It was nice to have the opportunity to read some articles from the very first issue of Quality Progress, published way back in 1968. I work and live in Kuwait. I have been in the quality field for the past seven years, and this is where I see myself 20 years from now—but quality still has a lot of catching up to do here in the Middle East.
Compared with the United States, Europe and my native country of India, Kuwait is far behind in terms of delivering quality products and services, let alone a robust quality management system (QMS).
There are a few top-of-the-line companies that do think of quality, such as Kharafi, Alghanim and Al-Shaya—I have excluded the government oil companies—but these amount to less than 1% of the total number of companies in Kuwait that have the potential to develop a QMS.
They need to understand that having potential is not enough. We need a quality revolution to ensure effective quality management, direction and governance.
The lack of basic quality understanding and innovation is largely because of the lack of interest in education and knowledge enhancement in the local community. Unfortunately, I don’t see that changing for the next 10 years or so.
The point is, I want to do more but am not able to due to the various limiting forces surrounding my workplace. That is why organizations such as ASQ give me so much intellectual satisfaction in terms of the knowledge it provides. Thank you, ASQ, for this.
Kuwait City, Kuwait
In response to Seiche Sanders’ invitation to share how quality has changed and evolved, ("Happy Birthday!" February 2011) ), may I suggest a few things that haven’t changed? Quality remains a way of life and results in happier customers.
Our profession has evolved from focusing mainly on products, then processes, and now on systems and outcomes. Craftsmen and guild members were the original quality professionals focused on perfecting their work and their products. Craft skills changed to support mass production with independent product inspectors.
But sorting good products from bad products wasted resources, so we charted the processes directly responsible for the products. We learned how to identify and remove causes of variation and bad products. We learned to appreciate the influence of the system on the variability of its processes and, hence, the quality of the products.
Today, we are learning how to remove waste from supply chains, systems and processes to eliminate work and inventory that does not add value for customers. We are learning to be system thinkers so we can advise leaders on how to optimize their organizations as systems so they add value faster and prevent loss sooner.
As quality professionals morph into system professionals, we influence the strategic plans of the organization. We work with leaders to enable organizations and their management systems to help employees determine and fulfill current and future requirements. The result is our most important product: more successful customers.
John R. Broomfield
Gloucester, Great Britain