After a couple of dismal years, quality spending is expected to increase in 2011 to $2.6 billion, according toQualityMagazine’s Annual Spending Survey.

Have you heard the news? After a couple of dismal years, quality spending is expected to increase in 2011 to $2.6 billion, according to Quality Magazine’s Annual Spending Survey. (Turn to pg. 22 to read the full article.) While it’s a slow growth-about an 8% increase from this year’s numbers-it is a step in the right direction.

As was the case for 2010 spending, the principal motive behind quality investments in the upcoming year is to improve productivity, according to 60% of the respondents. Clearly the industry will continue to do more work with smaller staffs.

For a majority of the companies (52%) spending on quality equipment, systems, software and services will remain the same in the upcoming year. For another 36%, spending will increase, and 12% of respondents will see a decrease.

While companies are out to make a profit, there are a few areas where management needs to take a closer look at spending-or lack thereof.

“One area where spending is not increasing is in the quality assurance inspection of product,” says William H. Murray Jr., quality assurance manager at Bauer Compressors Inc. (Norfolk, VA). “Although the workload has increased and more product is being processed, the need to increase staff to meet this demand is not considered. Currently staffing is increasing in the production and engineering areas, but the quality area is bare bones. Downsizing over the past years has hit QA first and we will increase staff last. Management doesn’t see the need to increase yet, but when it does, the training cycle will still be needed, and product that will have to ship will not ship in a timely manner or help improve on-time delivery.”

And it’s not just in terms of people where spending needs to be increased; one reader said he needs more money for quality inspection equipment. While $2.1 billion is allocated for test, measurement and inspection equipment, that’s clearly not enough for many companies.

Industry standards are cause for concern and another area where a few readers suggested more money needs to be thrown. Forty-two percent of survey respondents indicated that one of the primary motives behind quality investments is to adhere to tighter part quality standards. This is an increase of 9% from just a year ago and a 12% increase from four years ago.

‘Tis the holiday season and the season of giving. Where would you like to see management increase spending in the upcoming year? Send along your wish list to at[email protected], or share with other members of the Quality community at the Quality Magazine LinkedIn Group page atQuality Magazine LinkedIn Group page, thethe Quality Facebook pageand onTwitter .