Global State of Quality 2013

ASQ issued the 2013 Global State of Quality report not long ago, in addition to the summary below that was posted to their blog earlier this week.

We have reviewed the report and do feel it is representative of our experience as an industry provider.  While there are certainly issues of concern, such as the unfavorable continuous improvement findings, we remain optimistic in the long-term when we see figures representing 96% of respondents providing quality training. The key is to ensure quality training connects with the right objectives and is supported with the appropriate actions.  We are anticipating the 2014 report to see if this trend is accurate.


A guiding mission

A consistent trend emerges as successful organizations demonstrate sustainable mission statements and visions.  In the quality industry, many certifications even require in-depth knowledge of mission statement development and keys for successful implementation.  In Fayol’s Four Functions of Management, the development of a mission statement and strategy are included within the Planning phase.

Mission statements are important.

At recent strategy meetings, Pro QC refreshed the organization’s mission statement that now includes:

“The Pro QC Global Team enables our customers to project their interests in quality and conformance. Anywhere. Anytime.”

While most organizations have mission statements, the challenging component is following through and embedding that message into the corporate culture.  We also like to think that when organizations include quality in their guiding mission and manage successful corporate cultures, the consumer ultimately wins.

There are several articles out there offering tips for mission statement development.  A few of the most popular considerations include:

What do you do?

What is your long-term vision?

Where are you located?

Who do you serve?

How are you going to do it?

Additional resources include:

How to Write Your Mission Statement – Entrepreneur 

Developing Effective Mission & Vision Statements – Inc.

Developing Vision & Mission Statements – Purdue 


Supplier partnerships are key

Many organizations approach us and are currently in volatile partnerships with suppliers over missed deadlines or unacceptable quality.  Communication has broken down, and both parties are unclear of how to proceed and ensure customer value.

The key to accomplishing objectives and mutually realizing benefits from continuous improvement initiatives is through cooperation and understanding from all party’s perspectives.

Supplier partnerships work best when the following is incorporated:

Transparency – It is important that information is shared with all parties in order to expedite resolutions and brainstorm long-term solutions.

Dependable Payment Terms & Service Delivery – Payments should be made in a timely manner, and services rendered should reflect accordingly.

Third-Party Evaluation – It is often less intrusive and move objective to have a third-party evaluate a system or process and make necessary recommendations.  Continuous improvement can be monitored and ensured by an unbiased source.

Understanding Perspectives – All parties have unique objectives to meet as a result of the partnership.  Understanding these objectives and incorporating mutually beneficial decisions unifies and strengthens the  relationship.  Focusing on long-term growth and objectives, in addition to aligning these objectives to meet both organization’s objectives, creates an environment for growth and continued success.

Successful supplier partnerships exist with open communication and ongoing evaluations.  Successful partnerships create customer value, greater efficiency, reduced costs, and more.

Quality 101 – Four gurus you want to know

We’ve recently completed a series of workshop outlines that can be used to introduce anyone interested in quality to the industry basics and know where to find the resources they need to take additional action when required.

The workshops are designed as eight hour hands-on discussions of various topics covering statistics for quality, quality tools and quality basics.  We find the material related to the quality basics course will effectively reach a broad base and lead to a better understanding of the industry in general.

The primary focus of Quality 101 includes the foundations and principles of the gurus and the tools they have contributed to the industry and how they are applied today.  The top four primary contributors to quality we identified include:

W. Edwards Deming (Bio)

Deming changed our lives in many ways.

“Dr. W. Edwards Deming taught that by adopting appropriate principles of management, organizations can increase quality and simultaneously reduce costs (by reducing waste, rework, staff attrition and litigation while increasing customer loyalty). The key is to practice continual improvement and think of manufacturing as a system, not as bits and pieces.”

Must Know: Plan-Do-Check-Act

**This is a model for everyone, whether it’s used for business or personal planning and decision making .

“Quality is everyone’s responsibility.” ~Deming

Joseph M. Juran (Bio)

Juran wrote the Quality Control Handbook.  He focused on top-down training and is thought to have brought the Pareto Principle over to quality.

Must Know: Juran Trilogy

“Juran was one of the first to think about the cost of poor quality. This was illustrated by his “Juran trilogy”, an approach to cross-functional management, which is composed of three managerial processes: quality planning, quality control and quality improvement. Without change, there will be a constant waste, during change there will be increased costs, but after the improvement, margins will be higher and the increased costs get recouped.”

Philip B. Crosby

Crosby believed and also published a book titled Quality is Free.  He spoke often of “doing it right the first time” (DIRFT).

Must Know: Four Principles

  1. The definition of quality is conformance to requirements (requirements meaning both the product and the customer’s requirements).
  2. The system of quality is prevention.
  3. The performance standard is zero defects (relative to requirements).
  4. The measurement of quality is the price of nonconformance. 

“If anything is certain, it is that change is certain. The world we are planning for today will not exist in this form tomorrow.” ~Crosby

Kaoru Ishikawa (Bio)

“Kaoru Ishikawa wanted to change the way people think about work. He urged managers to resist becoming content with merely improving a product’s quality, insisting that quality improvement can always go one step further. His notion of company-wide quality control called for continued customer service.  According to Ishikawa, quality improvement is a continuous process, and it can always be taken one step further.”

Must Know: Quality Circles & Ishikawa (Cause & Effect) Diagrams

The big question within the industry is who has made the most significant contribution and why.  Thoughts?


Connecting teams abroad

Pro QC offers services in over 30 countries.  Individuals within virtual teams like this are often disconnected and face cultural or other challenges unique to this situation.

Ways we stay connected include:

Newsletter / Announcements – We have a quarterly newsletter that goes out to everyone on the team, in addition to clients.  Regional newsletters connect internal teams.

Video Chat – An important note here is to accommodate the time in different regions.  A weekly or monthly Skype call pulls everyone together to evaluate progress and more effectively address questions or issues.

Meeting Events – It is helpful to gather teams together for personal introductions.  This time can be combined with brainstorming sessions or other productive activities.

Social Media – We use Facebook primarily as a way of connecting teams on a personal level and providing updates.