hygiene zone
quality tools
quality techniques
human issues
quality awards
quality extra
visitor tools


Stay Informed
Sign up below to receive our Occasional Newsletter.

We Respect Your Privacy!

Web SaferPak
SaferPak: Food Packaging Safety, Food Safety, Business Improvement and Quality Management
       Home     About     Contact

Quality and the Quality of Work Life go Hand to Hand
By Norman Bodek

ISO 9000 – 14000, Six Sigma and Lean lead now the quality efforts in most companies but while we strive for greater quality we often neglect the very quality of work life itself. We ask people to produce quality products and deliver quality services and almost totally neglect the quality of the work that they do. We want to insure proper standardization of the processes but who cares if work is boring, unchallenging and repetitious? “Not my job says the quality managers. I look for defects and their prevention.” “Not my job says the mechanical engineers. I want the machines and people to produce most efficiently at the lowest cost.” “Not my job says the industrial engineer.” I want to improve people’s motions and reduce waste.” Who then looks after the quality of work life itself?

Managers neglect this issue feeling hopeless to bring meaningful change. They think that quality of work life is cleaner floors and bathrooms, or less noise and dirt, etc. And as much attention as they give to this issue the workers never seem satisfied.

There is a solution! Simply ask the workers to come forth and offer their own small creative ideas and implement those ideas themselves. Challenge their employees to make their work easier and more interesting while at the same time pleasing their customers, reducing costs and improving quality.

Yes, it is the quality manager’s responsibility to tackle this issue and help workers be creative and overcome their resistance and fear of change. Study the current trends and see what Dana, Toyota and Honda are doing to both improve the quality of their products and the quality of work life at the same time.

It is amazing what people are capable of doing once challenged by their leaders. It is about time that quality managers lift their “heads out of the sand and look around them.”

Interestingly, in the recent problems at United Airlines the mechanics union refused to go along with other unions until United came up with a plan to improve the quality of their work life. It is time for the quality community to expand their understanding of quality and quality of work life.


Norman Bodek is a consultant and the author of The Idea Generator – Quick and Easy Kaizen – a process developed in Japan to foster creative involvement of all employees. The book is available in the UK at www.ameritech.co.uk or in the US at www.qci-intl.com.







Back to previous page





























top of page


home :: about :: contact :: terms

© 2006 SaferPak Ltd.