Quality Management Journal Introduction - July 2000 - ASQ

Quality Management Journal Introduction - July 2000


In the first article, Richard C. M. Yam, K. F. Pun, and K. S. Chin, of the University of Hong Kong, along with R. Gill of Middlesex University in the United Kingdom, discuss the transfer of quality management practices and policies from Hong Kong to China. As the doors of China have opened, there has been a tremendous amount of low-cost manufacturing relocated from Hong Kong to China, since Hong Kong is faced with constantly escalating land and labor costs. Although Hong Kong manufacturers were not exactly known as leaders in the quality management movement several decades ago, they have made significant progress since the early 1990s, particularly with the influence of ISO 9000. Compared with Hong Kong manufacturers, those in China had less emphasis on quality documentation, less training, and training that focused primarily on technical training at the operator level, less emphasis on staff development, and weak links between staff performance and reward systems. Yam, Pun, Chin, and Gill discuss how quality management practices were transferred from Hong Kong to Chinese facilities and propose a model for quality transformation.

James R. Detert, of Harvard University, and Roger Jenni of the Northfield (Minnesota) Public Schools, discuss the applicability of the Baldrige Award assessment for a public school environment. Although many school systems have performed Baldrige Award audits, they have found them excessively time-consuming and view them as a “one time deal,” because of the effort involved. Other problems with using a Baldrige Award audit in a school system setting is the lag between application and feedback and the perception that it doesn’t accurately reflect the practices and beliefs of all employees in the school system. This sentiment is echoed in other nonindustrial settings, including health care. Detert and Jenni describe the process by which they developed a quick and simple quality management assessment for public school systems. Through three studies, using elementary and secondary schools from across the country, they developed and refined a questionnaire that is quick and easy to administer and provides immediate feedback. Detert and Jenni have also paid detailed attention to issues related to reliability and validity of the instrument. Thus, they provide a questionnaire that school systems should find very useful in assessing their quality management progress on a regular basis.

In the third article, Pietro Romano, of the University of Padova in Italy, examines the impact of ISO 9000 on plant performance. His interests stem from his experiences as a former quality manager in a plant that achieved ISO 9000 certification. In looking at the experiences of plants in Italy, he is able to answer important questions related to the impact of ISO 9000 certification on plants of varying sizes, including very small ones. Previous research has found mixed results when relating ISO 9000 certification to performance, particularly in terms of cost and time performance. On some measures of performance, ISO 9000 certification has been found to have no influence or even a negative influence. Romano studied the experiences of 100 Italian plants. He studied before and after measures of a number of factors, including work-in-process defects, rework hours, returns for defectives, process reliability, time to market, delivery punctuality, and throughput time. He found that, in virtually every case, the plants achieved significantly better performance after certification. The exception was that inspection costs increased after certification; however, this is consistent with the notion of cost of quality: Although prevention and inspection costs will increase, the total cost of quality will decrease as internal defects and external defects decrease.

In Focus on the Classroom, Selwyn W. Becker, of the University of Chicago, describes his experiences teaching a course on business strategy and policy using the Baldrige Award criteria for performance excellence. Rather than using the traditional textbook and case-based approach, he asked students to form teams to develop strategic plans for client companies. In developing their plans, students used a strategic management textbook and the Baldrige Award criteria as guides. Although students struggled, at first, with the applicability of the Baldrige Award criteria to their task, it quickly became their primary source when they ran into problems. The client companies found the resulting strategic plans to be thorough and very well thought out. More important, they were impressed with the extent with which their recommended strategies were supported with data and analysis. Becker found that the use of the Baldrige Award criteria forced students to support their ideas with data and, in doing so, develop better strategic plans.

We close with an article on the often-misunderstood concept of six sigma. Mustafa R. Yilmaz and Sangit Chatterjee, of Northeastern University, focus on the conceptual foundations and implications of the concept, taking a conceptual, rather than statistical approach. In doing so, they develop the concept of process variability and describe the goals of six sigma in a readily understandable manner. They also draw on the foundations for six sigma provided in the work of Deming. Examples are provided from retailing, insurance, banking, and health care. They show how six sigma can help in the value creation process and discuss the importance of understanding variability and its sources in business processes.

I think you will enjoy each of these articles. Please send your comments to “Discussion, Debate, Dialogue,” in care of Kristen Johnson, American Society for Quality, P.O. Box 3005, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53201-3005.

Barbara B. Flynn

Quality Management Journal


Barbara B. Flynn
Wake Forest University

George S. Easton
Emory University

William A. Golomski
University of Chicago

James B. Kohnen
St. Mary’s College of California

William O. Winchell
Lawrence Technological University


William Tony

Kristen Johnson

Jane Crouse
Kris McEachern

Cathy Schnackenberg

Michael Andes
Jill Zimmerman

Michael Andes


John Anderson
University of Minnesota

Selwyn Becker
University of Chicago

Robert E. Cole
University of California

James W. Dean, Jr.
University of North Carolina

James R. Evans
University of Cincinnati

John P. Evans
University of North Carolina

Frank M. Gryna
University of Tampa

John Hamburg
APEX, Inc.

David Luther
Luther Quality Associates

Ram Narasimhan
Michigan State University

Roger G. Schroeder
University of Minnesota

Kalyan Singhal
University of Baltimore

Michael J. Stahl
University of Tennessee


Sanjay Ahire
Indiana University South Bend

Susan D. Amundson
Arizona State University

Kimberly A. Bates*
University of Toronto

Michael Beyerlein
University of North Texas

Paul M. Bobrowski
Syracuse University

Kenneth Boyer
DePaul University

Kenneth E. Case
Oklahoma State University

Injazz Chen
Cleveland State University

Barrie Dale*
University of Manchester

Richard Deane
Georgia State University

John Delery
University of Arkansas

Kevin Dooley
Arizona State University

Edward Duplaga
Bowling Green State University

Susan West Engelkemeyer
Babson College

Byron Finch
Miami University

Mark D. Finster
University of Wisconsin

Laura Forker
Boston University

Soumen Ghosh
Georgia Institute of Technology

Glenn H. Gilbreath
Virginia Commonwealth University

John M. Groocock*
TRW (Retired)

Robert Handfield
Michigan State University

Sandra J. Hartman
University of New Orleans

Marilyn Helms
University of Tennessee

Mary Collins Holcomb
University of Tennessee

Ann Jordan
University of North Texas

Gary Kern
Indiana University

Jill Phelps Kern
Digital Semiconductor

David Kerridge*
Aberdeen University

Ray A. Klotz
Qualcomm Inc.

Ronald D. Kurtzmann
Brewer and Associates

Keong Leong
Ohio State University

A. Magid Mazen
Suffolk University

Satish Mehra
University of Memphis

Kim I. Melton
North Georgia College and State University

Henry R. Neave*
British Deming Association

Yoram Neumann
California State University

William Newman
Miami University

Gary Ragatz
Michigan State University

Gipsie B. Ranney
Belmont University

Richard N. Rosett
Rochester Institute of Technology

Brooke Saladin
Wake Forest University

Helmut Schneider
Louisiana State University

Nirmal Sethia
California State Polytechnic University

John G. Surak
Clemson University

William Tallon
Northern Illinois University

Michael D. Tveite
The Tetrad Group

Peter Ward
Ohio State University

L. David Weller
University of Georgia

Ted Weston
Colorado State University

*International reviewer

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