World Conference Marks ASQ’s 60th Anniversary

Quality professionals from around the world will gather at the 2006 World Conference on Quality and Improvement May 1-3 at the Midwest Airlines Center in Milwaukee. This year’s conference celebrates ASQ’s achievements of the past 60 years.

“As we celebrate a special time in our remarkable history, we look forward to welcoming others into our journey toward the future,” says Jerry Mairani, ASQ president.

In addition to industry specific sessions, highlights of the World Conference will include:

  • Findings from ASQ’s new futures study—looking ahead at the key forces that will shape the future of quality during the next decade.
  • International Team Excellence Live Competition—29 teams, 13 of which are from outside the United States, will compete for top honors in quality improvement.
  • Executive Roundtable—an invitation only event for business leaders to share stories and discuss issues from outsourcing and the energy crisis to workforce development and leadership. Roundtable speakers will include Kevin Jones, vice president of quality, Lockheed Martin, and James McCaslin, president/CEO, Harley-Davidson.
  • Keynote speakers—see “Keeping Current” in the March issue of QP for details.

ASQ also plans to celebrate its anniversary with recognition programs for current members of five years or more, discounted rates on select training tools, special feature articles in ASQ publications and an anniversary website at www.asq.org/60. The site includes an ASQ timeline, stories submitted by members and a calendar of anniversary related events.


ANSI Cites Standards’ Role in Winter Olympics

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recently said standards played a critical role in the 2006 Winter Olympic Games by covering the equipment used in many events.

One example cited was the 2005 International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) standard to test safety of skiing equipment, including boots, binding screws and the skis themselves. Specifically, ISO 5355:2005 covers safety testing of ski binding systems.

Another standard published by ISO in 2005 covered the interlock mechanism systems of step-in boots used by snowboarders. It requires testing of each potential combination of boot and binding system.

Ice hockey athletes relied on protective headgear tested according
to ASTM International’s standard designed to reduce the risk of head injuries. In addition to establishing head coverage requirements, ASTM F1045-04 provides specifications for testing the strength and elongation of the chinstrap and testing the helmet’s shock absorption properties.


PBS Airing Documentary on Systems Thinking in Hospitals

PBS will air a one-hour documentary in April and May called “Good News: How Hospitals Heal Themselves.” The documentary reports on solutions to escalating costs, unnecessary deaths and waste in America’s hospitals, focusing on the rising use of Toyota management principles and systems thinking.

The documentary highlights the SSM Health Care system, which uses the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria to teach systems thinking. The quality methods in use at SSM were introduced by CEO Sister Mary Jean Ryan and former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill.

A companion how-to book, The Nun and the Bureaucrat—How They Found a Simple, Surprising Solution to a Deadly National Healthcare Problem, is available from www.managementwisdom.com.

Broadcast times of the documentary vary by city. Go to www.pbs.org for more information.

The FACE of Quality

Name: Chad Kymal.

Residence: Ann Arbor, MI.

Education: Master’s degree in industrial and operations engineering and an MBA, both from the University of Michigan.

First job in/related to quality: Welding engineer at General Motors (GM). While an undergrad at GM Institute, Kymal wrote a thesis on using laser welding on automotive steel components, spurring GM to start using the technology. Today, all GM transmission parts and car body stampings are welded with lasers.

Current job: Founder and chief technical officer of Omnex, a training and consulting firm in Ann Arbor, MI; founder and CEO of Omnex Systems, a software company, also in Ann Arbor.

ASQ activities: Received the Automotive Division’s 2005 Quality Professional of the Year award.

Other activities: Served on the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award board of examiners; assisted in defining the QS-9000 requirements and the ISO/TS 16949:2002 customer specific supplemental requirements; conducted the first worldwide witness audit for the QS 9000 quality requirements.

Published works: Conducting Effective Process-Based Audits: An Auditor Handbook for ISO/TS 16949:2002 (Paton Press, 2006); The ISO/TS 16949 Implementation Guide: Gaining Value From Your ISO/TS 16949 Implementation (Paton Press, 2004); How to Audit ISO 9001:2000: A Handbook for Auditors (Paton Press, 2002); and several articles.

Personal: Married; one son and one daughter.

Favorite ways to relax: Instructing others on using Integrated Amrita Meditation.

Quality quote: The challenge for the quality professional is to move quality away from product quality to the overall quality and well being of the business. In other words, quality is not just about the quality management system but is really about the business management system. Dur-ing these challenging times, especially in the automotive industry, top management involvement and quality initiatives are keys to making quality and cost improvements. Are we quality professionals ready to lead our organizations and senior management in the right direction?


Green Belt Certification Launches on Eve of World Conference in Milwaukee

Five years after ASQ held its first Six Sigma Black Belt (BB) certification exam, it will conduct its first Six Sigma Green Belt (GB) certification exam. The exam will be held April 30 in Milwaukee.

The GB certification establishes a standardized body of knowledge for what a GB should know. “There are so many different trainers out there and individuals who claimed to be certified, so this program was developed to set the standard,” says Sally Harthun, ASQ’s certification manager.

The certification took GBs and BBs about eight months to develop and will debut in conjunction with the World Con-ference on Quality Improvement, May 1-3. Harthun says she expects a very good response both domestically and internationally.

The GB exam also marks the first time ASQ is selling online preparation courses for certifications; the courses will be part of ASQ’s Foundations in Quality series. For more information on the GB preparation course, go to www.asq.org/self-directed-learning/certified-six-sigma-greenbelt/index.html.

For more information on GB certification, go to www.asq.org/certification/six-sigma-green-belt/index.html.


ACSI Shows Widening Gap in Satisfaction Within Industries

According to the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), customer satisfaction in U.S. organizations varies widely, often among businesses within the same industry.

Produced by the University of Michigan, the ACSI reports on different sectors each quarter. For the fourth quarter of 2005, it focused on retail, finance and e-commerce.

Satisfaction in the retail industry is down almost 2% to 77.6. Much of this decline can be attributed to the results of one company, Home Depot. Its score slipped six points to a 67, suffering the largest drop of any organization measured this quarter. Other companies in the retail category either held steady or saw a rise in perceived quality. For example, Lowe’s scored a 78.

The satisfaction score in the finance category dropped slightly from 78.7 to 78.5. Within that category, the banking industry remained steady at 77 but experienced differentiation among businesses. Wachovia led with a 79, while Wells Fargo fell to 67. Both Wachovia and Wells Fargo have undergone mergers recently, which usually result in disruptions to customer service quality. But this doesn’t seem to be the case with Wachovia.

Satisfaction in e-commerce rose to 85.6 from 84 the previous quarter. Again, there was sharp contrast among players. In the e-commerce retail industry, Amazon.com rose from 84 to 87, while 1-800-FLOWERS.com dropped from 79 to 77.

To view the latest ACSI report, go to www.theacsi.org/ fourth_quarter.htm.


SME and Project Lead the Way To Pilot Summer Program

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers Education Foundation (SME-EF) and Project Lead the Way (PLTW), a not-for-profit organization that offers pre-engineering courses to middle and high school students, are collaborating on a summer educational program. The program will feature courses in manufacturing, engineering, science and technology in three pilot cities—Los Angeles, San Diego and Rochester, NY.

SME-EF will provide PLTW up to $125,000 in grants for the pilot program and solicit the support of local SME chapters. PLTW will develop four introductory courses for middle school students, provide instructors and oversee implementation. Both organizations will evaluate the efficacy and effectiveness of the program.

Sherril K. West, president of SME-EF, says, “In an economy with emerging technologies rapidly challenging the knowledge of its workers, the United States has to develop a new workforce to meet the challenge of a job market in which the demand for science and engineering workers continues to erode U.S. dominance.”

PLTW has pre-engineering programs in more than 1,400 middle and high schools in 45 states. The STEPS (science, technology and engineering preview summer) camp, offered by SME-EF since 1997, has involved more than 4,000 students in five states.

In 2006, STEPS camp will expand to seven states through corporate funding from the Cater-pillar Foundation, DaimlerChrysler and Ford.

For more information, go to www.sme.org/foundation or www.pltw.org.

Short Runs

THE QUALITY FUNCTION DEPLOYMENT INSTITUTE has issued a call for papers for its 18th symposium scheduled for Dec. 2 in Austin, TX. Paper proposals related to both completed projects and those still in progress will be considered up until May 31. For details, go to www.qfdi.org/call_for_papers.htm.

ALKA JARVIS IS THE NEW CHAIR of the U.S. technical advisory group (TAG) to technical committee (TC) 176 on quality management and quality assurance. The TAG represents U.S. interests in the development of the ISO 9000 series of standards, which is being revised for a 2008 release. Jarvis is the manager of corporate quality at Cisco Systems in San Jose, CA. She succeeds Jack West, who chaired the group for nine years. For more information on the U.S. TAG to TC 176, go to http://standardsgroup.asq.org/quality-management/tc176/index.html.

THE W. EDWARDS DEMING INSTITUTE will conduct a theory and practice seminar April 24-26 in Boston. The focus will be on how organizations can prevent faulty management and corporate governance practices that create most quality, cost and competitive problems. For information, go to http://deming.org/calendar/twoandhalfdayseminarapril2006.html.

THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ACTION GROUP (AIAG) will run side-by-side conferences with Quality Expo Detroit, June 7-8 in Novi, MI. Quality Expo Detroit features supplier displays of inspection, test and measurement equipment, along with workshops covering quality management systems, statistical process control, Six Sigma and lean. The first AIAG Best Practices Summit will feature three session tracks: product lifecycle management, quality and global metrology. For more information on Quality Expo Detroit, go to www.qualitydetroit.com or call 800-840-5688. For details on the AIAG Best Practices Summit, go to www.aiag.org or call 248-358-3003.

THE AMERICAN HEALTH QUALITY ASSOCIATION (AHQA) recently released new standards for its member quality improvement organizations (QIOs). AHQA member QIOs are consulting groups that help Medicare recipients and care providers receive and deliver appropriate healthcare services and reduce medical errors. The standards address QIO board and executive compensation, board diversity and independence, travel expenses and procedures to prevent and mitigate conflicts of interest. For more information, go to www.ahqa.org.

THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY (NIST) is slated to receive $581 million for laboratory research and facility upgrades under President Bush’s American Competitiveness Initiative, according to the fiscal year 2007 budget request Bush submitted to Congress. The NIST budget is divided into three appropriations: scientific and technical research and services ($467 million), construction of research facilities ($68 million) and industrial technology services ($46.3 million). NIST is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. For more information, go to www.nist.gov/public_affairs/budget.htm.

THE JOINT COMMISSION ON ACCREDITATION OF HEALTHCARE ORGANIZATIONS (JCAHO) and the National Quality Forum are accepting applications for the 2006 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Awards. The awards recognize individuals and healthcare organizations that are significantly improving patient safety and quality. Nomination forms are available at www.jcaho.org and www.qualityforum.org or from JCAHO’s customer service center, 630-792-5800. The deadline for nominations is May 1.


Board of Directors Names New Fellows

ASQ’s board of directors has elected 24 new Fellows this year.

According to ASQ bylaws, Fellow membership may be awarded to a member who has 15 years of quality related experience, meets minimum score requirements across six professional categories, is sponsored by peers and en-dorsed by his or her ASQ section or division and has been a Senior Member for five years or longer.

This year’s Fellows are Joan H. Alliger, Glenn W. Bodin-son, Roderick T. Bothwell, Harold Floyd Brubaker, Subir Chowdhury, Ha Dao, Alexis P. Goncalves, Thimmiah Gu-runatha, Philip R. Heinle, John W. Jennings III, Michael Paul Kress, Robert M. Krone, Jing Ling, Dennis K.J. Lin, Geri Markley, William J. McCabe, John C. Schottmiller, Wayne E. Schwartz, Lawrence M. Seiford, Donald L. Sie-bels, R. Timothy Stein, Frank K. Toda, Floyd J. Washburn and Peter-Theodor Wilrich.

For an article about the benefits of achieving Fellow membership, see p. 49.


ASQ To Present Healthcare Program To Congress Members

As part of its ongoing efforts in Washington, ASQ will host an expert panel discussion on quality and healthcare for members of Con-gress.

The panel discussion will be held April 26 for the 21st Century Health Care Caucus, a bipartisan organization of more than 20 House members seeking to expand the use of information and IT to drive measurable improvements in the quality, safety and efficiency of healthcare.

The discussion coincides with the last day of the Quest for Excellence conference in the nation’s capital, which will showcase the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award winners for 2005. ASQ members who are past Baldrige winners in the healthcare category are expected to participate.

Healthcare also was the topic of recent meetings between ASQ representatives and staff for Rep. Tammy Baldwin (R-WI). Baldwin is a member of the 21st Century caucus and also serves on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. She has been involved in many initiatives to improve the U.S. healthcare system, particularly for the uninsured.

Other recent ASQ meetings in Washington focused on the National Innovation Act of 2005, introduced in December 2005 by Senators John Ensign (R-NV) and Joe Lieberman (D-CN). The proposed legislation, touted by President Bush in his 2006 State of the Union address, calls for a comprehensive approach to spurring U.S. business innovation and investment in science, engineering and research. ASQ has offered to lend its expertise to this effort.

ASQ News

GET PUBLISHED BY ASQ Potential authors seeking publication in ASQ’s journals and magazines can learn how to write and submit articles during the World Conference on Quality and Improvement. QP editor Debbie Phillips-Donaldson will present “Writing for ASQ’s Periodicals” on Tuesday, May 2, from 2 to 2:45 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee. For more information, e-mail editor@asq.org or call 800-248-1946 x7295.

GOOD WORKS PROGRAM AWARDS GRANT TO COUNTY ASQ’s Community Good Works Program has presented a $5,000 grant to Milwaukee County to assist it in implementing a Six Sigma pilot program. The money will be used to purchase software that will statistically track the progress of the program. While Six Sigma has been applied by the city of Fort Wayne, IN, this is the first time it will be used at the county government level. For more information, go to www.asq.org/communities/good-works.

ASQ OFFERING BLOGS Visitors to ASQ’s website can access quality related blogs at www.asq.org/blog. Short for weblog, a blog is a writer’s online journal. There are currently three ASQ blogs, covering Sarbanes-Oxley, quality in education and healthcare efficiency. Each blog is written by an ASQ member, and visitors may post comments. ASQ members may also suggest their own blogs.

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIP TURNS ONE YEAR OLD ASQ organizational membership, an option for businesses and other institutions still in its pilot phase, turns a year old in April. The membership category focuses on customization—org-anizational members start with a base package of access to content and may add optional enhancements. The first organizational member was Boeing, signing up on April 19, 2005. Alcoa is the newest, bringing the total to eight. For more information, go to www.asq.org/membership/organizations/overview.html.

SECTION CONTRIBUTES TO UNIVERSITY’S QUALITY PROGRAM ASQ’s San Fernando Valley Section 706 has given $20,000 to California State University, Northridge to bolster its quality management programs. The endowment will be divided equally between the College of Business and Economics and the College of Engineering and Computer Science. The money will be used, among other things, to provide scholarships to students interested in studying quality.

ASQ TO HOLD WORKSHOP ON CHINA CERTIFICATION MARK In conjunction with the Chinese Certification and Accreditation Administration and the Chinese Quality Center, ASQ is holding a workshop on the requirements of the Chi-na Compulsory Certification (CCC) mark. Similar to the United States’ Underwrit-ers Laboratories mark, the CCC mark is a regulatory mark for manufactured products marketed, imported or used for any commercial purposes in China. The workshop, held during the World Conference, will be May 2, 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Mid-west Airlines Center in Milwaukee. For more information,
e-mail ttam@asq.org or gweiler@asq.org.


NQF Recommends Patient Safety Classification System

The National Quality Forum (NQF) is endorsing the first nationally standardized consensus framework for classifying patient safety data.

The classification instrument, called the patient safety event taxonomy (PSET), provides a structure to categorize and analyze occurrences that threaten patient safety. An occurrence is defined as any risk, event, error, hazardous condition or set of circumstances that has harmed or could harm patients.

PSET was developed by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) in August 2005, granting it special legal status as a voluntary consensus standard. JCAHO developed the tool with the help of representatives from provider and health professional organizations and the federal government.

Pressure to collect, understand and learn from patient safety data is growing, encouraged by a burgeoning healthcare consumerism movement and a new federal law, the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005. Such data will not be useful, however, until they are standardized, aggregated and analyzed, according to NQF.

NQF says PSET fills this void and will lead to fewer healthcare errors and better quality. Medical errors are among the top 10 causes of death in the United States.

“We have to begin systematically analyzing safety problems, and we have to do it at system and nationwide levels if we want to make significant strides in improving patient safety,” says Robyn Y. Nishimi, interim CEO of NQF. “This represents a needed step to gather better data to improve healthcare safety.”

For an executive summary and portions of the NQF report that endorses PSET, go to www.qualityforum.org.

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