With everything from a self-assessment checklist to upgraded software, a new "Y2K Jumpstart Kit" developed under a Commerce Department program now is available to help small businesses better deal with the year 2000 computer problem, Commerce Secretary William M. Daley announced today.
"For those businesses who have not yet paid attention to the year 2000 computer problem, it is not too late," said Daley. "The Y2K Jumpstart Kit is readily available, easy to use and contains the basics that a small business needs to start addressing this critical problem," he said.
The main component of the kit is software known as Conversion 2000: Y2K Self-Help Tool. Developed last year by the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a program of the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, the software has been upgraded and now is available in both Microsoft Access™ and Excel™ versions.
While the software will not solve a year 2000 computer problem, it can help small manufacturers and other small businesses:
The Y2K Jumpstart Kit also includes a quick start guide, a detailed user’s guide for the software, and a self-assessment checklist to help a company determine whether its or its suppliers’ computer systems and equipment may have Y2K problems.
The Y2K Jumpstart Kit can be downloaded for free from the MEP web site at y2khelp.nist.gov. The kit also is available from MEP centers (1-800-MEP-4MFG, 637-4634), Small Business Administration Offices or U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative Extension offices around the country.
NIST recently opened the Y2K Help Center for Small Business to provide technical support to users of Conversion 2000: Y2K Self-Help Tool. Open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday, the center can be contacted at 1-800-Y2K-7557 (925-7557) or at y2khelp [at] nist.gov. or by visiting the help center’s web site, y2khelp.nist.gov.
NIST MEP centers around the country also are offering a variety of Y2K workshops to help small manufacturers determine if they have a Y2K problem and develop remediation and contingency plans.
The year 2000 date problem, often called "Y2K" or the "millennium bug," refers to the failure of a computer program or system because the "00" year designation is misinterpreted or mistaken for "1900." The Stamford, Conn.-based GartnerGroup, a leading authority on information technology issues; the National Federation of Independent Business; and other organizations have reported that many small businesses have not yet taken steps to address year 2000 problems. Many that are addressing problems with their computer systems may be overlooking potential problems embedded in other systems such as machine controllers and building control systems.
NIST’s MEP is a nationwide network of manufacturing extension centers providing a wide array of business and technical assistance to smaller manufacturers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Through MEP, manufacturers have access to more than 2,000 manufacturing and business advisers whose job is to help firms make changes that lead to greater productivity, increased profits and enhanced global competitiveness.
NIST, an agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, promotes economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards through four partnerships: the Measurement and Standards Laboratories, the Advanced Technology Program, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Baldrige National Quality Program.
Sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other agencies of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion. Visit www.sba.gov/y2k or call (800-U-ASK-SBA, 800-827-5722) for information on Action Week events.