Talking Quality with Nokia

Hello, readers. This is a guest blog by Laurel Nelson-Rowe, ASQ managing director. Last month I visited the Nokia headquarters and had the opportunity to talk with Nokia’s quality chief. Here are some reflections and video interviews from that visit.

Before the snow hit hard in Helsinki, Finland, Juha Kuismanen, newly named to the new Nokia quality and capabilities director role, laid out the many changes underway at the company–which still claims the title as the world’s largest mobile phone maker. The discussion came on the eve late last year of a critical Nokia product introduction–the Lumia smartphone line. Lumia, now shipping in many locales, is getting positive analyst and consumer attention, as it combines Nokia smartphone innovations, geo-services and all-important product and packaging quality with a next-generation Windows operating system and apps.

Kuismanen and team draw on the legacy of design and manufacturing excellence at Nokia, and are building anew, given the restructuring at the company over the last year. In this interview, he references the new organization, and the focus on quality tools, processes, systems and results within the Nokia ecosystem strategies.

As a new ASQ Enterprise Quality Roundtable member, Kuismanen says he will count on ASQ to deliver the global network of the best quality resources and experts, as Nokia operates, aligns, and targets growth around the world. Without a quality culture, and a pervasive use of quality tools, quality plans and systems, Kuismanen suggests that Nokia’s drive for increased market share on the vast mobile device front and a return to an innovative edge may run short. Backed by a commitment to quality from Nokia CEO Stephen Elop (once in the leadership ranks at Microsoft), the corporate strategy office, product and operating organizations, and manufacturing and design facilities worldwide, Kuismanen is confident Nokia’s renewed surge will run long.

Quality in mobile devices, and in smart-tech computing and communications spheres, often triggers strong commentary—from the supply side to the consumer experience. Does quality spur or impede innovation in 2012 and beyond? How can design and device makers deliver on the quality promise of product to consumers in challenging situations—such as when the supply chain or the network service companies experience failure modes?

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