Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Is Quality Ambitious Enough?

This blog post is in response to December 2014 ASQ Influential Voices topic "Is Quality Ambitious Enough?"

Personally, I believe Quality is Not Ambitious Enough. 

Here are my thoughts on issues and opportunities to make quality more ambitious:

  • We the quality professionals have not done a good job selling the value of quality to the C Suite. Hence, the Quality Department is a Cost Center rather than Value Center. Too often we hear stories of organizations dismantling quality departments when times are tough. 
  • Everyone wants quality, however, in majority of organizations there is no underlying mechanisms to create and sustain quality, other than delegating work to quality department.  
  • Executives are busy drawing strategies and rest of the management is busy in day-to-day affairs. Quality is an afterthought. 
  • There is a lack of single-minded focus in instilling quality in Education (K-12, undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate levels), Healthcare (physicians, nurses, administrators, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.), Government (local, state, and federal levels), Non-profits, Manufacturing, Service, and Small Businesses.

  • Each one of us rededicate ourselves to sell the value of quality to our top management in any organization we work in.
  • In an organization wherever we serve, ensure we help build necessary mechanisms to create and sustain quality.
  • Provide input to our executives for their strategy formulation to build quality in the strategic plan so that they can drive quality from the top. Reinforce quality value proposition for the middle management and get their engagement to move the quality forward. 
  • In various sectors such as Education, Healthcare, Government, Non-Profits, Manufacturing, Service, and Small Businesses, volunteer your time and talent as appropriate. Start instilling importance and value of quality at all levels of organizations. As a quality professional be a champion or catalyst for the cause of quality rather than become a police person focusing on compliance only.
  • Here are my personal actions in making quality ambitious in various sectors:
         Education: Sharing Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework at K-12, 
         Undergraduate, and Graduate levels. Initiated Google Hangout for free knowledge 
         transfer at various educational institutes in India to strengthen soft skills and exposure 
         to quality management principles and practices.
         Government: Shared Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework at local, state, 
         and International levels.

         Manufacturing: Leading a Knowledge Sharing Series for a very reputable Corporate 
         House in India in collaboration with ASQ India.

         Non-Profits: Personally instilled quality discipline in managing a non-profit (Blind 
         Foundation for India) for over 25 years.

         Service: Championed use of Baldrige in organizations for significant transformations.

         Small Businesses: Shared best practices and outstanding frameworks to benefit 
         them in quality improvement.

I look forward to hear your views on this topic.


  1. Quality is always #1, yet quickly followed by cost and sales price! The proper placement of attention to these three attributes is a conundrum! Take as an example the Baldridge Award in 1992 for the AT&T Transmission Business unit. Today, the facility that was at the center of this award is gone! Great quality has to be applied but to a continuing upgraded product line! Keeping an eye on customer needs is part of the equation!

  2. Henry, I resonate with your comments. I have seen many examples from great companies where due to lack of enlightened leadership, companies go on the wayside. Thanks.