It's about the people. The best quality equipment, software and systems will not improve the products made in a factory if the right people are not in place.
The proof of that is demonstrated in assistant editor Michelle Bangert's article on page 62. She interviews Dr. Roderick Munro of RAM Q Universe, the winner of the 2006 Quality Professional of the Year award given by Quality Magazine. Munro lives, eats and breathes quality every day of his life, looking to continually improve not only the processes at the companies for which he consults, but in his personal life as well.
In this inaugural award, we looked for those individuals who made a difference in the way quality is implemented. Our goal was to award a professional who not only knew quality theories, but had actually used the equipment, software and techniques to make a positive difference in real-world manufacturing. There were many qualified nominations, and Dr. Munro was judged this year's recipient. He has, as he puts it, "touched almost everything you could in a plant setting." He became involved with quality because he likes to learn new things and wanted to apply classroom learning to his job in the plant. For the past 23 years he has made it his mission to show others that the success quality brought to the companies for which he worked can be extended to others. He is a prolific author and speaker, and consults with companies that need to improve their products and processes.
Dr. Munro certainly stands out among his peers. However, he is by no means alone in being a "face of quality." Those of you who read and subscribe to Quality Magazine are what make quality work, as well. Behind every coordinate measuring machine, statistical process control chart and Six Sigma project is someone who sees it as his duty to improve his particular "corner" of the manufacturing world. That fact often gets lost in today's talk of increased yields, better productivity, decreased scrap and rework, and improved products for the market.
At the beginning of 2006, Quality Magazine began a campaign known as, "The Faces of Quality," to emphasize that quality is as much about the people with that responsibility as it is about the tools those individuals use. These "faces" include engineers, CEOs, shop-floor operators and managers. These faces are your faces. You see quality as an integral part of the work you do. You see the end result of quality.
"Quality applies everywhere. How do we better satisfy our customers?" Munro says this question is what has motivated him throughout his career, even before it started being called "quality."
Quality Magazine congratulates Dr. Munro on being named this year's Quality Professional of the Year. We also congratulate each of our readers for their dedication to quality.