Re: TQM, or Taking my own advice

Subject: Re: TQM, or Taking my own advice
From: Len Olszewski <saslpo -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 3 Nov 1993 14:27:51 -0500

Bonni Graham notices that the emperor is buck naked:

> I don't know a lot about TQM (read: if someone else does, please post
> what you know), BUT it seems to me to be a fad, kind of like the
> business equivalent of pet rocks. You do it 'cause everyone else is.
> Hence, no buy-in. Also hence, no real follow through. All that
> happens is people have to jump through a bunch of hoops for a while,
> then management gets bored and goes on to the business equivalent of a
> Barbie Town House. Any advocates out there who want to change my
> mind?

I've suspected this on more than one occasion, but really didn't have
the temerity (or the appropriate audience) to articulate it quite this
pithily. I imagine that the committment any given company invests in any
quality management philosophy (a) varies wildly from company to company
(b) has some very specific bottom-line justification within any given
company, and (c) is probably only selectively enforced within "a lot" of
companies who pay lip service to the concept.

I have to believe there are many sincere practitioners of TQM, and who
judiciously apply all of John Deming's 14 points as a matter of
philosophical purity, and who commit to the ISO 9000 standard, solely to
produce quality as a goal in and of itself. I also have to believe there
are a number of practitioners of far more ancient legerdemain,
attempting to appear as though they adhere to some standard, but
fundamentally apply the principles haphazardly and even capriciously.

There are probably a bunch more in between these two extremes.

And I also would guess there are examples of each kind of company that
are wildly profitable and "successful", and examples of each kind that
screw it up and go chapter 11.

Does that mean that TQM as a concept is irrelevant? I've always felt
that any general operating philosophy can be good or bad, depending on
how good the philosophy is, but also on how much effort a company
expends in adhering to it.

Not being an expert, I'll stop opining now. I *do* like deliberately
provocative invitations for discussion, though. They encourage even
low-brows like myself to participate. The heat of my old chestnuts
notwithstanding, of course. 8-)

And why is it that Joe Bob Briggs isn't quoted more on this list,

|Len Olszewski, Technical Writer |"Code in haste, repent at leisure." |
|saslpo -at- unx -dot- sas -dot- com|Cary, NC, USA| - Software Truism |
| Opinions this ludicrous are mine. Reasonable opinions will cost you.|

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