Is quality still relevant? It’s a question John Timmerman, Ph.D., was often asked when he served as the 2013 Chairman of the Board of ASQ, a global organization dedicated to quality. Incremental improvement is still necessary, but it isn’t sufficient to get businesses where they want to be.
After all, it’s been decades since Japan and Germany were eating U.S. manufacturers’ lunch. Companies got on board with total quality management (TQM) and Six Sigma programs. Congress gave birth to the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. And MBA programs started teaching quality principles. Quality — that is, zero defects — was essential to running companies more effectively and competing with global rivals.