Attention to quality at the time of down turn!
At any time it may be rightly said that quality is a central aspect in every transaction.
That is what we as individuals expect to get from others and that is what others also expect from each one of us.
If one can recall and count as to how many times one thinks and talks about quality, on how many different topics and we all know that sometimes one gets and some times does not; sometimes one provides and some times does not. It appears that the number of times one feels elated and the number of times one frowns may indicate the availability of quality in any domain.
One’s reaction generally is due to the gap perceived between the expected and the actual.
Sometimes expectation itself may be low and the gap becomes less.
Sometimes expectation may be high and the gap may be high.
One may frown for a little gap or larger gap depending upon how fastidious one is about quality.
Some take it easy, expecting to get quality next time.
Though quality is defined in certain terms in every situation, there is always an expectation of a little more. It is after getting the product, that the expectation becomes clear!
It is said that to move up to higher quality, one must first achieve consistency at whatever level one is. Then get to know it consciously, the level and the reason for such a level. This realization is considered as the starting point.This realization is considered very important. It must be very real too.
People by nature being seekers of betterment, the realization itself would help to set a higher target! Following the natural instinct for betterment, facilitation by a management system would enable the effort to be sustained continuously. But the seed certainly is the realization of one’s level!
When we are ensuring quality, we may want to know how to ensure it continuously.
When we are able to provide continuously, we may try to know how to assure others about our capability.
When ensured, quality is in the product; when assured, quality is about the processes!
Ensuring is a line function; assuring is a strategic intent.
In a competitive world, both are required – assuring and ensuring.
Assuring is the ‘talk’, and ensuring is the ‘walk’!
Formulating and aligning the strategic intent with the line functions may be, in a way called the quality management.
It may require one strong resourceful person to coordinate all these activities,in good time and not so good time. It may be worth it.
These things happen in every organization. Some do it well, while some struggle.
The point is that help is available to excel!
One source is the International standard for quality management system.
A recent press release on the subject is at the following addresses.
http://www.iso.org/iso/pressrelease.htm?refid=Ref1180may please be gone through.
http://www.iso.org/iso/pressrelease.htm?refid=Ref1177It may also please be visited.
The system, of course, would only be as good as the minds building and maintaining it!
Reading, thinking and talking about quality would be a good set of activities in organizations, individually and in small groups, for building a good system.
It is at times such as the current one that high end aims would be put on standby.A tendency may come up to treat certain activities as non- value adding activities and to be kept in the margin and focus more attention on ‘doing’only. Though certainly one may not be able to take up investment-orientedprojects, one can certainly allot time for studying, thinking and discussing such matters in small groups, which would become handy, the moment we again getinto the din and bustle of activity.
An additional point!
In this connection an unusual source, not quoted by many, to read about quality is the novel ‘Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ by Robert M. Pirsig. It is sub-titled ‘An inquiry into Values’.
It engages us in inquiry about quality also, apart from others. That is basically the reason.
The novel informs us that there is a romantic side to quality and a classic side!
That makes it interesting and urges us to explore further.
And we would knowingly settle with classic side of quality to see results in the business environment, the romantic side remaining truly interesting!
For an extended exchange by the readers of this novel, may please visit http://www.moq.org
And another point!
Another source is ‘Process Wisdom for a New Age’ Peter B. Vaill, in J.Adams (ed)“Transforming Work”, Alexandria, Va,:Miles River Press,1984. This has been quoted by Vaill in one of his articles titled ‘The Unspeakable Textureof Process Wisdom’. If some one reading this blog is able to pick it up, read and share with others, all of us may be benefited and be grateful too.
When things go wrong,
as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging
seems all up hill,
When the funds are low
and debts are high,
And you want to smile,
but you have to sigh,
Rest,if you must –
but don’t quit.
Wishes to all for a rejuvenating season!