the electronic section, can be added for a fee of $20. Also, regular members are allowed to hold elected or appointed offices in their section or divisions of choice. Associate members, who get the electronic section as a benefit, will be able to add on additional geographic sections
($20 fee) or forum/divisions ($10). Associate members can serve in appointed offices only in their added-on sections or divisions. Associate members will also receive ASQ Quality News Today, the newsfeed. Phases two and three will see enhancements to benefits in all categories.

KEYNOTE SCHEDULE CHANGES Keith Harrell, former IBM marketing executive, and Jennifer James, lecturer and consultant in areas such as change management and working relationships, have switched the days of their AQC keynote addresses. Harrell will now speak on Tues-day and James on Wednesday. John A. White, chancellor of the University of Arkansas, remains the Monday keynoter.

BUSINESS EXCELLENCE PAPERS SOUGHT The conference program committee is seeking presentations and papers for the Third Annual Business Excellence and Customer Satisfaction Conference (BECS), which is slated for March 7-8 in Tampa, FL. BECS provides real-world examples of how organizations have measured, communicated and delivered customer value in terms of positive business solutions, customer retention and increased profitability. For more information, visit http://www.hq.asq.org/ed/conferences or contact kmiller@asq.org.

JOINT MEASUREMENT, INSPECTION CONFERENCE PLANNED The Measurement Quality and Inspection divisions plan a joint conference Sept. 23-24 at the Air Force Primary Standards Labor-atory, Newark Metrology Opera-tions, Heath, OH. Abstracts of less than 100 words are invited, with possible topics including measurement uncertainty, training, related standards, techniques, certification, laboratory accreditation, quality, and Six Sigma and statistical applications. Proposals for tutorial workshops on Sept. 22 are also invited. Submission deadline is May 31. For more information, contact Dilip A. Shah of the Measurement Quality Division at emc3solu@aol.com or Jenny Persful of the Inspection Division at jpersful@sabincorp.com.

LOOKING TO GET PUBLISHED? A program at AQC will explain how to write and submit articles to Quality Progress and other ASQ periodicals. Editorial staff and review board members will offer tips on getting published, hot topics and submission dos and don’ts, on Tues., May 25, at 3:15 p.m. in the convention center’s International Halton room.


Distinguished Service Medalist Masing Dies

Walter Masing, one of ASQ’s newest Distinguished Service Medalists, died on March 29.

Masing had made plans to travel with his daughter from his home in Germany to receive the medal at this month’s Annual Quality Congress.

Born in Russia in 1915, he started his career as research and development manager at the Laboratory for Electro-physics in Berlin after completing his doctorate in 1940. To take an active part in reconstruction after World War II, he established Dr. Masing and Co. GmbH.

Masing met W. Edwards Deming in 1953 and Paul C. Clifford in 1995, integrating their statistical and quality approaches into his company philosophy.

From 1957 to 1963, Masing was vice presient of the German Society for Quality. He then was president until 1983 and had been honorary president since then. He was a founding member, president and chair of the International Academy for Quality and received many awards, including ASQ’s Edwards Medal and Lancaster Award.

His many other achevements included teaching, writing and encouragement of young engineers and entrepreneurs.

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