ISO Certification Critical To Global Competition Sixty-nine percent of U.S. corporate controllers say International Standards Organization (ISO) 9000 certification is important to their companies in doing business in the global marketplace, according to a survey of 2200 members of the Controllers Council of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). Less than half (48%) of the IMA's Controllers Council members say their firms have not yet achieved ISO 9000 certification. However, 19% say they are ISO certified and 21% are in the process of achieving certification. Eight percent say they do not have certification but strongly indicate they should meet those standards to compete globally.

"Companies must be outward looking, benchmark globally, adopt and adapt the best practices, concentrate on developing excellence in skills and processes to market their products globally both successfully and profitably," said Susan Jayson, director of the IMA's Controllers Council. "Our survey findings indicate that our controllers rank their firms' quality and the high technology of their goods and services as their two strongest advantages to compete globally."

ISO 9000 standards are quality standards that have been internationally accepted by all types of customers and suppliers and are the same for all countries. The ISO was founded in 1946 to standardize measurements and other standards for industrial, commercial and scientific purposes.

T&D Deregulation Conference to Feature FERC Chair The Third Annual Conference and Summit Meeting focusing on Deregulation of America's Electric Utilities is scheduled to feature a blue ribbon faculty of experts, including the chair of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Elizabeth Moler.

Also invited to speak at the conference are U.S. Senator Frank Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy Natural Resource Committee, and Hazel O'Leary, secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy. The conference is sponsored by Transmission & Distribution World magazine with the intent of preparing utilities for the changes occurring with deregulation of the industry.

Australian Associations Deem Distribution 2000 a Success Distribution 2000 is getting bigger and better, according to conference chairman, Max Garner. The third biannual international gathering of distribution professionals, held in Brisbane, Australia in November 1995, attracted almost 1900 delegates from 38 countries and 115 exhibitors from Australia, Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand and the U.S.

What made the meeting so memorable, Garner said, was its combination of a strong technical program, high-quality exhibitions, a unique indoor field day and its networking opportunities. More than 100 speakers from around the world addressed the asset management, network development, business development and customer service conference tracks.

Garner said a new feature of the conference was that delegates were offered a choice of events on the field day. Events included workshops and a large active display of new technology. Six hundred delegates attended the workshops. The most popular workshops were those devoted to automatic meter reading and the Electricity Supply Association of Australia (ESAA) guidelines for the design of overhead lines.

Like most of the conference exhibitors, Email Meters marketing manager, Matthew Stedman was delighted with the response. "There were endless queues at our product demonstrations and our sales people could barely cope," said Stedman.

The ESAA and Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association, the sponsors of Distribution 2000, are already planning for the next event Nov. 10-14, 1997 in Sydney, Australia.

ISA Plans to Merge The International Society for Measurement and Control recently merged with its international subsidiary, ISA International (ISAI). Effective Jan. 1, 1996, ISAI is now known as ISA. The merger of ISA and ISAI assures that international members will receive equal representation in the society and benefits comparable to their U.S. and Canadian counterparts. Ron Jones, ISA president, said, "The merger helps ISA to become a truly international society, not just a society with international members."

Thai Managers Receive Pre-privatization Training Five hundred Thai middle managers are receiving training from a new joint venture between Balfour Beatty, a BICC subsidiary, and Seeboard, the UK's southeast England electric utility, according to BICC's house journal, Group World.

Balfour Beatty Projects & Engineering has been working in Thailand for more than 10 years with the Provincial Electricity Authority (PIA). When the governor of Thailand's second largest electric utility wanted to prepare staff for privatization, he went to BICC for help.

Under the plan, Thai managers receive two-weeks of training in Thailand, followed by three weeks in England where groups of 25 learn about Seeboard's experience in privatizing. BICC's Group Training Services (GTS) provides courses in leadership, team building, motivation and management of change. The Thais are positive about the program. Anchalee Sathisiaseth, assistant manager of PIA's Training Center in Bangkok, said, "The more we hear about the process of privatization, the more confident we feel about the changes."