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SaferPak: Food Packaging Safety, Food Safety, Business Improvement and Quality Management
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Value-added Services for Your Future
An address to the American Society for Quality, Detroit Section, November 7, 2005.
By Allan J. Sayle, President Allan Sayle Associates

Part 1 -- Part 2 -- Part 3

Thank you for the invitation to address you. It is a pleasure to be here. I hope the evening will provide a number of thought-provoking topics for now is the time to give especial consideration to your personal career moves and your company’s future quality program.

Where must quality go?

During my St. Louis keynote address, at the Quality Audit Division Conference, in March of this year, I spoke of the bifurcation in quality. As I said, then, two distinct branches are appearing in “quality’s” activities: process management and management of processes.

My undiminished contention is that “Quality” has a vital role and a promising future. But it must change its level of service, its training requirements and background education and qualifications. The service must deepen. It is far too shallow, almost vacuous in many companies. To do so entails becoming more directly involved in the management of the organization.

Quality professionals frequently speak about the importance of process management yet few get involved in the quality of the most important process of all: “management” itself. Though in quality’s circles there is a lot of talk about 'management ' actually, there is very little understanding about what it is. Management is the most widespread and far-reaching process in the organization. Good management is essential if the organization is to succeed. Quality people often complain about its absence: they talk, among other things, of a “lack of management support or commitment”, though they do little about helping it to improve. Is it too much to believe that if the management process could be improved most of the everyday grumbles of quality people would abate? When I talk to them, though, frankly they seldom have any clue about what to do, where to go and how to direct forward their organization. Small wonder they understand little about “value adding”, let alone value assessments

Few quality professionals get involved in the business. Unsurprisingly, then, they cannot or do not make a contribution to business improvement. That must stop. Organizational survival means becoming more competitive which means reducing or eliminating avoidable costs, as I refer to them. It matters not from where they do or might originate: each is as bad as the other. Finding them requires you become involved in value assessments. It also requires that you guide your clients and employers towards quality management programs, QMPs, that focus on improving value for money.

Does this infer organizations should discard ISO 9000/ TS 16949? No, use their best features but do not let the standard’s matters dominate your efforts: your programs must go further. Those limited to the standard’s content omit far too much of importance to the organization’s survival – especially in the way they are commonly applied, which leaves much to be desired.

Present day quality programs

Two principle shortcomings of today’s quality programs are that they do not sufficiently address business realities and they lack forward-thinking. In fact they need a health check if one may deploy that metaphor. Given today’s business environment undertaking such a check-up is something in which I am increasingly engaged. It is an essential exercise and, if you know what you are doing, it typically only requires a few days to complete. So, it provides a good bang for the buck. But, one must not confuse this type of exercise with the rather useless registrar and ISO 9000 efforts.

For those organizations that understand and believe in the need for prevention the check-up is important and valuable. Consider this: when did your management last take your QMP to the doctor or get it X-rayed?

People in “quality” often ask me how can they take their programs to the “next level.” Though they are uncertain what that actually means, clearly, the expression is an admission that they sense or know their present program is lacking – unfit for purpose, my favorite definition of “quality”! The first step is to get that check up – a diagnosis of what is required.

Next: Some shortcomings of quality programs




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