It is October, the first full month of autumn. You notice the changing colors, dropping temperatures, and other signs of winter. October is a time of pretty yards and dreary skies. Perhaps it’s this combination that has led to three unique celebrations this month: Sarcasm Month, Pet Peeve Week, and National Frustration Day.
While the skeptics and complainers have their day(s) in October, the quality community gets to offer stories of success and reasons for celebration. National Quality Month and World Standards Day (October 14) are both celebrated in the year’s first full month of autumn. It may be too much to ask the typical citizen to understand the ins and outs of quality methodology, but it’s not too much to recognize the importance of quality. There are plenty of stories to tell. Here is a little bit of background regarding both longstanding annual events.
National Quality Month
With the signing of Proclamation 5249, U.S. President Ronald Reagan created National Quality Month in 1984. “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. Since then, American companies have been observing National Quality Month as an opportunity to promote quality initiative awareness and celebrate the wins.
World Standards Day
On October 14, 1946, delegates from 25 countries gathered in London and created what would be called the International Organization of Standards, or ISO, focused on facilitating standardization. (ASQ was incorporated in New York in February 1946.) The first World Standards Day was celebrated in 1970, keeping October 14 as the day for festivities. Adopting ISO standards means “that consumers can have confidence that their products are safe, reliable and of good quality. … Regulators and governments count on ISO standards to help develop better regulation, knowing they have a sound basis thanks to the involvement of globally-established experts.”
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. Forego sarcasm, pet peeves, and frustration. Bask in the glow of your recent successes, plan for future success, and celebrate another October day, World Smile Day (October 6).
What are standards?
International Standards make things work. They give world-class specifications for products, services and systems, to ensure quality, safety and efficiency. They are instrumental in facilitating international trade.
Since (1946), we have published over 21,704 International Standards covering almost all aspects of technology and manufacturing.
Today we have members from 163 countries and 786 technical bodies to take care of standards development. More than 135 people work full time for ISO’s Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.
It’s all in the name
Because ‘International Organization for Standardization’ would have different acronyms in different languages …our founders decided to give it the short form ISO. ISO is derived from the Greek isos, meaning equal. Whatever the country, whatever the language, we are always ISO.
An Excerpt From Proclamation 5249 - National Quality Month, 1984
October 4, 1984
By the President of the United States of America
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.
You can find this and other presidential documents at The American Presidency Project (www.presidency.ucsb.edu).