HOW THE WEST HAS WOKEN UP TO THE IMPORTANCE OF QUALITY
For so long, Western economies have been strong advocates of doing business according to profitability returns and taking the balance sheet approach.
Western quality approach:
- For so long, Western economies have been strong advocates of doing business according to profitability returns and taking the balance sheet approach.
- This business culture has been highlighted by the dominance of accounts in determining business targets and in greatly influencing business progress.
- This approach was however identified subsequently to be full of shortcomings and deficiencies and in fact was not protecting the long term interest of business.
- Is it perhaps possible that the West has learnt one useful lesson from the Japanese? Is there effective use of human resources by having great respect for their contribution in business and by not trying to look too closely at figures on paper? Indeed what the Japanese have done effectively is to blend two schools of thought.
- One is based on the engineering approach to work, based on Frederick Taylor's work and the other is the preaching from the human relations movements (i.e. appreciation of peoples' knowledge, respecting their pride and encouraging them to control their work environment and holding them responsible for their own quality standards).
Statistical quality control:
Statistical Quality Control seems to be the most powerful tool in linking the human aspects to set quality and productivity levels and encouraging a bottom-up approach. This has been acknowledged by Drucker who concluded that:
'In the main, the United States has lacked the methodology to build quality and productivity into the manufacturing process. Similarly, we have lacked the methodology to move responsibility for the process and control of it to the machine operator, to put into practice what the mathematician Norbert Wiener called the "human use of human beings"'.
- It has therefore got to be widely recognized that the prominence of TQM today is due to a small number of people without whose contribution businesses would have still perhaps carried on making the same mistakes, with the same levels of ineffectiveness and with similar percentages of waste.
- As a philosophy of modern business TQM will probably carry on evolving and introducing new concepts and principles.
- Although this is essential in maintaining the health and positive course of businesses, the fundamental principles which have been developed by the likes of Deming, Juran, Feingenbaum and others will still play a crucial role in determining the degree of success in business competitiveness.