World Conference in Seattle a Hit

The more than 2,700 who attended ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement in May in Seattle were treated to several firsts.

Izzy Gesell, an author and speaker who uses improvisational theater concepts as tools for learning, was the first ever master of ceremonies for the conference, formerly known as the Annual Quality Congress.

Other firsts were lunchtime and end-of-day general sessions, with speakers such as Takashi Kiuchi, chair and CEO of Mitsubishi Electric America; A. Blanton Godfrey, dean of the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University and editor of ASQ’s Six Sigma Forum Magazine; Sam Kaner, author and consensus decision making expert; Kenny Moore, author, corporate ombudsman and HR director at KeySpan Corp; and Elliott Masie, futurist and humorist, who spoke on using e-learning to transform organizations and performance.

A lunchtime networking session highlight was Genichi Taguchi, quality guru and executive director of the American Supplier Institute (ASI), who spoke and fielded questions from an audience of more than 300. Shin Taguchi, president of ASI Consulting, and Subir Chowdhury, chair and CEO of ASI Consulting, joined him in answering questions.

Armand V. Feigenbaum, quality guru and president/CEO of General Systems Co., was another hit, drawing about 400 to a lunchtime session, where he answered questions after being interviewed by Tom Kubiak, senior vice president of quality and productivity for Bank of America.

Divisions and Sections Honored

Ten ASQ divisions received 2003-04 J.S. McDermond division management program awards at the World Conference.

Top achievers were:

  • Automotive.
  • Aviation, Space and Defense.
  • Biomedical.
  • Chemical & Process Industries.
  • Customer-Supplier.
  • Design & Construction.
  • Food, Drug & Cosmetic.
  • Quality Management.
  • Statistics.

The Energy & Environmental Division was named a master achiever, the second highest level of recognition.

In addition, 73 sections reached the total quality level for 2003-04.

Conference Features Team Excellence Finals

Three teams took top honors in lively presentations during the 20th International Team Excellence Competition held during the ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement.

The competition featured 22 teams from around the world and was presented by ASQ’s Teamwork and Partici-pation Division and sponsored by StatSoft.

Internationally Speaking

The 288 attendees from outside the United States at the World Conference included 100 Canadians and represented 35 countries. Of particular note were signing ceremonies with groups signifying the international scope of the quality movement.

An alliance agreement was signed with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. ASQ works with alliance partners to offer training and certification opportunities to companies and organizations.

Also, an international member unit was started in Brazil, and a licensing agreement for Six Sigma training was signed with a Peruvian university.

Bylaw Changes Approved

Several changes to the bylaws were overwhelmingly approved at the business meeting during the conference.

The membership voted to allow ASQ to proceed with changing the composition and reducing the size of the board of directors, relaxing qualifications for service on the board, changing the board candidate nomination process, simplifying the process for members to bring items to the board for consideration and vote, and moving some details from the bylaws into policies.

Member Value Sessions Held

Attendees were surveyed on various ASQ services and benefits during two member value process sessions during the conference.

Focus group attendees were queried about ASQ’s Washington, DC, representation, quality tools in schools and the community good works program and then asked to put a dollar value on member benefits such as website access, networking, certification, Quality Progress, section and division involvement, publications and educational offerings.

Certifications, networking, conferences and meetings, and section and division involvement were among the highest rated member benefits.

ASQ Center

The big ASQ booth at the conference was a beehive of activity throughout the event as attendees demonstrated their interest in ASQ certifications, publications and educational offerings. More than 13,000 items, such as books and videos, were purchased during the conference.


New Initiative To Map U.S. Measurement Needs

An initiative to roadmap future U.S. measurement needs was recently announced by Hratch Semerjian, acting director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The proposal was announced during Semerjian’s testimony on the use of standards as barriers to export markets before the House subcommittee on environment, technology and standards.

Test and measurement methods are critical for businesses to demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements and standards, which are the specifications that define the features, performance levels, compatibility and other attributes of products, Semerjian told the subcommittee.

The NIST facilitated initiative will result in the first ever evaluation of the breadth, depth and overall health of the U.S. measurement system. The final report, expected in early 2007, will identify priority measurement infrastructure needs across industry and the economy, recommend steps to address them and point out the consequences of inaction.

NIST plans to convene a U.S. measurement summit in early 2006. This meeting will provide a venue for focused cross sector, cross technology discussion and debate among key customers and stakeholders on priority measurement system needs and how to address them.

For further information, go to http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/releases/usms_nist.htm.

The FACE of Quality

Name: Raman Veerappan.

Residence: Solon, OH.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in electronic and electrical engineering, University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology, United Kingdom (UK).

First job related to quality: Quality assurance engineer, EMI Medical Ltd., UK.

Current position: Manager, quality systems, Hitachi Medical Systems America Inc. in Twins-burg, OH.

ASQ activities: Member of Cleveland section and Regulatory Compliance Focus Group.

Other activities: Review and comment on proposed technical standards and regulations for medical devices.

Personal: Married to Uma for 29 years; two adult children, one a doctor and one a law school student.

Favorite ways to relax: Walking, yoga, fitness activities, travel and Indian cooking, social, cultural, music and religious group activities.

Quality quote: Being in quality is a unique experience that allows me to interact with all employees from top management to hourly workers. This helps me appreciate the different roles people play and shows that the quality of everyone’s work contributes to a profitable business. My role as quality systems manager in the medical device industry is special in that it ensures the devices we market are safe and effective, meeting established specifications for the benefit of our customers and ultimately contributing to patients’ healthcare, welfare and quality of life.


Pennsylvania Assn. for Blind Gets ISO 9001 Certification

The Susquehanna Valley Assn. of the Blind and Vision Impaired (SABVI) in Pennsylvania recently became certified to ISO 9001. Its auditor, Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance, believes SABVI is the first manufacturer with blind employees in the United States, if not the world, to achieve certification.

Dennis Steiner, SABVI vice president and chief operating officer, says the organization recognizes quality products and services are the direct result of good processes: “We have always believed in the concept of continuous improvement. Now we have clear quality objectives and the tools to measure our level of success.”

SABVI has 95 industrial employees, of which 75% are legally blind. Of an additional 44 employees who work in other agency departments, 20% are legally blind.

Steiner says a challenge was to find a balance between keeping good documentation and not losing the ability to effectively communicate verbally with employees.

ASQ News

EDUCATIONAL COURSE CLUSTER THIS MONTH A cluster of eight courses related to quality in education is being offered in Milwaukee July 18-22. The courses covering K-16 education will be for teachers, administrators, professors and higher education enterprise staff. Areas covered include Koalaty Kid, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria, balanced scorecards, root causes analysis and introduction to quality management. For additional information or to register, call 800-248-1946 or 414-272-8575 or go to http://www.asq.org/ed/courses.

BOARD TO MAKE DOCUMENTS AVAILABLE The Board of Directors has decided to make all its activities and documents transparent by posting them on the area of ASQ’s website at www.asq.org open to members only.

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIP PROGRAM PILOTED The Boeing Co., Harley-Davidson and DuPont have been named participants in an organizational membership program being piloted by ASQ. Among the organizational member benefits are access for all employees to ASQ’s Quality Information Center and to a “my ASQ” website where they can read journals, bundles of quality articles, World Conference on Quality and Improvement proceedings and Quality News Today. For information on additional benefits provided under organizational membership, contact Jen Czajka at 800-248-1946 or 414-298-8789 x7257 or jczajka@asq.org.

BALDRIGE WINNER VIDEOS AVAILABLE A new set of videos showcasing 2004 recipients of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award is now available in both DVD and CD-ROM format. The videos contain an in-depth look at the four recipients and feature interviews with their chief executives, PowerPoint presentations from the recent Quest for Excellence conference and summaries of their applications. To order, call ASQ at 800-248-1946 or 414-272-8575, using item number T1504.

ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONFERENCE The Energy and Environmental Division will hold its annual conference Sept. 19-20 in San Antonio. For information, go to http://www.asq.org/ee.

SECTION 614 in Washington state presented a $500 scholarship to high school student Camden Swita of Kennewick for his essay, The Future of Education. Swita plans to study chemical or aeronautical engineering. Ken-newick School District board president Dawn Adams spoke at the award event.

QUALITY PRESS is releasing three new books this July: Value-Driven Channel Strategy: Extending the Lean Approach by R. Eric Reidenbach and Reginald W. Goecke; Quality Makes Money: How To Involve Every Person on the Payroll in a Complete Quality Process by Pat Townsend and Joan Gebhardt; and The Progressive Audit: A Toolkit for Improving Your Organizational Quality Culture by Robert Pfannerstill. Quality Press is actively seeking book proposals, particularly on topics related to innovation and risk management.


Farm Sensors Tested To Rescue Gulf of Mexico

Corn growers are “squeezing the most out of a process” just as manufacturers are doing. A group of farmers are accurately measuring the color of young corn and applying the right amount of nitrogen, according to the Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society (ISA).

Using the correct amount of nitrogen fertilizer to gain the best possible corn yields is a challenge for economic and environmental reasons, according to ISA. Applying too much nitrogen is costly and can contribute to water quality problems, while applying too little can result in subpar crop yields.

Researchers from the University of Missouri are testing a LED sensor that can accurately measure the color of young corn and apply the proper amount of nitrogen.

The goal is to decrease runoff of nitrogen carried by the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico, where high nitrogen levels can result in the creation of dead zones, which affect the gulf’s seafood industry.

Short Runs

LANCE ARMSTRONG’S new Austin, TX, nightspot has been named “Sixth” for the Six Sigma business management philosophy, according to his business partner, John Korioth. Plans are to open the club during the Tour de France bicycle racing event this July.

A LEAN CERTIFICATION is being developed by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the Assn. for Manufacturing Excellence and the Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing. More information is available on the websites of all three organizations.

THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY recently added a 3-D surface analysis capacity to the feature menu of its free website. The site enables manufacturers to check the accuracy of measurement software used to verify the smoothness of product surfaces and was previously limited to 2-D surface analysis. A new circular fit feature on the 2-D page now allows manufacturers of bearings and other cylindrical or spherical products to check for errors in software packages of the instruments they use. The virtual surface calibration website is at
http://ats.nist.gov/ VSC/jsp (case sensitive).

THE FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration have jointly proposed establishment of a set of general principles for food standards that define what a given food product is, its name and the ingredients used in its manufacture. “Written comments in response to the proposal are being accepted until Aug. 19. For more details and information on where to submit and read comments, go to http://web.ansi.org/news_publications/news_story.aspx?menuid=7&articleid=955.

RABQSA INTERNATIONAL has been selected by the American National Standards Institute-ASQ National Accreditation Board to establish and maintain the approval and certification of auditors who conduct AS9110 management system audits of aerospace repair, overhaul and maintenance facilities.

THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION has completed its crash test and rollover ratings for passenger cars for the 2005 model year. All results, including previously tested 2005 vehicles, are available at http://www.safercar.gov.

GOVERNMENT CUSTOMER SUPPORT EXCELLENCE AWARDS were presented at the fourth Government Customer Support Conference in May. Recipients were the Social Security Chicago Region Management and Operations Support Branch for teamwork, the NASA Information Support Center for technical excellence and the website of the state of Utah, http://www.utah.gov , for customer focus. The U.S. Department of Labor National Contact Center was recognized for overall excellence. For additional information on the conference, contact daryl.l.covey@noaa.gov.

A SURVEY OF 66 SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES in Japan reveals about 70% use lean manufacturing techniques. ASQ member Bob Austenfeld, a faculty member at Hiroshia Shudo University in Japan, sent his survey to about 700 firms after reading about a Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) survey of U.S. companies in Quality Progress (March 2003, p. 20). The SME survey results said 41% were either not familiar with lean or, if familiar, had not considered implementing it.


Juran Center Names 2005 Fellows and Scholar

The Juran Center for Leadership in Quality at the Carlson School of Management of the University of Minnesota named five 2005 Juran Fellows and a Juran Scholar in May.

Selected from 22 doctoral candidate applicants, the fellows are:

  • John Gray, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, $10,000 for Essays on Outsourcing Strategies: The Role of Continuous Improvement and Learning in Sustaining Competitive Advantage.
  • Jared Harris, Carlson, $10,000, Operational Ethics and Quality: Causes and Outcomes of Corporate Misconduct.
  • David Peng, Carlson, $10,000, Achieving Competitive Advantage Through Operations: A Resource Based View.
  • Dan Stewart, School of Social Work, University of Minnesota, $5,000, Linking Statewide Databases: A Strategy To Improve Early Identification and Service Coordination for Children With Disabilities.
  • Dongli Zhang, Carlson, $5,000, The Interaction of Trust and Rational Decision Making in Six Sigma Teams.

Susan Mayer Goldstein, a professor in Carlson’s operations and management science department, received a $10,000 Juran Scholar award for Building Theory for Using Lean Principles in Service Organizations.


Quality Process Analysis Certification Offered by ASQ

ASQ’s certified quality process analyst (CQPA) exam was offered for the first time on May 15 during the World Conference on Quality and Improvement in Seattle.

A quality process analyst is a paraprofessional who, in support of and under the direction of quality engineers or supervisors, analyzes and solves quality problems and is involved in quality improvement projects.

The next COPA exam will be offered Dec. 3, with an application deadline of Oct. 7. For a brochure with details on the certification, call 800-248-1946 or 414-272-8575 or e-mail help@
asq.org, and ask for item number B1462.

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