ASQ’s 2011 Futures Study

This month, I’d like to share with you a brief video blog about ASQ’s 2011 Futures Study. For new readers, here’s a bit of background. In an effort to anticipate the future of quality, ASQ conducts a Futures Study every three years. That effort began in 1995 (you can view the 2008 study on

The final 2011 Futures Study will be released in September. In the meantime, I invite you to review a summary of the key forces that’s mentioned in the “vlog.” This summary represents contributions from more than 150 panelists from 40 countries—a truly global group! I offer several questions for discussion in the video. Please take a look and add your voice in the comments and on your own blog.

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3 Responses to ASQ’s 2011 Futures Study

  1. Mark Belgen says:

    I have been in the Quality Engineering profession for over 25 years and hold numerous Certifications, so my comments are based on years of experience.

    The consumer does not care about waste. They only care about the price of a product, so should waste impact that product, or should I say, should waste reduce the price of that product, the consumer will buy it anyway.

    This is a term loosely used for “Outsourcing” “Offshoring” operations that were originally performed within the continental United States. This is not a level playing field and will continue to plaque product quality as other countries are not required to comply with industry standards (ie. IPC 610, 620), regulations (ie. 21CFR820 & 211) or basic human rights. In extreme cases they occur every day, people die from drugs that are not potent, safe, or efficacious. They contain contaminants or are unsafe because the products are manufactured from noncompliant processes. The FDA has no authority outside the US to enforce the CFR’s other than blocking importation or worse, recall after the fact. US companies cannot compete when the rules are different for other companies as well as the additional tax burden that is imposed on US companies.

    Aging Population & the 21st Century
    The survey is utter nonsense. There will not be more jobs than people to fill them. Aging boomers are having to postpone or come out of retirement to make ends meet. Jobs continue to be outsourced (offshored) continually reducing the opportunities for employment. And if you think that should an over abundance of jobs should somehow miraculously appear, massive immigration will swallow up any that exist as is occurring now. Of the new college graduates, their engineering preparation is abismal. They no longer perform hands on labs, all virtual now, so they don’t even know how to breadboard a circuit or install a thermal couple to run a test. Their writing skills are 3rd grade level, and that is being unfair to 3rd graders. Unless graduating engineers mentor under an experience engineer, they will not be able to perform the tasks necessary, or worse, will complete something on their own that results in someones injury or death. Most Quality Engineers today are glorified inspectors that were promoted, but have no understanding of the Quality Engineering discipline what so ever. Quality organizations used to have the authority to stop shipment and force corrective action to improve product quality and prevent a hazardous situation. Today, management just replaces an uncontrollable Quality Manager or engineer with someone that is less competent, more flexible or both. Quality departments and their engineers no longer have the authority or clout to take the action necessary to improve product quality, prevent consumer injury/death, or implement process controls that would ensure a safe and efficacious product.
    And quality is not what the customer says, as the customer is loosing choices in today’s market. There are fewer and fewer companies producing like products, which takes away the consumer’s ability to choose. Just try and contact customer service at a company in which you have purchased defective product to file a complaint. You are lucky to get through, and if you do, you don’t talk to a person, you talk to a machine. If companies trully cared about consumer goodwill, they would invest in a customer service process that is customer friendly, efficient, pleasant and effective, but they don’t. Why because they don’t care and they don’t want the product back.

    Innovation is what got us class action lawsuits in the medical device field. Products produced in Juarez, Mexico by unskilled labor in a community surrounded by drug lords and gunshots. A community where environmental protections and controls are not in place allowing the incubation of Swine flu from a cesspool of animal droppings that are collected in an open lake in Mexico. Ultimately, with American Management, it is not about the quality of the product or customer satisfaction, it is about profit, the margin. I have seen such an incredible shift away from true product quality/reliability in just the past 15 years that it is depressing to think where this country will be at in the next couple of years. With students/engineers graduating with really no knowledge of quality tools and engineering disciplines, with offshoring to places where standards and regulations do not apply, and with American managements continued focus on the short term methods of advancing their career, I don’t hold much hope for the future here in America. This survey couldn’t be more out of touch with what is actually going on in the trenches today in the United States. I am very disappointed with ASQ and this study as it has not only missed the mark, but white washed over it with a Disney like facade giving the appearance that everything is OK except for a few minor tweaks. After meeting Demming on three separate occasions and discussing his approach to quality, I can safely say that he is turning over in his grave today.

  2. Toni Allardyce-Harris says:

    How can ASQ compete with other quality management organizations? I see in the food industry that HACCP is not enough and the new buzz is the developing of GFSI quality standards which is basically a reinvention of ISO. How can I as an auditor maintain my “global voice” when other groups are saying – “not enough”!

  3. Not since George Bush has anyone been so wrong on everything. In truth, the ASQ report doesn’t really say much. See blog for details at
    Outsourcing has always been with us. At first, it was textile and shoemaking industries that moved out of New England, but not very far. Now, we’re seeing outsourcing from the prior outsourcing destinations, both here and overseas. Deal with it.