Influential Voices: What is the Future of Quality?

This month, Paul Borowski blogs about the past and the future of quality. He poses two questions, the first of which is, “does the quality community bear some responsibility for making sure its philosophic foundations are not lost to history?”

George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The history and body of knowledge of quality contains information not just on what we currently believe to work, but what worked at one time, and stopped working as systems evolved. And there are some principles that have continued to remain the same throughout the history of quality. Knowledge of Juran and his methods should extend well beyond quality professionals. I took the certification exam for the Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence within the past year, and I found that a good deal of the material overlapped with and Operations Management class that I was taking for my MBA. Should Ops Mgmt folks be teaching Juran, Crosby and Deming? Absolutely? Should the quality community bring this to the table wherever we go? Absolutely.

Paul’s second question asks, “What do professionals under the age of 35 see as the future of quality?” Since I’m over the age of 35, I pose this question to my readers as well. I see sustainability integrated with management systems as the future of quality. A presentation given by Bryan Sheehan of SymbioSus in partnership with Green Mountain College  shows the clear linkages between quality and sustainability. Is it possible to have quality without sustainability? I don’t think so. Because if you have created something that is not sustainable, you will quite literally be dead in the water.