Sign of the Times

Will quality appointments pay off?

One would hope that the recent high-profile appointments to quality positions at some of the world’s most recognized companies—namely Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Toyota—signifies a renewed or revamped emphasis on quality. It will assuredly keep these companies on the radar for years to come as observers wait to see whether these appointments show a true commitment to quality or are a Band-Aid response spurred by bad publicity about the quality of the companies’ products.

For more perspective, QP asked A.V. Feigenbaum, one of quality’s most recognized authorities, to share his opinions on these recent personnel developments:

"Companies that are committed to quality in every aspect of their business tend to be leaders in their industry in long-term financial and customer-satisfaction performance," he said. "I certainly hope there is a trend toward more organizations ‘waking up’ to quality as a driver of business improvement results.

"By making these appointments," he continued, "the involved companies have exposed themselves to a higher level of quality performance expectation in the future. Hopefully, the incentive for these appointments is not purely PR in nature. The proof will lie in the results."

Quality remains the single-most important force leading to a company’s success and growth in national and international markets, Feigenbaum added.

"The return on investment from strong and effective quality programs is providing excellent profitability results in firms with effective quality strategies," he said.

Yet companies have varying levels of success implementing quality programs. Those that do will win over customers who are increasingly demanding and seeking out quality products.

"Because of the wide variation in quality results, the search for the genuine keys to success in quality has become a matter of deep concern to management of companies the world over," Feigenbaum said. "Meanwhile, experience is gradually disclosing a fundamental basis for achieving this success. Quality is, in essence, a way of managing the organization."

"Seeing the Light?" details these recent quality appointments, and includes comments from other quality professionals about these moves.

Standards and Auditing is this month’s issue theme, and QP has three informative articles geared toward helping you become a better auditor. The cover story, "Word Power," gives applicable examples and quick tips that will help you modify the language you use in your audit to get the best reception and, ultimately, the best results.

"Brace for Impact" describes an approach called "audit for impact," which can help auditors win management support. And "Dealing With Disconnect" details problems that can crop up in auditor-auditee communications and offers advice for preempting them.

Seiche Sanders

Seiche Sanders

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