Improvement of Quality and Productivity, to be successful in any company, must be a learning process, year by year, top management leading the whole company.
“We installed quality control.” No. You can install a new desk, or a new carpet, or a new dean, but not quality control. Anyone that proposes to “install quality control” unfortunately has little knowledge about quality control.
There are four prongs of quality and four ways to improve quality of product and service:
– Innovation in product and service
– Innovation in process
– Improvement of existing product and service
– Improvement of existing process
The common mistake is the supposition that quality is ensured by No. 4, improvement of process, that operations going off without blemish on the factory floor, in the bank, in the hotel will ensure quality. Good operations are essential, yet they do not ensure quality. Quality is made in the boardroom.
A bank that failed last week may have had excellent operations— speed at the tellers’ windows with few mistakes; few mistakes in bank statements; likewise in the calculation of interest and of penalties and loans. The cause of failure at the bank was bad management, not operations.
Long-term commitment to new learning and new philosophy is required of any management that seeks transformation. The timid and the fainthearted, and people that expect quick results, are doomed to disappointment.
Support of top management is not sufficient. It is not enough that top management commit themselves for life to quality and productivity. They must know what it is that they are committed to — that is, what they must do. These obligations can not be delegated. Support is not enough: action is required.
A good question for anybody in business to ask is What business are we in? To do well what we are doing-i.e., to turn out a good product, or good service, whatever it be? Yes, of course, but this is not enough. We must keep asking – What product or service would help our customers more? We must think about the future. What will we be making 5 years from now? 10 years from now?