Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day 1 Recap of the 21st Annual ASQ Service Quality Conference

I am in Baltimore Monday and Tuesday attending the ASQ Service Quality Conference with about 140 other folks.  It is a nice intimate conference that gives you an opportunity to talk to the majority of the attendees and is easier to make new friends and acquaintances.  I am also here to exhibit the Six Sigma Forum booth with Liz Keim.
This year is the first time in a while that the conference has a government track so I was asked to submit a presentation for acceptance.  My talk, leading off after Joe DeFeo’s keynote address on the changing value proposition that quality professionals need to provide in a changing world, was on applying Senge’s 5 Disciplines with an internal customer focus. It seemed to be well received with a handful of folks appreciating the talk.  I also received some excellent feedback from one audience member who took me to task to remember not to lose the strategic importance of the external customer when fully focusing on the internal one.  I also have to put in a “shout out” to Joe DeFeo and Juran Institute for their kind gesture of providing a signed copy of the Juran Institute’s Six Sigma Breakthrough and Beyond as a raffle prize for an upcoming meeting of the ASQ Tidewater section (1128).
After lunch the group listened to Kerry Weems, VP & GM of General Dynamics-IT’s Health Solutions sector.  His general discussion, walking us down memory lane on the changes made in music distribution, keyed on the fact that quality professionals need to be forward thinkers and be mindful of technology disruption in the marketplace and be prepared to provide value to their organization to get through that disruption.    
I also listened to Dale Weeks and his description of the successes of governments, municipal to federal, local to worldwide, and the challenges that benchmarking these successes have on future government initiatives.  The best part was the audience discussion; lots of good ideas floated around and it did a great job in setting up Cody Dodd’s presentation immediately afterwards, on his work in Canada with the Institute for Customer Centered Service.
Lastly, Jim Duarte from SAS brought me “back to the future” with his presentation on Six Sigma for the 21st century. It is a topic I intend to explore in my October response to Paul Borawski’s Influential Voices blog.  Jim provided the case that with the increased capacity in computing power and the ever increasing availability of data we need to use operations research / management science tools to better answer the more complex questions and be able to see farther in the future that what we are capable of.  As someone who has their master’s degree in OR and was chomping at the bit to put queuing theory and discrete simulations into the Black Belt toolbox the session was a great way to find a kindred spirit.
And like every good conference, we have the obligatory networking sessions throughout the day and well into the night.  I met some new folks and caught up with some old friends.  Day 2 is already here so need to get this posted and back to the conference.  Stay tuned for more! 
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