Archive for March, 2011

Quality through the ages

March 9, 2011

Today, quality remains a way of life and quality results in more successful customers. Over the centuries, though, we have evolved from focusing mainly on products, then processes and now on systems and their 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 inspectors of the product. Yes, sorting good products from bad products wasted a lot of resources.

So we isolated the processes directly responsible for the products and charted them to understand their behavior. We learned how to identify and facilitate the removal of certain causes of variation and bad products.

From these studies we appreciated the power and 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 the systems and processes of supply chains to eliminate work and inventory that does not add or enable value for customers. We are learning to apply the lessons of system thinkers so leaders know how to optimize their organizations as systems that add value faster and prevent loss sooner.

Imagine more and more organizations, increasingly appreciated as systems that nurture their people and processes to result in quality outcomes.

As quality professionals we have morphed into system professionals to influence the strategic plans of the organizations we serve. Now we work with leaders to enable organizations and their management systems to help employees to determine and fulfill current and future requirements…

…to result in our most important product: more successful customers.