With the signing of Proclamation 5249, President Ronald Reagan created National Quality Month. Since 1984, American companies have been observing National Quality Month as an opportunity to promote quality initiative awareness and celebrate the wins. Organizations will often combine National Quality Month with World Standards Day, celebrated annually in October.
But why are National Quality Month and World Quality Month so important? Because quality is so important.
Perception might be reality but as you well know, just because somebody says a product—or service—is “quality” doesn’t make it true. Quality is a complex combination of customer experience, product and service excellence, and process improvement. Quality is hard work. And, those doing the hard work—and getting results—should be celebrated.
Prior to the signing of Proclamation 5249, people had quality on their minds—as a valuable methodology and success driver. On June 24, 1980, NBC aired “If Japan Can, Why Can’t We?” a special program for the White Paper series. At the time, the U.S. was losing economic footing to the Japanese. That country’s secret weapon? Quality management and the concepts taught by W. Edwards Deming and Joseph Juran—two Americans. The program caused a stir in the United States and jumpstarted a quality resurgence the country hadn’t seen since the 1950s.
It is during this time of renewed popularity when President Reagan signed National Quality Month into law. “Quality in manufacturing and services,” the president wrote, “will contribute to increased productivity, reduced costs, and consumer satisfaction.” This was the goal of National Quality Month—improve the nation’s businesses. (He strengthened his commitment to the quality movement three years later by signing The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award into law.
Many businesses did see positive results from quality initiatives. National Quality Month has been an important part for many of these American organizations for 32 years.
Now, we are ready to celebrate and increase awareness once again.
Whether you celebrate National Quality Month, World Quality Month, or both, your organization has an opportunity to enhance awareness of the importance of quality methods to reduce waste, save money, enhance customer experience, and improve processes.
PROCLAMATION 5249 - NATIONAL QUALITY MONTH, 1984
October 4, 1984 — By the President of the United States of America — A Proclamation
A commitment to excellence in manufacturing and services is essential to our Nation’s long-term economic welfare. Quality in manufacturing and services will contribute to increased productivity, reduced costs, and consumer satisfaction.
Historically, American craftsmen have shown great personal pride and interest in developing quality goods and services. Today, we must reinforce our pride of workmanship by renewing that commitment.
Improving the quality of American goods and services depends upon each of us. Individual workers, business managers, labor leaders, and government officials must all work to promote a standard of excellence in the public and private sectors.
To provide for a greater awareness of the need to ensure that American goods and services are of the highest quality, the Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 304, has designated the month of October 1984 as “National Quality Month” and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this event.
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of October 1984 as National Quality Month, and I call upon the people of the United States to observe such month, with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
In Witness Whereof I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and ninth.
You can find this and other President Reagan public letters, at The American Presidency Project (www.presidency.ucsb.edu).