A Necessity To Compete Globally

by Sha’ri Yusof

One of the most important things about quality is to hold on to the quality philosophy. So, what is the philosophy?

Having been trained at Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors immediately after obtaining an industrial engineering degree from the University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, in 1983, I began to see the contrast between America’s luxury style and Japan’s no waste society.

After a year in Japan, I returned to my homeland, Malaysia, to work for the newly established Malaysian National Car Project, which now produces the most popular car in our country, the Proton. The experience in controlling, assuring and improving the quality of Proton Saga’s chassis and later the responsibility for supplier quality assurance activities made me realize the need for quality control and assurance for any country to achieve progress and compete globally.

The five years of industrial experience then led me to intentionally switch my career from being a technocrat to becoming an academic in the field of quality. A master’s degree in integrated quality systems from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom gave me new knowledge and perspectives.

I ultimately completed my doctorate in quality management, which made me very passionate about the quality philosophy. I have seen and
am seeing quality from both worlds: theory and practice.

To me quality is all about the drive toward achieving excellence. Quality management is about attaining business excellence through systems, technology and people who are passionate about producing nothing but the best. Most importantly, the top people in any organization must provide total support—moral, financial and technological. They must provide the relevant materials, resources and motivation to be excellent.

Quality results in efficient and effectively run organizations without unwanted waste being generated from the system. Quality must also be disseminated and used throughout the producer and consumer chains and linkages, from customers to raw material suppliers and all other ancillaries such as consultancies and engineering support.

Government institutions must also produce excellent products and services to have satisfied citizens—who, in turn, ensure votes during general elections.

Quality minded people will expect nothing but the best, but this does not mean they are perfect. We must demand excellence and both preach and practice it to the best of our knowledge, capabilities, limitations and situations. Only if people understand and practice this quality philosophy will we see positive results in the world’s economic and political systems.

SHA’RI M. YUSOF is an associate professor of manufacturing and industrial engineering of the mechanical engineering faculty at the Technological University of Malaysia. He earned a doctorate in total quality management from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, and is a Senior Member of ASQ.

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