Saturday, February 21, 2015

Why Should Quality “Go Global”?

Bill Troy asks an interesting question about the global nature of Quality, although I might argue the question could equally be framed in a number of other ways:  “Does Quality have a national identity?” or “Is the world being well served by the global nature of Quality?” or “Can Quality become even more global in 2015?”  or “Is there a global Quality community and what does it look like?”

Like most people I know who are involved in the Quality arena, Quality was something that I discovered long after my education and training.  If I had any prior experiences they tended towards the negative images:  “Quality means don’t use white-out, or don’t make scratch-outs when you write”.  But I was lucky and the opportunities for initially an interest in Quality found me (rather than the reverse).  Overtime that interest became passion and commitment in almost every aspect of my career. 

As I  moved along, I learned to appreciate that much of the modern Quality narrative is told from an early American perspective (Shewhart, Deming, Juran, Crosby, Feigenbaum) but almost as quickly the narrative takes on international focus through organizations like the Japanese Union of Science and Engineers (JUSE), and British Standards Institute (BSI) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and the International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQua) and of course (waving my own national flag!) the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).  So from the very get go, the international community as been on-board and very active with the Quality movement.

The last several decades has seen great strides in Quality adoption, especially in the arena of healthcare, and in my particular little part of that world, the medical laboratory.  Through programs and initiatives including, but certainly not limited to World Health Organization, and the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief, the landscape of laboratory Quality in many African countries has jumped forward through active programs in Quality Management (including the recently developed Strengthening Laboratory Management Toward Accreditation (SLMTA) initiative).  And importantly one can point to the activities and leadership of my friend and colleague through the Saudi Quality Council.

In my own small way I get to participate in providing training in Quality Management for participants around the world on a near daily basis through our own university based course and through international training provision in Proficiency Testing.  And hosting the UBC POLQM Medical Laboratory Quality Conference in October 28-30, 2015 (More on that later!!).

So that there is strong and active Global interest in Quality is not in question.  But the larger questions of coordination of efforts that could lead to more effective integration is still an open topic. 

Personally I see great hope for integration.  First off, within the limitations and realities of resources, the message around the world is the Quality is Quality, and matters not who is the messenger. 

As I get to move from meetings to conferences and on to international committees, I more and more see many of the same people, all working in a variety of roles surrounding Quality Partnerships.  One day the topic is standards, the next quality management, and the next quality assessment or quality assurance.  And all are involved in the arena of Quality Knowledge.  What this means is that many of the barriers that have existed between Quality Partner groups are very much breaking down.  The broad topics with Quality Partnerships are harmonizing.

And that is a good thing.

And if I have not made my point clear enough, let me be very specific.  ASQ has been a leader in Quality for a very long time, and its broadening interests to the arena of International Quality can and will and does may Quality better.

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