Is That A Knife In My Back?!?! Quality Digest (February 2002)


Michael T

Okay ladies and gentlemen - I just received the latest issue of Quality Digest (February 2002) and read the attached article. I read this thing three times before I actually believed what I was reading. I am submitting it for your review and comment. Please pardon the highlighted portions, I did that before I thought about soliciting your opinion.

Your comments will be eagerly anticipated. I am currently formulating my personal response to both the author and the editor....
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Michael T

Let's try this again...

For some reason the attachment didn't attach... let's try again...



M Greenaway

I take the guys point that quality has to talked of in terms of its relevence to the actual business (not quality for quality sake), but equally the guys at the top must realise the impact of quality on them achieving what they want for the business.

Sounds like this guys learning over his 45 years stopped some time in the late seventies, i.e. if its wrong blame the inspectors.


It's real

That is exactly what our CEO does. The conference rooms, we have two, are booked solid. We continually have to postpone Steering Committee meetings because the scheduled "smoozin" usually runs over. What do you do when the CEO wants to know how we doing on our ISO effort and he is the one who most consistantly interferes with our ISO implementation? On the other hand, if we don't grow the business and become profitable (we are a start up company), ISO Registration doesn't pay the employees. Without work, there's no business to operate! As for the Enron style of doing business, I venture to say that's just how big businesses are run these days. Personally, I'd rather get paid than audited.
:bonk: :ko: :smokin:


Doesn't surprise me a bit either. This is the culture I've been accustomed to during my (30) years in industry. I learned very early on as a young Industrial Engineer that you have to sell it to management if you want their support. You have to "show them the money".

I agree with the sentence:

As quality professionals, we need to stop talking about quality as defects or distribution and focus instead upon the revenue results that improved quality will produce.

Hank Fowler


It's true of course

Business is about money. The top guys have to worry about the money, it's what makes a business work.

What brings money into the business is customers and this is what Mr. Harrington and ISO 9001 both recognize. Understand your customer to grow your market. The customer is king.

What keeps a business plugging along is keeping the money. Holding the line on expenses. Which is what a streamlined process and reduced scrap,etc. accomplishes.

This is really all that a quality management system is about. Managing a business that provides what the customer wants, in as efficient (read: cheap) a manner as possible.

Is there a controversy here?:confused:

Michael T

My 2 cents

The controversy, as I see it, is with Harrington's last statement. That is the lynchpin of the entire article. Not the stuff in the middle, that is just a justification. What he is saying is that quality is the quality managers, quality directors, etc. responsibility - not upper management's.

As with most of you, I have my hand in a great many things here, not just "quality." I understand that minimizing the cost of throughput, reducing wasted motion, purchasing the best raw materials for the lowest price, etc., is critical for sustaining and growing a business. Without profit, there won't be any expansion and innovation. I also understand the value of the customer and meeting/exceeding customer expectations. How is that done?
Through lower prices?
Not if you have poor quality. I don't care how cheap it is, if it doesn't work, people aren't going to buy it.
Is it through great customer service?
Not if you have poor quality. Great customer service only goes so far to stem the tide of rising resentment at having to constantly replace defective parts.
Is it through strategic alliances?
Nope - not when those alliances (I am assuming raw materials vendor) is not providing a quality raw material or upper management is too cheap to buy better quality raw materials. Cheaper (both price and quality) isn't always better.
Is it a great sales force?
Sorry, but no. You're sales force can be the best in the industry and they won't sell a darn thing if the quality of the product isn't what they are touting.

Yes, the goal of business is to make money. However, a business isn't going to make money in the long run if they don't have a quality product. The only way a company can produce a quality product is if upper management is firmly pushing quality throughout the organization. Quality cannot be foisted off on a middle manager and be expected to be effective.

That is my feeling - :bigwave: Am I out of line or mistaken? :confused:


Fully vaccinated are you?
Staff member
All points well taken. However, I read it as a disassociation. It does not address top management not listening to the quality folks, not providing adequate resources, 'ship at any cost' and other real factors. To say if there is a problem with the quality system it is the fault of the quality professionals is pretty lame. Had he at least addressed the many real issues involved I might not be so disappointed. :thedeal:


Super Moderator
As quality professionals, we need to stop talking about quality as defects or distribution and focus instead upon the revenue results that improved quality will produce.
I won't dispute that because it also applies to safety & environmental management folks as well.

Visit the ISO 14001 threads and see what I have had to say on this subject.

It is my belief that professionals must communicate across all levels and a common denominator is to be able to answer "What will it cost? When can I get my money back?"
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