Joint Venture To Spread Quality BOK in China

ASQ has established a limited liability operating unit, ASQ China LLC, that will become a partner with China Certification and Inspection Group Co. (CCIC), a Chinese government appointed organization, and a training firm, Plexus China, in disseminating ASQ’s quality body of knowledge in the People’s Republic of China.

A joint operating entity known as ASQ-CCIC Service for Quality Co. Ltd. will be headquartered in Beijing and will provide operational oversight for ASQ’s quality training and certification activities throughout China (see the ASQ China model at the right).

ASQ created ASQ China as a limited liability corporation to mitigate liability should the joint venture fail. ASQ’s only liability will be the amount originally invested in the joint venture.

ASQ China will serve as the vehicle to disseminate ASQ’s training, certification, publications and membership products to businesses in China. These materials will be translated into the Mandarin language.

Initial product introductions will be certified quality engineer and hazard analysis and critical control point training and certification. Those wishing to become involved in quality training or certification activities in China will be required to go through ASQ registered training provider or ASQ registered exam provider training.

AIAG Study

Concurrently, a new study written by Economist Corporate Network and released by the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) and IBM indicates China’s rapidly growing automotive market is facing significant challenges.

When the China Auto Suppliers Survey looked at how China’s automotive suppliers make use of process and production technology, it found IT spending by auto suppliers in China was generally low, with more than three-quarters of respondents investing less than $100,000 a year. Fewer than a quarter of respondents use enterprise resource planning systems.

The study also looked at major concerns, including the need to find and retain good staff, which was cited by respondents as a barrier to successful development.

“This study makes it clear how standardization of business process and technology could catapult China into a crucial position in the global auto industry,” said Andrew J. Cummins, executive director of AIAG. “Specifically, the research suggests the urgent need for suppliers in China to embrace common criteria, benchmarks and tools for business process and performance to achieve the cost competitiveness they seek.”

The study concludes China’s domestic companies and joint ventures alike perceive cost competitiveness—not quality—as a significant barrier to increased exports, and that cost competitiveness may be a question of production efficiency and economy of scale.

AIAG member companies include North American, European and Asia-Pacific original equipment manufacturers and suppliers to the auto in-dustry. The organization’s primary goals are to reduce cost and complexity within the auto supply chain.

Additional information is available at http://www.aiag.org.


QP To Update Higher Ed Quality Program Listing

The Quality Progress listing of college and university programs in quality will be updated in the October issue.

The listing, which also appears on ASQ’s website, was last published in the October 2002 issue (p. 33). It covers institutions offering courses, programs or degrees in quality or related subjects. Included are the type of institution (such as public, private or technical), certificates or degrees offered, online or distance programs, and contact names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses and websites where additional information can be obtained.

Go to http://www.asq.org/members/news/qualityprogress/2002/1002/33colageanduniv1002.html to determine whether your school’s program is listed and, if so, whether the listing is accurate or complete.

To add a school or make additions or corrections, send the information in an e-mail or fax, along with your name and telephone number at the educational institution, to Valerie Funk at vfunk@asq.org or 414-298-2504.

The deadline for new or revised listings is July 30.


MEP Named Government Award Finalist, but Funding Cuts Loom

The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) has been named one of 15 finalists for the Innovations in American Government Award.

MEP is a nationwide network of resources managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to help small manufacturers become more competitive.

MEP was one of nearly 1,000 applicants for the award. Five winners will be announced at the Excellence in Government 2004 Conference July 28 in Washington, DC. Each winning program will receive a $100,000 grant to encourage replication of its innovation in other jurisdictions.

Ironically, funding for the MEP program is slated for a 63% cut in the Bush administration’s most recent budget proposal. Mike Mojcicki, president of the Modernization Forum, a trade association for MEP centers around the country, says the cut will all but eliminate the program, which focuses on helping small and mid-sized manufacturing companies compete through such practices as lean.

For more information on the innovations award, go to http://www.excelgov.org.


International Team Excellence Winners Named at AQC

The three top winners in the international team excellence competition were named during ASQ’s Annual Quality Congress (AQC) in Toronto in May.

The gold award went to the bulk shipping process management team from Fidelity Wide Processing, Hebron, KY. A team from Fidelity Wide also won the gold award last year. The 2004 team won for a project that increased service delivery to customers, increased production efficiencies and reduced unit cost, saving $1.9 million annually.

The fast and furious team from Honda of America Mfg. Inc., Marysville, OH, received the silver award for working on a problem of instrument panels pulled off line because of damage that occurred during transit. Instrument panel damage was reduced by 90%, resulting in an annual cost savings of $500,000.

The special operations loading ramp team from the Boeing Co.’s Long Beach, CA, operation received the bronze award. The team was formed to enhance the capability of the C-17 aircraft to meet a new customer requirement. Its activities resulted in a flawless design and delivery of the new product.

The winners were selected from among 26 finalists. This year marks the first time live team demonstrations have been part of AQC. Starting July 1, AQP will be completely assimilated into ASQ and will be known as the Team and Participation Forum under the living community model.


Quality and Customer Satisfaction Soar at Hyundai

When J.D. Power & Associates Inc. reported in April that Hyundai had virtually caught up with Toyota in terms of quality, jaws dropped from Detroit to Tokyo, according to BusinessWeek (“Hyundai: Kissing Clunkers Goodbye,” May 17, 2004, p. 45).

The article reports Hyundai’s focus on quality “comes straight from the top” and says Chairman Chung Mong Koo presides over twice monthly quality meetings, has boosted the quality team to 865 workers from 100 and requires virtually all employees to attend special seminars on improving the company’s cars.

The quality team has teeth, too. BusinessWeek says the introduction of three new models was delayed by months as engineers scrambled to boost quality in response to problems found by the team.

Short Runs

THE ELECTION ASSISTANCE COMMISSION recently submitted a report to Congress that recommends the development and implementation of voluntary standards, accompanying test methods and guidelines to ensure voting systems in the country are usable by and accessible to all Amer-icans. Computer scientists and usability experts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology wrote the report, as mandated under the Help America Vote Act of 2002. A copy can be downloaded from http://www.eac.gov.

URAC PLANS TO CONVENE a research and focus group to explore new quality benchmarks for health information technology (HIT), including the possible development of standards addressing electronic health records and HIT systems infrastructure. For more information, go to http://www.urac.org.

FOURTEEN CORPORATIONS, government organizations and consultants have agreed to share and standardize performance benchmarks. The Wall Street Journal recently compared the effort to the way open source software programmers share code. The Open Standards Benchmarking Collaborative, working with the nonprofit American Productivity & Quality Center, includes IBM Corp., Procter & Gamble, Shell Oil Co., the U.S. Navy and the World Bank. The group plans to create a standard set of thousands of measures of business processes, such as purchasing and supply chain management. For information, go to http://www.apqc.org/portal/apqc/site/generic2?path=/site/ metrics/osbc.jhtml.

THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING of the National Academies says engineering education in the United States must anticipate and adapt to dramatic changes in engineering practice expected in coming decades to enhance the nation’s economic productivity and improve the quality of life worldwide. Engineering opportunities are expected in the areas related to nanotechnology, IT, bioengineering, transgenic food, personal privacy, nuclear science, natural disasters triggered by climate change and global conflicts driven by resource imbalance among nations. Copies of the full report are available at http://www.nae.org.

U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY Tom Ridge emphasized the importance of standards in his testimony to the 9-11 Commission in May. Ridge said the American National Standards Institute and the National Fire Protection Assn. have developed standards businesses and organizations should adopt.

THE JOINT COMMISSION on Accreditation of Healthcare Organi-zations (JCAHO) will begin publishing an enhanced version of its organization specific performance reports this month. Newly named the Quality Report, the information includes summaries about the quality and safety of care provided by JCAHO accredited organizations. The reports are available under Quality Check at http://www.jcaho.org.

THE BALDRIGE NATIONAL QUALITY PROGRAM is offering audiovisual materials showcasing strategies that earned seven organizations Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards for 2003. A set of three CDs ($35, item T1207) contains a look at management practices plus interviews with chief executives and others. PowerPoint presentations by Baldrige award recipients from the March Quest for Excellence Conference and application summaries are also included. A videocassette package with this information ($20, item TA1126) is also available. Both packages can be ordered through ASQ at 800-248-1946 or 414-272-8575.

THE REGULATORY AFFAIRS PROFESSIONALS Society (RAPS) has launched the industry’s first education provider registry, a Web initiative to evaluate and list targeted regulatory affairs education programs. RAPS reviews each offering for adherence to industry standards and criteria for training. All training through the provider is eligible for credit toward professional recertification through the Regulatory Affairs Certification program. For more information, go to http://www.raps.org.


Clinical Test Uncertainty Raises Healthcare Costs

Small measurement uncertainties in clinical laboratory tests can add large amounts to healthcare costs, according to a newly released study commissioned by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The study conducted by RTI International and the Mayo Clinic estimates calibration errors in measurements of calcium levels in blood may add between $60 million and nearly $100 million to U.S. healthcare costs annually.

High calcium levels can be a symptom of diseases such as cancer and thyroid disorders. Accurate measurements are critical because calcium levels in healthy people fall within a narrow range.

NIST says major sources of calibration error include differences in analysis methods used by different laboratory instruments, lot-to-lot variations in calibration materials and lack of traceability between secondary reference materials and primary standards.

The full text of The Impact of Calibration Error in Medical Decision Making is available at http://www.nist.gov/director/prog-ofc/report04-1.pdf.


Nine of 10 Hospitals Participate in Quality Initiative

About 90% of the nation’s nearly 3,900 eligible hospitals are participating in the Quality Initiative, a public-private effort to create a public resource on hospital quality.

Launched in late 2002, the initiative features 10 performance measures and involves hospitals, hospital associations, consumer and purchaser groups, quality organizations, accrediting bodies and government agencies. Expansion of the initiative to 12 additional measures is planned.

Data from nearly 2,000 hospitals are currently posted at http://www.cms/hhs.gov/quality/hospital.


Commerce Advises On Reducing Barriers Caused by Standards

A new report from the U.S. Department of Commerce makes more than 50 recommendations for reducing standards related trade barriers and calls for broader collaboration across government and with U.S. industry to prevent technical obstacles that impede U.S. exports.

Standards and Competitiveness—Coordinating for Results also summarizes key industry standards issues in international markets and responds to industry concerns that divergent standards, redundant testing and compliance procedures, and regulatory red tape are becoming some of the greatest challenges to expanding exports.

Recommendations include the following:

  • Develop a public-private sector task force on early identification and resolution of standards related barriers to trade.
  • Invite standards development organizations to explain the strength of the U.S. standards approach.
  • Create an award to recognize organizations that address market access problems successfully.
  • Organize high level standards and trade missions to promote the U.S. approach.

“Standards and related technical regulations affect an estimated 80% of world trade,” said Commerce Secretary Donald Evans recently. “The recommendations in this report can improve how we tackle standards related issues that distort trade and undermine our competitiveness.”

The report is available at http://www.technology.gov.


Health Plans Offer Pay for Performance Incentives

Health plans are increasingly dangling the carrot of higher payments to get physicians and hospitals to improve patient care, according to a study from the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC).

HSC is a nonpartisan policy research organization funded principally by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The study, which is based on site visits to 12 nationally representative communities, found:

  • Commonly used indicators of health plans include patient satisfaction and preventive care use because this information can be collected easily.
  • Use of more sophisticated outcome and process measures is less common.
  • Incentive payments can take a variety of forms but almost always represent additional income rather than penalties to providers.
  • Incentive payments typically are modest.
  • Many of the programs focus on promoting evidence based medicine.
  • Some plans view quality incentives as preserving some financial risk for providers in a more acceptable way than capitation (fixed monthly fees for patients).
  • Providers have not been the driving force behind quality incentives. Many remain cautious about incentive program designs and measures, but some are willing to participate and view quality incentives as a way to promote the practice of evidence based medicine.
  • The long-term success of these programs will be determined by their ability to alter provider behavior in ways that promote systemwide quality improvement.

The May 6 issue of the Wall Street Journal included “A Carrot for the Right Prescription” (p. D3) about health plan incentives or doctors and some of the cost benefits associated with evidence based medicine.

For more information on the HSC study, go to http://www.hschange.org/CONTENT/676.

The FACE of Quality

Name: John G. Conyers.

Residence: Palatine, IL.

Education: Doctorate in educational management and psychology from Oklahoma State University.

First job related to quality: While an undergraduate, worked in a Beech Air-craft Corp. plant in Wichita, KS, where he won a quality award.

Current job: Consultant, speaker and conference presenter; retired in 2003 as superintendent of Community Consolidated School District 15 in Palatine, IL, which won a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) that year.

ASQ activities: Co-author of Charting Your Course: Lessons Learned During the Journey Toward Performance Excellence, which was published this year by ASQ Quality Press; presenter at Koalaty Kid 2003 conference in Illinois.

Other activities: MBNQA examiner; former senior examiner for the Illinois Lincoln Foundation for Business Excellence award.

Personal: Married: wife, Jean, is a senior examiner for the Lincoln Foundation award; one son.

Favorite way to relax: Sailing in the French West Indies, Caribbean, British Isles and Lake Michigan.

Quality quote: School districts don’t see themselves as systems and do not usually approach improvement from a systems perspective. But there are no excuses for not benchmarking the best and continually improving systems that make staff knowledgeable, skilled, motivated, satisfied and even delighted. Nor are their excuses for not getting results. The passion that drives educators—disciplined with criteria for pursuing excellence—is what we owe our children, our communities, our economy and our future.

ASQ News

COSTA RICA AND CANADA CELEBRATE CHANGES ASQ’s Board of Directors recently voted to give ASQ members from Costa Rica the status of charter international member unit (IMU).

The process for becoming an IMU is similar to that for forming a section. A country must submit a petition with 30 members’ signatures, an application, a business plan and other documents that need to be reviewed in ASQ international market development and community care workgroups before the matter is placed on the board’s agenda for a vote.

ASQ Costa Rica is different from the newly christened ASQ Canada and the incorporated ASQ China. While IMUs function similarly to sections, ASQ Canada was an established ASQ region and is now being given country identity, and ASQ China is a new business venture with the Chinese Certification and Inspec-tion Group Co. (see news item on p. 16).

ASQ Canada’s new logo was prominent at the Annual Quality Congress (AQC) in Toronto in May. The name change was in response to surveys of members and nonmembers in Canada indicating a strong desire for a Canadian identity for ASQ membership in Canada’s ASQ Region 4 sections.

It is important to note, however, that ASQ Canada remains a membership unit and is not an ASQ world partner, which is an organization with which ASQ has a unique business relationship.

ASQ Costa Rica’s formation was celebrated during the international meeting at AQC. There are currently 70 ASQ members in Costa Rica.

SIX SIGMA ROUNDTABLE SLATED SEPT. 16-17 The Six Sigma Forum will host its fourth annual roundtable Sept. 16 and 17 in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Attendance is limited to 150. Pro-gramming includes presentations from Black Belts and Master Black Belts, keynote addresses and networking opportunities. The ASQ Six Sigma Black Belt certification exam will be given on-site Sept. 15, the day before the conference.

To register, go to Conferences at http://www.asq.org.

LIVING STRATEGY SUBJECT OF FEATURE ASQ’s living strategy was the subject of a feature article in the winter 2004 issue of the Journal of Association Leadership. The article was co-written by Paul Borawski, ASQ’s executive director and chief strategic officer, and Arian Ward, president and CEO of Work Frontiers International. Borawski also contributed an accompanying first-person account of moving to a living strategy from a traditional strategic planning process.

CCT ACCEPTED FOR IAS LAB CERTIFICATION ASQ’s certified calibration technician (CCT) certification is among those the International Accreditation Service (IAS) will accept when it requires calibration laboratories to certify technicians as part of accreditation by December 2009.

JQT BOARD HONORS ARTICLE The Lloyd S. Nelson Award, presented by the Journal of Quality Technology (JQT) editorial review board to recognize the article each year having the greatest immediate impact on practitioners, has gone to “Integrating Experimental Design and Statistical Control for Quality Improvement” by Harriet Black Nembhard and René Valverde-Ventura. The article appeared in the October 2003 issue, pp. 406-423.

ASQ CENTER WINS ARCHITECTURE AWARD ASQ’s headquarters building in Milwaukee, the ASQ Center, has received a special recognition award for urban revitalization in the annual competition of AIA Wisconsin, the state society of the American Society of Architects. Kahler Slater architects of Milwaukee constructed the combined office, retail and hotel space from a former Gimbels, later Marshall Field’s, department store building.

Average Rating


Out of 0 Ratings
Rate this article

Add Comments

View comments
Comments FAQ

Featured advertisers