From the Editor
Below are presentation synopses in chronological order from the 2013 ACIL Annual Meeting in Scottsdale, AZ. The articles contain links for members to access the speakers’ visual aids if available.
Keynote - Prospering Through Relationship Building
An extremely successful international businessman who built his company from nothing, Alfredo Molina’s keys to success include extensive product knowledge, people skills and resilience, sharing that we are all in the emotional business, so how you make people feel is more important than what you do or say, and that life is about recovery because the only people with no problems are dead people.
He defined worry as the misuse of imagination; stressed being reasonable, i.e., willing to yield even when you know that you are right, since no one is in possession of the complete, absolute truth; and having the courage to be authentic and risk negative judgments.
Sharing his company’s secret to sales success, he discussed pursuing a multi-level relationship with clients (e.g., family, professional, business, etc.); doing remarkable things, which gets others to become storytellers to sell your business; and becoming a world class advisor who knows where to get the information. He noted also that his sales associates must make 20 calls, give 10 cards and make 2 appointments every day.
To view this presentation and learn more, members may click here.
Developing a High Performance Organization
Great performance is 1 percent vision and 99 percent alignment, according to Derek Coppinger (NTS), lauding NTS President Bill McGinnis for developing a management team to bring NTS to the next level, and not allowing his own ability and capacity to limit NTS growth.
Integrating systems among facilities; making deliberate choices on strategic positioning and goals; and spending time communicating NTS’ core values in the field, which helps to minimize turnover and promote alignment, also led NTS to overcome barriers to growth, according to Derek.
To meet a current NTS challenge, identifying and nurturing talent, NTS offers over 200 training modules, provides leadership development and hires employees for who they are, not what they know, to help ensure a cultural fit.
For more information on Derek’s presentation, members may click here.
Handling Delicate Situations Ethically
ACIL members Steve Vanderboom (PACE), Judy Morgan (ESC Lab Sciences) and Steve Bowser (Bowser-Morner) tackled topics including responding to client pressure to change reports, employees committing intentional methods violations and ways to make ethics meaningful in the workplace.
When asked to change reports, PACE uses corporate philosophy to guide decisions if not already legally stipulated, and will make editorial changes that do not change intent. The laboratory’s duty is to inform the client if the sample meets the standard; ESC Lab Sciences refuses to work with clients that interfere with that duty. In cases where the laboratory provides more information than required, ESC Lab Sciences will change that to a comment. At Bowser-Morner, they conduct a team debrief to ensure that the matter was handled correctly.
After confirmation, PACE automatically fires employees the first time they adjust test results to show compliance instead of rerunning the test. Then they meet with all impacted clients, mitigate damages, take responsibility and perform a root cause analysis, seldom losing a client in these cases. Steve Bowser cautioned the work of some Millenials, who have changed methodology because they thought that their way was better.
To make ethics meaningful, ESC Lab Sciences gets feedback from employees, allows them to ask questions and provides several safe and confidential ways to report other employees. PACE makes a case study of each incident and adds it to training; unethical behavior may be reported directly to the president at Bowser-Morner.
The most successful ethics presentation in ACIL history, according to member feedback, this member panel format is slated to become a regular presentation at all ACIL annual meetings.
Maximizing Company Value
John P. White, Managing Partner at Veriti Consulting, shared basics on determining the worth of a business, including cash flow, profitability, risk profile, composition and condition of assets, debt structure and industry factors, noting that Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) govern Fair Value while Fair Market Value uses IRS rules, leading to different valuations.
According to John, strong internal controls, diverse services, large customer base, high actual profits, low number of receivables, low industry competitiveness, low turnover rates and competent business advisor and information technology expert involvement all increase the value of a business.
He reviewed the three valuation approaches – the Income Approach, Market Approach and Asset Approach. The Income Approach underscores capitalization of cash flow or income and discounted cash flow or income, the Market Approach uses guideline public companies and guideline transactions, and the Asset Approach follows net asset value (includes intangible value component).
John cautioned that business appraisers typically reach different conclusions given similar information based on how they approach the complex set of variables in every valuation, including the reason for the valuation, but are bound to follow prescribed professional standards based on credentials and designations, so cannot act as advocates.
To view John’s presentation and learn more, members may click here.
Designing a Lean Laboratory
Aligning work to reduce turnaround time, moving to one global company instead of local P&Ls, adding leadership training (soft skills) and top down communications, and implementing Lean and 6 Sigma took UL to a new era of profitability since 2005. According to Scot Webster (UL), successful Lean affects how we lead and engages employees, looking at corporate culture and people to enhance flow and process, while 6 Sigma uses statistical analysis to solve problems.
An integral part of UL’s operation, Lean provides an innovative management approach that changes organizational culture from the inside out. Managers and leaders become facilitators and teachers. Lean and 6 Sigma provide the operating mechanism to make change, but require leadership support to bring about the series of small continuous improvements leading to Lean. UL’s flow is Align, Enable with proper tools and Empower, where managers work for employees to help them continuously improve.
To keep the flow balanced and determine laboratory capacity, determine tact time, which equals the available hours in a day divided by customer demand. The employees determine how to streamline operations, e.g., using pictorial instructions and color coding for quality checks, and document this on one-page sheets (A3s) to hang around the laboratory, which gives them a sense of accomplishment. As a lean leader, Scot cautions against correcting or improving these employee ideas.
Scot now spends more time teaching Lean and 6 Sigma outside instead of inside UL, helping to expand UL’s safety mission beyond products. To learn more about Scot’s presentation, members may click here.
Capitalizing on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Data
Progressive organizations use CRM data as a customer service tool with off-the-shelf plug-in analytics to improve accuracy and forecasting ability, according to Jay Fredkin (CABEM Technologies), predicting that all software will become integrated into the business in the future. To accommodate this trend, he suggests using a modular approach to selecting a CRM system with a LIMS as the base for this system.
Linda Schanz (Agilent) discussed Agilent’s CRM system, which records every “touch” with a customer and gives a 360 degree view of the customer, noting that you need to decide the most important information to collect because you cannot know everything. She also stressed having a common vocabulary and minimizing data entry points to help maintain accurate records as well as making adoption critical to business success.
To view Jay’s presentation, members may click here; to view Linda’s presentation, members may click here.
Keeping Customers Happy
Joann Slavin (H2M) shared that 80 percent of companies claim to provide superior customer service, but only 8 percent of clients agree, noting that seamless service, integrity, prompt follow through, a deep understanding of client needs and shared beliefs lead to happy clients who remain loyal–a major contributor to sustainable profit growth.
Management must empower everyone in the company to make the decisions to meet the customers’ needs to maximize customer satisfaction. Specific customer service skills for employees include patience explaining technical information; attentiveness; clear communication; competence; responsiveness; ability to intuitively hear real meaning, stay calm and handle surprises; tenacity; willingness to learn and closing ability.
If mistakes are handled well, they do not impact your reputation unless they become the norm, and lack of complaints does not equal great service as only 4 percent of customers voice complaints. Project managers need to the fix bigger issue, not just the one-time occurrence.
To learn more, members may view Joann’s presentation by clicking here.
Committees and Sections
If you’d like to get involved in any of the sections, members may use the call-in information in the section report below to join the sections’ monthly teleconferences, which are also listed on the ACIL Website. Find complete meeting minutes on the ACIL Website in the Members Only Section.
Conformity Assessment Section (CAS)
The section discussed broadening the scope of the CAS to include product certification as well as EMC, and Chairman Dan Cannon (NTS) plans to discuss this with Craig Morr (NSF) as well as incorporating programming important to product certifiers into future ACIL meetings. The section identified calibration and environmental simulation laboratories as other subsections that would find value in the CAS, and established a PT Program Subcommittee to provide operational guidance.
In an effort to stimulate movement on the FCC NPRM, Harry Hodes is to contact ANSI counsel to determine how to resolve the C63.4 roadblock, and the US National Committee of the IEC will be invited to speak at the 2014 P2 Conference. Scott Wentworth (Retlif) put NCB acceptance of test data back in the forefront of section activities. Don Heirman (ACIL) provided an overview of the September SmartGrid webinar, noting that SGIP 2.0 has been operating since January 1, 2013, and the SGIP annual meeting in November in Florida will address organizational issues. (To view meeting agenda, go to: www.sgip.org.) Chairman Dan Cannon (NTS) presented the CAS 2013 Preston Millar Award to Ray Klouda (Elite).
Roxanne Robinson (A2LA) reported on the top 10 non-conformities for testing laboratories based on both initial and renewal assessments during the first 7 months of 2013, including calibration laboratories. She noted that if contracts specify use of obsolete documents, they are not obsolete; rented equipment is only needed for the first assessment; and the most common deficiency occurs with test methods on the bench. To view her entire presentation, members may click here.
Roxanne offered to conduct a webinar on how to talk to calibration laboratories to meet 17025 accreditation, get just what you need and minimize costs. She also offered to prepare the top 10 non-conformities for EMC to present at the P2 Conference. Doug Leonard (L-A-B) offered to present the top 10 corrective actions at the P2 Conference.
The CAS holds its monthly teleconference calls on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. The next meeting is November 27, 2013. To call in, dial 1-800-377-8846 and use meeting access code: 224 5227#.
Construction Materials & Engineering Testing (CMET) Section
Chair Greg Schmidt (Geotest) announced that Scott McCasland (Atlantic Testing) won the 2014 CMET Section Preston Millar Award, recognizing his extensive work on the ACIL/NACLA 17025 document. Also, the section plans to distribute its value proposition to members to solicit feedback once it’s complete.
Roxanne Robinson (A2LA) presented the top 10 non-conformity issues in both CMET and GeoTech laboratories. For CMET testing laboratories, major issues included lacking proper testing policies and follow-up, missing documentation, equipment documentation, reporting procedures/results, internal audit weaknesses, lack of measurement traceability, purchasing irregularities, document control and testing deficiencies. To view her presentation, members may click here.
Bob Uttenweiler updated the section on ILI activities, including serving as the programming content clearinghouse for ACIL’s P2 conference to maximize section and Federal agency involvement, and develop the most meaningful program for the annual meeting, as well as overseeing CMET’s pilot technician training and certification program in partnership with NETTCP and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). Steve Bowser (Bowser-Morner) reported that he, Jim Kuhn (Atlantic Testing) and Jerry Weathers (ACIL) are in the process of defining the agreement with NETTCP, and have an October 16th meeting with ODOT to garner acceptance for the program.
The CMET section meets by teleconference on the second Thursday of the month with the next meeting on Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time. To call in, dial 1-800-377-8846 and use meeting access code: 224 5248#.
Environmental Sciences Section (ESS)
Chair Judy Morgan (ESC Lab Sciences) presented Preston Millar awards to Joe Weitzel (Agilent), David Friedman (ACIL) and Joe Konschnick (Restek). Congratulations to all three!
The section discussed the strategic value of ILI, noting advocacy, promoting monitoring technology innovation and education/training as the most important activities, especially facilitating interactions between ACIL members and federal officials in both regulatory agencies and Congress. Also, the section seeks a replacement for David Spies (QC Laboratories) on EPA’s Environmental Laboratory Advisory Board (ELAB) for a term to begin next year. Click here to view Dave’s ELAB presentation.
ACIL CEO Milt Bush discussed the progress on the Non-Governmental Accreditation Initiative, including that he and Cabot Earle (Microbac) met with the NJ general counsel and learned that implementation there is slated for 2014. Florida has approved 6 assessment bodies as a result of ACIL’s efforts, and they are developing procedures to use private sector accreditation bodies. In California, Milt and Cabot are in the process of hiring a law firm to further ACIL’s agenda there.
David Friedman (ACIL) reported that the EPA Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) Work Group has drafted a method and prepared a generic SPE protocol for this ILI-generated validation study to proceed once the 7 participating equipment manufacturers complete the laboratory selection for the study, and informed members that the EPA expects a reduced 2014 budget for the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, and the Office of Water.
Roxanne Robinson (A2LA) used A2LA and Perry Johnson Laboratory Accreditation data to present the top 10 non-conformities found when performing audits of environmental laboratories with the most frequently cited finding that laboratories do not give specific program requirements enough attention probably in part due to the large number of them (EPA, TNI, NELCA, etc.) To view the other non-conformities in Roxanne’s presentation, members may click here.
At the ESS roundtable dealing with challenges and trends facing the industry, Bruce Godfrey (Curtis & Tompkins) discussed laboratory accreditation), Charlie Carter (TestAmerica) reviewed the effects of work distribution and sample volume on a laboratory’s theoretical price per analysis from year to year, and Joe Konschnick (Restek) discussed the status of the helium supply shortage.
The ESS monthly teleconference meetings are held on the third Thursday of every month at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. The next meeting will be on November 21, 2013. To call in, dial 1-800-377-8846 and use meeting access code: 224 5368#.
Food Sciences Section (FSS)
Chair Jeff Abels (Foreign Trade Service) presented the Preston Millar Award to Marty Mitchell (Certified Laboratories). In addition, the section discussed its new value proposition, encouraging members to provide input based on their experiences with ACIL. As the FSS representative to ILI, Mike Flournoy (Microbac) discussed ILI’s mission to identify and develop thought leaders, develop education and training program/needs, strategically plan using ACIL section ideas, work with Federal agencies to improve technical advances and facilitate web-based multimedia learning tools. The section also discussed programming ideas for webinars, the 2014 Policies and Practices (P2) Conference and other workshops, noting a need for more joint discussions and less lectures with attempts to plan in conjunction with other industry meetings (e.g., PITTCON).
Joe Konschnick (Restek) reported that phase 1 of the CFSAN/FDA study, using government laboratories to limit variability based on different instruments, to test a multiresidue method for pesticides in foods employing QuECHERS extraction and LCMS detection is almost complete. Once John Wong receives the final samples, he plans to begin the next phase of the study, which expands the pool of laboratories to include all brands of equipment and independent laboratories. Stay tuned to learn how to participate in this study and become familiar with this method to expedite implementation once the FDA adopts it.
Mike Olson (ACIL) reported on a meeting with FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA) to discuss the Private Lab Review Program, noting that FDA is currently drafting regulations to require laboratory accreditation for these laboratories per FSMA requirements. Key outcomes include FDA consideration of increasing sampling flexibility and placing the sampling instructions and analytical method (citation) in the import alert as well as working with ACIL to meet with high volume laboratories to discuss improving the review process, including requesting ACIL comments on a draft checklist for field reviewers to use on microbiology worksheets.
Kelley Feist (ACLASS) presented the top ten non-conformities consolidated from three accreditation bodies with the most cited deficiency relating to test (and calibration) methods and method validation. To view her presentation, members may click here.
The FSS meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The next FSS teleconference is on November 20, 2013. To call in, dial 1-800-377-8846 and use meeting access code: 224 5248#.
Here We Grow Again!
Welcome to these new members. To learn more, click on the company name to visit their website or on the contact name to send an e-mail
Construction Materials Engineering & Testing and Environmental: SJB Services, Inc., Stanley Blas; Hamburg, NY 140075
One of the largest specialty engineering and support service firms in the Northeast, SJB Services, Inc. offers drilling, engineering and construction materials testing from our offices in Buffalo, Rochester, Cortland and Albany, NY. Testing services include field and laboratory testing, special inspections, geotechnical laboratory testing and non-destructive testing.
Quantum Analytics, Bruce Harris; Foster City, CA 94404
Quantum Analytics is a full-service instrument resource, renting, leasing, and selling instruments from major manufacturers.
SEAL Analytical, Inc., Jeanne Kimble; Mequon, WI 53092
SEAL Analytical is a global manufacturer and supplier of automated discrete analyzers and continuous flow analyzers for the water, wastewater, soil, plant, fertilizer, food and beverage markets. We provide genuine parts, consumables, services and support for AA1, AA3 QuAAtro, & TrAAcs (formerly Technicon) analyzers and the SEAL AQ1 and AQ2 analyzers.
Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney, Larry Mason; Chicago, IL 60606
A national civil litigation law firm, Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney counsels and defends Fortune 500 companies, businesses, insurance carriers, individuals and others facing litigation in product liability, commercial, toxic tort, construction, insurance coverage/reinsurance and insurance defense, labor and employment, professional liability, transportation, warranty, environmental, appellate and other matters. Founded in Chicago, Segal McCambridge has additional strategically located offices in Austin, Baltimore, Detroit, Jersey City, New York and Philadelphia. The firm’s 150+ attorneys are collectively licensed in over 20 states with bar admissions in multiple federal district courts and on a pro hac vice basis nationwide.
In This Issue
Save the Date!
ACIL Policies & Practices (P2) Conference
March 18-19, 2014
Stay tuned for programming and hotel information as it becomes available, including ILI workshops connecting ACIL members with government officials for the betterment of the laboratory industry.
Save the Date!
77th ACIL Annual Meeting
October 5-8, 2014
Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile
December 17, 2013
Check your email or with Beth Horan for more information as it becomes available.
Don’t let your ACIL benefits lapse! Be on the lookout for your 2014 ACIL Renewal Notice, mailed on November 2nd. Any questions, contact Beth Horan.
L-A-B Adds Florida Certification
In September, L-A-B began performing assessment services (without accreditation) for the Florida Department of Health’s Florida Environmental Laboratory Certification Program, providing on-site assessments and giving the state the appropriate documentation and records needed to certify environmental laboratories. For laboratories seeking national, international and other specifier/regulatory approval, L-A-B offers a combined assessment with other L-A-B accreditation programs (such as the DoD Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program) to meet the states needs for certification and L-A-B’s requirements for accreditation.
Bowser-Morner Geologist Wins Award
In October, Stuart Schwotzer, senior geologist in the Construction Services Division at Bowser-Morner Laboratories in Dayton, OH, received the ASTM International Prevost Hubbard Award for his outstanding contributions to the development of standards for road and paving materials. He specializes in the testing and evaluation of aggregates.
Internal Auditor Training
December 2-3, 2013; 8:30am-4:30pm
List: $795, ACIL Member: $815.50
Measurement Uncertainty Workshop
December 4, 2013; 8:30am-4:30pm
List: $395, ACIL Member: $355.50
Indian Rocks Beach, FL
(Both for $1,090, ACIL Member: $981)
Click here to learn more or register for the above training.
Internal Auditing to ISO/IEC 17025
November 18-20, 2013
List: $950, ASQ Member: $850
This course prepares an internal auditor to clearly understand technical issues relating to an audit. Learn how to more effectively collect audit evidence and report your findings. Click here to learn more or register.
Practical Measurement Uncertainty
November 20-22, 2013
List: $1,100, ASQ Member: $975
Review and calculate specific examples for measurement uncertainty. This course teaches a practical approach to measurement uncertainty applications. Click here to learn more or register.
ISO/IEC 17025 Lead Assessor
December 9-13, 2013
St. Petersburg, FL
List: $1,595, ASQ Member: $1,395
Learn better audit practices using the ISO/IEC 17025 standard and become able to plan and lead an ISO 17025 audit with this course. Click here to learn more or register.
Thank You Sponsors!
Once again, a sincere thanks to the industry sponsors below, who provide particularly generous support to enable us to offer exceptional ACIL programs.
ACIL National Champion
ACIL Newsletter Staff