World Conference 2007:

Fueling Innovation in Orlando

More than 2,200 quality professionals filled the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, for ASQ’s annual World Conference on Quality and Improvement, April 30-May 2. Highlights of the event included a keynote speech by former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, the results of the first contested ASQ officer election and a record number of winners in the Inter-national Team Competition.

Shalala Speaks About Quality Tools For Healthcare, Education

Shalala, the keynote speaker on Tuesday, May 2, talked about using quality tools to solve problems during her time as chancellor at the University of Wisconsin and in her current role as president of the University of Miami.

She also spoke at length about her recent appointment as co-chair of the President’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Soldiers. The commission was created to investigate Wal-ter Reed Army Medical Center after several negative reports surfaced dealing with the quality of veteran care at the facility.

Shalala said U.S. veterans hospitals provide good care but weren’t prepared for the influx of patients from the current war in the Middle East. In World War II, for every soldier killed, one was injured, Shalala said. In contrast, for every soldier killed in the Iraq war, 16 are injured.

Shalala also spoke about the presence of women in math and science fields. She had just served on a panel that found women are very well represented in those fields but are underrepresented in postgraduate study, a disparity she said she’d like to find ways to change.

Futurist and innovation expert Jim Carroll and author and consultant Adam Kahane, were also World Conference keynote speakers.

Nichols New President; Saco Wins President-Elect Race

ASQ announced the names of its officers for the 2007-08 term at the annual business meeting, held in conjunction with the World Conference. Current ASQ president Ron Atkinson will become the new chairman, and Michael Nichols, who is currently president-elect, will move into the president position.

For the first time in recent memory, three candidates were in contention for the president-elect position, and two competed for treasurer.

Roberto Saco defeated current vice president Grace Duffy, with 53.8% of the total votes to Duffy’s 29.9%. Daniel Sniezek finished third with 15.2%. E. David Spong is the new treasurer (52.6%), defeating current treasurer Hope Gonzales (46.5%).

Every November, ASQ’s nominating committee selects a slate of candidates for the officer positions, and the list is immediately announced to members. The nominating committee’s recommendations are ratified at the annual business meeting, unless there is a “candidate by petition,” which forces an election in which all members can vote. For more information on election rules, see ASQ’s bylaws at www.asq.org/about-asq/how-we-do/pdf/2007-bylaws.pdf.

This year, Duffy, Sniezek and Gonzales were candidates by petition. ASQ mailed ballots to all members, and about 4,600 were returned. Saco and Spong, the nominating committee’s original choices, emerged the winners.

All officers will assume their duties July 1.

Boeing Impresses in International Team Excellence Competition

Boeing took three of five awards in the International Team Excellence Competition at this year’s World Conference. Twenty-two teams competed in the final round of the 22nd annual event. For the first time ever, there was a three-way tie for the silver award.

The winners were:

Gold: Boeing Co.’s Boeing C17 Stuffed Tailcone Team

Responding to safety concerns raised by factory personnel, the team used problem solving tools to correct unsafe conditions during installation processes. It also initiated process improvements in quality, cost and scheduling.

Silver: Department of Children and Families, Suncoast Region’s Team ScanIt

Team ScanIt developed, piloted and implemented an electronic imaging system to receive, store and retrieve all paperwork associated with the region’s 190,000 public assistance cases. The project improved accessibility to information, eliminated rework, and saved the organization more than $260,000 in its first year and more than $300,000 annually since.

Silver: Boeing Co.’s Boeing C17 OBIGGS II Team

The C17 on-board inert gas generating system (OBIGGS) II team developed a new system to protect fuel tanks from explosion, enhancing the reliability of the company’s new inerting system.

Silver: Boeing Co.’s Boeing C17 World-Class Safety Team

By benchmarking other companies, involving safety consultants and using root cause analysis, the team developed an integrated safety management system. The project was in response to high injury rates and workers’ compensation costs.

Bronze: CSX Locomotive Fuel Process Improvement Team

This team increased shutdown time of idling locomotives, reducing fuel consumption across CSX. Using various qualitative, quantitative and project management tools, the team generated savings of more than 14 million gallons of fuel worth $28 million.

For information on how to enter next year’s International Team Excel-lence Competition, contact Geetha Balagopal at 800-248-1946 x7303 or

Other World Conference Highlights

Gabriel Smith and Kelly Smith of Southern Illinois University Carbondale took first place in the student technical paper competition for “Analyzing Student Perception on OFAT and TOA Methods” … Seventeen companies participated in the ASQ Career Fair, now in its second year at the World Conference … During the global quality organization reception, ASQ signed an agreement with Universidad Tecnológica de León to promote quality and offer ASQ courses in Guanajuato, Mexico … Read more about the World Conference in the World Conference blog at www4.asq.org/blogs/wcqi-2007.

Looking Ahead

The next World Conference on Quality and Improve-ment will be May 5-7, 2008, in Houston. Proposals for sessions and preconference tutorial programs are due Aug. 1. For more information, go to http://wcqi.asq.org.


New DVD Showcases 2006 Baldrige Winners

A DVD containing in-depth looks at the three recipients of the 2006 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award is available from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Featuring separate and extensive interviews with the chief executives of Mesa Products Inc., Tulsa, OK (small business category); North Mississippi Medical Center, Tupelo, MS, (healthcare category); and Premier Inc., San Diego (service category), the DVD also includes a composite video showcasing all three recipients and a video of the March 13 Baldrige award ceremony in Wash-ington, DC.

The DVD can be purchased for $35 plus shipping and handling from ASQ by calling 800-248-1946 or 414-272-8575, using item number T1516. For more information, go to www.quality.nist.gov.


WHO Releases Patient Safety Solution Guide

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Patient Safety Solutions has compiled nine ways to prevent the healthcare errors that harm millions of people annually.

The patient safety solutions are available for use by WHO’s 193 member states. According to WHO’s website, the purpose of the solutions is to “guide the redesign of care processes to prevent inev-itable human errors from actually reaching patients.”

The nine issues patient safety solutions address are: look-alike, sound-alike medication names; correct patient identification; hand-over communications; correct procedure at the correct body site; control of concentrated electrolyte solutions; medication accuracy; catheter and tubing misconnections; needle reuse and injection device safety; and hand hygiene.

The Joint Commission and Joint Commission Inter-national have acted as WHO’s Collaborating Centre on Patient Safety Solutions since 2005. The organization developed the patient safety solutions with the assistance of an international steering committee of patient safety experts and patient representatives, as well as regional advisory councils in Europe, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.

For more information or to view the complete patient safety solutions, go to www.jointcommissioninternational.org/solutions.

Short Runs

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION ISO/TS 22003:2007 from the International Organization for Standardization provides information, criteria and guidance for auditing and certifying food safety management systems to ISO 22000:2005. For additional information, go to www.iso.ch/iso/en/commcentre/pressreleases/2007/Ref1048.html (case sensitive).

RABQSA INTERNATIONAL HAS LAUNCHED a security management system auditor certification system that meets the requirements of the International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 17024 for competency based personnel certification. For information, go to www.rabqsa.com.

THE SOCIETY OF PLASTICS ENGINEERS is accepting applications for two scholarships for graduate work in polymer composites that has impact on ground transportation. The scholarships, worth $2,000 each, will be given in honor of long-time composites industry leader and journalist Steve Loud. Applications are due June 30 and are available at www.speautomotive.com/comp.htm. Winners will be announced in early August.

THE 2007 LEAPFROG HOSPITAL QUALITY and safety survey is now available online for any U.S. hospital to complete. The survey assesses hospital performance based on four quality and safety practices endorsed by the National Quality Forum. Survey data are publicly displayed and updated monthly on the Leapfrog Group website, www.leapfroggroup.org. To participate in the survey, follow the link on the homepage.

ASQ News

ANOTHER ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBER JOINS L-3 Communications, headquartered in New York City, recently became ASQ’s 10th organizational member. L-3 employs more than 63,000 people worldwide and is a contractor specializing in aircraft modernization and maintenance. For more information about organizational membership, go to www.asq.org/membership/organizations/overview.html.

STATE OF THE SOCIETY REPORT AVAILABLE The 2007 State of the Society report, titled “Enriching Lives Through Quality,” is available at

NEW JOURNAL EDITOR Effective July 1, Jim Evans will be the editor of Quality Management Jour-nal (QMJ). Evans is the director of the Total Quality Management Center at the University of Cincinnati, where he is also an adjunct industrial engineering professor. He succeeds Barbara Flynn of Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, who served as QMJ editor for 10 years. For more information on QMJ, go to www.asq.org/pub/qmj.

MULTIMEDIA CASE STUDY LIVE ASQ’s website now has its first multimedia case study, “Quality Strategies Help Eliminate Likelihood of Serious and Deadly Injuries,” by Jeanne Chircop. The article is about Xcel Energy, which used quality tools to improve its fire safety clothing and, in turn, improve employee safety. The case study includes three embedded videos, pulled from one of Xcel’s training videos. To view the article with Quicktime videos, go to
www.asq.org/pdf/case-studies/25521-quicktime-video.pdf. To view the article with Windows Media videos, go to

Who’s Who in

Name: J. Gerald Suarez

Residence: Springfield, VA

Education: Doctorate in industrial-organizational psychology from the University of Puerto Rico

Current jobs: Executive director of the quality enhancement systems and teams honors program at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, where he teaches in the decision and information technology department. Suarez is also the academic director for executive on-site programs for Lockheed Martin Corp. and Scientific Applications International Corp.

Previous job: Director of presidential quality at the White House, the first person to hold the position; initiated efforts to instill systems thinking, quality management and organizational redesign into the White House Communications Agency, the White House Military Office and the Office of the President

Introduction to quality: As a graduate student, attended W. Edwards Deming’s four day seminar, which he says, “served as a catalyst in shaping my perspective on the importance of appreciating how to bring about value to systems of all kinds”

Published works: Articles in several periodicals, such as the Harvard Deusto Business Review, Revista Zona Comercial, Journal for Quality and Participation, Quality Management Journal and Executive Excellence

Personal: Married, three children

Favorite ways to relax: Running, yoga and especially tennis; calls the beach his “favorite retreat”

Quality quote: Some of the most important components that one needs for the advancement of quality defy measurement. How do you measure tenacity, desire, courage and intent? The human dimension is critical. Achieving quality is about people and their ability to use their knowledge, understanding and wisdom to create the future they desire. It is about the collective pursuit of a better quality of life and standard of living in the most efficient and effective way.


A Closer Look at Food Safety and Quality

Since March, millions of packages of pet food have been re-called and thousands of pet deaths might be linked to melamine found in wheat gluten imported from China and used in the pet food. The massive recall has some people calling for tighter import regulations and has spurred talk of food safety and quality issues related to all forms of food.

In most cases of tainted food making it to store shelves, a lack of management or managers not paying attention to detail is to blame, says Steve Wilson, a member of the board of directors for ASQ’s Food, Drug and Cosmetic Division. Wilson works for the U.S. Depart-ment of Commerce Seafood Inspection Program.

“There was more than one system check that could have been in place to prevent this issue from having occurred,” he says. “You rely on the process and verification of the process to make sure you don’t have these kinds of problems.

“Nobody wants to produce unsafe or tainted food, because you ruin the chance of selling another pound of product after that,” he adds.

John Surak, ASQ standards chairman for the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Division and independent consultant, agrees.

“You have to have systems in place within the entire food chain so that you have proper packaging [and] proper handling of the equipment, and so you don’t have this cross contamination of chemicals in food products or with food additives,” Surak says.

“Simply by making the process robust, you eliminate the probability for the cross contamination to occur,” Wilson adds. He also says companies should separate items and only allow select people access to certain areas to further prevent cross-contamination.

Both Surak and Wilson say companies can, and are, accountable for tainted food making it to store shelves.

“Companies are held accountable by law, and they’re held ac-countable by the market,” Surak says. “By law, if tainted food makes it to the stores shelves, and it causes injury, corporation executives and other employees can be held criminally liable.” It gets much more difficult, however, in the international marketplace, he adds.

Surak says current food regulations are adequate, but they’re designed to protect the consumer and are designed to be the minimum standard.

“What we are looking at now [is] how do we build a more robust food safety and quality management system?” he says.

The International Organization for Standardization developed ISO 22000 in 2005 to help ensure safe worldwide food supply chains. The standard applies to food safety management systems and the requirements for any organization in the food chain—ranging from feed producers to transport and storage operators to retail and food service outlets.

Wilson says the ISO 22000 standard is exactly what food producers need to prevent incidents like the recent pet food contamination.

“It was well defined, documented and developed,” Wilson says. “The issue is whether or not people adopt the standard. Unless it’s adopted, evaluated and audited, it’s almost useless.”

Look for a more in-depth story about the importance of food standards and process control in ASQ’s Quarterly Quality Report, due out in early June.

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