Computers are incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid: humans are incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant; together they are powerful beyond imagination.

—Albert Einstein

Short Fuse and Attention Span

More than 10 years ago, an executive from Hughes Aircraft Company addressed an audience of Aerospace Industries Association EBusiness Working Group members after listening to various descriptions of the problems with harmonizing electronic commerce standards and implementation conventions. He said, “You need to develop a universal translator.” With that, he arose and left the meeting never to return again. Either he thought that he had provided the right direction and his mission was accomplished or he anticipated the insurmountable difficulty in doing this and left in great frustration.

Thorough Process and Longer Attention Span

Training and testing for the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) Achieving Manufacturing Excellence Program was developed to address the needs of small business to participate in their customers' formal improvement initiatives, such as the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award, and proprietary programs from major automotive, aerospace, and defense manufacturers (13 different programs at the time of development). The NCMS team objective was to produce one self-assessment that would satisfy all the requirements for self-assessment from all 13 “top quality” ...

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