The Human Element
You may have noticed that the picture at the side of the page looks a little different. No, Scott Paton did not suddenly get 10 years older, nor did he get a face transplant. If you missed last month’s First Word, Scott recently took off his editor in chief hat to concentrate all his efforts on handling the business joys of publishing Quality Digest. His first action as full-time publisher was to make me editor in chief, a revenge for some past wrong, I’m sure. He now snickers as he passes me in the hall on his way to a power lunch at Sierra Nevada Brewery: “Finish writing First Word yet?” he asks.
Kidding aside, I’m excited about the changes at the magazine and look forward to concentrating all my efforts on our editorial content. Scott and I agree that while Quality Digest has always had good content, it can be even better. Of course, we will continue to focus on standards, metrology, software and related quality issues, but with more depth and a return to the “human” element of the profession.
Too often when writing about gages, ISO 9000, DMIS, PPAP and vision systems, we forget that it’s people who use them. Behind every CMM there is a development team. In front of every hardness tester stands an operator. ISO 9001:2000 isn’t just some mysterious set of rules in a binder on some faceless manager’s desk… well… not always.
Our goal this year is to put the human element back into our quality coverage. After all, that’s who it affects. If our stories convey not only the nuts and bolts of a topic but the effect it has on the operator, a business, a workforce and the customer, you will have more invested in that technology. And that translates to a better magazine, increased sales for advertisers and, yes, more money for us.
You will also begin to see more stories about quality and how it ties into mainstream issues. Quality professionals don’t function in a vacuum, separate from the issues that affect the rest of the world. From areas as diverse as outsourcing to social responsibility to workplace health and safety, the quality profession plays key roles. Come to think of it, those three topics aren’t that diverse, are they? We’re already beginning to see the effect that outsourcing is having in terms of global awareness on the latter topics. As more work goes overseas, more pressure (particularly consumer pressure) is placed on overseas shops to clean up their acts, improve quality, provide for their employees and so forth. Until those quality and service issues are resolved, U.S. and Canadian companies can take advantage of those weaknesses to strengthen their customer base. In December, for instance, you will see a story on how one company’s commitment to quality has grown its clientele while its competitors have lost business to China.
The key component in all of this is feedback from you, our reader. So be sure to send us ideas. What do you consider newsworthy in the quality field? If you are an old-time reader, tell us how we have gotten better over the years, or how we have gotten worse. (Could that be?) New and old readers alike, tell us what you want to see in the magazine. How do we compare to our competitors?
Send your suggestions to us using the “feedback” link below, or by fax at (530) 893-0395. We will also have a readership survey shortly that will allow you to share your opinions of our editorial direction. It will be announced in the magazine and probably by e-mail to our subscribers. Be sure to participate. Quality Digest is your magazine.