Influential Voices: How does your Quality Grow?

In a post on Measuring the Value of Quality, Paul Borowski laments that we don’t have a line outside the door of folks searching for answers on how to bring quality to their organization.  Statistics like, “[t]wenty cents of every dollar of revenue in manufacturing is lost to poor quality” and “[t]hirty cents of every revenue dollar in service is lost to poor quality” and perhaps the scariest one, “[s]eventy cents in healthcare” – are you scared yet? If you’ve every worked in manufacturing, beyond the financial costs of poor quality, this also results in wasted time, lost customer satisfaction, and lost resources. Philip Crosby famously said “Quality is free. It’s not a gift, but it’s free. The ‘unquality’ things are what cost money.” Whether or not you believe in Crosby’s Zero Defects philosophy, this quote rings true.

As natural resources become increasingly scarce, a renewed focus on quality is needed. What if we returned to designing reliable products that were meant to survive  a generation, rather than the current system of planned obsolescence? What if our leadership provided more incentive to produce cost avoidance due to doing right the first time instead of cost reductions and improvement efforts due to kaizan activities? What if we stopped saying it’s not my job and started saying how can we solve this problem together? In most organizations, business as usual will simply not be sustainable in the future. How can we plant the seeds together to make quality grow? What is growing in your quality garden?

Influential Voices: December post, a little late

As I write this, December has in fact come and gone. Winter has finally hit Wisconsin, and the wind is blowing hard today. I have been reflecting on December, and not posting, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it has to do with the reminder that I still have popping up in Outlook; a reminder to call Danny Whelan. I am working on an initiative to improve training delivery to member leaders with a team from the Section Affairs Council (SAC) and the Division Affairs Council (DAC). I had e-mailed Dan to talk about ethics training materials, and I put a note in my calendar to call him at the “beginning of next week.” Only I got to busy and didn’t make the call. And now I can’t.

I still remember the folks that I met at the first board meeting I attended in 2006 at WCQI, just before my term started that July 1st. Dan was one of those rolling off the board at the time. I remember that he made me feel welcome, and he made me laugh. I had the privilege to spend more time with Dan while hanging out with the Biomedical division at WCQI and other events.  I laughed when I found an old blog post from WCQI in 2007, talking about a visit to Sleuth’s in Orlando, and the fun, friendships and learning I had experienced that day. I appreciate the times that Dan answered my questions, both about ASQ, and about quality in the medical device industry.

So I think that it is time to dismiss that reminder. We’ll get to read more about Danny in the February Quality Progress. Thanks for listening… and I’ll be back with a January post later this month.