Quality practices of manufacturers vary in slumping economy

Many manufacturing companies are not in crisis mode, says the American Society for Quality; some ASQ members are reducing some training, workforces, and budgets for quality initiatives. Often an economical option is to change processes to avoid making errors in the first place (link to tips).

01/26/2009


Milwaukee, WI – Many manufacturing companies are not in the crisis mode that might be expected in today’s economy, according to the American Society for Quality (ASQ), which has issued the ASQ Quarterly Quality Report reporting insights gained from its members, practicing quality professionals. Feedback revealed some of the pain companies are going through, such as reductions in training and workforces, as well as budget cutbacks for quality initiatives.
Overall, many feel their companies and management are looking forward and using quality for long-term strategies, ASQ. That includes investments and effective system integration of automation, controls, how to avoid making errors in the first place .
The most recent ASQ results displayed two
The business dilemma is whether to cut back or forge ahead. Organizations that refuse to panic, that move ahead with new initiatives, and that don't cut too deeply will be better positioned to excel when the economy rebounds.
"The really good news, if there is a silver lining in these times, is that while some companies are shrinking back into their shell, other organizations are moving decidedly in a forward-looking direction, and keeping quality practices at the top of the list," said Ken Case, ASQ past president and emeritus professor at Oklahoma State University.
Those members who felt their organization's viability is different today than a year ago and attributed it to the deteriorating economy were the ones who were more likely to report reductions in workforce and training, and overall culture changes to business improvement where they work. Many stepped back from quality initiatives typically used to cut costs.
In the middle are organizations attempting to balance efficiency with innovation and growth. Members said that waste reduction and increased efficiency are receiving considerable attention as are efforts to generate inspiration and new ideas. Members report listening to the voice of the customer and becoming more engaged in programs to bolster innovation and creativity, which, along with quality initiatives, are perceived as key for organizations looking for continued growth.
The American Society for Quality
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