Making Retailers Responsible?

Retailers—not just manufacturers—might need to test the products they put on store shelves to make sure they’re safe.

Earlier this year the head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said the agency might need to sharpen its focus on retailers to ensure the safety of products, especially foreign made goods such as toys.

According to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal, many of the 15,000 household products regulated by the agency are made in countries outside the United States, as most were when the agency began operating in 1973. At that time, most of the agency’s enforcement efforts were focused on product manufacturers.

U.S. companies that sell the products have “the ultimate responsibility at the end of the day to make sure that their products are safe, and if they do not, we will take enforcement activity (to) the product sellers,” said Nancy Nord, CPSC’s acting chairman, in The Wall Street Journal report.

This policy shift depends on what happens with product safety legislation before Congress. Late last year, Congress had approved an additional $80 million for CPSC, and plans have already been announced to expand inspection of imported goods using those new funds, according to the report.

Report recommendations

ASQ’s latest Quarterly Quality Report is consistent with CPSC’s concerns about the lack of oversight with foreign made goods. Importing companies “need to take more responsibility for their inadequate assessment of risks in dealing with foreign suppliers, insufficient supplier development, and a lack of discipline in applying quality basics with suppliers,” the report says.

The ASQ report calls for a number of preventive actions, including stronger consumer protection measures and an increased capacity of federal consumer protection agencies.

In the report, ASQ also recommended that U.S. companies: increase on-site monitoring, reinforce discipline in supplier quality basics, look beyond price when building relationships with suppliers and raise the competency level of overseas suppliers.

To view the Quarterly Quality Report or download a PDF, visit www.asq.org/quality-report/reports/200801.html.


Metrology the Focus of New ISO/IEC Guide

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) have published a new version of their guide on the vocabulary of metrology and its application.

ISO/IEC Guide 99:2007 provides guidance on the concepts and terms used in various approaches to measurement. It covers measurements in chemistry and laboratory medicine for the first time, while incorporating concepts related to metrological traceability, measurement uncertainty and nominal properties.

Copies of the guide can be ordered from ISO at www.iso.org or from ISO member institutes, including the American National Standards Institute at www.ansi.org.


State's Healthcare Performance Measures Gain Acceptance

Wisconsin’s automated healthcare performance measures, the Medicaid Encounter Data Driven Improvement Core Measure Set (MEDDIC-MS), are ready for the National Center for Health Statistics’ international classification of disease, ICD-10-CM, and are compliant with the federal government’s Physician Quality Reporting Initiative.

Upgrading to ICD-10-CM has not been mandated yet, but several U.S. healthcare agencies have taken note of the performance measures:

  • In 2007, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recognized Wisconsin’s MEDDIC-MS measures for inclusion in its “Quality Measure Compendium.”
  • The Center for Health Transformation included the measures in its Transforming Example Resource Center.
  • The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality added the MEDDIC-MS tobacco dependence treatment and obesity prevention and treatment measures to its national quality measures clearinghouse.

A feature article on Wisconsin’s efforts ran in QP (Gary R. Ilminen, “Improving Healthcare Quality Measurement,” December 2003, pp. 62-66) and can be accessed at www.asq.org/data/subscriptions/qp/2003/1203/qp1203Ilminen.pdf.

Who’s Who in Q

Name: Navin Shamji Dedhia.

Residence: San Jose, CA.

Education: MBA, Golden Gate University, and master’s degree in electrical engineering, Tennessee Technological University.

First job in/related to quality: After graduating from the University of Bombay in 1963, Dedhia worked at Polychem Limited in Mumbai, India, in the plant engineering group. The work included planning the preventive and corrective maintenance of equipment, and the instrument and utility system.

Current job: Quality management systems consultant.

Previous jobs: Hitachi Global Storage Technologies quality systems group and IBM storage systems division quality assurance group.

ASQ activities: Audit committee chair of the Inspection division; member of the division relations and advancement committee of the Silicon Valley section.

Published works: More than 150 papers, newsletter articles, columns and conference papers in various quality related publications in the United States, Australia, India and the U.K; Quality from Many Perspectives, Parts I & II, D. L. Shah Trust, 1998.

Recent honor: Harrington-Ishikawa Medal from the Asia Pacific Quality Organization in Shanghai, China.

Personal: Two daughters living in San Jose.

Favorite ways to relax: Exercising, walking, sightseeing, playing cards, reading and watching movies.

Quality quote: Learning is a lifelong activity, and learning never stops with graduation. Learning shows a way to innovate, keeps the mind active and helps you to be better and excel.


March 18, 1891

QP looks back on an event or person that made a difference in the history of quality.

Walter Shewhart, considered the father of statistical quality control, is born in New Canton, IL.

Regarding the intersection of science and quality, Shewhart once said: “Both pure and applied science have gradually pushed further and further the requirements for accuracy and precision. However, applied science, particularly in the mass production of interchangeable parts, is even more exacting than pure science in certain matters of accuracy and precision.”

Source: www.sigma-engineering.co.uk/light/shewhartbiog.htm


The number of business teams from around the world that are scheduled to compete in the 23rd annual International Team Excellence Award competition.

Judging spans several months and ends at ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement on May 5-7 in Houston.

Teams from Costa Rica, Singapore, Japan, India and the United States will compete for gold, silver and bronze awards.

Conference attendees can observe team project presentations. The teams use quality tools and other creative methods to demonstrate their projects.

For more information, visit http://wcqi.asq.org/team-competition/index.html.


Healthcare Conference Speakers Announced

ASQ has announced the keynote speakers for the Quality Institute for Healthcare (QIHC) Conference, May 5-7 in Houston:

  • Heather Woodward-Hagg, College of Technology at Purdue University West Lafayette, IN.
  • Robert Sutter and Jonathan Flanders of the Juran Institute, Southbury, CT.
  • Keith Poole and Brian Hudson of St. Francis Healthcare, Muncie, IN.
  • Anantha Kollengode and Muhanad Hirzallah of Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.
  • Jason H. Goto of AnalysisWorks Inc., Vancouver, British Columbia.

QIHC will be held concurrently with ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement. For more information on QIHC, visit http://qihc.asq.org.


Quick Poll RESULTS

Each month at www.qualityprogress.com, readers can take a short, informal survey, and we post the results. Here are the numbers from the most recent Quick Poll.

Does your organization use Six Sigma and/or lean?

  • Both: 41.7%
  • Neither: 37.8%
  • Lean: 12.4%
  • Six Sigma: 7.9%


QP’s website tallies the number of visitors and the hits each story receives.

The following is a recent ranking of the most popular articles that can be found at www.qualityprogress.com.

  • “2007 Salary Survey,” Hank Lindborg and QP staff.
  • “Improve Your Audit Interviews,” by ASQ’s Quality Audit ision and J.P. Russell.
  • “Root Cause Analysis for Beginners,” by James J. Rooney and Lee N. Vanden Heuvel.
  • “10 Quality Basics,” many contributing authors.
  • “After Six Sigma—What’s Next?” by Søren Bisgaard and Jeroen De Mast.

ASQ News

REACH ONE BIG ONE ASQ is offering 1,000 ASQ Bucks for members who bring in an organizational member. Visit www.asq.org/eoro for details on the Each One Reach One Refer a Member program.

MARKING 60 YEARS ASQ’s Cincinnati Section recently celebrated its 60th anniversary. Events are planned throughout the year to mark the occasion.

BRANCHING OUT The ASQ Universidad Tecnológica de León student branch was approved at the February meeting of the ASQ board of directors. The new member community was organized by student branch counselor Ruben Garcia Ortegon and his team of student leaders.

Short Runs

MANUFACTURING ENGINEERING magazine’s web streaming video channel, METV, now offers two complete video programs online each month on demand. The magazine and METV are products of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. The March program lineup is “Composite Materials and Manufacturing” and “Power Metallurgy,” while April will feature “Rapid Prototyping and Casting.” The offerings can be viewed at www.manufacturingengineering.tv.

A NEW RABQSA OFFICE will open this month in Seoul, South Korea. The certification body already has operations in Athens, Greece; Sydney, Australia; and Milwaukee. For more information, visit www.rabqsa.com.

A NEW BROCHURE from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) explains ISO and IEC guides that have wide general interest to standards writers, consumer representatives and others involved with standards. For a list of guides covered in the brochure and information on ordering, go to www.iso.org/iso/pressrelease.htm?refid=Ref1101.

THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA) recently updated its list of consensus standards for evaluating medical devices before approving them for market entry. “Recognition List Number: 019” features nearly 100 changes and 20 newly recognized standards. The full list can be viewed on the FDA website at www.fda.gov.

TWO HEALTHCARE CENTERS were recognized earlier this year for the quality patient care they provide. Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle and Baylor Health Care System in Dallas received awards from the Leapfrog Group, a coalition of corporations and public agencies to improve patient safety. For more information on the awards, visit www.leapfroggroup.org/news.

THE AMERICAN STATISTICAL ASSN.’S Quality and Productivity Section is offering the 2008 Natrella Scholarship, which supports student participation in the Quality and Productivity Research Conference June 4-6 in Madison, WI. The scholarship application deadline is March 17. For details, go to www.amstat-online.org/sections/qp/Natrella_Scholarship.htm (case sensitive).

THE AKAO SCHOLARSHIP from the Quality Function Deployment (QFD) Institute features cash awards and complimentary admission to the institute’s Green Belt certification course. The application deadline is April 14. For further details on the scholarship, visit the institute’s website at www.qfdi.org/akao_scholarship.htm.

--Richard Kornbau, 03-14-2008

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