Thursday, April 13, 2017

Quality, excellence and (Perpetual) Innovation

Quality Improvement programs like TQM are a key part of building a sustainable competitive advantage for companies. Every couple years there is an improvement or a new flavor of TQM, like six sigma and lean six sigma.

Talking about quality... The Baldrige Program is a rather cool program for improving the process of quality in an organization... Brought to you from the US Department of Commerce through the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Download the 2017-2018 Baldrige Excellence Builder.

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There's a discussion at NIST about why you would use the Baldrige Program vs other Total Quality Management (TQM) programs. Generally, they suggest using Baldrige for the over planning and processes, but use lean for the the continuous improvement.

There's an interesting article about TQM programs and implementation of them by Fleming-Farrell, Hall and Blando (2014). It summarizes two TQM-type studies, one focuses on the top of the organization, the other on the six-sigma practitioner. From the top view, there seems to be no correlation between the number TQM-type programs and the performance of them; so going to the next flavor of TQM does not necessarily do much, it is the care and feeding that goes into your quality program that makes the difference.

Oh, and there is almost no relationship between the participation in six sigma and compensation. Black belts get a little more pay, but generally there is no pay increase for working harder and longer at quality improvement. Of course the skill and skill set might prompt a six sigma practitioner, after training and experience, to jump ship and take a big raise elsewhere.
Maybe awards and recognition might help?

Glad you asked, there is also the Baldrige Award.
Or, in Florida, the Florida Sterling Award

Top-down vs Bottom-up Planning. The issue that is often observed about the world of TQM is that it is generally a bottom-up planning tool. Great for managing the factory and incremental improvements. But disruptive innovation and strategic planning, not so useful. Hall and Hinkelman (2013, 2017) approach top-down planning with their Perpetual Innovation(tm) series of books. But they integrate bottom-up planning into the process as well. It really makes no difference where the great ideas come from, provided the organization is in a position to recognize 'em and take advantage of them. Even the best laid plans (of mice and men) must be well executed. Baldrige seems like a perfect way of managing with clear alignment through the organization either in stable state, or transitioning through incremental change.

Want to go to the theater and watch videos? Check them out here: Youtub Videos (popcorn not provided).

Hall, E. B. & Hinkelman, R. M. (2013). Perpetual Innovation™: A guide to strategic planning, patent commercialization and enduring competitive advantage, Version 2.0. Morrisville, NC: LuLu Press. ISBN: 978-1-304-11687-1  Retrieved from:

Hall, E. B. & Hinkelman, R. M. (2017). Perpetual Innovation™: Patent primer 3.1e: Patents, the great equalizer of our time! An overview of intellectual property with patenting cost estimates for inventors and entrepreneurs.  [Amazon Kindle eBook].  ASIN: B01MS53JC5 Retrieved from:   
Fleming-Farrell, L., Hall, E., & Blando, J. (2014, Spring).  Implementation of new TQM programs, communications, and adapting to change. In C. A. Lentz (Ed.), The refractive thinker: Vol. 8: Effective business practices for motivation and communication (pp. 159-181). Las Vegas, NV: The Refractive Thinker© Press.

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