ASQ Influential Voices Contribution: As Goes Manufacturing; So Goes Quality

In his January View from the Q blog post, ASQ CEO, Paul Borawski, highlighted results from ASQ’s recently released manufacturing outlook survey. ASQ conducts this survey every year. Borawski writes, “Results from 2013: Sixty-five percent of manufacturers experienced revenue growth in 2013, but–you knew there was a ‘but’–nearly half still consider the economy the biggest challenge.” He adds, “In both 2012 and 2013, 70 percent of manufacturers said they experienced revenue growth.”  You can read the results of the entire survey here… The survey results were generally favorable, with “…a whopping 49% expect salary or merit increases in 2014. But wait – what about that darn economy?

Coincidentally, a February 3 Reuters article published on highlights an industry report which shows “U.S. manufacturing grew at a substantially slower pace in January as new order growth plunged by the most in 33 years, driving overall factory activity to an eight-month low.”  According to this industry report, “The biggest red flag… was the huge drop in the forward-looking new orders index, which fell to 51.2 from 64.4 in December. That 13.2-point drop was the largest monthly decline in that key component since December 1980.” Read the entire article here… This industry report would seem to support the sentiment of those surveyed in ASQ’s recently released manufacturing outlook survey.

So Goes Manufacturing Quality

Far too many quality professionals have experienced the impact a sustained economic downturn can have on their career. Generally speaking, manufacturing quality is sacrificed first when the economy goes south.  Many short-sighted, top management see the quality professional as a necessary evil or a luxury at best. On the flip-side, manufacturing quality jobs seem to be the last to be added when the economy improves. I don’t suggest that January’s industry report constitutes a sustained downturn in the economy. I do suggest, however, that all quality professionals figure out how to operate on the “right” side of the accounting ledger – be an asset; not a liability. Quality professionals should be reminded to maintain that Quality/C-Suite Connection.  More on this topic here…

No comments: