Re: +Postage Due+TQM, or Taking my own advice

Subject: Re: +Postage Due+TQM, or Taking my own advice
From: Marguerite Krupp <73131 -dot- 2153 -at- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1993 18:47:22 EST

Bonni, You're right that TQM, by that name, is something of a fad. Once a
concept acquires an acronym, it's only a matter of time until it dies. But
TQM has actually been around a long time, under various names (Remember
Deming? He tried to get GM interested in it in the 50's.)

The current version, howver, has a strong economic impetus: If you don't have
a quality program in place that meets ISO 9000 standards, you don't get to
sell products in the European Community. In other words, some version of TQM
is here to stay.

The good news is that most tech writers have been practicing a form of TQM for
years through our docspecs and technical review processes. When a company
goes for ISO certification, regardless of whether they call it TQM, the
technical writing group can play a very significant role in the process. We
already have skills in getting information out of technical people who aretoo
busy to talk with us. We already know how to communicate that information in
a required form. We understand how the company works, because we've been
using that structure in the course of getting our normal work done. To fully
participate in the ISO process, you need specific training in the
requirements, and you need management's backing. I have a feeling that this
time it's going to be more than lip service because management is beginning to
realize that the economic future of the company is riding on its commitment to
the quality process.

Remember that TQM is a *process*, not a product. It requires change in the
way companies do business. Ultimately, the process is supposed to result in a
*better* product, and my feeling is that we, as tech writers, can really make
a difference and help the whole company achieve the quallity goals more

I'll be really interested in hearing how your company goes about the process.
Please keep in touch!


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