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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.

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By: Quality Digest

IXPERION has scheduled this year’s American and European Six Sigma in Finance conferences for April 20 and 21 in Chicago and May 25 and 26 in London.

The events will respond to the growing demand for an unbiased information platform focused exclusively on Six Sigma for finance operations that are tightly regulated and prone to substantial financial risk. Presidents, vice presidents and senior Six Sigma leaders will gather in Chicago and London to discuss how to reduce variation and enrich their strategies with Six Sigma tools.

"All senior quality practitioners speaking at the conferences see Six Sigma as a strategic management goal," explains Uwe Brunssen, conference director at IXPERION. "Six Sigma is increasingly accepted as the best approach to creating clear deliverables and providing a universal internal language in the financial industry."

Organizations presenting at the conference include GE Mortgage Insurance, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, HSBC, Zurich Financial Services, Motorola, the U.S. Mint, Lloyds TSB, JP Morgan Chase Asset Management, Wachovia, Capital One, Wells Fargo Bank, Toshiba, Sun Microsystems, Skandia and NCR Finance, among others.

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By: Quality Digest

StatSoft Inc. will hold a STATISTICA training seminar in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, April 13-15. The deadline for registration is March 29.

The seminar is divided into two courses that emphasize step-by-step examples of analysis, interpretation and conceptualization strategies. The courses are:

  • Introduction to STATISTICA (April 13-14, $800)
  • ANOVA/Regression using STATISTICA (April 15, $400)

StatSoft Inc. will conduct seminars in many U.S. cities throughout the year. For dates and course offerings, click here.

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By: Quality Digest

BSI Management Systems is offering its suite of medical devices management system training courses in Minneapolis and Boston this spring.

BSI’s courses are intended to help organizations registering to ISO 13485:2003. The first course, "Understanding ISO 13485," is an introduction to the requirements of the standard, including the changes that form the basis of the revised standard. This course will be offered in Minneapolis on March 24 and in Boston on April 21. The cost is $445.

The second course, "ISO 13485 Internal Auditor," provides the knowledge and skills required to conduct quality management systems internal audits to the standard. The first day of this course features the same content as "Understanding ISO 13485." The expanded, two-day course will be offered in Minneapolis March 24-26, and in Boston April 21-23. The cost is $1,195.

For more information, click here.