The triennial report on the future of quality from the American Society of Quality (ASQ) appeared this month. “Quality Throughout” provides a series of articles from various sources in the quality profession. They address a range of topics from manufacturing to leadership to customer experience and marketing.
The report calls to our attention that quality is no longer just a measurement of conformance or a set of processes mandated by regulatory agencies. Instead, it has grown into a cultural attitude with long lasting implications for society. By providing us with examples of the role of quality, we are given a view of the transitions to come and the underlying value of quality as improvement management. These are in areas ranging from basics, like controlling human variation in task execution, to establishing new standards for evaluating leadership.
The report does not suggest that the need for the quality function in an organization goes away. Rather it identifies that as our organizations and our societies mature so does our attitude about what we as consumers expect delivered quality to be. It tells us how we, as organizations, can ensure that such expectations are met.
By presenting this series of articles, ASQ provides an opportunity for those not formally aligned with the quality industry to gain insight on the value quality as a formal investigative and execution methodology can deliver. In particular, readers are given a view of how the various authors perceive that quality can be applied to solving some of the most important problems and issues of the day.
When quality is defined in these terms, it is clear that an advantage is held by those organizations that do engage in the use of formal quality tools. Organizations that do not have a formal quality structure are weakened in their attempts for success because their team members lack formal tools to help them engage in the problem solving, dialoguing and solution effectiveness that formal quality teachings provide.
In the report, the authors expose functions where they believe the use of formal methods of improvement management are the most likely path to success. This is due to the role of such methods in problem solving. Some examples are:
- Product improvements and enhancements that will be achieved by formally engaging customers to better identify details of the products they really need.
- Application of iterative approaches for analyzing big data to solve problems that were once considered unsolvable.
- A new class of emerging leaders with adaptive skills based on networked structures that will replace the old pyramid shapde decision making.
Forecasting the future is high risk activity, but in this report the writers don’t so much forecast the future as they forecast the importance of quality in achieving a desire future state. To read more you can obtain a free copy of the report by clicking here and registering with ASQ.org.