The “New” Face of Quality At a time when we have, more than ever, an abundance of impressive management tools to help us ratchet up performance, many businesses have made only marginal gains. Companies have invested huge quantities of time, energy, and cash into implementing systems like Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, Reengineering, and Total Quality Management without significantly improving the quality of their operations or getting the returns they expected. Many times the systems are just too complex for employees to adhere to on a regular basis.
Quality methodologies like Six Sigma and Lean can be highly effective but are used narrowly and by limited personnel within an organization. LEO is the encompassing strategy that can be easily embraced by everyone within an organization, resulting in measurable improvements in your operations, products, and bottom line.
Yes, we give lip service to quality. Ask any manager on any level in any company, large or small, and you will get the same response: “Quality is our core strategy.” In many organizations, they will offer more evidence of their commitment: “After all, don’t we have a Vice President of Quality? Don’t we have a Quality Department?”
But right there, in a few words, is the answer to what’s wrong. Quality should be – must be – everyone’s business if we are to realize our potential and gain back the ground we’ve lost in the quality war. We as managers must, individually, take responsibility for the quality mission and stop delegating it to some other person or department. It must rule every aspect of our operations, permanently lodged within the DNA of our corporate culture.