When I was a young manufacturing manager I was used to showing up to work in the morning and asking the third-shift lead, “How many cases did you run last night?” I started asking different questions after going through Deming and TQM training. I learned to ask, “How did things run on third shift? What problems did you deal with? Did the changes we made yesterday help?” Deming was right. When we started focusing on the process, the product-the number of quality cases produced-started to really improve for the first time.
holidays celebrating parenthood may seem totally disconnected from the
disciplines involved with the quality assurance profession, but parenthood may
have more to do with quality than anything else.
quality professionals taking the easy way out by making themselves regulatory
compliance managers? This may be why the quality department is seen as an
overhead expense rather than a key part of a company’s success.
What does that stack of catalogs sitting in your mailbox have to do with product quality? I think it has a lot to do with quality and it exposes some important issues that I feel the quality profession has not addressed.
Who do you think paid for that stack of catalogs in your mailbox? You did. The companies that send them are smart. If they didn’t have good reason to believe that you would buy plenty of stuff to justify sending you a catalog, then they would stop sending them. I know there are cases where you keep getting a catalog from a company that you rarely buy from, but generally speaking, you are getting those catalogs because you keep paying for them with the products you buy.
Last month, I took my two-year-old son to his first dental appointment and I got to see first-hand how this dentist leverages quality in his practice.
When we arrived at the dentist’s waiting area, my son and I were greeted by name before we reached the counter. The receptionist was kind, the waiting area was sunny, and they had high-quality toys and a cool fish tank that kept my busy-body son mesmerized until his appointment.
When it was our turn, we went back to the examining room where my son and I sat on the floor with the dental assistant. She took each of the dental instruments and showed them to my son. She explained how each instrument worked and how she was going to use each one on his teeth. I don’t know how much he understood, but he had a fun time watching and playing with those instruments that I found frightening as a kid.
Quality professionals need to address the problem of short-term focus on profits by shifting to improvement methods that give short-term results.
The main reason that so few organizations fully utilize quality improvement methods is because they have a short-term focus in their business. For the quality profession to meet its full potential and play a strategic role in organizations, it needs to listen to its customer-top management-and start developing and offering quality improvement methods that show short-term results.