U.S. regulators hope to improve China’s exports with office in Beijing
By opening an office in Beijing and establishing a permanent, physical presence in a country under great international scrutiny for its exports, U.S. regulators are hopeful they can ensure Chinese products are safe for Americans.
Plans for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to establish its first permanent office in China’s capital city must be approved by the Chinese government, but the office is ready to open next month.
"I naturally feel it is a step in the right direction, and it will give agencies and manufacturers in China an immediate point of contact for questions and direction regarding consumer product regulatory requirements, without having to somehow try to communicate with Washington, D.C.," said Randall Goodden, chairman of ASQ’s product safety and liability prevention interest group.
These U.S. regulators plan to educate Chinese manufacturers about new requirements under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which went into effect in August. The act imposes tough standards for lead and chemicals in products intended for children age 12 and under.1
Goodden, who visits China regularly to conduct product safety and product liability prevention seminars, said the Chinese government was already looking to improve the way its manufacturers complied with regulatory requirements. The government has invested in new testing equipment and inspection capabilities for inspectors visiting each province, he said.
John Surak, a food safety consultant and ASQ member, said the proposed CPSC office in Beijing "shows that the U.S. is serious," but U.S. companies should also be serious about importing products from China.
"It’s a good idea, but I don’t think this takes care of all the problems," Surak said. "Companies importing from China have to take on the responsibility to ensure that products are safe. You can’t just do everything by e-mail. You have to have people go over there and be there and do audits."
—Mark Edmund, associate editor
1. Dikky Sinn, "U.S. seeks China office to ensure export safety," The Associated Press, July 20, 2009.
Survey: Manufacturing Execs Cautiously Optimistic
As the economy struggles to gain momentum, 57% of manufacturing executives are cautiously optimistic about the outlook for the next six months, and more than two-thirds (70%) plan to keep staff levels steady, according to a recent survey by Baker Tilly.
While many executives are guardedly optimistic, there are pockets of pessimism, especially among small companies, according to the survey.
Executives are more pessimistic about the outlook for the manufacturing sector than the economy, with slightly less than half (47%) expressing optimism.
The key factor dampening the manufacturing outlook is the lack of customer demand, which was cited by nearly half of respondents (45%) as the greatest challenge to the expansion of their companies.
For more on the survey, visit www.bakertilly.com/userfiles/News%20Release-MfgSurvey-072109.pdf (case sensitive).
Businesses Still Struggle With Data Quality
Large businesses continue to struggle with measuring and maintaining data quality, according to a recent Pitney Bowes report.
While many survey respondents said good quality data was a major corporate asset, they also admitted that measuring and improving data quality across a business remains challenging. The lack of interest from top executives was cited most often as the barrier to data-quality initiatives.
Of the companies surveyed, 37% said they have a data-quality initiative in place, and 17% said they have no plans to begin a data-quality initiative.
For more details from the report, titled "The State of Data Quality Today," visit http://gw.vtrenz.net/?hok8w99t1r.
ASQ: Healthcare Reform Requires Improvement Tools
Process improvement tools must be used to free up resources to meet the wide-ranging aims of healthcare reform efforts in the United States, ASQ representatives recently told members of Congress.
In a white paper delivered during recent committee meetings on Capitol Hill, ASQ outlined five areas of healthcare reform most in need of attention: waste, incentive alignment, IT implementation, sustainable culture change and workforce education.
Breakthroughs in healthcare reform can result from approaching the situation like a company might approach designing a new product that is less costly and more effective, ASQ contends in its white paper. The document was developed by the ASQ Healthcare Division as part of ASQ’s advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C.
To read the paper or an executive summary, visit www.asq.org/advocacy/issues-actions/20090806-quality-healthcare-reform.html.
Capitol Q is a regular Keeping Current feature that highlights ASQ’s advocacy efforts with government leaders. More information can be found at ASQ’s Advocacy Room at www.asq.org/advocacy/index.html.
Feigenbaum Honored by Russian Quality Group
The Russian Organization for Quality (ROQ) has awarded Armand V. Feigenbaum with the group’s Ilyin Medal for his scientific expertise and contributions to quality management.
Genady Petrovitch Voronin, president of ROQ, awarded Feigenbaum the medal, which is named after Ivan Aleksandrovich Ilyin, a Russian philosopher and futurist considered "the poet laureate of the modern Russian quality movement."
Established in 2001, the ROQ is one of the newest quality organizations in the world.
FUTURE OF QUALITY
NIST, ASQ Host Dialogue on Future of Quality
Organizations and entrepreneurs that have achieved success through quality should be held up as examples so they can inspire others to pursue quality and organizational excellence and make a difference.
That’s one of the messages that came from discussions among business, education and healthcare leaders at a recent summit hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and ASQ.
Leaders from high-profile companies and organizations—such as Motorola, Google, IBM, Best Buy, Pfizer and Hewlett-Packard—participated in the event and talked about the future of quality and what directions quality can take to make a lasting impact on business and industry.
NIST and ASQ have prepared a complete report of the dialogue that took place at the June meeting. Access the report at www.asq.org/knowledge-center/future-of-quality-dialogue.html.
STUDY GUIDES Handbooks to help prepare for each of ASQ’s 14 certification exams have been released. Each of the 14 handbooks is organized to reflect the respective bodies of knowledge and includes sample questions and exams. Prices of the books range from $69 to $139. Call ASQ at 1-800-248-1946 for specific pricing and ordering information.
AUDIT CONFERENCE ASQ’s Audit Division will hold its 19th annual conference Oct. 15-16 in Tucson, AZ. The conference will focus on the auditor’s role in achieving an effective audit result to provide management with accurate data to make decisions. Visit www.asq.org/conferences/audit/index.html for more information.
CGW AWARDS GRANT The Partnership for Education in Ashtabula County (PEAC) in Ohio has received a $15,000 Community Good Works (CGW) continuation grant, the largest education grant awarded by ASQ and the second CGW grant presented to PEAC for its community partnership initiative. The program supports quality improvement efforts in five school districts. For more information about the grant criteria and application process, visit www.asq.org/communities/good-works.
PACT WITH WUHAN ASQ has signed an agreement with the Institute of Quality Development Strategy (IQDS) of Wuhan University in China to cooperate in academics, project research and student involvement. As part of the pact, ASQ agreed to make its quality body of knowledge and related material available to IQDS. Find details at www.asq.org/media-room/press-releases/2009/20090720-wuhan-university.html.
CONNECTING TO BRAZIL Former ASQ President Jerry Mairani was a keynote speaker at the 10th International Congress for Change Management and the 14th Quality Awards event held recently in Porto Alegre, Brazil. About 2,500 people attended. ASQ’s Food, Drug and Cosmetic Division hosted an exhibit at the event, the first time it had done so in Brazil.
COMPANIES THAT CERTIFY recyclers of electronic equipment under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Responsible Recycling Practices now can be accredited by the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board. For more information, visit www.anab.org.
SKATEPARK OWNERS AND OPERATORS, as well as equipment designers and manufacturers, will be the users of a new American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard. ASTM F2334, Guide for Above Ground Public Use Skatepark Facilities, was developed by subcommittee F08.66 on sports facilities. The standard addresses basic safety and performance requirements related to skatepark equipment within an above-ground public skatepark facility. For details, visit http://astmnewsroom.org/default.aspx?pageid=1844.
Joint Conference Set
ASQ and the Society of Health Systems (SHS) are planning a joint conference early next year focused on healthcare quality and process improvement.
Healthcare quality professionals, performance improvement specialists and other healthcare professionals are invited to gather Feb. 25-28, 2010, in Atlanta for education sessions, daily workshops and the chance to network with one another.
SHS, a society within the Institute of Industrial Engineers, is the largest professional association focused on the needs and advancement of healthcare performance improvement professionals and concepts.
QP ONLINE ON PAPER
Quick Poll Results
Each month, visitors can take a short, informal survey, and we post the results.
Here are the numbers from the most recent Quick Poll:
"What has the biggest impact on customer satisfaction?"
- Quality of the product or service 81.7%
- Price of the product or service 10%
- Competition’s offerings 4.3%
- Current economic climate 4%
Visit QP’s home page for the most recent poll question posted:
"Is Six Sigma on the way out?"
- Can’t predict
There’s more to QP online than just the magazine’s website. Join the Quality Progress magazine group on LinkedIn, become a fan of Quality Progress on Facebook or follow QP editors on Twitter (ASQ_Seiche, ASQ_Mark, ASQ_Brett and ASQ_Nicole). It’s just another way to stay connected to QP and other quality professionals to answer questions or discuss today’s hot topics.
Who’s Who in Q
Name: Nada Y. Fida.
Residence: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Education: Fida holds a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from King Abdul-Aziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and a master’s degree in total quality management from the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in Alexandria, Egypt.
Current Job: Fida works as a laboratory analyst for Saudi Arabian Airlines (the national carrier of the kingdom) Medical Services, responsible for its quality management system and preparation activities for certifying the laboratory to ISO 17025.
ASQ Activities: Fida has been an ASQ member since 2007.
Other Activities/Achievements: Recently, Fida participated in the second Quality Conference Dubai. She has been appointed as a consultant for the International Academy for Training. She is a quality management systems lead auditor, certified by the International Registrar of Certified Auditors to ISO 9001, an environment management systems lead auditor to ISO 14001 and a professional certified trainer from Canada.
Fida is also a member of the Saudi Quality Council and the International Training Academy of Canada. To promote quality awareness among women in the Saudi community, Fida volunteers her time and speaks at public and private education institutions.
Recent Honor: Star lady of the week in the Okaz newspaper in June.
Published: More than 30 presentations and lectures on different quality topics, including quality and education, in Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Gulf region.
Quality Quote: Quality professionals and practitioners must work hard to influence public opinion on the relevance and importance of quality issues. My personal and ultimate goal is to transfer methods and approaches from different cultures to enable successful implementation and deployment of quality programs and applications in Saudi Arabia.