In honor of World Quality Month 2012 A View from the Q asks, "Why does it take so long for what is known to be true to become common practice? Or, perhaps more importantly, what can we do to accelerate the rate of adoption of quality?"
The problem is that we have to ask these questions. The Quality arts and sciences began developing into mainstream business practices in the mid to late 20th century driven by the teachings of Drs Juran and Deming and supported by other Quality gurus including Crosby, Feigenbaum, Taguchi, and others. Now in the 21st century we expect Quality to be a top priority and cultural norm of all organizations. This is not so, as indicated by the two questions asked this month by Paul Borawski.
To add a little levity to this discussion, let's jump ahead to the 23rd century...there is no Quality department on the Starship Enterprise. Why, because by the 23rd century Quality is everyone's responsibility and all crew members know this.
So what needs to be done in the 21st century to jump-start the future...
We need to educate our workforce in a manner that will make the concepts stick, make every member of the team believe that Quality is part of their job. We've succeeded, to a point, in doing this with safety...nobody wants to go home missing body parts or having sustained an injury on the job so safety is imbedded. Okay, maybe we don't have the same goal in quality but if we can influency our workforce to adopt quality in a similar manner then we will succeed in waste reduction, improved performance, improved customer satisfaction and the list goes on. To do this our senior leaders must walk the talk, use performance metrics as fluidly as they use financial metrics. We as quality practitioners are regularly told that we must speak the language of senior management (money-speak), I say that Senior Management must speak the language of Quality!