Interview With ASQ CEO Ann Jordan

Where is the quality profession headed?

Jeff Dewar

July 21, 2022

This is the first installment of a five-part series.  

In May, Quality Digest editor in chief Dirk Dusharme and I attended ASQ’s 2022 World Conference on Quality and Improvement (WCQI) in Anaheim, California. It was the first in-person conference since Covid hit the world, and attendance was just over 1,000, about a third of what had been the norm.  

ASQ made their leadership available for wide-ranging  video interviews  covering everything from the future of the quality profession to the society’s new legal structure. Quality Digest  appreciates their efforts to help us provide valuable reporting to our readers.  

In all, we conducted five interviews with:
• ASQ’s CEO Ann Jordan
• ASQ’s board of directors
• ASQE’s (ASQ Excellence) CEO Jim Templin
• ASQE’s board of directors
• Both CEOs together, talking about their “connected journey”

This first installment of the series is our interview with ASQ CEO Ann Jordan. She joined ASQ in 2017 as general counsel, and began serving as interim CEO in January 2020, which was confirmed in January 2021.  

We started off with a look back at the 1980s,  when VPs of quality were popping up everywhere, and followed with where the profession is heading  today. We moved on to some frank discussion about ASQ membership and the drop in ISO 9001 certifications. The expectations of C-suites everywhere as well as a new generation of quality professionals were explored.  

We asked Jordon to summarize all this by answering our final question: In five words or less, what is the quality profession’s future?  

The clip below is a highlight of the interview. Listen to the full interview here

About The Author

Jeff Dewar’s picture

Jeff Dewar

Jeff Dewar is CEO of Millennium 360 Inc., Quality Digest’s parent company. During his career he has presented quality-related topics to thousands of people on six continents, all but Antarctica.


ASQ Missed the Shift from Manufacturing to Services

ASQ membership is predominantly manufacturing (~80%). Membership has been falling steadily with the decline in U.S. manufacturing employment. According to this interview, ASQ membership fell from 150,000 to 55,000 currently.

Meanwhile, service employment has exploded. More than 80% of Americans work in service industries. Only 7.9% work in manufacturing. ASQ needs to pivot to embrace services, especially healthcare. ASQ needs to collaborate with other quality organizations such as NAHQ and IHI.

At our ASQ WCQI QIMacros booth, we spoke with a person from Singapore who said that they are incorporating quality improvement training into their K-12 education. Why wait for college? Why not embed this level of quality thinking early on?

ASQ's website has been pretty restrictive about allowing access to its content (members only). If, however, we want to train everyone, why not open it up?

As a 30-year member of ASQ, I have found ASQ slow to change. Slow to embrace new ideas. And surprisingly unresponsive to the voice of the customer.

If as Ann says, we are all "problem solvers," let's find better, faster ways to solve problems and get results. Speed is the healing app!