While businesses, processes, products, and services became more intricate, the compelling need to minimize defects and errors grew. So, the quality profession evolved more and more sophisticated quality management systems to fill the perceived needs of their businesses. Also, business leaders are scrambling to devise methods to keep their companies open and operational. A few can keep their deliverables flowing through having their people work from home. While others employ social distancing, still others enforce strict safety guidelines to keep operations going at a scaled-down level.
Interestingly, the pandemic has dramatically expedited the declining need for quality professionals. In case you are an internal quality person, you are likely looking over your shoulder wondering when the pink slip is coming or planning for early retirement. The quick, on-the-spot lessons from the perfect storm of 2020 are that many of us are unaware of the potential risks that are looming within and beyond our control. Besides, within the quality world, we are just now including risk into our lexicon, but we really do not have consensus of what risk is and what our role should be in removing it.
The fundamental goal of a quality management system is to ensure that products and services comply with regulations and customer expectations. It assists in ensuring quality throughout the supply chain from design, production and distribution to post-delivery services. Similar to all professions, the quality profession and the CQI will need to adapt to this changing world if it is to remain relevant.
The thing which is missing from our current quality management models will cause us to become even more irrelevant if we continue with our focus on quality tools rather than on overall business success. The new role is to lead organizational change from the macro level instead of attempting to sell the relevance of quality management. We are provided with the tools to design business models free of foreseeable risk and committed to business excellence at all levels. All of us are at a unique moment in history where we can lead evolutionary change in business management. Also, Quality professionals with proven auditing skills are the candidates to be a pioneer instead of becoming an anachronism.
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