June Roundup–Taking Quality Beyond Product

How do we move quality beyond product? This was the question posted to ASQ’s Influential Voices bloggers in June. I was pleased that many approached this question from unusual perspectives, drawing parallels between quality and human resources, service, social media, and beyond. This question was inspired by recent research by The Conference Board Quality Council, principally authored by Mike Adams, on quality’s response to the challenges facing CEOs in the 21st century. I encourage you to read it, and to read the responses by the bloggers.

Here’s the roundup, loosely grouped by train of thought regarding what it takes to move quality beyond product.

Leadership: Moving quality beyond product and building a quality culture requires buy-in from managers and leaders, writes Tim McMahonJohn Hunter suggests making improvements to the management system in an organization. Scott Rutherford reflects on quality culture, management, and the “big Q,” and the “little q.”  Staff is equally important. “Companies are built or destroyed by the quality of their people,” writes Cesar Diaz Guevara. And getting all employees to share the same definition of quality is the trick to implementing a quality movement, writes Dr. Robert Burney.

Strategy: Deborah Mackin suggests a Lean 5S approach to moving quality beyond product. Robert Mitchell writes about his experience implementing quality in organizations such as 3M. Rajan Thiyagarajan shares several case studies about product and service quality at major companies. Chris Hermenitt writes about the freedom to make real-time improvements and revisions.

Learning from the gurus: Jimena Calfa looks to Deming’s 14 points of management, while Anshuman Tiwari looks to Juran’s classic trilogy. I pleased to have Deming and Juran brought into the conversation. Their teachings are profound and as relevant now as ever.  Perhaps more so now.

Perspective: John Priebe compares the current state of the quality to the HR movement to get a seat at the C-suite table. Manu Vora notes that the Baldrige program can help to expand the scope of quality. In Asia, excellence in product and service quality is a key strategic focus, writes Dr. Lotto Lai.  And in healthcare, service is quality, writes Nergis Soylemez. Speaking of service, working in retail right out of college taught Aimee Siegler the real value of quality.

Mindset: We must realize that while “Quality control certainly has a purpose, it’s not the goal,” writes Jennifer StepniowskiSuresh Lulla reflects on quality and commitment. And Kerrie Christian looks to the play “All My Sons,” by American playwright Arthur Miller, for lessons in quality—in product and beyond. On another literary note—Guy Wallace writes a philosophical response to the question, ending with a poem by Robert Frost.

It’s clear that the question provoked thinking and deeply held beliefs. Thank you, all. It’s also clear that there is work to be done for quality to realize its full potential, and nothing will help more than people who understand and have experience to raise their voice. Loudly, please.

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