Chronological, Patrick Kovarik/Agence France-Presse—Getty Images; David Guttenfelder/AP; Franck Robichon/EPA; Haruyoshi Yamaguchi/Bloomberg; Pool Photo by Yoshikazu Tsuno; Issei Kato/Reuters
Memo From Tokyo
By MARTIN FACKLER
Japan’s voters hope that the nation’s fifth new leader since 2006, Prime Minister Naoto Kan, bottom right, will energize the public like Junichiro Koizumi, top left, who led from 2001 to 2006.
- Reward and Incentive Programs are Ineffective -- Even Harmful by Peter R. Scholtes
- Leaders of People: Some are Wonderful, Some are Clueless. The Rest are Somewhere In Between by Peter R. Scholtes
- Peter receiving the 2006 Deming Award
- My First Trip to Japan by Peter R. Scholtes 找不到! 我幾年前初次讀它 嚇ㄧ跳 他初訪日本的心得
- Total Quality Leadership vs. Management by Control by Brian L. Joiner and Peter R. Scholtes
- Fifty Years of quality: an Anniversary Retrospective edited by March Jacques (contributions by Peter Scholtes and others)
- Total Quality or Performance Appraisal: Choose One by Peter Scholtes
- Know Your Madisonian: Peter Scholtes, interview by David Wahlberg
Fifty years of quality: an anniversary retrospective
March Laree Jacques, North American Editor of The TQM Magazine
Examines the past and future of total quality management through observations contributed by senior leaders of the USA quality movement on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the American Society for Quality Control, the 40th anniversary of the European Organization for Quality and the 30th anniversary of the International Academy for Quality.
International standards; Quality control; TQM.
The TQM Magazine
MCB UP Ltd
Organizational memory just is not what it used to be. Downsizing, outsourcing, and worker mobility have seen to that. Add our American infatuation with newness and youth, and we begin to understand why we so often reinvent our organizational wheels without improving them. Despite all the talk about building learning organizations, most institutions today rely on short-term memory.
However, people in the quality profession know better. The heart of improvement is the plan-do-study-act cycle, and we are fanatic about it. We understand that, while all the cycle is important, study (or check) is, as Brian Joiner notes, “the driver of rapid learning”. And, we practise what we preach. Right?
This year the American Society for Quality Control (ASQC) celebrates its 50th anniversary, the European Organization for Quality (EOQ) its 40th anniversary and the International Academy for Quality (IAQ) its 30th anniversary. In this anniversary year, The TQM Magazine asked some of quality’s elder statesmen - and a few of the new guard - to contribute to a retrospective about where the quality profession has been and where it is going. Pieced together, this series of vignette perspectives offers both a broad brush look at the state of quality profession and an opportunity to leverage some valuable insights from the past 50 years of quality.
To get the ball rolling, we asked about personal insights and professional development. We asked about trends in quality and in management that sometimes seem to repeat in cycles, and we asked about challenges still facing the quality profession.
Arguably the most famous respondent, Philip B. Crosby was brief in his response and characteristically to the point: “My thought for the future”, he said, “is that quality professionals need to learn how to help management succeed rather than burdening them with ever increasing rules, procedures, and regulations. The 21st century is about reality, not certification”. End of statement.
Predictably, most responses endorsed the three premier quality societies for their contributions to personal growth and development. We had, after all, directed our queries to long-time members and leaders of ASQC, EOQ and IAQ, and, as Professor William A. Golomski pointed out, “How we are viewed as an organization depends on who describes our past”.
In general those comments that were directly related to the professional societies echoed sentiments offered by Ralph E. Wareham, who told us he is very pleased with ASQC’s growth and achievements, and expects the progress will continue. Wareham is senior past president of ASQC and the society’s historian. He has been an officer or committee chairman continuously every year since ASQC’s founding in 1946. Along with Harold F. Dodge, A.G. Ashcroft, W. Edwards Deming, and Leslie E. Simon, Wareham was a member of the committee which, at the request of the US War Department in 1940, prepared three American War Standards on control chart analysis. For this article, Wareham forwarded the excerpt from his 1945 Handbook on Statistical Quality Control that closes our discussion.
‘…even when something is worthwhile, the business media and managers of business tend to grab on to it without understanding it. Then they trivialize it, dabble in it, fail at it, discount it, discard it and move on to something else. Such has been the fate of TQM…’
To my personal disappointment, no women responded to our queries. Granted, we used long-time participation in quality-related work as a criterion in seeking contributions, and female participation in the quality movement is relatively recent. I can remember, for instance, ASQC meetings in the early 1970s when I was the only woman in the room. (Once a speaker, with obvious annoyance, informed me that he had to alter his jokes on the spot because I showed up.) Nonetheless, of the few women we did contact, none responded.
For the most part, everyone who responded fulfilled (or exceeded) the requirement for long-time participation in the quality movement. Dr H. James Harrington chuckled on the phone when he informed me that he started “participating” in the 1920s at the age of five when his father, chief inspector for IBM, began keeping process control charts on his grades. If young Jim’s grades fell below acceptable levels, his radio listening time was restricted. “I am always amused”, Harrington added, “when people can’t see applications of SPC to daily life”.
In the article that follows, we started with the remarks of someone whose tenure in quality work more nearly parallels that of most of us. As a relative newcomer, Peter R. Scholtes’ assertion that “the quality movement began in the summer of 1950” may find dissension among some of the elder statesmen whose comments follow, but it rings arguably true when emphasis is placed on the word movement. More importantly, in addressing the fad issue, Scholtes sets the stage for lessons learned of longevity and wisdom.
TQM: its time has not yet come
Peter R. Scholtes
An author, lecturer, consultant and ASQC member since 1993, Peter R. Scholtes is the principal author of The Team Handbook: How to Use Teams to Improve Quality. He is a past recipient of ASQC’s Brumbaugh Award. From 1987 through 1993, Scholtes taught with Dr W. Edwards Deming as one of the instructors in Deming’s popular two-day course.
The USA has an insatiable appetite for management fads. In just the last 15 years we have seen quality circles, TQM, just in time, reengineering, ISO 9000, Covey’s principles, chaos, self-directed teams, high performance teams, empowerment, and scores of others. Buzzwords and fads come and go faster than Steinbrenner’s managers.
Even when something is worthwhile, the business media and managers of business tend to grab on to it without understanding it. Then they trivialize it, dabble in it, fail at it, discount it, discard it and move on to something else. Such has been the fate of TQM. It is not that TQM has been a failure. Rather TQM - that is, the USA’s application of the quality movement - has, for the most part, never been tried.
The quality movement began in the summer of 1950 when W. Edwards Deming went to Japan. Deming never used the acronym TQM. The Japanese evolving philosophy of quality, begun by Deming and evolved by Juran, Ishikawa, Kano and others, is, in Japan, commonly called TQC for total quality control, a term that never caught on in the USA. TQM (total quality management) began to be the popular reference in the mid-1980s when the military services plunged into quality with vast amounts of money available to hire trainers and consultants. The military called their quality effort “TQM” and all sorts of self proclaimed quality experts came out of the woodwork. People who, I suspect, could not spell TQM started teaching it. TQM rescued the careers of trainers whose workshops on stress management and participative decision making were in decline. These folks did not change what they taught, but they started calling it TQM.
This trivialized, watered down, psycho-babbled TQM became the fad and it is this fad version that failed. The TQM fad is now over but the quality movement is not. The leading Japanese companies have not bailed out of the quality movement: Toyota, Kumatzu, Sony and many others. We do not hear US companies like Motorola, Ritz Carleton or Harley Davidson giving up on quality. The managers and writers who declare TQM dead and quality passé are those who never understood it.
What, then, is the quality philosophy? We can find the answer in six authentic, basic principles that lie at the heart of quality:
- Focus on the outside customer. The customer is whoever benefits from our product or service, not necessarily whoever pays for it. We must be intent on understanding the needs of the customer and committed to designing, developing and delivering products and services that delight the customers.
- Understanding and managing systems. Everything is a system and we are a part of it. We cannot understand problems, learn how to solve them, know how to do good work and please customers unless we understand systems. Most managers and management writers could not pick a system out of a police line-up, but systems thinking is one of the new leadership competences.
- Understanding and using data. We must understand our systems by understanding variation and the causes of variation. We must learn to think statistically: another new leadership competence.
- Understanding people. We tend to have very simplistic notions of people: why they do what they do, what is motivation, what is teamwork and involvement. Most companies approach people with either benevolent or malevolent paternalism, treating people like commodities needing manipulation. The new leader must have more profound insight into people.
- Mastering improvement. We are good at change. We are lousy at improvement. There is available to us a 45-year legacy of very effective improvement methodologies. This is another new leadership competence.
- Direction and focus. We tend in our organizations to go an inch deep and a mile wide. Too many priorities inadequately done. We must learn to focus, going an inch wide and a mile deep.
These six principles should be part of every quality effort. If quality is passé, it would be because US managers have all mastered these areas of competence. Which of these principles have we mastered in this country? My observation: none of them! We still desperately need quality.
David C. Leaman
David C. Leaman, an ASQC fellow, has been in quality work since 1961 and a member of ASQC since 1968. A member of ASQC’s headquarters staff for 12 years as director of professional development, Leaman helped develop ASQC’s professional certification processes, as well as developing, directing and teaching many of ASQC’s quality management courses. Currently, he is on the quality staff of Outboard Marine Corp.
An ongoing, major difficulty in dealing with quality is the word itself and the lack of a universally acceptable definition. The you-will-know-it-when-you-see-it mentality abounds. Consequently, we have a producers definition versus a users definition. The former has measurable characteristics - usually statistical, engineering or numerical. The latter is often emotional - feelings, sense of worth or satisfaction, etc. The trend towards meeting or exceeding customer satisfaction has helped, but universal acceptance of the customer-focused approach to defining quality has a long way to go. On the other hand, the current emphasis on quality management system standards, such as ISO 9000 does not help, because it fixates on the black-white, numerical, left-brain approach to defining product quality and verifying quality systems.
Certainly, the introduction to the commercial world of internationally recognized quality management system standards has had a profound effect on the course of quality events. ISO 14000 promises to have even greater impact as will the next generation of ISO 9001 which is being revised along the lines of QS 9000 and ISO 9004.
However, until future business leaders are required to master the basics of quality systems management in their university studies as they now must financial and human resource systems, quality will continue to be treated as something outside the mainstream of business/organization practice. Ideally, the next decade should see organizations house only a small - even one to two person - quality expert department as the resident resource, much like the legal in-house expert. While this has already happened in many leading organizations, too many small companies (where we are told the greatest growth is being achieved) continue to depend on a separate quality staff to “assure” quality. However, in-house quality professionals must become proficient with world market and other business disciplines if they are to be effective. I know of several firms that selected someone other than the QA manager to be the TQM leader or the ISO 9000 management representative because of a poor perception within the organization of the QA manager or function.
’…the current explosion of data and the corresponding trend towards managed information systems that employ “technical experts” to develop, oversee and distribute these data are both a blessing and a curse. World conditions change so rapidly that reliable, valid and timely data are a must, but we are overwhelmed by the sheer volume and rapidity of these data…’
One of the more frustrating challenges for people who have been in a profession for a number of years is the matter of how to transfer knowledge. Recently, I helped Professor Gayle McElrath - a long-time quality consultant, educator and ASQC officer - close up shop. We went through hundreds of articles, lectures and course materials developed over years. It was startling to realize how many of those papers, if updated to include today’s buzz words, would be every bit as applicable as they were when they were drafted ten, 20 or 30 years ago. Each generation of management seems to have to relearn the lessons of history, much like children. It gives the gurus, teachers and consultants a livelihood, but it is sad because of the wasted time and money. Perhaps there is no way around this; lessons learned first-hand may have more impact on expected outcomes.
The current explosion of data and the corresponding trend towards managed information systems that employ “technical experts” to develop, oversee and distribute these data are both a blessing and a curse. World conditions change so rapidly that reliable, valid and timely data are a must, but we are overwhelmed by the sheer volume and rapidity of these data. The oldest lesson of all, that meaningful information must be gleaned by educated study of raw data, still has not been learned by enough folks in leadership positions.
In earlier years, ASQC officers passed through many technical and educational positions in their climb to the board of directors. This has changed in recent years. At the same time, the rapid growth in ASQC staff numbers and high turnover erased much memory of what-how-and-why things were done. I find this a worrisome practice particularly with regard to society’s certification programmes. For example, the society’s recent, and successful, efforts to develop a process for certifying quality managers benefited from the knowledge gained in developing its processes for certifying engineers, auditors, and technicians. Several other professions patterned their certification activities after ASQC’s, and, I believe, certification remains ASQC’s greatest contribution to the quality profession.
Each organization in its strategic planning must discipline itself to study, at least briefly, what passed before - the whys, hows and roadblocks - before proceeding to new initiatives. Most issues are not really new; although perhaps the remedies for treating these issues should be updated. Within quality associations, the baseline survey or benchmarking approach must be practised as well as preached.
Fifty years of quality control
August B. Mundel
August B. Mundel, PE, a fellow of ASQC, operates a consulting practice for industry and government. He is chairman of the US Technical Advisory Group for ISO/TC69, Applications of Statistical Methods, and the standards editor for Quality Engineering. He has been engaged in the quality profession for more than 50 years.
Fifty years, ago, industry was emerging from a world at war. During the war years, many industries making war material adopted control charts, sampling plans, and experimental programmes, and used modern quality methodologies to improve the efficiency of their production processes. With the end of the war and the changeover to supply the pent-up demand for civilian goods, many of the organizations discarded what they had learned. They manufactured and shipped product with the minimum of inspection and quality. Shoddy merchandise flooded the market.
Some organizations, however, continued to use the skills that they had learned to provide quality product and maintain efficiency in manufacturing. One factor that encouraged quality was the warranty. Good quality was needed to maintain a warranty with minimum cost. AT&T and others knew that reducing the frequency of service calls minimized their maintenance costs. Quality systems and durable designs were used to accomplish these objectives. These organizations continued to follow the precepts of Shewhart, Dodge, Romig, Juran and Deming. The number of such companies was small.
The differences between 1946 and 1996 are:
- the proliferation of individuals and companies effectively establishing quality processes and product;
- the proliferation of standards that describe procedures for quality management and statistical accuracy;
- the emphasis on continuous improvement; and
- the current competition for foreign markets.
An interesting aspect of today’s continuous quality improvement effort is that many of the quality practices that are common today existed in their embryonic state 50 years ago. The ease of computation has made it attractive to use more complicated techniques and reach better levels of control, more uniform performance, and far better quality.
One of the biggest factors resulting in the recognition now awarded quality was the sales job performed by Deming in Japan. The Japanese learned how to produce a quality product through the application of quality control to the process. This in turn allowed the Japanese to acquire substantial portions of market that US manufacturers had considered their own. To retain a major portion of the remaining market, and to make some inroads into what the Japanese had acquired, US manufacturers began to look to the Japanese for guidance, and were frequently misled, adopting only portions of the methods that the Japanese had used to grow quality consciousness. Eventually, US manufacturers learned that what was needed was not the “gimmicks” they initially associated with the Japanese success, but an overall effort to generate quality at all levels of the organization, and to develop stable, well-made, quality products.
There are still companies where the quality credo emblazoned on their product states, “This is the best product we make.” Organizations still exist that have a quality policy that insists “If it is made, it is shipped.” However, organizations that have truly adopted quality have found customer satisfaction, increased sales, fewer complaints, and greater profits.
State of the quality profession
Robert W. Peach
Robert W. Peach, principal, Robert Peach and Associates, Inc., is a fellow of ASQC, a member of ASQC for more than 45 years, and a past recipient of ASQC’s Edwards Medal. He served as convenor of the working group that developed ISO 9004-1, and currently is chairman of the Registrar Accreditation Board and editor of the ISO 9000 Handbook.
Modern quality management had its beginnings in the statistical innovations of Walter Shewhart in the mid-1920s. Dr Shewhart’s sole subject was statistical quality control. Statistical sampling, another major tool, was developed and applied during World War II. Applications of total quality began appearing in the 1950s, articulated by Dr A.V. (Val) Feigenbaum and, in Japan, by proponents such as Dr Kaoru Ishikawa.
In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, management typically looked to quality professionals for application of the powerful tools of quality. Large quality organizations developed in industry, administering both staff and line quality functions. Duties encompassed quality engineering, metrology, testing, inspection, quality costs and reliability. These staffs concentrated on product quality, both design and conformance, and generally were effective.
Most of the expansion of quality management practice which we now enjoy came about after 1980, fuelled by Drs Juran and Deming, by Japanese applications and by an increased awareness of the potential benefits of the intelligent use of total quality tools. Applications in manufacturing plants were no longer limited to product, but were expanded to all organizational activities. The spectrum extended from suppliers, through the organization, to distributors and customers. Applications were developed in non-manufacturing activities, and in service organizations such as health care and education. Statistical applications were no longer limited to process control, but addressed process capability.
The development of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria and the parallel European Quality Award mechanism helped articulate the application of the quality management approach, and spurred application in additional organizations. These criteria directed organizations towards continuous improvement, measuring results and customer satisfaction, while making maximum use of human resources.
’…the adoption of ISO 9000 continues worldwide, both in manufacturing and service industries. ISO 9000 is rapidly becoming the recognized foundation for quality practice. It is the basis for harmonizing the US auto industry’s quality system requirements…’
Even as TQM practice was developing, many large companies still found it necessary, both in their own factories and those of their suppliers, to follow prescribed quality systems in order to ensure that the basic elements of good quality practice were adhered to. In the 1970s and 1980s, hundreds of such quality system standards were in existence around the world. In 1980, a multinational team of quality professionals harmonized the content of these standards into the ISO 9000 quality system standards family, using an outline structure already in use in the UK, but with content tracing back to a US military quality system standard. The adoption of ISO 9000 continues worldwide, both in manufacturing and service industries. ISO 9000 is rapidly becoming the recognized foundation for quality practice. It is the basis for harmonizing the US auto industry’s quality system requirements.
Good quality management practice no longer is the private domain of the quality professional. Even with quality staffs today often being much smaller, the application of quality practice is much broader, extending throughout entire organizations. The original statistical tools of quality remain the foundation for effective process control and analysis, but now exist within a context of a deeper understanding of how to apply quality management tools, beginning with customer requirements and expectations, using those techniques as a means of continuous improvement.
Lessons and future work
Hy Pitt, president of Pitt Training Associates, is semi-retired. A member of ASQC since 1956, Pitt is an ASQC fellow and a member of EOQ. As director of education and training for ASQC in the late 1960s, Pitt developed ASQC’s certified quality engineer (CQE) exam programme. He is the author of SPC for the Rest of Us: A Personal Path to Statistical Process Control.
The quality profession is well and growing. The dramatic rise in ASQC membership, for example, attests to that. The global nature of business and the focus on ISO standards have broadened the total business outlook of quality professionals. A decade or two ago there were relatively few vice-presidents of quality; today they abound all over the world.
The trend towards and away from statistical methods as a fundamental set of scientific tools for quality improvement seems to be cyclical. A resurgence towards statistics, after a period of de-emphasis, occurred as a result of W. Edwards Deming’s influence in the 1980s, but the emphasis on managing for quality and the focus on the Baldrige Awards have placed statistics in the background again. I see it returning when managers realize that powerful statistical tools are necessary in order to determine validity and credibility of any quality-improvement programme. The impact of Deming’s continuous-improvement principle has changed the way company managers view quality. Another important quality trend is the growing focus on satisfying and, better yet, on delighting the customer.
The most significant challenge currently facing the quality profession is the proliferation of companies that practise “downsizing” in order to become more competitive; that is, to become “lean and mean”. Yet, in many instances such companies contradict their objective by rewarding top managers excessively. Employees who remain after downsizing find themselves overworked and less efficient, destroying any alleged benefits of downsizing. Quality professionals may find themselves as insecure in their jobs as others in their companies. Employees who retain feelings of company loyalty are becoming an endangered species. Individuals with many years of loyal dedication and useful productivity are becoming expendable as their companies practise downsizing in order to enhance profits. Two-way loyalty is disintegrating, and one-way loyalty is not reasonable.
Reflections on a career in quality
Dr Frank M. Gryna
Dr Frank M. Gryna, professor of management at the University of Tampa, has devoted an entire career to quality-related work - as a quality manager, consultant, author, researcher and professor. A member of ASQC for 48 years, he is a fellow of the society and a past recipient of its Edwards Medal and its E.L. Grant Award.
When I started my career in quality in 1948, most of the practitioners were engineers, scientists, or statisticians. Now look at the field.
We have many engineers and scientists. They proclaim, “Meet the specifications”. I agree. We also have statisticians. They say, “Reduce variability”. Yes. We have marketing research people. They emphasize that we “must understand customer needs”. Affirmative. How about the behavioural scientists who say, “It all comes down to people?” Amen. The strategic planners stress that “Quality can be a way to achieve a unique competitive advantage”. True. And, we have computer people who remind us that “Information flow is a key”. I concur.
We need all of these perspectives on quality, but it means that the quality director of the future must be a different kind of person from in the past. As I see it, the quality director has two roles. In one role, the director manages a quality department - it may be large, it may be small - which executes a variety of quality-related technical tasks. In another role, the director assists upper management on strategic quality management. In this second role, we can learn a lesson from our colleagues in finance.
’…historically, most organizations had a financial position known as a controller. The controller managed a department that handled technical financial tasks such as accounts receivable, accounts payable, and cash management. Then upper management saw the need for broader viewpoint on finance. In some companies, they created the position of chief financial officer (CFO) and promoted the controller…’
Historically, most organizations had a financial position known as a controller. The controller managed a department that handled technical financial tasks such as accounts receivable, accounts payable, and cash management. Then upper management saw the need for broader viewpoint on finance. In some companies, they created the position of chief financial officer (CFO) and promoted the controller. In other companies, upper management concluded that the controller did a terrific job of managing the technical financial activities, but did not have the skills necessary for the broader view of finance. Frankly, those controllers were not chosen to become the CFO.
I submit that we have the same situation in the quality arena. Certainly, we have a variety of important technical tasks on quality. We also need someone with the broader view of quality who will act as the right hand of upper management for quality in the same way that a CFO acts as the right hand for finance.
But are present quality directors prepared, or willing to become prepared, for the broader business role on quality? Will quality directors be able to command the respect of the four most influential people in most organizations, i.e., the president and the heads of finance, marketing, and operations? Are quality directors willing to become risk takers to defy old assumptions and explore new options? The opportunity is there. Fortunately, within the quality profession, the opportunity is also present for those who wish to manage a specific technical activity within quality or who wish to follow the drum beat of the individual contributor. In almost half a century in the quality function, I have never seen such a variety of career paths.
Learning and working together
Dr A. Blanton Godfrey
Dr A. Blanton Godfrey, chairman and CEO of Juran Institute, Inc., is a fellow of ASQC, the World Academy of Productivity Sciences and the American Statistical Association, and an academician of the International Academy of Quality. Consultant to executives in more than 40 countries, Godfrey has worked in quality since 1973.
My first “aha” insight into quality came in the 1970s when I led an intra-company (Bell Labs, Western Electric, AT&T) task force to discover and document case studies of where improving quality led to significantly lower costs. What we thought would be a difficult task turned out to be remarkably easy. We discovered dramatic examples in every location we visited.
My second major insight came in the 1980s when, as head of the Network Performance Characterization Department at Bell Labs, I was involved in a major study of the quality of long-distance telephone service. Our goal was to compare the impairments we could measure electrically with what the customers actually perceived as good or poor quality service. What amazed me was how much there was to learn about customers and their true needs.
’…organizational memory is critical to a professional organization just as it is critical to any organization. The creation of a world-class database with examples, case studies and reference materials is essential…’
Since joining the Juran Institute in 1987, I have been startled by how similar the problems facing companies in all industries and all societies are. I also have been fascinated by how fast companies can actually change and the stunning improvements they can achieve in such short time periods.
Membership of ASQC, EOQ and IAQ has given me a wide range of opportunities to participate at the local, national and international level in activities that contributed immensely to my personal growth. Putting together a presentation, or just putting thoughts on paper, forces one to rethink and more clearly formulate ideas. Then, sharing these ideas in sessions with some awfully bright people is quite a challenge. It is an incredible opportunity to find out what everyone is thinking.
Everything seems to go around again and again. I have been intrigued by the lessons in Dr Juran’s recent book, The History of Managing for Quality. The chapters describe country by country how an industry or even country became the world leader over the past 5,000 years. Many of the concepts, methods and tools are ones we are just now rediscovering. What is remarkable now is that these ideas are becoming common knowledge across the world and across industries. In the past, it seems that they were practised only by a few exceptional organizations, world leadership was established, and then slowly the excellence dissipated and the methods underpinning this leadership were forgotten.
Organizational memory is critical to a professional organization just as it is critical to any organization. The creation of a world-class database with examples, case studies and reference materials is essential. I was incredibly lucky to have spent 14 years working in quality in AT&T Bell Laboratories. The labs have a wonderful history of quality research and development and over 70 years of documentation, reference materials and publications. AT&T’s recent series of excellent quality books is one of the most visible evidences of this database of information.
Quality is now an accepted part of business management in most leading US companies. This acceptance is now just happening in Europe, but in other countries it is still a challenge. The most critical turning point in the profession has been the acceptance by senior executives that they must provide the leadership to make quality happen. ASQC’s participation in the creation of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award is by far its most important contribution in the USA. In Europe many members of the EOQ in like manner contributed to the creation of the European Foundation for Quality Management and the European Quality Award.
The most significant change still facing the quality profession is the acceptance of the role of chief quality officer (CQO) in leading companies. For the first time, many companies are making the CQO position a stepping-stone to CEO or board positions. At division levels, quality directors are now in line for division presidents jobs or other leadership positions in the company. This means our professional organizations must provide strong support to these people while realizing that they will not be long-time active members of ASQC or EOQ. They do not have years to learn what they need to know, and they certainly cannot afford to get bogged down in numerous courses or meetings on subjects and techniques better left to others in the organization.
The support of senior executives in quality concepts and methods, and the integration of quality management into strategic planning and business will be continuing challenges for many years. Many of us are just now learning how to explain the impact this can have and the means to truly integrate quality and business planning and operations.
Raymond Wachniak, now retired, held top quality managerial responsibility at several companies including Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Babcock and Wilcox, and Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. An ASQC member since 1954, Wachniak is an ASQC fellow and a past recipient of the Edwards Medal. He has been an associate member of EOQ since 1968 and an IAQ academician since 1980. He is the editor of the IAQ newsletter, Contact.
Although the quality movement experienced a rebirth in the last five to eight years, the future bears mixed messages for quality professionals with traditional skills, especially those in manufacturing-related business. For many, the success of the continuous quality improvement movement has made their skills obsolete and impels them to rethink and redesign their vocational careers.
Just as the emphasis has shifted from product/service control to process control, so, too, quality professionals must take a process view of their lives and careers. To draw an analogy from boy scouting, the road from tenderfoot to eagle scout is a process of continuously adding personal skills. It is voluntary in nature. For the quality professional who wants to remain gainfully employed, the process of continuously improving skills will be a forced march.
Tomorrow’s quality professionals need to have their “early-warning systems” attuned to the numerous forces that are shaping the future of work. Perhaps the most significant factors to be reckoned with are the information revolution, the velocity of change in products and services, and changes in the workplace.
Information revolution. The Internet and the World Wide Web are two of the most recent venues of the information revolution. Clearly, ubiquitous use of the computer makes it all possible. Ever more powerful PCs come out in a matter of months, and low-cost “net-computers”, are now available. Today’s computers have advance functionality and high speed connections as common as television. The full integration of technologies - computer, fax, phone, wireless, cellular, multimedia - in homes and offices, at accessible prices, is a reality today and will be further enhanced in the future. This collaborative computing will enable users to co-ordinate work within and between organizations, and to access and integrate information effectively.
Velocity of change in products and services. Rapid product/services development cycles are being reduced from years to months and from months to weeks. This emphasis on cycle-time reduction will continue and accelerate as consumers demand to express their own individuality. Increasingly, manufacturers think in terms of smaller and smaller lot sizes, ultimately to a lot size of one. As the bugs are worked out of doing business on the electronic super malls, consumers will be able to communicate directly with the manufacturer/supplier to produce “custom” one-of-a-kind products. Mass customization will drive manufacturing towards making perfect products.
Changes in the workplace. Cycle-time reduction, robotics, expert systems, etc., all affect the workplace and the workforce. Paid work is less time consuming for medium income levels, and is often done at home. Most workers can anticipate future work weeks of something less than 40 hours. Current estimates predict a reduction in the size of the industrial workforce and an increase in the number of knowledge workers. While today’s quality professional has established quality metrics and benchmarks for products and services, the need for such metrics and benchmarks for the quality of knowledge will be needed and challenging.
This discussion addresses only a few of the factors that will impact tomorrow’s quality professionals. Currently, about 70 per cent of the members of organizations such as the American Society for Quality Control work in manufacturing-related business. Yet the trend is clearly to service-type industries. In some industries, like healthcare, quality is a “shared” responsibility. As the full value of quality concepts is realized, the responsibility for quality will change dramatically. In the light of the changing nature of work, today’s quality professionals should evaluate their skills, anticipate tomorrow’s needs, and plan and take action to address gaps.
The quality professional in the twenty-first century
Dr H. James Harrington
Dr H. James Harrington is a past president of ASQC, present chairman of IAQ and a member of EOQ. He is a principal with Ernst & Young LLP’s consulting branch and serves as its international quality adviser. He is a quality professional with more than 40 years’ experience, including more than 30 years as a quality manager for IBM.
The quality assurance function is going to give way to a new comprehensive value-added function that will be called “systems assurance”. This new function will provide a second-party review of how well the systems within the total organization are functioning and evaluate their impact on all the organization’s stakeholders, not just its external customers. The systems assurance function will audit product, quality management systems, environmental management systems, security management systems, financial management systems, strategic management systems, safety management systems, customer acquisition systems, and other general management systems. This new function will focus more on the marketing and sales systems than on the production systems because marketing and sales will have a greater impact on customer satisfaction than production. It will be responsible for auditing compliance to the present defined systems and identifying system improvement opportunities that will increase the total organization’s performance as viewed by all of its stakeholders.
The size of the quality function will be greatly reduced because all managers will become quality managers. The quality professionals that will remain will be much more technically capable of understanding business operations and much less focused on controlling the production systems. The quality professional of the twenty-first century will not be focusing on activities, but will focus on processes and how they combine into critical operating systems that control and manage the total organization.
‘…today, 5 per cent of the decisions made in the boardroom are bad decisions, and 95 per cent of the decisions are good quality decisions. The downside to that is that only 10 per cent of the decisions are optimum decisions when they are reviewed 12 months later…’
The systems assurance function will design its activities to help management make optimum decisions, not just good decisions. Today, 5 per cent of the decisions made in the boardroom are bad decisions, and 95 per cent of the decisions are good quality decisions. The downside to that is that only 10 per cent of the decisions are optimum decisions when they are reviewed 12 months later. The market in the twenty-first century will go to the organizations that make the highest percentage of optimum decisions the first time. Truly, the systems assurance function will move out of the problem-solving role, turning that over to the line departments, and focus over 90 per cent of its effort on error prevention.
The next 50 years in quality
William A. Golomski
William A. Golomski is one of only 14 individuals ever named honorary members of ASQC. He is a past recipient of ASQC’s Edwards Medal (1975), the American Deming Medal (1990) and ASQC’s Grant Award (1991). In 1986, the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Division of ASQC established the William A. Golomski Award to recognize outstanding contributions to the field. Professor Golomski is an academician and a vice-president of IAQ. He has been involved in quality work since 1949 and a member of ASQC since 1952.
Professer Golomski’s remarks are excerpts of a keynote speech he gave at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Milwaukee section of ASQC. Expressing trepidation about predicting future scenarios for the quality, Golomski wryly observed that a review of the forecasts made 50 years ago indicates that they all missed the mark.
I propose to view [ASQC] not as an organization but as a process that started some 50 years ... to enhance the capability and occupational status of those in quality control...
[It] was not only a learning process, but a personal development process. As a result of skills learned in committees and boards, members developed low risk forms of learning technical skills and managerial skills.
Through the years [many ASQC members] started out knowing very little about quality whether they came out of the hourly workforce or had college degrees. The education and training workshops developed and offered by the [ASQC local] section[s] provided a safe and useful introduction to the field. One reason that they were so successful is that they involved action learning and not just lectures. Homework, classwork, and interactive small group activities provided opportunities for some to learn the materials and for others to improve presentation and persuasive skills. This is true community action in its best sense... This is an educational model for the quality profession that is in place... It is an ideal form because it keeps people from entering into obsolescence. It anticipated what some have called the continuously learning organization...
- Empowerment has been misunderstood. What is at stake is providing education and training that will enable people to make decisions that they are capable of making. This will increase the number of people reporting to a supervisor to the interval of 30 to 50 people. As gains are made there will be agitation to share them with employees to a greater extent than today…
- Executive education and practice has been based on underdeveloped concepts in economics and finance. Concepts from the field of quality will be developed as part of economic theory. The broadened perspective of leadership will include quality. Executives will also be measured on job creation and employee retention…
- The initial interest in outsourcing by the military and its industrial counterparts will continue… Even quality control, quality engineering, quality auditing and metrology will be outsourced in some companies. This will create new opportunities for quality services organizations…
- There will be a vast increase in the use of reliability, durability, maintainability, serviceability, inspectability and other cousins of these concepts in the next 50 years…
- [In health care, ] the emphasis will be on prevention of health problems. Quality measures will be made of that process…
- Skill-based compensation will increase as a management programme in industry and government…
- The field of quality, like other fields of science, engineering, and management, will not be guru-based but articulate leaders will emerge…
- Re-engineering as a term will disappear. Process redesign and process improvement will continue to occupy industry and government. The challenge to those in organizations will be to broaden the umbrella of quality to include new concepts and methods. Value analysis and value engineering will re-emerge…
- Measurements systems and computer systems of telecommunications will enable management to be centrally controlled and even coercive. There can be a review of what goes on at the individual and small work unit level by those at higher levels of the organizations. The technical capability can be there to centralize decision making…
- Innovative organization effectiveness concepts from sociology and organization science will become dominant in the next 50 years. The so-called soft sciences will develop to a state of confidence similar to where we find the hard sciences today…
- As quality concepts move into the educational curriculum of schools, there will be less training for quality in the working world…
- Yields will go up as defects will be at the level of parts per trillion. Toleration of non-conformities will go down drastically. Executives, designers and those in quality will be held legally responsible for departures from best practices. So-called secrets to reduce non-conformities will be shared because of their importance to social welfare…
- ... more people than ever before will get to the executive suite via quality…However, in some organizations quality will be combined with strategic planning or with environmental management or with a new function on quality measures…
Handbook on Statistical Quality Control
Ralph E. Wareham
Ralph E. Wareham is a founding member of ASQC. With Dodge, Ashcroft, Deming and Simon, he co-authored three American War Standards (Z1.1, Z1.2, Z1.3) on Quality Control in 1941 and 1942. He collaborated with Grant, Working and Deming in developing and presenting the Stanford University courses that became the basis for the War Production Board Training Courses in Quality Control.
The following excerpt is reprinted, with permission of the author, from the preface to Wareham’s 1945 Handbook on Statistical Quality Control.
Experience has shown that product quality can be controlled by effective use of the trained personnel, the know-how, and the equipment available. It is primarily a problem of organizing our efforts. Quality control is something that we can all do well and our quality control methods can be improved with experience. The actual applications will prove very interesting…
However, quality control is not something that can be done once and then forgotten. The secret of controlling product quality is keeping a continual light check on the manufacturing process to be sure that quality does not change. There is always a possibility of doing a job better and better by continued correction of the troubles that occur.
A successful program of quality control will assist greatly in turning out a smooth flow of high quality products at low cost. As a management tool, quality control will provide:
- a)Better quality through better design as a result of improved knowledge about factory processes, and
- b)Better equipment and process by stimulating manufacturing studies, and
- c)Better quality safeguards by improved inspection methods.
These three gains will together bring steady improvement in quality and reduction in costs.
Joiner, B.L. (1994), Fourth Generation Management, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY, .
Wareham, R.E. (1945), Handbook on Statistical Quality Control, .
Juran, J.M. (1995), A History of Managing for Quality, Quality Press, Milwaukee, WI, .
Some terrific contributions, perhaps none more so than Peter Scholtes’ spirited defence of TQM and his six leadership competences.