How important is quality to us these days? Certainly attention to it has almost disappeared in the press and media. How about business? Some of the approaches of the 1980’s and 90’s have become ingrained, but it doesnt seem like the #1 issue, at least in the U.S.
We seem to have moved toward other topics. This movement is not unusual, because people in business and industry seem to like to pursue the “next big thing” and what are sometimes referred to as management fads.
The figure below, taken by a book entitled managing on the edge, by Richard Pascale, published by Simon and Schuster in 1991 (also I believe out of print), is an indication of such fads up until 1990. This type of behavior is still going on, but I include this particular graph, because it shows the sharp peak of management approaches having to do with product quality (mainly manufacturing quality) in the late 1980’s and the 1990’s .
I imagine if the graph were extended up to the present, fads would still come and go, but those having to do with quality would be surmounted by emphasis on such things as innovation, entrepreneurship, globalizations, marketing, uses of the internet and Big Info, and lip service to such enlightened topics as social entrepreneurship and the environment.
I am feeling sorry for my Good Products Bad Products book, which is about overall product quality, because it must be feeling somewhat lonely. To give it company, I am continually collecting examples of companies making unusual efforts to produce products that are the best of their kind in the world. If you know of any, please comment on them and include your e-mail address, so I can get back to you and perhaps find out a bit more about them.