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By: Quality Digest

Hexagon AB has agreed to acquire the South Korean company Korea ErFa Systems Engineering Co.’s metrology business.

Hexagon will continue Korea ErFa’s operations under the name Hexagon Metrology Korea. The company will initially have a sales turnover of $1.3 million comprising commissions on sales of new coordinate measuring machines and aftermarket services. The new company will employ nine people.

ErFa systems has represented Hexagon Metrology’s products in Korea during the last few years. Last year, its machine sales in Korea amounted to $4 million. The ErFa systems acquisition is part of Hexagon Metrology’s larger effort to reinforce its global presence in new machine sales and aftermarket services.

Hexagon AB is a multinational engineering group. The operation is divided into four business areas: Hexagon Automation, Hexagon Engineering, Hexagon Metrology and Hexagon Polymers.

For more information, click here.

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(IQS: North Olmsted, OH) -- IQS Inc. has released its OptiMetrix Integration Engine, an enterprise performance management application that enables real-time, bidirectional transfer of APQP information throughout the automotive manufacturer supply chain.

OptiMetrix IE uses native messaging agent technology and electronic data exchange through XML documents across multiple tiers of supply chains. The technology enables low-cost data integration with manufacturers’ existing APQP systems and provides a means of reducing nonvalue-added costs using open standards based on XML and Web services.

“Our OptiMetrix IE represents breakthrough integration technology that enables critical product design and engineering data to pass quickly and accurately throughout multiple layers of the supply chain,” says Michael Rapaport, IQS president and CEO. “With OEMs planning a record number of product launches this year, the ability to compress the product launch cycle and speed time to market will affect manufacturers’ profitability in a very significant way.”

The technology is available to the automotive industry in both on-site and hosted, on-demand versions. For more information, click here.

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By: Quality Digest

GOAL/QPC has published Six Sigma for Business Leaders, (GOAL/QPC, 2004) a book authored by Gregory H. Watson.

The book provides practical guidance to executives and managers as they design and implement Six Sigma programs. It’s the fourth in GOAL/QPC’s series of books on Six Sigma. "Our earlier books target the Master Black Belt, Black Belt and Six Sigma project team members as the principal audience," says Bob Page, GOAL/QPC’s product development director. "Six Sigma for Business Leaders shines the spotlight on the executive and managerial roles that are critically important for successful implementation."

To write the book, Watson drew from his experience in implementing Six Sigma with management teams in North and South America, Europe and Asia. "A unique feature of the book is that it provides answers to 50 of the most frequently asked questions from managers about the implementation and management of Six Sigma programs," says Watson. "These questions are derived from the experiences I encountered as a consultant to more than 25 Six Sigma program deployments in a variety of organizations."

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By: Quality Digest

The National Quality Institute has offered a new line of customer and employee satisfaction online surveys.

The surveys were developed in response to the increasing desire of organizations to better understand the needs of their customers, clients and patients--as well as the needs of their employees. The new surveys are intended to offer a cost-effective means of accurately gauging this information.

The online surveys provide tools to augment both custom performance improvement programs as well as those based on NQI PEP, ISO 9001:2000, AIM accreditation criteria or other management systems.

For more detailed information, including sample screens depicting the surveys, click here.

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By: Quality Digest

PQ Systems Inc. has released an updated version of its popular CHARTrunner application, which includes a Microsoft Excel add-in that allows users to draw charts from within Excel.

CHARTrunner, a stand-alone charting tool for general statistical process control charting, eliminates data entry and streamlines the process of statistical analysis. The program reads data residing not only in Excel, but also in Access, SQL Server, Oracle and many other data sources.

Because data resides in familiar database formats, no data re-entry or transfer is necessary for statistical analysis. The updated version allows users to produce high-quality, clear statistical charts without exiting Excel.

For more information about CHARTrunner, click here.

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By: Ronald Ames

As a methodology, Six Sigma has been around since the 1980s. Yet it took a couple of U.S. industry giants, Allied Signal and GE, to draw the world’s attention to the benefits the program offers businesses. Even so, many companies fail to integrate Six Sigma into their corporate cultures due to a number of different causes. This article will examine some of the problems and their solutions.

Late at the gate: nonstarters

Let’s first analyze the reason why companies decide against implementing Six Sigma in the first place. In the adult learning model, we’re taught that our first learning phase is "unconsciously incompetent." In other words, we aren’t aware of our ignorance. Many company leaders see the initial cost of Six Sigma and say, "It’s too expensive for us," Yet many of those companies incur costs of waste many times what they’d would spend on Six Sigma. They don’t know or can’t commit to the investment because they can’t quantify its benefit. But for the Six Sigma practitioner, the first in the define phase is to calculate the entitlement. This is the heart of the methodology: committing to the savings and timing at the outset.

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By: Suzan Fischer, Michele Economou-Ureste and Norma Simons

(Publisher’s Note: This article, is reprinted with permission from THE INFORMED OUTLOOK, in which it first appeared in Nov. 2003.)

Following the ISO 9001:2000 transition, the future of quality management continues to align with that of business management. The challenge in both cases is for organizations to move beyond baseline practices provided by traditional management approaches. Companies that fail to rise to the challenge could lose their competitive edge or their existence in an increasingly global marketplace.

Continual improvement, which was made explicit in the generic quality management system requirements of ISO 9001:2000, is the element that can provide security to organizations that effectively pursue it throughout their operations. In the aerospace sector, this security is provided by AS9100A, Quality Systems-Aerospace-Model for Quality Assurance in Design, Development, Production, Installation and Servicing, which was published in August 2001 and is aligned with ISO 9001:2000.

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By: Quality Digest

George Group, DeLeeuw Associates Inc. and iSixSigma have formed a strategic alliance to create an Internet portal for the financial services industry, focused specifically on the application of Six Sigma.

The cobranded portal, named iSixSigma Financial Services, is intended to facilitate improvements in quality and efficiency within the financial services industry by providing free and easy access to educational and reference materials, case studies, best practices and other information designed specifically for financial services professionals.

The portal began operating on Jan. 1 and has already attracted thousands of financial services professionals interested in using Six Sigma in their operations. Thousands of referrals from other sites indicate the portal is already being received as a useful resource.

"This project is a unique and comprehensive resource for the financial services industry," says Michael George Sr., chairman and CEO of George Group. "iSixSigma, George Group and DeLeeuw Associates share a common vision for this portal to be the global learning and communications platform for financial services professionals."

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By: Quality Digest

Seagate Technology, a leading disc drive company, has earned sixsigmaIQ’s annual Six Sigma Excellence Award for the best design for Six Sigma project.

Seagate received the award for its project, "Deployment of Design for Six Sigma in Seagate’s U Series Disc Drive." Other finalists for the award included projects from Ford Motor Co. and Raytheon. A panel of experts from Motorola, Johnson & Johnson, ABB, Honeywell and Lockheed Martin considered the entries.

The sixsigmaIQ award, which rewards best practices and exceptional innovation, was presented at the Annual Six Sigma summit in Miami last month. An independent division of the International Quality and Productivity Center, sixsigmaIQ launched the awards program to recognize real-world achievements that result from Six Sigma implementation all over the world.

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By: Quality Digest

A recent study indicates that most leading companies target quality by incorporating lean simplification and demand flow techniques with Six Sigma defect reduction.

The survey, conducted by Best Practices LLC on behalf of the Global Benchmarking Council, features 84 companies in manufacturing, transportation, health care, communications, financial services and other industries. It’s intended to identify the most prevalent practices for implementing lean, Six Sigma and other productivity platforms.
The complete results of the survey are available for free online by clicking here and entering QPFRES1 in the coupon field during checkout.