ISO/Microsoft Standard Document Format Defeated

Microsoft’s request to have its proprietary document format, Office Open XML (OOXML), become an international standard was soundly defeated when put to vote in early September.

ISO/IEC Draft International Standard (DIS) 29500, Information Technology—Office Open XML File Formats, failed on two accounts required by the voting process. Approval requires at least 66.66% of the votes cast by national bodies participating in International Organization for Standardization (ISO)/International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Joint Technical Committee (JTC) 1—ISO/IEC DIS 29500 received 53%.

Additionally, no more than 25% of the total number of the national body votes can cast negative votes. For this proposal, 26% of the votes were negative. The five-month ballot process for the draft standard was open to the ISO and IEC national member bodies.

If the votes are not overturned, the proposal will fail, and the fast-track procedure will be terminated. Microsoft could lose revenue from the profitable government market if OOXML is rejected next year, according to a PC World article, because some governments have mandated the use of document formats that comply with open international standards.

According to an ISO press release, Microsoft proposed a standard for word processing documents, presentations and spreadsheets that is intended to be implemented by multiple applications on many platforms. One of the objectives of achieving the standard is to ensure long-term preservation of documents that were created using programs that are becoming incompatible with new IT programs.

According to Microsoft’s website, the company’s OOXML is part of Microsoft Office 2007, which makes sharing data more efficient and guarantees IT professionals high standards of interoperability.

The relevant subcommittee of ISO/IEC JTC 1 will meet in February 2008 for a ballot resolution meeting, where they will review the comments from the votes and seek agreement on possible changes. The standard could proceed into publication if the proposed modifications are such that national bodies wish to withdraw their negative votes at that time.


World Conference Speakers Announced

The astronaut who played a key role in the return of the Apollo 13 astronauts from the near-disastrous lunar mission in 1970 will be a featured speaker at ASQ’s 2008 World Conference on Quality and Improvement.

In his keynote address, T.K. “Ken” Mattingly will share his experiences in terms of teamwork and leadership. Mattingly, who retired as a U.S. Navy rear admiral in 1989, was also a member of the space shuttle development team and the commander of two shuttle missions. He is currently the president of the Rocket Development Co., which develops commercial rockets for space transportation.

Gregory S. Babe, the president and CEO of Bayer Corp. MaterialScience, will also speak at the world conference. Babe has held several management positions with Bayer since 1980, including vice president of corporate quality.

For conference updates, go to http://wcqi.asq.org.


QP Print, Online Redesigns To Launch in January

This January, Quality Progress readers won’t just be turning the page of their calendars; they’ll turn a page on another chapter in Quality Progress’ design history.

The redesigned Quality Progress will feature a clean, modern look and design features to enhance readability and contribute to readers’ overall experience with the magazine.

“The new design is the culmination of extensive research into what readers expect from media today,” says Seiche Sanders, editor of the 40-year-old flagship publication of ASQ. “People are bombarded with so much information on a daily basis that the way information is presented becomes almost as important as the content itself. This new presentation of QP content addresses our need to remain competitive given readers’ limited time.”

In preparation for the redesign, the voice of the customer was captured in a number of ways, from surveys to focus groups to phone interviews.

“What our research showed was how much readers trust and value QP content, including the peer reviewed articles,” Sanders says. “One request we heard over and over, however, was the need for real-world answers to your specific quality questions or challenges. This resulted in the development of a new department called ‘Expert Answers,’ which gives readers the expert advice they seek in a Q&A format.” The department will debut in January.

The 2006 readership study also revealed readers’ desire to be able to search for and browse QP contents topically. This request was addressed with the redesigned QP website, Sanders says, which will also launch in January and will feature a new URL, www.qualityprogress.com.

“The new functionality of www.qualityprogress.com addresses this need perfectly. Users will be able to browse by topic, sort, store and send articles quickly and easily,” she explains.

The redesigned website will also include web-only content, daily news headlines, and new tools and interactive features.

“The Quality Progress staff is excited to be able to bring these changes to our readers,” Sanders says. “I believe they demonstrate our deep commitment to enhancing our readers’ experience while providing them the valuable tools they need to excel and succeed in their careers.”

Who’s Who in Q

Name: David Steinberg

Residence: Tel Aviv, Israel

Education: Doctorate in statistics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1983.

Current job: Professor of statistics at Tel Aviv University.

Previous jobs: I have spent my entire career in academics, first as a student at UW-Madison, then with post-doctoral work at Stanford University and as a faculty member at Tel Aviv University for more than 20 years.

Introduction to quality: While a student in the department of statistics at UW-Madison, I became familiar with quality. In particular, the work of William G. Hunter attracted me to this area.

ASQ activities: I am the editor-elect of Technometrics, a leading journal on statistical methodology in the engineering, physical and information sciences. Technometrics is a joint venture of ASQ and the American Statistical Assn.

Other activities/achievements: One of the things I like best about statistics is that I’m able to contribute to research in a wide variety of disciplines. In addition to working with industrial colleagues, mostly on the design of experiments, I have collaborated on many medical research projects and have been involved in research on implementation of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Published works: I have published about 70 research articles.

Recent honor: My paper with Dror Hovav, a recent doctoral graduate, was presented at the Technometrics session at a spring research conference in May.

Personal: Married, three daughters.

Favorite ways to relax: Bicycling, listening to classical music and jazz.

Quality quote: Quality is most obviously measured downstream, when products or services reach their customers. So we are often led to focus on downstream activities related to quality: trouble-shooting problems or weeding out defective products. But the most important determinants of quality are usually upstream, when the processes that generate products and services are defined. There is great reward in moving quality improvement efforts to those upstream stages and designing quality into the processes.


Thirty-Eight Teams Enter Excellence Competition

The Team and Workplace Excellence Forum has announced that 38 teams have entered the 2008 International Team Excellence Competition:

  • ALCOA, Newburgh, IN
  • Allegheny Energy Inc., Greensburg, PA
  • Baxter Productos Medicos Ltd., Cartago, Costa Rica
  • Bayer MaterialScience LLC, Pittsburgh (two teams)
  • Boeing Co., Long Beach, CA (four teams)
  • City of Miami Beach, FL
  • CSX, Jacksonville, FL
  • Delphi Electronics & Safety, Kokomo, IN
  • DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee Inc.,
    Maryville, TN
  • FRCSE Mayport, Mayport, FL
  • Healthways, Nashville, TN
  • Housing & Development Board, Singapore (three entries)
  • Kaiser Permanente, Denver (two teams)
  • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Fort Worth, TX
  • Medrad Inc., Warrendale, PA
  • Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division,
    Crane, IN (two teams)
  • New Breed, Swedesboro, NJ
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers, New York
  • Prodapt, Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
  • R. L. Polk & Co., Southfield, MI
  • Sanden International, Wylie, TX (two teams)
  • Sterlite Industries India Ltd., Silvassa, Dadra and
    Nagar Haveli, India
  • Sterlite Industries India Ltd., Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, India (two teams)
  • Stoller, Grand Junction, CO
  • Tobyhanna Army Depot, Tobyhanna, PA
  • U.S. Naval Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional
    Maintenance Center, Yokosuka, Japan
  • U.S. Naval Ship Repair Facility and Japan
    RegionalMaintenance Center Detachment, Sasebo, Japan

Judging of the preliminary round entrants at seven sites across the United States ends Nov. 9.

The final competition will take place during ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement, May 5–7, in Houston.


Women in Quality Network Established

A recently created ASQ network geared toward women in the quality profession has attracted more than 330 members.

The ASQ Women in Quality Network was formed in early September to offer a forum for women to discuss jobs, careers and gender based issues in the workplace, such as work-life balance. The enthusiastic response from members reflects the largest participation during the launch of a network since ASQ started its network program.

The women’s network plans to offer connections to discussion boards and articles. The network will partner with the Leadership Institute—Women with Purpose Inc., for content in some areas. For more information about the women’s network and registration details, visit www.asq.org/communities/women-in-quality/index.html.


Hospital Deficiencies Persist, Recent Report Says

Eighty-seven percent of U.S. hospitals do not take recommended steps to prevent avoidable infections, according to a recent survey by the Leapfrog Group.

Over half of the responding hospitals indicated they have adopted the Leapfrog Never Events policy, a list of actions hospitals pledge to take when rare medical errors occur that were preventable.

Conversely, the Leapfrog Group has recognized 41 hospitals for their quality and safety best practices, based on the results from another recent survey conducted by the organization.

Leapfrog asked 1,285 hospitals to respond to a quality and safety survey and rated the hospitals in four areas: computerized physician order entry, intensive care unit physician staffing, evidence based hospital referral and other safe practices.

The Leapfrog Group is a coalition of corporations and public agencies to improve patient safety. For more information on the survey results, visit www.leapfroggroup.org/news.


Study Highlights Pharmaceutical, Medical Device Quality Practices

A study by Best Practices LLC shows best-in-class pharmaceutical and medical device companies have a ratio of quality personnel to total manufacturing employees between 1:4 and 1:7.

The report, “The Quality Function: Structure, Staffing and Execution,” uncovers best practices in quality taken from survey responses and interviews with seven top pharmaceutical and medical device company leaders, including Abbott, Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline. Best Practices LLC examined the systems, approaches and practices of the companies and compared their structure, staffing, roles and responsibilities of the quality function.

A report excerpt is available at www3.best-in-class.com/rr851.htm.

ASQ News

ADVISORY COUNCIL FORMED The ASQ Public Policy Advisory Council has been formed to counsel the office of the president and the board of directors on issues facing ASQ. Two existing groups—the Issue Action Committee and the Washington Presence—have been combined to form the new advisory council. Kay Kendall, ASQ board member, chairs the new council.

SOCIETY CO-HOSTS NONPROFIT FORUM To expose more nonprofit organizations and associations to quality, ASQ recently
partnered with the American Society of Association Executives’ Center for Association Leadership and the Association Forum of Chicagoland to host the first Nonprofit Quality Forum. Retired Boeing CEO E. David Spong, who led two Boeing divisions to Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards, was the featured speaker at the daylong event.

CGW GRANT AWARDED ASQ has awarded a $15,000 Community Good Works grant to the Partnership for Education in Ashtabula County (PEAC) in Ohio. PEAC plans to use the grant to enhance its outreach program and engage more parents and families on different issues related to the quality of education in the five school districts it covers.

PACT FORMED WITH THAILAND ASQ has agreed to offer its body of knowledge to small and mid-sized enterprises in Thailand through Thailand’s Department of Industrial Promotion. Gary Bargenquast, ASQ’s country councilor in Thailand, spoke at an event marking the signing of the agreement.

Short Runs

DRAFT INTERNATIONAL STANDARD ISO/Draft International Standard (DIS) 9001 Quality Management Systems—Requirements is now available for purchase from ASQ. No new requirements are being added to ISO 9001 during this revision. Instead, the emphasis is on clarifying language. The period for submission of public comments will close at the end of 2007. To order, call 800-248-1946 or 414-272-1946, or go to www.asq.org/quality-press/display-item/index.html?item=T852E (case sensitive) and ask for item T852e.

A NEW FOOD SAFETY STANDARD has been released by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISO 7218:2008 provides requirements and guidance for microbiological examinations of food and animal feed. It is available from ISO’s national member institutes, including the American National Standards Institute at www.ansi.org, and ISO at www.ISO.org.

THE SUPPLY-CHAIN COUNCIL recently debuted a members only benchmarking portal based on the Supply Chain Reference Model. The portal provides global benchmarking insights for setting performance goals, calculating performance gaps and developing company specific roadmaps. For more information, go to www.supply-chain.org.

NEW SIDE IMPACT SAFETY REQUIREMENTS for all vehicles were recently developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For the first time, the standard requires auto manufacturers to provide head protection in side impact crashes. To view the new rule, go to www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles//DOT/NHTSA/Rulemaking/Rules/Associated%20Files/214_Side_Impact_final_Aug_30_2007.pdf (case sensitive).

THE AMERICAN NATIONAL STANDARDS INSTITUTE has agreed to strengthen standards
collaboration with the national standards bodies of Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Thailand. The goal is to achieve common objectives and encourage international trade. For more details, go to http://web.ansi.org/news_publications/latest_headlines.aspx?menuid=7.

THE OFFICE OF THE U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE is seeking comments regarding instances in which standards, certifications or self-declarations of conformance issues have been barriers to trade. Comments are due no later than Nov. 9. They can be e-mailed to FR0717@ustr.eop.gov or faxed to Gloria Blue at 202-395-6143.

THE ANSI-ASQ NATIONAL ACCREDITATION BOARD (ANAB) has acquired Assured Calibration and Laboratory Select Services LLC, expanding ANAB’s range of conformity assessment services to include accreditation of testing and calibration laboratories. For more information, go to www.anab.org.

A NEW ACCREDITATION PROGRAM for drug therapy management services has been unveiled. The Utilization Review Accreditation Commission, an accreditor of health care management organizations, spent more than a year developing the standard and testing for the program. For more information on the accreditation for this specialty health service, visit www.urac.org/press/cmsDocument.aspx?id=526.

THE QUALITY OF HEALTHCARE for more than 80 million Americans enrolled in 767 health plans improved in 2006, but the gains were smaller than in past years, according to a new report by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). NCQA is a nonprofit that accredits and certifies a wide range of healthcare organizations and recognizes physicians in key clinical areas. “The State of Health Care Quality 2007” report is available at no cost at www.ncqa.org.


Voting Standards Guidance Sent To Election Commission

Recommendations for a new set of requirements intended to make future voting systems more secure, reliable and easier for all voters to use have been submitted by an advisory panel to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC).

The recommendations are a rewrite of similar guidelines issued in 2005 by the advisory Technical Guidelines Development Committee, which is chaired by the director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), with technical support provided by NIST staff.

Key recommendations include guidelines that:

  • Allow auditing of voting system records independent from the voting system’s software.
  • Allow each voter to verify the accuracy of a vote before leaving the polling station.
  • Improve voting system reliability and reduce problems with machine failure on election days.
  • Tighten security measures through digital signatures and other means to protect voting system software against unauthorized alterations.
  • Ensure voting systems are relatively easy to use accurately, based on the results of laboratory tests in which participants vote in mock elections.

EAC is expected to conduct public reviews of the recommendations before issuing a final version, most likely in 2009. For more information, go to www.nist.gov/public_affairs/techbeat/tb2007_0913.htm#tgdc.

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