Quality of Engineering and Technical Services

Article

Emrick, Jonathan E.   (1989, ASQC)   VSE Corp., Alexandria, VA

Annual Quality Congress, Toronto, Ontario, Canada    Vol. 43    No. 0
QICID: 3551    May 1989    pp. 103-108
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Article Abstract

This paper explores vital elements of the Department of Defense (DOD) acquisition process and the inadequacy of the current Federal Acquisition Regulations to provide guidance and direction for implementing quality standards in the procurement of Engineering and Technical Services. The quality considerations of the President's Blue Ribbon Commission Report on Defense Management (June 1986) are reviewed as are the Carlucci Quality Initiatives of 1988 in order to indicate contemporary imperatives for quality of performance. Additionally, the impact of present deficiencies of quality management in industry and Government is assessed. Specific case studies of the inconsistent approach in applying quality requirements for the acquisition of services are examined. The continuing trend by DOD in placing greater dependence upon contracting for professional services and, in turn, the necessity to assure that the Government is getting its money�s worth are highlighted as significant reasons to impel consideration of this topic.

The control of processes dealing with technical data (e.g. reports, technical publications, maintenance manuals, the development of studies, drawings, etc.) in contrast to quality control/assurance of hardware production is discussed. The paper notes that the major difference in output between professional service organizations and manufacturing firms is that service organizations produce "paperwork", while a manufacturing organization produces "hardware". The basic quality principles and practices are equally applicable to both. However in the former case, what is necessary is the concentration on people rather than machines and mechanical processes. Total Quality Management (TQM), as it applies to professional services, is explored. The TQM concept demands top management leadership and continuous involvement in the process activities. More important, however, is the recognition that managers must work harder on communications; must be more results-oriented; and must be more quantitative and systematic in their approach to quality and quality improvement.

It is generally recognized that to properly manager quality of services one must be able to measure. However, it is noted that while qualitative measurement is the ideal goal, the more practical approach is to address both the quantitative (objective) and qualitative (subjective) aspects. It is concluded that a specific quality standard (specification) for services is required.

Keywords

Quality management (QM)


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