Monday, January 30, 2012

Another lap around Paul's January blog post

About 10 days ago I wrote a response to Paul Barowski's monthly blog that talked about the failings of ASQ Economic Case for Quality program.  One of my fellow Influential Voice bloggers, César Díaz Guevara, carried the Cost of Poor Quality theme further (blog).   The study and the blogs mention the 820:1 figure in two different contexts so I wanted to delve deeper. 

First off, the study talks nothing about Cost of Poor Quality nor ASQ's Economic Case for Quality (yeah, I blew it).  The study seems to prove justification that the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award benefits society at a cost to benefit ratio of 820:1.  Which means that for every dollar that we spend on MBNQA those companies that participate receive up to $820 in benefits versus those companies that do not support MBNQA.  Those benefits do not appear to be hard dollars entirely. Which means that MBNQA, and by extension, those state quality awards that use MBNQA guidelines (the majority) prove a significant value to the program participants.

Which also proves the old adage that you have to spend move to make money.  Quality is an investment not an expense.  You have to spend money now to reap the benefits in the future.  Seems like the same basic values that we try to instill in our families?  Now, if we can only get that type of return from 4-year colleges...

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Power of Video - Combining an idea with pictures

There are millions of videos on YouTube and trying to find the nuggets that resonate only come from living your life.  Yesterday I saw the following video, first presented at a TED conference by Derek Sivers.  I was entertained, brain tickled, and offered reinforcement to concepts I have read elsewhere.  The beauty of it is that the video is less than 3 minutes long!  So, take 3 minutes off and watch below.  Until next time!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

ASQ - Global Voice of Quality

As mentioned in my first post, I have been asked to blog as part of the ASQ Influential Voices of Quality.  Consider it a community of practice, with a wide definition and a global reach.  If you scan down the right hand side blogroll you will see the wide variety of people involved.  The range of folks is HUGE, folks who are independent consultants,or working in academia, or working in government, or just working.  The classification doesn't matter because they all have one thing in common--a passion for quality.

You will also notice that there are bloggers from around the world.  In the past 5 years ASQ has worked very hard to become a GLOBAL voice of quality, not just an AMERICAN voice.  Now, there many international quality organizations. What makes ASQ special?   The members.  I have attended a number of ASQ conferences and events and I look forward to each one because it is always fun to catch up on previous acquaintances.  Most important to me is establishing new friends and contacts and engaging in conversation and dialogue.  Why?  The passion of each member, in my mind, makes it worth the annual membership fee. I broaden my quality experience with each contact.

So, this year I have a challenge.  I work in a government nuclear shipyard.  I work in a 500-person QA department.  A good number of them have ASQ certifications but not the majority.  My job:  to preach the word of quality. How quality is not just non-destructive testing, product receipt inspection, materials testing, process compliance, internal auditing and surveillances, tool calibration.  Quality is reinforcing behaviors for the mechanic on the deckplate to do their task to the best of their ability and not be afraid to make a suggestion or tell a supervisor what is needed to complete the job.  Quality is vast, quality is leadership, quality is you.

If you come to the ASQ Lean and Six Sigma conference next month in Phoenix (Feb 27, 28) I will be talking about what the shipyard is doing to go beyond just checking the block and reinforcing appropriate behaviors that support getting the work done.  In the meantime, read Peter Senge's Fifth Discipline.  Oh, sneak preview of the presentation will be given at the ASQ Section 1128 monthly meeting Feb. 23.

Until next time!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cost of Quality - Why it has failed to take

Paul Barowski in his last blog entry talks about how he, in the past, has been uncomfortable in articulating the advantages of ASQ's significant program, Economic Case for Quality.  He stipulates that all he could do was cite industry references about the benefits of not doing rework and how it can lead to bottom-line savings...until a couple of economists, using a "counter-factual evaluation method" provide data to support the assertion that quality does support the bottom line.

My first reaction was...ho, hum. I read the report and academically it is well supported.  Getting a typical MBA-grad CEO to read the report is another matter entirely.

The great failing of the Economic Case for Quality, in my mind, was the inability to use existing business measuring systems to capture the benefits.   Your typical accounting systems do not highlight as a balance sheet drain your typical Lean waste categories.  For example, when I was a Quality Manager working in a box plant, the time my inspectors (or myself) took to cull through what was originally bad product and "resort" them into good product was never captured either through assigned labor cost codes or a income statement expense.  Yes, Activity Based Costing started us down that road but unless CEO's were Q guys in their past lives they would often fall prey to their comptrollers and their insistence to having accounting systems based on generally accepting accounting principles (GAAP).  Quality accounting goes against the current concept of GAAP.

Quality programs struggle unless they are  either the prime working system for producing a product or service (Toyota Production System) or they are seen as supportive to the organization's management systems (Work-Out). 

So what do we do? In lieu of the accounting system, Cost of Quality needs to be part of the senior management measurement system.  This will require what my boss calls "courageous leadership;" a willingness to go against the grain (square peg time) for what they know is the right thing to do.   Easy to say, very hard to implement.

If someone has an example of successes they have seen in implementing an organizational-wide cost of quality program, please respond with a comment.

Until next time!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

First Call

Welcome to the journey.  Sit down, hope the seat is comfy.  I prefer a conversation, that is why the TV picture is so poor!  This blog, just like a dialogue, is a work in progress.

Why the title?

  • The majority of Quality Managers are engineers.  I have been accused that I can talk like one.  
  • I work in the Department of Defense as a Master Black Belt.  According to certain Republican presidential candidates, Lean, Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints don't currently exist in government.
  • While doing my Masters in Operations Research I swore to my fellow students that I would never go into Quality
  • Statistics have a logic to it. Try telling that to the majority of undergraduate students that take statistics.
  • I have a LinkedIn account.  I do not do Facebook.
I have a non-traditional view of work.  I work in a heavily regulated organization (Quality Assurance department for a nuclear shipyard) and try to get them to think differently. I question authority.

Even with all that, ASQ asked me to join the second round of their "Influential Voices" blogroll.  Should be interesting.  I will be providing my perspective on the comments from Paul Borawski and his "A View from the Q" blog.  I will also be expounding on some random and not-so-random thoughts from musings on Twitter (@srlean6) and LinkedIn.

So, for a short time, take a load off and muse along with the conversation...but not too long.  Change is definitely a journey.