Why cover ISO 14000?

I DON'T GET IT! Why is ISO 14000 being promoted as an element of the quality function or, if not as an element directly, one that should be addressed by and is of interest to the quality function? I have noticed, with some dismay, the increasing presence of ISO 14000 editorial comment, articles and advertising in Quality Digest.

What is the justification for linking quality management and environmental management? It is true that the elements of ISO 9000 are being used as a guide for developing ISO 14000. The logic in this respect is fine. To adequately deal with these environmental issues, their management needs to be part of the management system of a company just as the quality elements. But so should safety and health as well as EEO and harassment issues. The ISO 9000 framework is a good model for any of these. But are safety, health and EEO logical extensions of quality? I say "no" to these as well as environmental management.

I see no justification whatsoever for dealing with environmental management in publications devoted to the quality profession. The classic quality works of Juran, Deming, Crosby, Feigenbaum, et al. don't describe environmental management as an element of quality management. The core principles of the ASQC CQE examination do not include environmental management as a fundamental of quality. Who decided that it should be? I certainly didn't vote on it. I have no knowledge of it being presented to the membership of ASQC for discussion or vote.

These issues need to be managed by the environmental professional, not the quality professionals. Given that both ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 are issued by the same organization, that both require third-party assessment resulting in registration and both use the same model for communication of their requirements does not provide sufficient grounds for including ISO 14000 under the quality umbrella, nor does it justify its existence on the pages of my favorite quality magazine.
-William L. Heintz, P.E.
Burnsville, Minnesota

Lexus doesn't deliver

A comment on your interview with Lexus Vice President of Parts, Service and Customer Satisfaction Richard L. Chitty ["QualityView," December 1995]. I was one of the unfortunate purchasers of a new Lexus fraught with quality problems. My car spent 32 days in the garage during the first two months of ownership. My Lexus dealer kept the car two weeks the first time and flew in engineers to diagnose the problem. Two weeks after they returned it to me, the problem returned. I lost faith in the quality of the product after that. They refused to replace the car.

As an ardent follower of process management and excellence in customer service, I decided to play the unsatisfied customer to see if all the kudos about Lexus customer service were true. The service manager resorted to a self-righteous attitude when I attacked him. The car sat for almost two weeks waiting for an engineer to take a look at it. I told him they would save a lot of money by backhauling the auto to Los Angeles where the central service facility and engineer were located, fixing the car and sending it back to me (about $300 in hauling costs). Instead, they rented me a new Lexus for about $50 a day for 30 days.

The owner of the Lexus dealership refused to return my call after I received one of his form letters thanking me for purchasing the car. The car salesman had no clue. The head of sales ran around in circles and fixed nothing. No one seemed empowered to do anything! Yet they had all kinds of graduation certificates hanging on their walls certifying their excellence in customer service. I received three after-purchase surveys. Central customer service took three weeks before calling me and basically did nothing.

If I ran my own organization like that, I'd lose all my customers. I kept a journal and use it while training my employees to illustrate hype vs. true customer service.
-Kendall Mau

Crosby is a gentleman

I take my hat off to Philip Crosby. His letter of apology published in your November 1995 issue is a living example of quality management in action. I now know that Mr. Crosby intended no disrespect to Dr. Deming. This is an example of Dr. Deming's teachings about the inadequacy of the written word as a means of communicating ideas. It is so easy to misinterpret- procedures manuals being a case in point.

Mr. Crosby and I may not totally agree on the best methods for quality management, but I will always agree that he is a gentleman first-class. After reading his letter, I would be inclined to debate anyone who says otherwise.
-William L. Davis