The Knowledge Network: Decentralize Quality Learning

Article

Platt, Lilly; Granville, Arthur   (1992, ASQC)   Digital Equipment Corporation, Maynard, MA

Annual Quality Congress, Nashville TN    Vol. 46    No. 0
QICID: 9766    May 1992    pp. 613-619
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Article Abstract

Beginning in 1985, and currently consisting of more than 200 volunteers, Digital Equipment Corporation's Quality Knowledge Network is an international and decentralized network of volunteer quality trainer/consultants composed of employees who reside in DEC business locations throughout the world. Trainers, who typically occupy non-training positions (such as engineering, administration, software development), teach quality improvement techniques to other employees. The development process for trainer/consultants has been standardized to ensure consistent effectiveness of knowledge transfer. The network is maintained by the use of electronic mail, electronic bulletin boards, skill building activities, and internal conferences. This article describes in tabular form the structure and principles of the network. Table 1 summarizes key events in the history of the Quality Knowledge Network. Table 2 reports the process for training and certifying trainer/consultants. Instructors are certified to teach problem solving, defect prevention, process improvement, team development, benchmarking, and total quality management. Table 3 outlines the supporting structure for the network, including steering committees, electronic bulletin board systems, and the email system. Table 4 profiles the substantial benefits of the decentralized network. Benefits have been realized for the company, business organizations, and individuals. Table 5 details the risks and liabilities of a decentralized approach. Table 6 indicates the key competencies of a trainer/consultant, and Table 7 is devoted to guidelines on creating a decentralized quality network. Significant factors in network development included a dependable central support, a thorough train-the-trainer curriculum, multiple communication options, top management commitment, and recognition of individual and organizational achievements.

Keywords

Quality assurance (QA),Education,Employee involvement (EI),Employees


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