The University Record, October 29, 1996

34 exhibits at Expo are just the tip of the iceberg

By Joanne Nesbit
News and Information Services

Photo and Campus Services photographer D. C. Goings gets an inside look at the Building Service Express.

Photo by Bob Kalmbach

From ensuring clean air and the University Online, to Workplace 2000 and the Salt Team, the 34 exhibits at the 1996 M-Quality Expo were just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to establishing and maintaining quality in the workplace at U-M.

The diversity of the U-M was celebrated and continues to be celebrated in the "Diversity of Michigan Newsletter" prepared by the Internal Medicine Outpatient Services Diversity Team. Copies of the premiere issue were available at the Expo.

Taking the U-M outside the confines of the formal campus to alumni, parents and friends of the University was the challenge given the Academic Outreach Program and the Information Technology Division, when they teamed up to produce U-M Online as an information and communication service network. Billed as the way to stay "connected," U-M Online offers subscriptions at varying costs for a variety of programs that could include help from ITD Computing Consultants, e-mail with a "umich.edu" address, Netscape Navigator, and the opportunity to participate in private conferences with other U-M Online members. "This is not your typical chat room," U-M Online representatives told visitors to their booth, "because it's not open to the public. Everyone contributing to the discussion is affiliated with the University."

It took nearly a ream of paper prepared by U-M's Occupational Safety and Environmental Health unit to submit an application for an operating permit for the University under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. The response was a single sheet of paper giving the University permission to continue operations. The compilation of information for the permit application involved more than 130 U-M employees in more than 30 departments or units working together.

Surveys and meetings with facility managers, mechanics, safety coordinators and administrators, and obtaining and tracking reliable and dependable data led to the success of the operation. The permit application required an accounting of chemical sterilizers in medical facilities, the central power plant, degreasing operations in maintenance, small painting operations performed by maintenance as well as students, and even gas-fired kitchen equipment.

OSEH's Andrew K. Berki says that, following the principles of M-Quality, employees were empowered to work directly with the central project team. They collected and prepared data that could significantly affect their future operations.

Farris Womack sees M-Quality as a bridge to the future through respecting people and their ideas. To bring that quality to the U-M workplace, Womack would like to see what he considers two crutches to empowermentthe words "they" and "I'm just a ..." Eliminating these words and phrases from the vocabulary will aid in strengthening the first principle of M-Quality pursuing continuous improvement.