Manufacturers’ Quality Practices Vary in Slumping Economy
Jan 14, 2009
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ASQ (American Society for Quality) reports in its latest Quarterly Quality Report that many manufacturing companies are not in the crisis mode one would expect in a slumping economy. ASQ said that, while many of its members are making reductions in work force, reductions in training, and budgetary cutbacks for quality initiatives, many continue to invest in quality and innovation as a competitive advantage in the face of economic uncertainty.

"The really good news, if there is a silver lining in these times, is that while some companies are shrinking back into their shell, other organizations are moving decidedly in a forward-looking direction, and keeping quality practices at the top of the list," said Ken Case, ASQ past president and emeritus professor at Oklahoma State University.

ASQ said that those members who felt their organization’s viability is different today than a year ago and attributed it to the deteriorating economy were the ones who were much more likely to report reductions in work force, less training, and overall culture changes when it comes to business improvement where they work. Many were even backing away from quality initiatives that organizations typically use to cut costs.

In between the two obvious extremes is the middle ground of organizations that are attempting to balance efficiency with innovation and growth. ASQ members said that waste reduction and increased efficiency are receiving a considerable amount of increased attention. Also garnering more attention are efforts to generate inspiration and new ideas. Members state that they are listening to the voice of the customer more and are more engaged in programs to bolster innovation and creativity. Innovation, creativity, and quality initiatives are key for organizations looking for continued growth.

To read the report, visit

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