Porsche Ranks No. 1 in Redesigned J.D. Power Study

Porsche, Lexus and Hyundai were the top three brands in an influential annual quality study that for the first time considered design problems as well as defects.

The 2006 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, an industry benchmark, measured new vehicle quality after 90 days of ownership. The format for the study was redesigned this year to record problems with design, such as driver controls and displays. In the past, the study measured only production defects.

As a result, automakers such as BMW—which has been widely criticized for its complex computerized controls for air-conditioning, stereos and many other features—scored poorly in the 2006 study despite having high assembly quality.

“In the eyes of consumers, design flaws can have as much of an impact on their perceptions of quality as can a defect,” says Joe Ivers, executive director of quality and customer satisfaction research at J.D. Power and Associates. “Yet many manufacturers have tended to address quality solely on the plant floor without considering design factors.”

The automakers were measured by their overall problems per vehicle. The study ranked Porsche tops, with an average of 91 problems per 100 vehicles, or less than one per vehicle. Land Rover ranked last among 38 brands, with an average of 204 problems per 100 vehicles.

Because the study changed this year, its results can’t be compared with previous J.D. Power quality surveys, Ivers says. But as in previous studies, Lexus, Toyota and Honda did well.

The top five brands in descending order in the 2006 study were Porsche, Lexus, Hyundai, Toyota and Jaguar.

This was not a great year for U.S. models, Ivers says. Cadillac and GMC finished in the top 10 brands, but only four domestic models were ranked best in the study’s 18 segments.

Most domestic vehicles still finished ahead of Mercedes-Benz, Toyota’s Scion division, BMW, Subaru and Mazda. All those brands ranked below average in this year’s study.

Hyundai has gotten high marks in previous quality studies, and the results this year indicate the Korean automaker is becoming an industry benchmark, Ivers says.


ISO Considers Standards For Crisis Management

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is considering developing standards to improve crisis management and mitigate the effects of natural or man-made major disasters.

About 70 delegates from 30 countries, including 12 developing countries, attended the first meeting of ISO technical committee (TC) 223 in May in Stockholm, Sweden. Three working groups were set up to address societal security management, terminology and command and control, coordination and cooperation.

Corporations, governments and organizations that want to participate or provide input for the work of ISO/TC 223 and the working groups should contact the ISO member in their country (the American National Standards Institute in the United States) for information.


One Year After Katrina, New Orleans Section Still Regrouping

Hurricane Katrina devastated the city and the people of New Orleans a year ago. Included were 125 members of the local ASQ section.

This month marks the one-year anniversary of Katrina, and the ASQ section, like the rest of the city, is finally seeing some recovery.

After the initial disaster, section meetings were put on hold. People had lost their jobs and homes, and many had to leave the state. When the time came to get back in touch with the members and learn their status, section leadership made phone calls and sent e-mails, tracking down 60 members.

The section had a difficult time meeting but kept in touch via a phone chain. The six section leaders divided the list of 60 members into groups of 10, and leaders made monthly calls to share updates. The section also maintained its website at http://asqgroups.asq.org/sectionvolunteercommunity/ region15/section1518.

The first post Katrina meeting was in December to profile DynMcDermott Petroleum Operations, a local company that received the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

“We needed good news,” section chair Ron Schu-lingkamp says of the December meeting.

Since then, the section has managed to meet monthly, with about 25 members usually in attendance. Schuling-kamp says he understands the low turnout.

“ASQ is not important to most of our members at this time in their lives. Members are trying to solve their basic family needs of a home and, of course, jobs.”


Parenting Program in Canada Receives Grant

The Westcoast Family Resources Society (WFRS), a nonprofit organization that provides parenting programs in British Columbia, has been awarded a $5,000 grant from ASQ’s Community Good Works program.

The ASQ Community Good Works program provides money and expertise to help nonprofit organizations improve operations and performance. WFRS is the first Canadian organization to benefit from the program.

WFRS teamed up with Vancouver based JDQ Systems, a consulting firm, and ASQ’s Vancouver Section to analyze office processes and improve quality outcomes. WFRS officials say the organization’s HR practices had been fragmented, decentralized and inefficient, resulting in unsustainable costs.

For more information, go to www.asq.org/communities/good-works.

The FACE of Quality

Name: Connie Faylor.

Residence: Allentown, PA.

Education: MBA from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA.

First job in quality: Quality supervisor for General Motors, 1977-1979.

Current job: Regional manager, Ben Franklin Technology Partners in Bethlehem, PA. Ben Franklin is a nonprofit corporation that is part of a state funded economic development initiative that helps small and medium-sized manufacturers and early-stage firms with innovation and technology.

ASQ activities: Senior member; national director, 2003-2005; treasurer of the board of directors, 2005-2006; current chair of the audit committee; current co-chair of the member-leader communications task force; president of ASQ’s National Koalaty Kid Alliance Board, 1997-2001. Koalaty Kid is ASQ’s K-12 quality in education initiative.

Other activities: Has served as an examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Published works: From 1997 to 2002, contributed articles to every issue of KoalaTymes, Koalaty Kid’s twice-yearly newsletter.

Personal: Married, two grown children.

Favorite ways to relax: Walking, reading, music and cooking.

Quality quote: The foundation of quality is not seen but rather is expressed in leadership that demonstrates respect and dignity for individuals. Positive behavior that acknowledges contributions, differing viewpoints and change is the path to improvement and success.


FDA Issuing Fewer Safety, Quality Citations; Congress Concerned

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is citing fewer companies for poor quality or safety standards despite a relatively constant number of violations by companies, a congressional report says.

The FDA issued 535 warning letters in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2005. This represents a 15-year low and 54% drop from five years earlier, says the report by the Democratic minority staff of the House Committee on Government Reform.

The report, initiated by FDA critic Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), also says FDA headquarters routinely rejected enforcement recommendations of its field inspectors and sometimes responded so slowly it missed internal deadlines to take action.

“The people who’ve been making decisions at the FDA have decided to favor industry,” Waxman said in the report.

The FDA said in a statement that the numbers don’t tell the whole story and that it protects the public by concentrating on high risk cases. It suggests compliance has improved—12% of FDA inspections in 2000 involved serious violations vs. 7% in 2004. Serious violations often result in warning letters that demand companies make fixes or face harsher penalties.

Waxman’s probe started in 2004 after the United States lost half of that year’s supply of flu vaccine when British regulators shut a plant in England because of quality concerns. In 2003, an FDA inspector had called for enforcement action against the plant, but FDA officials disagreed.

In reviewing thousands of pages of FDA documents, congressional investigators found at least 32 cases in which inspectors’ calls for warning letters, product seizures or court injunctions were denied.


ISO Surveys to Learn Whether Customers Value ISO 9001

The International Organization for Standardization has revealed the results of a United Kingdom survey to uncover what consumers know about ISO 9001 certification.

Among the findings:

  • About 26% of the adult population was aware of the standard, with awareness concentrated among working people.
  • There are positive attitudes toward the standard and companies certified to it and perceptions of the products and services of certified organizations as being of higher quality.
  • More positive attitudes are associated with greater awareness.
  • Consumers already aware of ISO 9001 are more likely to choose this factor as their most important issue in purchasing decisions.


Innovation, Healthcare Top ASQ’s Washington Summer Agenda

In meetings this summer with lawmakers, ASQ has offered its support of President Bush’s American Competitiveness Initiative and a healthcare bill now before Congress.

The American Competitiveness Initiative proposes increased federal funding for research and development in math and science education, including the development of new workforce training systems and standards for assessing program effectiveness and efficiency. It has spawned a bill, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act.

ASQ leaders also met with staff for senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Barack Obama (D-IL) to discuss the National Medical Error Disclosure and Compensation Act, which the senators introduced last September. The legislation aims to promote safety in healthcare by encouraging open communication between patients and providers, reducing preventable errors, ensuring patients have access to fair compensation for medical injury due to error and reducing the cost of medical liability insurance for healthcare providers.

If passed, the bill would establish an Office of Patient Safety and Health Care Quality, which would report to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. The offie would be responsible for establishing a national patient safety database, a national medical-error disclosure and compensation program and a national grant program.

Short Runs

THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ACTION GROUP’S (AIAG’s) Supply Chain Institute has launched a quality core tools certification. The five-year certification verifies the effectiveness of quality training received from any organization. According to AIAG, it is the first program of its kind. For more information, go to www.aiag.org.

THE JOINT COMMISSION ON ACCREDITATION OF HEALTHCARE ORGANIZATIONS (JCAHO) has announced its 2007 national patient safety goals and requirements for its accreditation and certification programs. The goals and requirements apply to the nearly 15,000 JCAHO accredited and certified healthcare organizations and programs. The full text of the 2007 goals and requirements is posted at www.jointcommission.org/patientsafety/nationalpatientsafetygoals.

THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY (NIST) recently awarded grants totaling $4.5 million to five organizations affiliated with NIST’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) to assist manufacturers in Gulf Coast regions hit by 2005 hurricanes. The funding is going to the Mississippi Technology Alliance, Louisiana MEP, Alabama Technology Network, Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center and Florida MEP.

THE JAPAN QUALITY ENGINEERING SOCIETY (QES) has given Mazda the first ever Taguchi Award. According to QES, the Taguchi Award is given to an organization that strengthens its approaches to R&D and production, delivers solid business performance outcomes and improves its engineering quality. Mazda’s Production Engineering Division was selected as the company’s recipient organization.

THE EAST TEXAS MANUFACTURERS ASSN. has presented 10 scholarships to students from five high schools in an area where manufacturers need employees. The scholarship program is designed to help students pursue manufacturing careers by attending Texas State Technical College in Marshall.

A CALL FOR PAPERS has been issued for Statistics in Biopharmaceutical Research, a new journal being published by the American Statistical Assn. For information or to submit manuscripts, go to http://sbr.allentrack.net.

THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY has donated its directory of health IT standards to NIST. The move will expand NIST’s Health Care Standards Landscape (HCSL), a web based repository of healthcare standards. The National Alliance’s directory contains more than 2,100 listings for health IT standards and information on the 430 organizations that created them. For more information, go to www.nist.gov.

THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF NANOMANUFACTURING has announced a call for papers for a special issue titled “Design of Experiments in Nanomanufacturing.” The deadline for submissions is March 30, 2007. For more information, go to www.inderscience.com/ijnm or e-mail hbnembhard@psu.edu.

THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION has announced the availability of a guidance document, “Q9 Quality Risk Management.” The guidance provides principles and examples of tools for quality risk management that can be applied to all aspects of pharmaceutical quality throughout the lifecycle of pharmaceutical substances and products and biological and biotechnological products. For additional information, go to www.raps.org.

BOB KING, president of the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB), was a presenter at the recent National Environmental Partnership Summit 2006. He participated in a panel on new developments in environmental management system standards with ASQ members Susan Briggs and Chris Spire, both also members of the ANAB accreditation council. Briggs also is a Quality Progress “Standards Outlook” columnist.

A TOTAL OF 86 APPLICATIONS were filed for the 2006 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards. That number includes three for manufacturing, four for service, eight for small business, 45 for healthcare, 16 for education and 10 for the new nonprofit category, part of a pilot program this year. Sixty-four organizations applied for Baldrige awards in 2005—one for manufacturing, six for service, eight for small business, 33 for healthcare and 16 for education.


100,000 Lives Campaign Declares Victory

A nationwide campaign to reduce unnecessary deaths in U.S. hospitals has been declared a success.

The campaign saved about 122,300 lives in its first year and a half, according to campaign organizer Donald Berwick. More than 3,000 hospitals have participated in the campaign, adopting evidence based procedures to prevent infections and medical errors.

The campaign is sponsored by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a nonprofit organization Berwick founded after reading a 1999 Institute of Medicine report that estimated that 44,000 to 98,000 Americans unnecessarily die each year as a result of suboptimal care.

The 100,000 Lives campaign was launched in December 2004.

Participating hospitals agreed to adopt one or more of a number of changes, including deploying rapid response teams at the first sign of patient decline, delivering reliable, evidence based care to prevent deaths from heart attacks and implementing medication reconciliation to prevent adverse drug events.

For more information, go to www.ihi.org.

ASQ News

INTERNATIONAL MEMBERS CELEBRATE ANNIVERSARY ASQ members in the United Arab Emirates celebrated ASQ’s 60th anniversary in June. The event included a debate on implementing ISO 9001 and a question and answer session on the future of the quality profession. The Toronto section is planning a 60th anniversary celebration on October 18. For more information on the Toronto event, go to www.asqtoronto.org.

SIX SIGMA FORUM ROUNDTABLE SCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER The sixth annual Six Sigma Forum Roundtable will be Sept. 14-15 at Hyatt Regency Pier 66, Fort Lauderdale, FL. The event features presentations on applying Six Sigma in various industries and networking opportunities. As in previous years, ASQ will offer its Six Sigma Black Belt certification exam onsite prior to the roundtable’s opening. ASQ will also offer its new Six Sigma Green Belt certification exam. For more information, go to www.asq.org/conferences/six-sigma-roundtable/ index.html.

TECHNICAL CONFERENCE TURNS 50 The 50th Annual Fall Technical Conference will be in Columbus, OH, Oct. 12-13. J. Stuart Hunter will open the conference as the plenary speaker. For more information, go to www.asq.org/cpi/conferences.

NAVY RECOGNIZES FIRST GROUP OF LEAN SIX SIGMA BLACK BELTS ASQ recently joined Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter in presenting lean Six Sigma Black Belt certifications to 44 naval service personnel. Earlier this year, the Department of the Navy teamed with ASQ to develop the lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification. The 44 certifications were the result of a pilot program. ASQ will conduct another certification exam in late September for an expected 100 participants.

DEADLINE FOR DECEMBER EXAMS APPROACHING The application deadline for the Dec. 2 certification exams is Oct. 6. The Dec. 2 certified quality engineer (CQE) exam will be the first one based on the new CQE body of knowledge. For more information, go to www.asq.org/certification.

SERVICE QUALITY CONFERENCE KEYNOTES ANNOUNCED The Service Quality Division’s annual conference will be Sept. 18-19 in Las Vegas. The keynote speakers will be John Timmerman, vice president, quality and productivity for Ritz-Carlton, and Marsha Petrie Sue, author of The CEO of You. For more information, go to www.asq.org/conferences/service-quality/index.html.

MEASUREMENT DIVISION NEEDS VOLUNTEERS The Measurement Quality Division is looking for volunteers to fill various positions. Division chair Graeme Payne is asking members to consider joining the following committees: events and programs, audit, strategic planning, membership, nominating and education. The division is also looking for a vice chair of member services, vice chair of outreach and regional councilors. For more information, e-mail graeme.asq@gksystems.biz.

ASQ MEMBER LEADER SPEAKS AT SOUTH KOREAN CONFERENCE Kathy Lynn, chair of ASQ’s certification board, was a keynote speaker at this summer’s International System Certification Conference, hosted by the Korean Standards Assn., an ASQ WorldPartner. Lynn’s speech focused on the benefits of ASQ certifications.

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