As a Master Black Belt I teach Lean Six Sigma courses and often provide definitions of common terms. One such term is “value” which I define as the ratio between quality and price (value = quality/price). To help explain, I often use the analogy of getting a meal at a fast food restaurant versus one from a high-end restaurant. There have been several occasions where I have spent $100 or more for a gourmet meal but left feeling that what I paid for was not worth the price. Conversely, I have gone to many fast food establishments and enjoyed a hamburger, taco, etc., for just a few dollars. Obviously, the nutrition and customer experience of these meals and restaurant services are vastly different but my satisfaction is not based solely on the quality of the food but rather a combination of taste, service and price. While quality is important, value is what most consumers base their purchasing decisions on.

I recently made a presentation at the ASQ student branch at a local university and began by asking, “What does a student receive for their membership dollars?” Surprisingly the students were unaware; the only response I got was “I think we get a newsletter.” I proceeded to explain about Quality Progress, the ASQ Career Center, and ASQ’s research library. I further explained that they, and all ASQ professional and advanced members, can join all of ASQ’s technical communities (aka divisions and forums) providing them exposure to the entire quality body of knowledge. I concluded the presentation by listing the vast benefits specific to Inspection Division members and urged the students to take advantage of all the opportunities provided.

It is incumbent upon ASQ members to maximize the value they receive for their membership dollars. They can recoup the cost of their annual dues through special pricing on ASQ products and services, including training, certification exams, conference registration, books, and journals. Members stay up to date with current and classic quality principles with exclusive member access to thousands of articles, benchmarking studies, and exclusive topic-based monthly member gifts (including a free e-book). Members also get the latest quality news headlines through Quality News Today, keep up-to-date through the member-only newsletter ASQ Insider and members have access to ASQTV which provides short, knowledgeable video segments.

ASQ recently launched its online community “myASQ” for members who want accessible, timely, and relevant solutions to specific issues through interaction with like-minded individuals. Personally, I have found the greatest facet of my ASQ membership has been professional development and networking obtained through my nearby ASQ section. Being able to interact locally with people with similar job responsibilities and challenges has proven to be a fantastic way to obtain knowledge while hearing first-hand success stories and opportunities less successful.

Maximizing value is especially easy for student members who only pay $31 a year for dues and yet receive nearly the same benefits as professional members. Student members also have access to thousands of dollars available to them through the many scholarships offered by many of ASQ’s divisions and local sections. In most cases these scholarships are not limited to student members but are also available to all members, their families, co-workers and friends. Another big benefit to all members is ASQ’s Career Center, which helps place members at all levels of their career in jobs just right for them.

After several years of gaining so much benefit from being a member, I decided to repay all that I owed back to the society through volunteer service. Not surprisingly, volunteerism further expanded my network, and, more importantly, it provided a safe space to hone my leadership skills. In addition, it provided multiple opportunities to develop my skill set as an instructor, writer and presenter.

Much like the purchase of a car or appliance, value may not be readily apparent. However, over time, the value of ASQ membership cannot be overstated. If you wish to know more about specific membership benefits, contact ASQ Customer Care at (800) 248-1946. Current ASQ members may also contact the member leaders of their geographic (section) or technical (division) communities about the specific benefits they provide.