Doug Burleigh has spent more than 30 years working in the aerospace industry, with positions in quality assurance (QA), nondestructive test (NDT) method development and NDT method implementation. E-mail him at email@example.com.
Lean was pushed much harder by aerospace management than the earlier programs were. In some companies, lean achieved the status of a cult religion. Individuals who embraced the program, or just wanted to please management, got on the “lean bandwagon.”
My previous two columns have sparked some interesting and lengthy discussions on LinkedIn. The central themes of these columns addresses whether quality should be an independent function, and whether putting someone in charge of quality who has no experience in the field demonstrates a lack of respect for quality. These themes are closely related.
Quality departments are sometimes used as a dumping ground for unwanted or failed managers and being sent to QA may be viewed as a career dead end. The only qualification these people possess is that they are viewed as compliant and loyal to upper management, and they will do whatever they are asked in order to keep their jobs.
QA must be independent of manufacturing and production. When quality is located under manufacturing or production engineering in the organization chart, there is at least the appearance of a conflict of interest.
This new blog, which will be posted the last week of every other month, will deal with issues of technical competence and ethics as they affect quality. It will address what is wrong with some quality organizations, how they have gone astray, and what the effect is of their failure to fulfill their responsibility.