Quality and Innovation and 3M: a Partnership for Customer Satisfaction


Gubrud, Robert E.; Kubinski, Ronald H.; Thompson, James J.   (1992, ASQC)   3M, St. Paul, MN

Annual Quality Congress, Nashville TN    Vol. 46    No. 0
QICID: 9878    May 1992    pp. 577-583
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Article Abstract

Although quality and innovation are not seen a mutually supportive processes, 3M designed a partnership combining the two.

They began by trying to incorporate their factory-driven quality control concepts into a company quality program, but found that control was antithetical to their goal. Instead they focused the entire organization on the customer. Simultaneously, they began to look at supports for the innovation process. They found that the five fundamental innovation supports coincided with those for the quality process: values and goals, controls and approvals, boundary crossing, sponsorship, and rewards and recognition.

Linking these supports resulted in an organization that had unified values and goals that encourage continuous improvement. Providing employees with more control and approval made it easier to satisfy the customer. Boundary crossing led to more creative problem solving and support that addressed common objective and benefits. Management involvement in sponsorship has made corporate goals more obvious and easily attainable. Rewarding and recognizing not only those who solve problems directly but those who support the solution focuses the company's awareness on the quality and innovation process.

The authors demonstrate that before you can improve quality and innovation, you need to understand and link the processes that drive both.


3M,Customer focus,Customer satisfaction (CS),Quality

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