Welcome to our golden anniversary. Quality Assurance, as we were originally known, launched in 1962, back at the early stages of the space exploration program and the dawn of man in space. As people watched a space capsule take off, many wondered: will it work? Then, upon re-entry, when the astronaut was fished from the ocean, one thought dominated: what if the cable snaps?
As W.F. Schleicher, the magazine’s first publisher and editor, pointed out, “The prayer and hope that the thing and all its parts will work is the culmination of many long nights of work; the finale to a monumental formula of quality assurance, men and natural laws. By the innocent phrase, ‘will it work?’ dangles life-and liberty.”
While, at the time, the space exploration program was an extreme example of all things coming together to prove its weight in quality, today we rarely wonder “will it work?” We just assume that whatever we buy-a car, computer, cell phone, lamp or tape dispenser-will work, rarely giving quality a second thought unless there’s a recall.
In 2010 there were various recalls because quality standards weren’t met, but many of those recalls were because corners were cut, and quality standards were glossed over or ignored altogether.
It sent a loud and clear message to everyone from management to consumers that quality is a necessity and in place for a reason.
As I look back at the magazine’s original mission statement, the message we sent 50 years ago still resonates today. Take a look at this passage from our inaugural issue.
Quality Assurance believes:
…nothing is more important to America than the quality of its products.
…a sound quality assurance program increases efficiency, decreases costs, meets competition, increases sales and reduces the profit squeeze.
…quality is management’s concern, with which it must live, think and sleep. From management it must permeate every corner of the plant.
…quality assurance people are the fastest growing group of professionals in industry-and none in industry is more important.
To unify all aspects of quality assurance; to broaden knowledge and understanding of management and quality assurance professionals; to continually reiterate the importance of quality to America; to oppose and perversion of the quality assurance function; and to continually champion new techniques, greater efforts and always superior products…
With the exception of the number of people involved in the quality field and the fact that we now reach a global audience, the message remains very much the same. What’s your take on how quality has changed-or stayed the same-over the years? Send along your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org , or share with other members of the Quality community at the Quality Magazine LinkedIn Group page, the Quality Facebook page and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/QualityMagazine .