Every workday (and many weekends, too) hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers read and reread reports, check and recheck the numbers, and communicate plans with team members. Their mission is to reduce waste, increase productivity, add value, and reduce cost.
This article is about celebrating the valuable contributions these workers make for their companies, their communities, and the world.
This article is about you.
World Quality Month is for you.
Established in 2010, World Quality Month (WQM) is celebrated to coincide with World Quality Day (administered by Chartered Quality Institute, England). The WQM vision states that:
“Quality tools, such as flowcharts and checklists, reduce mistakes and help produce superior products. Quality principles could reduce headline-making errors, like food safety, toy recalls, and financial disruptions. World Quality Month calls on people who use quality tools to share their knowledge by submitting their stories to illustrate the value of quality principles.”
ASQ is proud to serve as the World Quality Month convener of activities. Sixteen quality organizations from around the world are involved.
“Celebrate what you want to see more of,” Tom Peters famously stated. When you do something well, let people know about it. Celebration is also a good way to get attention in the C-suite. We hear from ASQ members that making the case for quality can be a difficult task. Here is an opportunity to simply visit a website, read stories about organizations successfully implementing quality methodology and share these stories with executives and clients. Here is a good news story to whet your appetite.
The WQM Purpose: Sharing and Learning
Continental Guadalajara, an auto parts maker in Jalisco, Mexico, realized it needed to improve a process. The Commercial Vehicles Continuous Improvement Team banded together to find the root cause of the problem that was contributing to broken parts and other failures. The team used gemba—a Japanese term meaning “go to the place of the specific work”—to observe the possible root causes. By using this process the team discovered the root cause.
“We were able to fully eliminate the failures that we had for two or three years … and with that, we reduced and improved a lot of performance with the customers,” says Alfonso Moreno Diaz, the team lead.
The team saved Continental Guadalajara $120,000 and, most importantly, Diaz says, “learned a lot about solution development and root cause analysis.”
Another example of a good news story, which involved process improvement and ISO 9001, is Chemonics International. Based in the United States, Chemonics is an ISO-9001 certified development company that works to promote social and economic change around the world. The company implemented a successful supply chain model as part of the Kenya Pharma project, which delivers medicines to people with HIV/AIDS.
Effective supply chains deliver high-quality products on schedule and within budget to customers. After determining what was needed, three themes emerged in the implementation process.
Play to your strengths. Figure out what you do well and draft clearly documented practices that staff adhere to consistently and are held accountable to.
Make it collaborative. Make sure multiple teams work together and know who is responsible for each part of the process.
Results, results, results. Always focus on the customer. Make sure your output and outcome indicators include customer satisfaction measures.
The Kenya Pharma project found that integrating an ISO 9001 approach has delivered several key benefits:
- And an improvement in workplace culture
There are plenty of good stories to share. To share yours, go to worldqualitymonth.org and click on “Share Your Story.” While you are on that page, scroll down to the World Quality Month toolkit and download posters, banners, an e-tag, and even a World Quality Month presentation you can give to your company, client or (why not) family. (How many times have you tried to explain to Aunt Judy what a quality professional does for a living?)
Not everyone can claim his or her job makes the world a better place. Whether you use your talent—and tools—to improve products or services, processes or standards, you are making our world safer, cleaner, healthier, better. Thank you for improving our world through the use of quality methodology.
How are you celebrating World Quality Month? Visit worldqualitymonth.org and let the quality community know.