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Quality is a Journey and Not a Destination

Mike Fowler, CEO of Iconic IT, shares his thoughts on achieving quality

We have a new theme “Improve Quality Through Continuous Improvement” as we head into the 4th quarter. Back in the early 90’s, corporate quality initiatives were everywhere.  Quality First, Total Quality Management (TQM), Kepner Tregoe, Six Sigma and other names were common.  Around that same time I met one of the people I admire most, Edward Deming, who some would say was the father of the quality revolution.  It was during this time I immersed myself  in the TQM model which focused on continuous improvement.  I even became a TQM trainer and would help implement corrective action plans while working as a contractor for Unisys at Goddard Space Flight Center.

In 1990 I had the honor of representing my company, Unisys Corporation, at the Malcom Baldridge Award (MBA) presentation.  Cadillac won, but we were in the hunt.  Since quality is a journey, we believed that if we applied for the MBA and took one step at a time, we would see improvement.  We never won the award, but we certainly measured and documented continuous improvement.  

Back then we used phrases like…

  • It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.
  • Your customers determine the quality of your product or service.
  • Do it right the first time and every time.
  • You don’t have time to do it right, but you seem to have time to do it twice.
  • If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
  • Everything must be a SMART goal.
  • Quality is everyone’s responsibility.
  • If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.
  • Quality is a journey and not a destination.

Many of these sayings are still used, and some would say they are cliché.  But not to me.  These sayings are very important and applicable to every business, even today. 

I have already seen some of the Iconic Q4 department Rocks (initiatives), and I am encouraged by everyone’s focus on continuous improvement and your willingness to start this journey. Over the next few weeks we will work to establish a continuous improvement process, identify and prioritize our most important issues, and implement corrective action plans to improve the quality and timeliness of our services.  Like I said in our staff meeting, we need all of you to make this work. 

Today we start our journey.  Thanks for all you do!

Mike

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