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Frost and Sullivan has presented its 2004 Mechanical Test Company of the Year Award to GE Inspection Technologies.

The award was given at Frost and Sullivan’s annual Excellence in Industrial Technologies Awards Banquet in recognition of GE Inspection Technologies’ overall performance in the nondestructive testing equipment industry and its commitment to developing technology-driven inspection solutions.

GE Inspection Technologies, formed by GE’s acquisition of the Agfa NDT business unit, benefits from the legacy of NDT technology development and product innovation of both parent organizations.

"GE Inspection Technologies has gained industrywide recognition in the NDT industry as a near-total solutions provider by virtue of its significant presence in the radiography, ultrasonic and hardness tester equipment markets worldwide," says Jaidev Ram Mohan, a Frost and Sullivan industry analyst.

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Axsys Technologies Inc. has acquired Telic Optics Inc., a privately owned manufacturer of infrared optics and optical assemblies.

Headquartered in North Billerica, Massachusetts and founded in 1986, Telic employs 32 people and sells its products to manufacturers of thermal imaging cameras, defense prime contractors and research laboratories that design systems used in long-range reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting applications for the defense and homeland security markets.

Axsys is a leading supplier of metal optics and opto-mechanical assemblies used in reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting applications, primarily for air- and space-based applications. The acquisition of Telic provides Axsys with several strategic benefits.

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The International Organization for Standardization has launched a Web site to support the International Conference on Social Responsibility to be held on June 21 and 22 in Stockholm, Sweden.

As well as addressing the practical aspects of the conference--including online registration and the program--the site includes the report prepared by the ISO advisory group on social responsibility. The social responsibility report reviews initiatives and identifies issues that should be taken into account by ISO. In addition, the site contains the advisory group’s recommendations to ISO.

One of the group’s key recommendations is that ISO should only proceed with a guidance document in the area of social responsibility under specific conditions. All interested parties--including those unable to participate directly in the conference--are encouraged to submit comments and recommendations via the Web site.

The report, recommendations from the advisory group and feedback from the conference and Web site will assist ISO in deciding whether or not to propose the development of international standards or other ISO tools addressing the social responsibility of organizations. Any proposal would be subject to a vote by all ISO members.

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Members of an American National Standards Institute delegation have collaborated with senior representatives of the world’s leading radio, information and communications technologies standards organizations in Seoul, Korea, at the ninth Global Standards Collaboration meeting.

Among the ANSI delegates were Amy Marasco, ANSI vice president and general counsel, and Dan Bart, co-chair of the ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel and member of the ANSI Board. Bart also led the delegation for the Telecommunications Industry Association in his role as TIA senior vice president of standards and special projects.

Marasco delivered a presentation on intellectual property rights and standards, providing examples of recent updates in the areas of patents, copyright and antitrust. Bart delivered a presentation on the ANSI-HSSP. ANSI-accredited standards developers also in attendance included TIA, the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions and several ANSI company members.

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Rath & Strong has published Whose Fault Is It Anyway? A Modern Fable About Six Sigma (2004).

In the tradition of quality-focused books such as I Know It When I See It (AMACOM, 1991), Rath & Strong’s latest entry comes on the heels of its most recent bestseller, The Six Sigma Pocket Guide (2000).

Intended to be both entertaining and informative, the 92-page book aims to help readers experience what it feels like to implement Six Sigma and run a project.

Whose Fault Is It Anyway? is set at Forgiveness Inc., a company that provides organizations with plausible explanations for their failings so they can break the news gently when customers have been disappointed. The struggling hero of the fable, Paul Bowes, is selected to lead the company’s foray into Six Sigma.

Written from Bowes’ perspective as a newly-trained Black Belt, the book takes readers through the ups and downs of his training, projects, experience with Six Sigma’s systematic approach to process improvement and the politics he encounters beneath the veneer of cooperation.

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Diagnosing heart attacks may become an even more precise science with the advent of the first of a series of new clinical standards issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Standard Reference Material 2921--human cardiac troponin complex--is intended to help manufacturers develop and calibrate assays that measure specific protein concentrations in patient blood samples to determine whether a heart attack has occurred.

The SRM is a solution containing certified concentrations of three related proteins including cardiac troponin I, purified from human heart tissue from cadavers. Users can calibrate their assays by analyzing the SRM and comparing the results to the NIST-certified value for troponin I. The standard is expected to help reduce variations in clinical test results from as much as 50-fold on the same sample to twofold. "It’s a big first step toward getting the system under control," says Michael Welch, leader of the NIST development team.

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TUV America Inc. has added Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series 18001 services to its repertoire.

OHSAS 18001 is an occupational health and safety assessment series for occupational health and safety management systems created to enable organizations to control occupational health and safety risks and to improve performance.

In response to an increasing demand by organizations that their suppliers be registered to the standard, TUV will now conduct OHSAS 18001 audits and award accredited and unaccredited registrations to the standard.

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The National Committee for Quality Assurance has released its annual report, "The Value of Care and Caring About Value."

Focused on health care quality, the report is intended to benefit employers and consumers showing increasing interest in the topic.

"Questions about value are being asked, particularly among purchasers, because we are wasting tremendous resources in our health care system and sometimes harming patients as well," says NCQA president Margaret E. O’Kane. "Medical technologies, the types of health plans being offered, the role of the patient and the way we buy health care have all been transformed. To continue to drive quality improvement, NCQA’s measures and methods must evolve accordingly. This means measuring value."

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By: Dave Wojczynski

The first article in this series, "What the Doctor Didn’t Order But Should Have," established a case for business improvement in the outpatient health care sector. More important, it provided real-life examples of how a Six Sigma framework can help outpatient facilities overcome fundamental challenges common to the industry.

In this month’s column we’ll explore one of the biggest opportunities for Six Sigma: its relationship with technology.

Health care’s appetite for technology is enormous. Although most technological advances in the industry focus on new procedural or equipment breakthroughs, recent legislation has spurred technological development at the administrative level as well. Current deadlines established by the government through mandatory Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations, combined with increasing competition in the outpatient sector, have intensified the drive to bring technology to all aspects of health care. The opportunities for improving and automating processes at facilities and clinics are limitless.

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Worldwide Conventions and Business Forums has scheduled its 2004 "Successfully Implementing Six Sigma in Financial Services" conference.

The conference, which is generally regarded as the preeminent Six Sigma conference for the financial service industry, will be held June 23 and 24 at the Westin New York Hotel at Times Square in New York. Preconference workshops will also be offered on June 22nd. Experts will meet to reveal how Six Sigma is driving sustained improvements in productivity, customer satisfaction and loyalty in order to reduce costs and increase revenue and profit.