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?