WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 138 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2013-05-05 19:57:37 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-05 19:57:37 [post_content] => For decades now, we’ve made the Quality Department the epicenter of our quality policy. But has this attention been misplaced? My contention is that the reason we have failed to deliver resilient and sustainable quality from American businesses is that we are too focused on the metric of quality. We have turned a qualitative question into a quantitative one, and that simply will not work. My latest endeavor, an extension of my philosophical backbone to make quality accessible to the masses, centers on the notion that Quality is Everyone’s Business or “QIEB” as I call it. What I propose is that we expand our notion about Quality beyond the quantitative mindset of controls and processes. As I see it, Quality is about relationships – relationships that involve all people, all the time. Taking that idea one step further, that definition of Quality, especially in the business world, has far greater reach and impact than the controls and processes exercised by one department. If you really stop and think about it, the impact you seek can and should be felt everywhere. Why then should we limit ourselves? I have come to see that there tends to be one function inside most organizations that really has both the ability and the need to reach every person on a regular basis: it’s Human Resources. Human Resources is the wheelhouse of the workforce; the one department function that holds the interest of every employee at every level of the organization. [pullquote]I believe that it is of fundamental importance that there is a new Quality message – that Quality is Everyone’s business, not the responsibility of one department.[/pullquote] Human Resources is often perceived as non-threatening, but also powerful and influential. It’s the one place where management goes to implement training, company-wide policies, distribute compensation and make regular communication with the workforce multiple times throughout the year. And ideally, as I seek to make Quality everyone’s business, who better to lead that effort than someone (some organization) that has the ability to touch everyone in the organization? That’s why I believe that HR is the ideal standard-bearer to carry out what is essentially an acculturation program for the members of the organization – changing the age-old notion that responsibility for Quality should reside solely within the quality department. Whatever the source within the company, I believe that it is of fundamental importance that there is a new Quality message – that Quality is Everyone’s business, not the responsibility of one department. I believe the pursuit of “key” or “critical to success” factors to be the utmost responsibility of everyone in any organization, but especially Senior Leadership. Leaders in the organization must play that vital and essential role of ensuring that the rally around Quality is consistent, sustained, and properly understood by everyone, each time, ever time. [post_title] => Abolish your Quality Department [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => abolish-your-quality-department [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-09 15:15:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-09 15:15:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://subirchowdhury.com/?p=138 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 382 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2013-05-09 03:27:22 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-09 03:27:22 [post_content] => After salmonella was discovered in a flavor-enhancing ingredient, a wide range of processed foods were recalled including soups, snack foods, dips and dressings, the result of poor quality control. Food and Drug Administration officials noted that the ingredient, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, was used in thousands of food products. The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said no illnesses or deaths have been reported - so far. Currently the recall only involves Las Vegas-based Basic Food Flavors Inc. The FDA collected and analyzed samples at the Las Vegas facility after one of the company's customers discovered the salmonella, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children and others with weakened immune systems. The FDA confirmed the presence of a strain of salmonella in the company's processing equipment. [pullquote]While there are currently no deaths or even illnesses attributed to this recall, the economic impact can be felt in the millions of dollars Basic Food Flavors Inc. has to spend on the recall.[/pullquote] According to the FDA, hundreds of thousands of food recalls per year, again reflecting the impact of poor quality control. While there are currently no deaths or even illnesses attributed to this recall, the economic impact can be felt in the millions of dollars Basic Food Flavors Inc. has to spend on the recall. An impact like this leads to less spending in other areas, such as product development or workforce expansion. The company's reputation often takes a hit. These all have a negative impact on the economy. Add on the class action suits that generally result after a large recall like this and the impact becomes even greater. More than 2.1 million drop-side cribs by Stork Craft Manufacturing were recalled, the biggest crib recall in U.S. history. In a 2008 scare, milk from China laced with the industrial chemical melamine led to the deaths of six babies and sickened 300,000 others who had been fed baby formula made from the tainted dairy. Lack of adequate quality programs led directly to these defects. By paying attention to quality, fewer cases of food borne illnesses arise, and fewer injuries from defective consumer merchandise occur. This means fewer dollars spent correcting problems, and more resources made available for product development. [post_title] => A Little Salmonella May Not Kill You, but it May Kill your Economy [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => a-little-salmonella [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-16 22:36:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-16 22:36:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://subirchowdhury.com/?p=382 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 162 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2013-02-12 20:53:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-02-12 20:53:26 [post_content] => From the very beginning of my work, I kept a journal of challenges and crisis that were reported to me by my clients. I recorded problems, noted characteristics, and key patterns in each of them. My goal was to record how the different situations were related and how problems were eventually resolved. Why did the product fail? What is causing delays. Why are customers turning way? Initially, the journal resembled a catalog dissimilar events, but after about 20 years of work, I amassed enough information that clear patterns began to emerge. To my surprise, the patterns showed up quite readily as event-driven triggers – three of them to be precise. It didn’t matter where the company was located, what sector they served, how large or small the organization was, nor how old. It also didn’t matter what kind of problem it was – revenue generation, human relations, manufacturing, research and development. The same patterns were evident among government agencies, small private businesses, or major multi-national corporations. [pullquote]Fire, flow and future events are interrelated – think of them as points in a triangle.[/pullquote] That’s how my three triggers came to be Fire, Flow, and Future.
FIREFire describes a sudden problem that usually causes a specific crisis of some kind – like a malfunction or faulty product. Fires require either a near term and long-term resolution; sometimes both. The cause of a Fire may be obvious or it may be hidden or multiple causes. Most fires tend to be minor in scope, but sometimes they can be very large and extremely complex. But just like any fire, bad assumptions can easily lead to a misdiagnosis and mistreatment.
FLOWFlow refers to a disruption in the operations side of the organization that could be limited to a small portion of the overall process. There are two kinds of flow – administrative and delivery (production of product or delivery of service). Flow events are often characterized by an unexpected result somewhere else in the process. They could be a reaction to unexpected external or internal changes. It is likely the problem existed long before you became aware of it.
FUTUREFuture identifies the timely development (or redevelopment) of new products or services; a vital activity that influences the company’s marketability and profitability over time. It requires built-in flexibility within the organization; the requisite motivation to invest time, money and intellectual capital to constantly move products and services to meet customer demand. As it turns out, future is also the motive and opportunity to build greater quality into the innovation process – so in that regard it is usually self-starting or self-generating. No organization is without an occasional fire or two. No company exists that hasn’t experienced an interruptions in flow, or faced an imperfect future. And while total perfection is always a goal rather than reality, we must be vigilant about these events and react swiftly and decisively as though perfection were within our grasp. Fire, flow and future events are interrelated – think of them as points in a triangle. For instance, you could see a fire that is actually symptomatic of a problem within the flow, or one that reveals a badly needed cycle of redevelopment for your future. You may even discover a fire (or a multiple smoldering ones) that you didn’t know about as you to peel back a problem in the flow. I advise all my clients to keep a ready journal as I have – one for each type of event – and watch for unique patterns in circumstances and triggers. A resource like that that will be invaluable, especially for detecting long-term and deep-seated problems. Above all, keep your mind open to the evidence, and your power of reason will help you deduce the correct solution. [post_title] => Fire, Flow, Future [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => fire-flow-future [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-04-15 10:09:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-04-15 10:09:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://subirchowdhury.com/?p=162 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1243 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2013-08-15 07:07:42 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-08-15 07:07:42 [post_content] => Not all waste is created equal. Some of it is extremely valuable; especially when it teaches us something about the way we run our business. The owner of an insurance brokerage in Los Angeles, CA – we will call him “Cooper” – relayed this story to us recently. Cooper was working late one night on a presentation for a new client. The printer in his office malfunctioned, so he routed a document he needed to the printer that the staffers shared. As he waited by the printer, he looked down at the trashcan and was startled by what he saw: heaping but neat stacks of printed email, dumped straight into the round file. At the time, his office had about 35 employees, so he imagined that it was an isolated incident. But he knew that he should take a closer look. The next morning, he asked his administrative manager about the trash and what he heard surprised him even more. Two years earlier, he had set what he thought was a mundane office policy to require a paper record of all emails relating to client business. Email was still a relatively new business tool. Cooper didn’t know that people tended to communicate with each other via the “Reply To” function. As a result, many emails grew into long strings of messages that included every comment made with the important details sprinkled all over. Outlook and other email managers help search for the important bits, but when you print, you get the whole enchilada including every joke, recipe, sports prediction, birthday greeting, salutation, and thanks. Because of the policy, agents were forwarding customer emails to staffers. At the close of every day, the staffers printed everything, kept what they needed and tossed out the rest. Cooper measured the stack of paper and found that it was almost even with a fresh package of paper, or about 500 sheets. The real shock came when the manager revealed that this stack was light. Not only did the process occur daily, many times the amount of waste was double, even triple what Cooper had seen. Cooper and the manager estimated that the cost of wasted paper from printing emails was running up a $300 a month bill; $7,200 since the email policy was passed. When they added toner and staff time, the total cost soared to more than $14,000. Talking with agents and staffers, he learned that everyone thought that the policy was wasteful and inefficient. And yet, no one took the initiative to anything about it. Not long after this incident, a non-paper solution was adopted and Cooper was pleased that he could reduce cost and increase efficiency from one small change. Then he realized that this one example was a symptom of other perhaps more costly problems and worried where they might be. About a year later, “The Ice Cream Maker,” was published. Cooper bought a copy and read it one afternoon. Inspired by the concept of using quality as the benchmark of behavior throughout his business, he bought a copy for everyone in his office. To this day, new employees receive a copy as part of their training. Another underlying message in this story is the fact that many businesses pass office policy without attention to a quality process. Had Cooper focused on the outcome rather than the solution, he might have avoided this problem entirely. Luckily, the trash was the clue. In my experience, the cost of such mistakes can produce even greater expense. Something to think about the next time you’re in a position to set what you think is a mundane office policy. [post_title] => Valuable Trash [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => valuable-trash [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-09-01 07:18:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-09-01 07:18:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://subirchowdhury.com/?p=1243 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )