IBM Canada Holds on to Its Beliefs - and Its Future


Klaus, Leigh Ann   (1997, ASQ)   ASQ, Milwaukee, WI

Quality Progress    Vol. 30    No. 10
QICID: 13157    October 1997    pp. 37-41
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Article Abstract

An interview with John Wetmore, president and chief executive officer of IBM Canada, explains how the company turned around from an early-1990s loss of half its share price and laying off 5,000 of 13,000 employees. Today, domestic sales revenues are up and employees number more than 13,000. Key to this improvement has been a reemphasis on quality principles, such as Thomas Watson's basic IBM beliefs in respect for individuals, customer focus, and excellence. IBM Canada has supplemented these beliefs with: eight principles centered on the customer; initiatives like customer surveys, focus groups, benchmarking, a customer action council, and a customer advisory council; and activities based on Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award ideas. Employees are the most important resource at IBM Canada. The resource is nourished though programs like: variable pay; investments in training; skill development; mentoring; career planning; diversity initiatives; and a variety of awards. Employee job satisfaction is at 95%, and the attrition rate is much lower than at IBM Canada's competitors. In 1997, IBM Canada has been the sponsor of the Canada Quality Month. This has been an opportunity to increase the visibility of quality of the company, as well as a means to focus on end results rather than the label of quality.


Case study,Customer and market focus,Customer focus,Employees,Quality philosophy,Reengineering

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