ASQ has rebranded itself so it is now known simply by its acronym rather than as the American Society for Quality. The reason for this is simple: ASQ is a global entity. Headquartered in Milwaukee, WI, ASQ also operates regional centers in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East/Africa. These global offices provide local access to the quality community, career development, credentials, knowledge, and information services. In addition, ASQ collaborates with a network of world partners spanning 24 countries and further extends its global reach through a network of registered service providers that deliver licensed ASQ training and certification exams in a specified territory. With individual and organizational members from around the world, ASQ serves as the focal point for the global quality community by providing professional certifications, training, and knowledge.
Besides a staff in Milwaukee, ASQ also has employees at their regional centers in Mexico City, Dubai, New Delhi and Shanghai. All five offices are autonomous yet they each fulfill ASQ’s purpose of supporting the advancement of education and science within the field of quality. This is achieved primarily through publications, training, certifications and research. ASQ’s global presence provides a unified and consistent resource thus bringing the quality community closer together.
Throughout my career I have been assisted by many of ASQ’s resources and offerings, however, my single greatest resource for quality knowledge and career development has come from ASQ conferences. For more than 30 years, I have had the privilege of attending many topical, local and international ASQ conferences organized by ASQ Divisions, ASQ Sections, and by ASQ volunteers supported by ASQ’s corporate conference staff, respectively. Each of these three types of conferences offer their unique networking and educational opportunities; none have ever disappointed me.
This past fall I had the pleasure to attend both the ASQ Inspection Division conference in Memphis, TN, and the ASQ Middle East & Africa Regional Quality Conference in Dubai. Each had a similar theme, “Quality – A Bridge to the Future” and “Quality Fundamentals in the Digital Age,” respectively. While the future can be both scary and exciting, rest assured that changes for the better are coming. However change is difficult for most of us hence we all need to adequately prepare ourselves for not just new technology but also the impact we will see with regards to big data, leadership, standards, and test and measurement equipment. ASQ itself has already begun a transformation in order to prepare for the future and to ensure that it will continue to fulfill its mission “to increase the use and impact of quality in response to the diverse needs of the world.”
In addition to conferences, ASQ has invested heavily into expanding its global certifications. Some of its 18 professional certification exams are available in five languages: English, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese and Spanish. Some certification preparation classes also have been conducted at international locations and through live, virtual classrooms. ASQ moved to computer-based testing in 2016 enabling it to provide multiple test windows throughout the year via a global network of test sites.
Efforts to support the global quality community are not solely accomplished through the ASQ regional offices. Many ASQ Divisions deliver global support by providing conference speakers and exhibitors at international locations. Some divisions also conduct workshops and provide trainers for a variety of educational courses at numerous international sites. Webinars, social media and websites have allowed the divisions to easily reach a worldwide audience thus allowing them to better serve their international members. The ASQ Inspection Division even offers an International Inspector of the Year award, which has been bestowed to inspectors and quality technicians both within North America and Asia.
Recognition is not just provided by ASQ Divisions, the society hosts the International Team Excellence Award and bestows medals and awards to people in the global community in numerous categories such as publication of research articles, authorship of books, to young professionals who have made an impact to the profession, for distinguished service to ASQ, for the contribution to the science of quality. ASQ’s Middle East/Africa Regional Center has a Quality Professional Award, an Innovation Award, and hosts a student competition. Finally, ASQ’s highest form of recognition is honorary membership provided to individuals who are preeminent in the quality profession; recipients include notable Japanese quality guru’s Kaoru Ishikawa, Genichi Taguchi and Noriaki Kano.
Please join me in applauding ASQ for all that is does for the global quality community!