OK, 2004’s been a decent year for quality. We’re not sure where the field falls on your “naughty or nice” check sheet, Santa, but we hope it’s in the running for more wins next year.
For example, we hope to see the economy continue to improve. It’s strengthened this year but has sometimes seemed a case of two steps forward, one step back, which hasn’t meant a substantial increase in jobs and hiring. No doubt some of our quality colleagues are still under- or unemployed. The good news is many people in traditional quality roles enjoyed salary gains (see “2004 Salary Survey,” p. 24). More of that in 2005 would be wonderful.
We also wish for new quality opportunities in economic sectors other than manufacturing. That’s been happening this year, especially in healthcare, which seemed constantly in the news (including in ASQ’s Quality News Today newsfeed for members on www.asq.org). Let’s keep it up and see growth in sectors such as education, service and government, too.
While you’re at it, please help keep quality in general at the forefront, especially as it proves its ability to improve organizational and financial performance. Congressional passage (and the president’s subsequent signature) of a bill to create a not-for-profit category for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award was a terrific gift this year.
As a special request, please let us continue to enjoy Joseph M. Juran’s discontent to rest on his laurels as he turns 100 later this month and collects another honorary doctorate (from Luleå University of Technology in Sweden). Let us also continue to benefit from the involvement of other quality pioneers, such as Armand V. Feigenbaum and Genichi Taguchi. Perhaps we could even see ASQ name more Honorary Members like Yoshio Kondo, honored in 2004 along with nine new Distinguished Service Medalists.
We’d also like to see the Society keep pushing the boundaries for quality, with more initiatives such as this year’s relaunching of the Team Excellence Competition as an international event, the development of a new member model and the establishment of an economic case for quality.
Tops on our list are best wishes and gratitude for members of the QP community, including retiring columnists and contributing editors. This issue we say thank you to Richard F. Gunst for his many years’ writing the “Statistics Roundtable” column, and we welcome Christine Anderson-Cook of Los Alamos National Laboratory in his place (p. 88). We also request a speedy return to normal for “Standards Outlook” columnist J.P. Russell, hit hard personally and professionally by the Florida hurricanes and unable to write a column for this issue. We wish him all the best as he gets back on this feet.
Finally, for all our readers, we wish for the tools, smarts and luck necessary for success in 2005.