Roundtable: Influential Voices on Careers in Quality

Every month, ASQ selects a quality-themed topic or question for Influential Voices bloggers to discuss as part of a round table. For February’s Influential Voices round table, careers in quality, we asked our bloggers three questions:

  • Where do you plan to take your career in 2016?
  • What’s your view of careers in quality today—what challenges is this field facing?
  • How can someone starting out in quality succeed?
  • Here is what a few of them had to say:

    Suresh Lulla has been a Quality Management consultant and trainer for nearly three decades. He is the founder of Qimpro, whose mission is building brand made in India. He blogs at sureshlulla.com/blog.

    I will focus on the digital customer; offering Quality Management services that are better, faster, cheaper and different! I will write stories that are catalyzed by my experiences in Quality Management consulting I will avoid travel, to reduce my carbon footprint.
    Quality professionals must proactively court digital customers. This will require proficient Knowledge Management. In turn, this knowledge must feed into the Product Development processes in order to deliver better, faster, cheaper and different results! Quality professionals should be adept at global soft skills. Geographical boundaries have dissolved. Will Quality professionals be a threat to Marketing?

    My prescription for someone starting out in Quality is simple: Make understanding customer needs your obsession, learn to communicate customer needs to the Product Development team, learn to map processes and rid the subject processes of waste and wasteful work, and treat the workers with dignity.

    To read more feedback from Suresh, visit his blog.

    Luigi Sillé is the Quality Manager at Red Cross Blood Bank Foundation in Curaçao, an island in the Caribbean.  He has been a senior ASQ member since 2014, and blogs at sharequality.wordpress.com.

    Being competitive is the only way organizations can survive in the future.
    This can be done through creativity and innovation.  Through customer surveys and brainstorming sessions, quality professionals can guarantee continuous improvement. This allows us to anticipate the needs and wants of our clients.

    To read more feedback from Luigi, visit his blog.

    Ted Hessing owns SixSigmaStudyGuide.com, a website with hundreds of articles dedicated to Six Sigma training techniques and methods. He blogs at sixsigmastudyguide.com/blog-page.

    In an effort to reduce the sheer volume, I focused on the 80-20 principle; what are the primary drivers that would enable success. This is what I came up with in no specific order;
    1. Read.
    2. Find mentors.
    3. When in doubt, solve a problem for someone else.
    That’s it. That’s the advice I will give my own children as they grow up.

    To read more feedback from Ted, visit his blog.

    Robert Mitchell retired from 3M last June, where he was known as “Quality Bob.”  He has been an ASQ member for over three decades, and recently moved to Phoenix, where he runs a strategic quality leadership consulting business, QualityBob®Consulting.  He blogs at roberthmitchell.blogspot.com/.

    Thirty+ years of ASQ membership, participation on various ASQ National committees, member-leadership roles in ASQ Divisions and Sections, numerous papers presented at the World Conference of Quality and Improvement (WCQI), membership in the Performance Excellence Network (PEN) and service as a Baldrige Evaluator to the state of Minnesota, all played important roles in broadening my professional network leading to professional growth.

    My most cherished role is that of mentor and coach. I am so proud to have helped influence the careers and professional growth of my direct reports and mentees, and to have helped shape and sustain the business success of my internal clients and external organizations.

    To today’s students and apprentices of quality, I encourage you to seek out a trusted mentor, participate in professional member societies of quality and organizational excellence, contribute your knowledge, skills, talents and passion to local communities and non-profits, and engage in special projects to broaden your experiences.

    To read more feedback from Bob, visit his blog.

    Nicole Radziwill received her Ph.D in Quality from Indiana State and now teaches in the Department of Integrated Science and Technology (ISAT) at James Madison University (JMU). She blogs at qualityandinnovation.com.

    Just starting out in quality? My advice is to get a technical degree (science, math, or engineering) which will provide you with a solid foundation for understanding the new modes of production that are on the horizon. Industrial engineering, operations research, industrial design, and mechanical engineering are great fits for someone who wants a career in quality, as are statistics, data science, manufacturing engineering, and telecommunications.

    Cybersecurity and intelligence will become increasingly more central to quality management, so these are also good directions to take. Or, consider applying for an interdisciplinary program like JMU’s Integrated Science and Technology where I teach. We’re developing a new 21-credit sector right now where you can study EVERYTHING in the list above! Also, certifications are a plus, but in addition to completing training programs be sure to get formally certified by a professional organization to make sure that your credentials are widely recognized (e.g. through ASQ and ATMAE).

    To read more feedback from Nicole, visit her blog.

    Sunil Kaushik has more than a decade of experience in project and quality management with Fortune 100 companies. His next project is a round-the-world bicycle tour with a mission to train as many schools and universities on quality along the way. He blogs at trainntrot.com/wp.

    Sunil shared some of his professional goals for the year 2016 with this impressive list:
    • “Solve 100 high-impact Lean Six Sigma problems through TRIZ. The more problems I solve using TRIZ I wonder why is not as popular as Lean or Six Sigma, and the solutions are straight forward and it can work 10 times faster than Six Sigma projects.
    • Train TRIZ in at least 20 schools/Universities around the world. The beauty of TRIZ is, it is fun, simple and can help kids from the age of 10 start innovating and solving day-to-day problems. I just completed two in Thailand and 18 more to go.
    • Interview 20 top quality management professionals from different domains. This would be basically to understand their problem solving approach, how each industry operates, what kind of role does geography and culture play on quality management.
    • Publish a Book – It would be a fusion of my travel adventures, quality and the problem/opportunities I have observed on the route that might be a good start-up opportunity.
    • Publish white papers and articles – Last year I had an opportunity to publish eight papers with quality journals.  Now being unemployed, I have more time and should be able to publish more and contribute more to quality.
    • Conduct free Six Sigma Black Belt workshops for companies and universities.
    • 10 day Vipassana – I will be attending the 10-day Vipassana course in Vietnam, which is one of the items that has been pending for the past three years. Being a minimalist, this course will help me in cleansing my mind, staying focused, and enhancing my creativity.”

    To read more feedback from Sunil, visit his blog.

    If you’d like to take part in future View From the Q roundtables, please contact social@asq.org for more information.

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    2 Responses to Roundtable: Influential Voices on Careers in Quality

    1. Richard Tompkins, Senior Quality Engineer +35 years says:

      For anyone ‘starting out’ in Quality, begin your path as an inspector. Become proficient in all measuring instruments; take further math courses (trig!), general mgt. courses; certify through ASQ (CMI, CQT, CQE, CQA) and focus on excellence in your performance ALWAYS.

    2. Lourie Michelau says:

      Associate Quality Engineer my blog is-ProQstasis:THE JOBs Blog on Facebook 2016 1. My career in Quality this year will take me to Six Sigma Certification prepartion using ASQ materials and free student license from Metrix Learning obtained through Saint Paul Public Library system here in Minnesota USA! As for question 2. Continuing your education and staying “on top” of your field will be the exciting chalenge for a career which is to say being competitive and staying ahead of company demand will be a driving force I call this Stellar Trident: Upper level insight planning with well established targets! Question 3. I would congradulate and encourage your innate nature to strive for finding the BEGINNING than to move forward with confidence to discover the (your desired happy) ENDING (I have recently said this to a coworker) using the words “To be a Metrologist!”