The three most ubiquitous examples of technology have been built on continual improvement and innovation. [Both innovation and continual improvement originate from Quality Management philosophies derived by Shewhart, Deming and Juran.] What fruits have been harvested? Let’s discuss each common products:
Telephone: Telecommunications was the focus and proving grounds for improvement and refinement in United States, as well as, in Japan and other international communication companies. In 1918, the invention of the telephone was a vast improvement to its contemporary alternatives: carrier pigeons, telegraphs and mail. The telephone was linked to land based networks that were not automated and required large armies of operators to manually complete local and long distance calls. In general those phones were black for the public. They were either desktop versions or wall mounted for use. In the early 1920’s rotary dials were used to make calls and made the telephone somewhat of “analog” device. Connection time was anywhere from a couple of minutes for local calls, to hours for long distance service.
Today, the telephone has matured and been recast as a internet device. It is now digital, provides access to stored applications that interface with its operating system, plays games, provides access to productivity tools, trip and other travel applications, provides use of internet options for database usage, email, messaging, and linkage in order to communicate verbally with televised images, globally. It would be unacceptable service in today’s world if connection could not be complete almost instantly. True, technologies have been the innovative platforms for change, but like Bell Telephone Labs, the producers of these devices are extremely dependent on the corporate philosophies regarding excellence and quality.
Automobile: Henry Ford was quoted to say; “Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” Arguably, Ford used this thought as a basis for his new car company, Ford Motor Company. In 1918, this was the most popular automobile in America. Although he introduced the Model “T” in 1908, his vision is created and transformed the economic and social fabric of the 20th century. It came in various colors, as long as you liked black. Top speed was below 30 mph, mostly due to roads as much as the engine. It was rugged and was built to drive on the back-roads of the South that were primarily dirt and gravel. The cost in 1918 was between $850-1000. Fuel was also inexpensive for the vehicle. At that time, it was quit affordable form of transportation for the average American family and provided flexibility and enhanced mobility.
In today’s context, many things have changed in the environment: energy sources, safety considerations, highway infrastructure, the need for mobility is now a given constraint, performance and efficiency is paramount specifications and quality is newscast top story when problems arise. Today, hybrids are in vogue as a transition to more fuel efficient vehicles that will be entering the market in the next decade. These vehicles are designed to use a gas powered engine that recharges the lithium powered battery and at higher speeds. The electric engine is useful in town driving where speeds are limited. Our example of the Toyota Prius is an icon of the best and worst cases. In terms of performance, it is a vehicle that utilizes gasoline. leanly. At almost 50 mpg, it is one of the top efficiently mass produced cars, globally. It is well trimmed and appointed with a vast array of add-ons that are “creature comforts” and environmentally desired options [e.g., solar powered fan for the air conditioning]. Of course, internet options and GPS features are available for these automobiles.
Toyota, the leading developer and integrator of quality methodologies, is more than embarrassed by their continued recall problems from 2008 through 2010. The reason for their failure was not keeping their quality standards aligned with their increased production, world-wide. Toyota will be paying billions of dollars in warranty repair [a true waste due to defects]. It has also been an extremely “embarrassing” situation for the Toyoda family. Currently, vast televised advertisements address the one million dollar investment per hour for Toyota’s quality commitment. Take away from this situation, that the risk to brand should not be risked due to “trimming” quality costs.
Airplanes: The Jenny biplane was tried and tested in World War I. It was the civilian work horse for the US Post Office for many years later. After the war, the Jenny was popular in movies It served as a training for the Army Air Corps, since it was inexpensive, easy to repair and did not take long to be trained on flying this machine. It was one of many biplanes that popularized air travel in the 20th century. Many people engaged flying as a hobby, a way of covering large distances without super highways, and able to land on highways or barren fields. In the following decades the airplane would be the vehicle of choice for adventurers and explorers.
In 2010, flying is still a way of life and the vehicle of choice for trans-state, continental and intercontinental flights. It is affordable for business, as well as, family needs. An entertainment and vacation industry has developed around this technology that many smaller countries use these services for their tourist industry needs. However, aviation restrictions obliged training and certification for pilots, licensed mechanics for engine and mechanical services, governmental restrictions on flight plans and has been a major element in the expansion of aviation. The jet liner pictured above is another ubiquitous product, whether you are in Europe, Asia or West Texas, the Boeing 737 is a product of choice, primarily due to lower maintenance costs and reliability.
The fellows, originators of Quality Management, have contributed to statistical tools, concepts and theories that establish objectives for Quality, educate the employees to create a mindset, alter your corporate culture and focus on costs and quality. Key fellows include: Shewhart, Deming and Juran. These men produced key disciplines and methodologies that have almost always been incorporated in each incarnation of the Quality Management movement. Lean Six Sigma is no exception. Additionally, Ohno, Ishikawa, Taguchi and Crosby are other fellows who took different paths to enhance and improve Quality Management.
Are you beginning to see the picture emerging? We reviewed typical products that are used in everyday life and had been for almost 100 years. Each of these products are icons in our culture and we rely heavily on their usage. In today’s world, these are tools for communication and transportation. Although their initial concepts may have been basic, the use of quality management procedures, and the use of innovation for these products, are typical byproducts of effective quality management methodologies then enhance the intrinsic value of each of the products. Each of these products were influenced and benefited from innovative external sources such as technology and enhanced the capabilities, features, and benefits of how each of those products could better suit their constituents [i.e., customers]. quality management is the fabric for excellence in an organizational culture that is focused on growth, performance and savings. The immediate goal of survival, but the focus and vision is based on increased quality in both services and products.
The following pages expand on their contributions that have enriched Quality Management, especially Lean Six Sigma. Lean Six Sigma is currently the quality methodology of choice and considered best in class at this time. It is based on a progression of enrichment, innovation, open-minded conceptualization and successful implementation of methodologies. The following quality methodologies began his in the early 1900s, with the advent of quality management theories and concepts. The following quality areas or building blocks to today’s Lean Six Sigma:
• Quality Management
• Just In Time
• Lean Manufacturing
• Total Quality Management
• Six Sigma
From today’s perspective, quality is not an add-on option to business processes. Rather, it is the very fabric of the modern corporate culture. Quality Management is a long-term objective, not a valued added tool, for serious business. Quality focused organizations choose the best-in-class methodology, Lean Six Sigma. It is a business expectation, today. More importantly, it produces results recognized by the Customer. It helps satisfy the Customer’s Satisfaction and expectations. Isn’t that the goal of every business?
Source: Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC, © 2011, For services: www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com