Is Time Running Out for Quality?

Article

Wilbur, Jay H.   (2002, ASQ)  

Quality Progress    Vol. 35    No. 7
QICID: 18092    July 2002    pp. 75-79
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Article Abstract

Fifty years ago W. Edwards Deming and other researchers recognized the benefits that can be gained by applying scientific methods to production-oriented business systems. Their methodology is broadly referred to as total quality management (TQM). The methods of implementation vary greatly, but the underlying metric, total cost of quality (COQ), is the same. The COQ metric has been so successful in the manufacturing sector that efforts have been made to tailor it to other industries, such as the service industry, where the cost of poor quality is harder to measure. Many of these efforts have failed due to the nature of the operations. If a specific operation violates one or more of the underlying assumptions of TQM, the effort to use COQ to drive quality improvement is unlikely to succeed. COQ is of little benefit to operations in which cost in either unimportant or secondary to other concerns, such as time. Start-up ventures strive to be the first to bring an innovation to market, hoping to reap windfall profits from a temporary monopoly and the brand name recognition that usually results. Cost is willingly traded to gain schedule advantage. Quality is still critical if the innovator is to stay ahead of the inevitable competition, but COQ is of less importance than a metric that shows how quality impacts the schedule. This metric could be referred to as the "time to quality." Many major quality-related frameworks have been revised recently, but none offers an approach directed at schedule recovery. New methods are needed that enable quality goals to be reached in a minimum of time if start-ups are to survive. These new methods will be found different areas than traditional methods. While there is no doubt that time to quality methods are needed and will be developed, what remains uncertain is the role quality professionals will play in defining, implementing, and evaluating these methods. If time-driven operations are ignored because the current body of knowledge is based on the priorities and cost imperatives from 50 years ago, time could run out for quality.

Keywords

Time management,Quality system,Total Quality Management (TQM),Activity-based costing (ABC),Cost of quality (COQ),Market segmentation,Quality management (QM)


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