October Roundup–Taking Quality Beyond the Silo

Can quality go beyond its traditional function? Should it? ASQ’s Influential Voices bloggers generally answered “yes” to these questions, posed to the group in October.

Yes—and yet there are many challenges to moving quality beyond organizational silos, as most noted. As always, I encourage you to read the Influential Voices blogs for the community’s view on this challenge and proposed solutions.

Setting Organizational Priorities: “Going beyond quality is the means to bring value to customers. Too many organizations waste their resources on things the customer doesn’t want,” says Tim McMahon. For Anshuman Tiwari, quality is a specialist function, but all company functions should have quality specialists. Drawing on her personal experience, Nergis Soylemez writes that “most organizations see the value of quality as a control function, but they may not necessarily expand beyond that.”

 And Guy Wallaces writes that “Quality means investing time, energy and money into things that show the promise of great returns for those efforts, as compared to other efforts.”

Tools and Solutions: Deb Mackin writes about the “Star Point Structure” developed at a Procter and Gamble plant. John Hunter draws on Deming, writing: “Dr. Deming’s ideas, for well over half a century, have emphasized the importance of improving the entire management system and the entire enterprise.”

Jimena Calfa writes about the changing meaning of supply chain management.

Dr. Robert Burney tackles the issue from a “smart manufacturing” angle—what does an expanded meaning of quality mean for healthcare

Precautions: Dr. Michael Noble voices some doubts about “expanding” quality—this is already happening, he writes, bringing both welcome and demanding changes. Nicole Radziwill has noticed that today “Everybody ‘does quality.’ That’s part of the problem, AND part of the solution.” And Don Brecken hopes that quality is “thoughtfully applied by quality professional and NOT applied as the program of the month by lay-professional.”

Changing Quality by Changing Yourself: Adapting quality beyond the quality field is simply survivalist, says Aimee Siegler. It’s what we do to stay in our field. John Priebe recommends taking on responsibilities even when they aren’t your job. David Levy recommends bringing quality knowledge and tools to other departments.

New Frontiers: Scott Rutherford writes about fields that quality must tackle and champion, including management science. Jennifer Stepniowski suggests bringing quality to small businesses. Manu Vora writes about going beyond the “big Q” and the “small q” to put quality “beyond quality.” Project management, change management, quality of life and supply chain management are also important, he says.

Rajan Thiyagarajan writes about the changing purpose of quality—from quality control to customer delight. Growth, innovation, recruitment, and other traditionally non-quality functions have room for quality, notes Cesar Diaz Guevara. Bob Mitchell also discusses new frontiers, writing that “quality’s role as change agent and catalyst for change is a critical, growing responsibility in today’s fast paced global economy.”

Can a pop song demonstrate the changing meaning of quality? Dr. Lotto Lai analyzes this topic by way of the  South Korean viral hit “Gangham Style.”

Finally, Dan Zrymiak summarizes these views as such: “The quality function has to evolve from its traditional perceived roles emphasizing inspection and controls. In addition to being a driving participant in superior design and internal collaboration, the Quality Function must adopt a more vigorous role as an advocate of Customer and Regulatory concerns.”

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