Why Manage Better?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Top 10 Quality Gurus in India - Respond with your nominees.

It’s now been over two weeks with the post on ‘Top 10 Quality Gurus of India’ being out on my Blog and three groups on Linkedin.  We have had over 30 responses with multiple nominations.  Here are some quick insights.

My definition of Guru surely was not clear.  People have responded with names of quality managers (good ones I am sure) to P C Mahalanobis.  This points to the lack of clarity in my original post. Apologies.

We are seeking Gurus – so they have to be in between your managers and P C Mahalanobis. Gurus should have had some original and pioneering work. I agree consultants have an advantage here.  These Gurus should have done majority of their work in India.

I will be setting up a small panel to evaluate the nominations.  We have support from ASQ India to help in this study.

We may have to divide the list into Gurus and Leading Practioners (or a similar title).

Early nominations include:

P C Mahalanobis
J J Irani
Suresh Lulla
R V Ramchandran
Essae Chandran
Manu Vohra
Hans Bajaria
Gopal Kanji
Janak Mehta, TQMI

Satyendra Kumar
Debashish Sarakar, Avery Deninson and ICICI Bank
Mukesh Jain, Microsoft
Ramaswami Viswantahn, QAI
N C Narayanan, SSA Academy
Deepti Arora, Nokia-Seimens
Hemant U
Nilakanta Srinivasan
Anil Sachdev
Amitabh Saxsena

Original Post - 19 June

I am looking at building a list top 10 quality gurus of India. Who are your nominees?

Some ground rules for the search.

1. You can nominate multiple Gurus. Please limit one nomination per response to this post to help me sort later.

2. Nominee must be an Indian or POI (Person of Indian Origin).

3. Most of his/her work should either have been performed in India or has benefited Indian companies.

4. Nominees can include professionals, academics, consultants, or any others who have made a significant impact.

5. Don't just lick up and nominate your Bosses!

Feel free to share this post to get more response. I aim to keep this search open till 20 July 2011.

If you are a member of ASQ India or QualityNet groups on LinkedIn, you may post your responses there as well.

Friday, June 17, 2011

So is Ford a Manufacturing company or a Service one?

Does Bennie Fowler, Group VP of Quality and New Model Launch at Ford, read my blog? I have just finished watching a four part video post of Bennie talking to Paul Borwaski, CEO of ASQ.  (You can watch it here.) And I am grinning ear to ear as the first part of the video post has Bennie talking about Leadership taking a decision about Quality and then demonstrating the right behaviors. This he is says is what is ‘under the hood’ at Ford. My post last week talked about exactly this – quality culture is about intolerance for poor quality and delivering on promises. And demonstrating the right behavior. Sounds similar. Isn’t it?

While closing the post, Paul says, “I was struck by Bennie’s remark that today, quality must focus on more than product—it must focus on the entire customer experience.”

Brilliant comment Bennie.  So true.  Finally product companies are realizing what Drucker said years ago – all companies are service companies.  (I am not sure if these were his exact words but he did say something similar).  Think of Ford.  Do you just buy a car? You buy the ambience at the dealership, the courteousness of the sales staff, the professional advice you get, the timeliness of deliver, the maintenance service of your car…the list just goes on. Ford (or any other car company) has 100s of chances to spoil their reputation well after they have delivered the product to you.  So is Ford a manufacturing company or a Service one?

In the last 15 years while I have been active in industry, the more I have looked at manufacturing companies the more I see a service company hidden under the hood.  Look around yourself.  Everything is a service.  A product is part of the experience, at best.  I can’t claim to be a trend spotter – but seeing all companies as Service companies could the next big trend in Quality!

A lot of industries are yet to make this journey.  In many ways financial services and similar industries have skipped a generation – and have focused on customer experience far earlier in their life cycle as other companies.  This could be because of the competition they face or maybe because they face the customer far more directly and often than a car company would.  But this is changing.  Most car companies make more money on service, insurance, and resale of old cars than they make on their core-business.

So what can we learn from the NEW Ford.  First, choose your leader wisely.  Alan Mulally was a brilliant choice. There is no better business leader today who is so focused on quality.  Boeing’s loss was Ford’s gain!  Second, choose your priorities wisely.  When other car companies were crying hoarse for government aid to revive their fortunes, Alan and team put their head down and worked on reviving Ford.  They took responsibility and changed how they worked. 

A good example of Ford getting it right in India after Alan moved in is the new models they have launched.  They do not now bring outdated models to India.  They realized the Indian customer is now as aware, if not more, as the American one.  Launch of Figo was a sucker punch in the Indian market.  The model is a huge success and Ford has learnt its lessons well.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Building a Quality Culture - Intolerance for poor quality and delivering on promises does it!

Had an engaging discussion with couple of friends yesterday.  Among the topics was the troublesome topic of building a quality culture.  What is it and how do you build it?

I am not qualified to comment on it but then have I cared about my qualification on anything? Haha.
IMHO building a quality culture is about having the right behaviors and achieving results. Everything boils down to this.  If we all don’t behave in interest of quality ALL the time there is little chance we will build a culture that supports quality.  And even more importantly if we don’t collectively achieve the results we set out for we don’t build the credibility that is so essential for a quality culture.

Intolerance for poor quality all the time is a key behavior management must demonstrate.  This is even more crucial in moments of truth. Haven’t we seen leaders/managers talk much about customer and quality and then when rubber hits the road and the going gets tough these leaders/managers are the first to suggest cutting corners?  If they are not the first they look around the room hoping and praying that someone even makes a hint of a suggestion for them to jump on it and agree.

Achieving results is critical to building a quality culture.  Good results come from good processes (Yes, I know there is more to it…but this is a blog not an article).  Good processes come from good people.  Good people come to companies which have good results…and so on.  If you want a quality culture, deliver on your promises.

In summary intolerance for poor quality and delivering on promises builds a robust quality culture.  Agree/disagree?  – let me know.