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Departments: First Word

 

  

This Seems Familiar

It's like Yogi Berra said…

by Dirk Dusharme



W
hat's happening to the United States? We're sending our jobs overseas, and it won't be long before they're all gone. Foreign interests are eating our lunch, our product quality is slipping and we're not doing a thing about it. Oh sure, we have some ideas on how to address these issues, but those darn unions thwart us at every turn. We have some terrific programs for labor and management to work together on quality programs but the unions hold us back. How are we going to get anywhere?

And standards! Oi! We spend all of our time writing nonconformance reports and nonconformance reports for our nonconforming nonconformance reports and corrective action reports to fix the nonconformances in our nonconformance reports and top it off with preventive action reports so that we won't write a nonconforming nonconformance report ever again. No wonder we're not getting anything done.

Fortunately, we've just starting training our production guys in statistical methods. We're going to organize them into SWAT teams and set them loose investigating and solving our production problems. We'll give them cool titles like "sergeant," "lieutenant" and "admiral." It'll be a hit.

No, those aren't comments from readers in yesterday's sack of letters to the editor. Those were the hot topics in 1981, the year that Quality Digest got its start. Known then as Quality Circle Digest, our Reader's Digest-sized magazine covered everything related to the implementation and deployment of quality circles, the hot quality management technique of its time (and still pretty hot today in some parts of the world).

The issues 25 years ago or 15 years ago weren't that much different than they are today. Then Japan was considered a threat, now it's China; outsourcing was an issue; labor-management cooperation in quality circles was frowned upon, as it still is; quality management system standards caused headaches; and the quality department saw the first cuts when the economy took a turn for the worse. Different day, same old stuff.

In this, our 25th-anniversary edition, we take a look back at our history in quality. Look for the following retrospective features in this special issue:

A timeline along the bottom of the issue highlights key events or topics under discussion in Quality Digest; thanks to Rod Munro for his assistance with this project.

The article "Understanding ISO 9000" on page 26 first appeared in the June 1990 issue and was one of our first analyses of the standard. The article is annotated by two of today's leading experts on ISO 9001, Jack West and Denise Robitaille.

An interview with Quality Digest's founder Don Dewar on page 67 describes our beginnings as an offshoot of Don's highly successful consulting firm, QCI International, and our growth into the leading audited publication on quality today.

Still grumpy after all these years, our past Quality Digest publisher and current quality curmudgeon, Scott Paton, gives his retrospective of Quality Digest.

Today, as 25 years ago, our goal is to make Quality Digest your magazine of choice for quality issues.