Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Quality - A Buzzing Mantra

My mom was unhappy that the rice delivered at home was of no quality, my manager emphazised that the deliverable are of a good quality, my friend wanted to hire good people for his business expansion plans, another friend is looking for a quality home in a good location, again synonym to quality. As a child, I thought quality represented a characteristic or a feature of a thing or a person. Later on, I understood that Quality represents a class, a structure, a nomenclature, a paradigm, a yardstick. But I still try to grab all the meanings possible for this "Q" word. Suddenly, the dictionary seems to be not enough to include all that represents as a meaning to this Big Buzz Word.
The striking things are of P preceding Q in everything possible, not just in order of alphabets but in the global scenarios:
Quality of People: Ultimately all things and events happen for the people, by the people and to the people,,borrowing words of A.Lincoln. People definitely are measured by the attitude, perfection, good ness, kindness, hard work, sincerity and loyalty, commitment and dedication, will power and inbuilt human values, love, compassion, consideration, empathic values and professional strongness. Good people and good thinking makes good products- This is the tag line of Toyota. Well, good people can be beginning of all good things in this world. Agree.
Quality of Products: Right from the days of barter system in place, till the global economy today, we exchange goods and services. These days across borders and continents. May be in the future across planets. I get a good worth of Rs.10 and expect to return either Rs.10 or a good worth of Rs.10. Nothing less is accepted. This is simple barter system. Today, the scenario is I pay Rs 10, and expect to get back Rs.12. This is a good business fundamental. Is my product worth Rs 12 is my question. If yes, agree. Quality of product is defined by the enhanced utility, encompassed with additional value, proper utilisation, no side effects, and ROI. Products can be anything from a perishable good, to a durable or a software solution or a big machinery or a mineral ore. The standard here is the enhanced value for the money I pay.
Quality of Service: Service industry is the second largest and growing industry in the world. Be it hospitality, tourism, hotels, maintenance, or products after sale services, this industry is flourishing and has a momentum ever. Sample case study: I go to Universal, for one reason, friendly people, good products and ultimate service. Someone attends to me as I enter the showroom, finds me a chair, gets me a call number or a time when someone would attend, and I am listened. The best part of the service is when the customer is heard. Business people tend to talk more, and they forget the fact that actual business happens when they let the customer speak. Service industry's quality is measured based on the customer voice about you. Today, what stands tall amidst all the flaws and dirt at Satyam, is definitely their one time service quality that proved strong that makes A.C. Murthy today declare that they are getting new business contracts. Service speaks!
Quality of Governance: I refrain from pointing fingers either at the Corporate Governance or the Political ambit that needs a different forum to address issues that everyone knows. In a simple way, I begin the governance at my home. I set a timetable for everyone on when to get up, what to do, what to practice and how to make the best of every day in hand. Small deviations due to social events and health is permissible, the overall outlook is that the governance is in place and no deviation permitted. What gets streamlined here is that everyone goes to their work on time, have food on time, get enough entertainment and sleep and above all, their own private spaces to rewind themselves. Creativity grows when governance is in place and give lot more room for new and prosperous things to happen than we keeping the house dirty, doing things as time permits, and go way away from a certain discipline. Governance to me begins at home!. With accountability, responsibility and freedom to grow.
Quality Time: Working mothers is a classic example again. One reason, they just give time for everything. Not just the time, but quality time. I know mothers at home, who don't get to hear their children everyday, but at the same time, I have seen mothers who are updated on their kids behaviour, growth, studies and health checkups. The difference is making for the time lost due to work by giving quality time which is vital. Same thing applies at work, its not worth if a person spends 12 hours and does nothing, but a concentrated work can accomplish the same task in 4 hours, that proves smart work within the quality time. Again, this being under similar circumstances to debate. Same rule applies to the governments. Its not important how long a government rules, but its important how good the ruling time is utilised. Again, a conscious effort to do introspection of oneself is required to keep managing time in the most profitable way possible. Time once lost is never regained.

I conclude, in this parlance, quality is not a watch word or just a buzzing mantra. Its becoming a way of life. A culture that need to be part of our system, our family, our values and ourselves. At least to reach near to 100% perfection. Towards a Quality society to live in!

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