Some people say that the importance, relevance and influence of the
concept of Quality in management has diminished is the last decade
– and will disappear in the next decade. They are right, that the concept
have got less attention the last – but they are wrong, when they believe
it will disappear. Quality never dies.
The quality of products, services and performance have never been more important and relevant than it is today.
We experience that professional customers after the financial crisis more than ever carefully assess their purchase in terms of quality? We also experience that organizations now grasp quality form a much more enthusiastic angle.
What has changed? And what is the future of Quality?
What has changed: today we much more carefully do the best buy. We have moved from few suppliers with long lead time to many suppliers with short lead time.
In the last decades, the concept of quality in most organizations has become synonymous with "conformance or non-conformance to requirements" - say Black or White. It could be "conform to tolerances", no matter how bad or meaningless they have been specified. Or it could be "conform to external system demands" - typically at leat the SIO 9000-series and some industry specific product quality requirements. Again - no matter how little life they bring to collective quality development of the organization.
After dramatic cutbacks throughout 2009, most organizations have now found a basically healthy platform. The unnecessary has been cut off. Just by doing so, the quality key figures of products and services in many places have improved over the past 6 months.
The future of Quality: See the many opportunities and realise the strategic challenges using the concept of quality. The concept of quality has many strengths and opportunities. Quality is not just black and white. It has many colours which can be painted and applied in thousands of stimulating ways for addressing the crucial challenges of organizations. This is the future of Quality.
Let me give some small examples of management teams who over the past six months have revived the concept of quality in such focused way:
"The mistake causing link in the organization is now continuously and systemtically presented together with sometimes dramatic technical, commercial and financial consequences caused by apparently "small" mistakes.
The issue is no longer just to "comply with requirements". The important thing is, based on internal and external customers' real need and meaningful expectations to re-assess all relevant requirements on a continuous basis.
The cost of quality in most organizations is well over 10%, and can easily be reduced by 20%. This is a good and meaningful way to reduce the case base by 2-4% every year.
"Quality never dies". Quality again has shown its strength by creating a common language and joint framework for a determined development of organizations. Good luck to you and your organisation's quality future.