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Effects of the Economic Downturn in Quality Systems & Quality in General

#1
Thinking about the challenges of working and/or looking for work in the current employment environment of layoffs, understaffed/overworked/turnover employees, etc., I was thinking:

[1] What are the effects of economic downturn in quality systems?
[2] How companies business practices (e.g., cost-cutting means) affect quality systems & quality products? Since when cutting cost, quality tends to suffer. How many companies cut cost & start their path towards becoming a leaner organization? Did they adopt this because of the economic downturn marketing it as a fad or have they really understood & believe the value of running a leaner organization in our current reality or even during prosperous times?
[3] Are firms cutting on audits & inspections, training, hiring quality professionals...or the quality systems, quality goals & metrics?
[4] Are companies having more recalls/defects or not catching them up early in the process?
[5] Any other issues?

I was wondering if any of you has had any experience or knowledge related to this situation. I can't be the only one thinking about this. I'm in the pharmaceutical industry but I will like to know also if in other industries there are signs of quality deterioration. I think of high turnover = knowledge is lost...are we capturing that knowledge on quality systems before employees leave? Or are we hiring the cheap recently graduated student and let him/her reinvent the wheel? I'm wondering what's going on out there during these tough times.

I'm really looking forward to your feedback.
Thank you,
~Ana

 
G

George Weiss

#2
Re: Effects of economic downturn in quality systems & quality in general???

My favorite was watching a company develop a quality program and then have the quality manager leave. The company is audited by customers and sails along without any problems with a person w/o any previous quality skills or background. The process ran it’s self. I believe that this is being done in many companies in many positions. It is maybe a mark of a good process in place when a monkey can do it. A mark of the right-now business model, where people are extremely expendable. Buy a good machine, and the quality is built-in!
 
#3
Re: Effects of economic downturn in quality systems & quality in general???

Dear George:

My favorite was watching a company develop a quality program and then have the quality manager leave.
Oh boy:frust:


It is maybe a mark of a good process in place when a monkey can do it.
;) Absolutely...are we also training the monkeys to audit?:lmao:

Buy a good machine, and the quality is built-in!
:agree:
 
G

George Weiss

#4
Re: Effects of economic downturn in quality systems & quality in general???

As customers dry up the attention given to the remaining customers goes up.
I get better hair cuts when I am the only guy there.
The food is sitting longer in the fast food places and buffets.
The quality system might have to look into the new employee state-of-mind, to forsee possible new "going postal" possibilities towards the quality of the organization. :mad:
Tamper-proofing may get a new facelift.
p.s.
I might have been wrong about using a monkey. He might be bribed with a banana. A comatose person with a predictable twitch might be a better operator.
 
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#5
Re: Effects of economic downturn in quality systems & quality in general???

As customers dry up the attention given to the remaining customers goes up.
I get better hair cuts when I am the only guy there.
The food is sitting longer in the fast food places and buffets.
<SNIP>
Perhaps the fast food places will go back to the model still practiced by Culvers and Steak & Shake - food made fast to order, not in advance and then merely reheated (Burger King) or left to sit under a heat lamp (Mickey D & others)

Except for a super high traffic breakfast buffet where servers are continually shuffling in new trays of food, I'm not a big fan of a joint where food sits in trays for more than a few minutes. Want an eye opener? Take an instant read thermometer to one of those places - hot food is supposed to be 140 degrees F. (or higher) for serving. Rarely will soups, casseroles, meats, eggs, even come close to that. Every minute less than 140 degrees, bacteria (some harmful, some not) multiply fast. A buffet where the server scrapes the last of the old tray into the new tray just gives the new batch a bigger head start with the bacteria from the old batch! Eeew!
 
G

George Weiss

#6
Re: Effects of economic downturn in quality systems & quality in general???

I am sure somewhere along the line we will find out burgers have vital m/w re-heated char-broiler trace elements that our body needs, so don't count out BK yet. :lmao:
 
#7
Re: Effects of economic downturn in quality systems & quality in general???

Here are some of the figures released on November 3rd, 2010 from the outplacement consultancy company Challenger, Gray and Christmas, Inc. In it pharma continues to be in second place right after the government in the total number of layoffs of 2010 with 45,263 positions so far this year. Top 5 industries Nov.3, 2010 Challenger, Gray & Christmas.jpg This is still bad news, sign that the dust is not yet settle.

Table on Job cuts by industry: Job Cuts by industry Nov.3, 2010 Challenger, Gray & Christmas.jpg

What does this do to quality system within pharmaceutical industry?
Do you think the government will have a field day when sending FDA inspectors to look at those aspects that are traditionally affected as a result of being understaffed & overworked?

And how about in transportation? How are their quality systems affected during this economic climate? Have they been in trouble directly as a result of not keeping their quality systems/metrics? Seems like the transportation industry is seeing a recovery in these values, while absent in the government & pharma figures.

In the past restructuring and layoff periods (any industry), where did quality suffered?
What quality elements struggle or fail during those times? Is it enforcement, accountability, diligence, standards, compliance or what?

Good news, I love good news...here are the announced hiring plans for October. Announced hiring plans Oct 2010 Challenger, Gray & Christmas.jpg Yippie:applause:

 

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#8
Re: Effects of economic downturn in quality systems & quality in general???


And what if the firm is keeping its high standards up and running during the recession but now they are being pulled into a critical situation exacerbated due to its suppliers, landlords and other counter-parties which are not able to continue to do business with the firm or are forced to alter the terms on which they do business with it? Or those third parties lower their standards?:confused:

Has anybody seen this situation before?
 
#9
Re: Effects of economic downturn in quality systems & quality in general???

Wes/George: good points:agree1:

So there are pros & cons under an economic downturn.
:read:Data::
-> George: gets better hair cuts but the food sits longer in the fast food places and buffets.
Conclusion: recession is better on your hair!

-> Wes: will never eat from fast food places and buffets even during a booming economy in any food joint with highly skilled/overstaffed . It is what it is...I don't blame you, I would love to close those places myself, they are so unhealthy & prone to food-poisoning cases.
Conclusion: recession exponentially increases your chances of contracting food-poisoning!

In that train of thought, issuing high quality standards is of the utmost importance specially during tough times, ...so if we have processes in place to ensure business continuity, do companies have in place processes as well that oversee or prevent the decline of quality standards or compliance during a recession as it pertains to its particular industry?
:thanks:
 
#10
Re: Effects of economic downturn in quality systems & quality in general???


And what if the firm is keeping its high standards up and running during the recession but now they are being pulled into a critical situation exacerbated due to its suppliers, landlords and other counter-parties which are not able to continue to do business with the firm or are forced to alter the terms on which they do business with it? Or those third parties lower their standards?:confused:

Has anybody seen this situation before?
Sure! Every business downturn creates such disruptions throughout the supply chain.

Americans long ago created a catchphrase for such situations:
"When the going gets tough, the tough get going!"

Explained in simple terms:
Bosses, leaders, and individuals are supposed to be aware of their surroundings (environment, business environment, competition, regulation, customer difficulties, as well as customer advantages and opportunities.) Ideally, they have contingency plans in place to swiftly segue into another mode of operation to offset any degradation or depredation on their gross sales or profits. If not, they react swiftly to formulate new plans to meet the exigencies presented. The one thing they can never do is sit with their heads in their hands, muttering, "Woe is me! Why is life so unfair?"

Neither life nor business is static; Each is dynamic, constantly changing. The organization or individual unprepared for change has a lot tougher road to travel than one that is prepared to meet and adapt to changing conditions.

Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest really means "the survival of the most adaptable to change." One of our Cove members has a personal motto which fits neatly into the theory:
"I don't just survive; I thrive!"


More organizations would do well if they were to emulate his thinking.
 
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