About This Blog

A QualitEvolution is intended to capture positions and experiences as a participant in the evolution of the Quality profession into the 21st century. From its origins as the brainchild of Corporate Industrial Statisticians, our profession has transformed and evolved to incorporate and adapt to the demands and expectations of our modern existence.

The scope of the subject matter within A QualitEvolution extends to the furthest ranges of quality, business transformation, management science, and quality issues especially pertinent to the members of ASQ in Canada.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A "Country and Western" View of Quality Control

As a bonus submission for consideration at the upcoming WCQI 2015, I have submitted an abstract which aligns with the location of the conference, Opryland Hotel in Nashville.  The comparison is made between Quality dropping the term Control from its title, and Country and Western music compressing its genre to simply Country music.  As this has a very low likelihood of selection, I thought that I would incorporate this into a blog post.

Session Outcomes
In keeping with the theme of Opryland in Nashville, Country music is used as a reference to describe Quality. Specifically, Country used to be referred to Country and Western Music, just as Quality used to be Quality Control. Western music will be contrasted with Quality Control traditions in an amusing and engaging presentation.

Quality for Life Areas of Interest
  • Social/Relationship Quality

Quality was originally known as Quality Control.  This is demonstrated by the fact that ASQ was originally formed as ASQC - American Society for Quaility Control.  Juran's Quality Handbook was Juran's Quality Control Handbook in earlier editions.

Country music was originally known as Country and Western music, with these distinctions.
- Country emphasized patriotism, relationships, mama, trains, trucks, prison, and getting drunk.
- Western music used traditional folk melodies and instruments to share the histories of cowboys, gunslingers, pioneers, and harsh weather conditions.

Both Quality and Country sought to appeal to more urbane and sophisicated audiences, so they obscured and reduced the profile of the traditional roots, in order to attempt to redefine their base and scope.  Both Country Music and the Quality profession should embrace and celebrate their origins and traditions.

In keeping with the musical themes of Nashville and Opryland, this presentation will make the connection between traditional elements of Quality Control and distinguished Western musicians.

1. Singing Cowboys and Statisticians

In the earlier part of the 20th century, the movies were populated with characters like Tex Ritter, Roy Rogers, and Gene Autry.  The singing cowboys remind us of the originators of Quality Control, namely statisticians like Shewhart who were constantly applying their mathematical and analysis skills to create and entrench objective practices for consistent monitoring and measurement.

2. Marty Robbins and Deming

Marty Robbins stands out as the pinnacle of Western music.  His album Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs and songs like El Paso, won Grammy awards and provided a template for other artists to follow and benchmark.  Similarly, Deming's 14 points has inspired countless authors and practitioners, and is still considered the benchmark management ethic.

3. Frankie Laine and the Quality Gurus

Frankie Laine was a dynamic and passionate singer whose mastery of this genre was demonstrated was sustained through decades of records and movie themes. The international appeal of Frankie Laine was evident by the popularity of his version of Cool Water, which was one of the best selling songs in the United Kingdom in the 1950s.  In a similar way, prominent Quality Gurus like Juran, Feigenbaum, Gryna, and Crosby helped to create an international acceptance of quality control practices.  As a result, our profession is inseparable from the Quality Gurus, much like western movie and television themes (i.e. Blazing Saddles, Rawhide, Mule Train, O.K. Corral) are associated with Frankie Laine.

4. Slim Whitman and the Japanese Quality Masters

Slim Whitman is best known for his extensive vocal range and yodeling proficiency.  This distinctive style has been incorporated into the works of Johnny Carson, Andy Kaufman, and Tim Burton.  As Quality Control was deployed and popularized in Japan, leaders began to distinguish themselves with expert techniques.  Ishikawa (Ishikawa diagram Quality circle), Taguchi (Taguchi Loss Functions, robust design, design of experiments), and Shingo (lean, Toyota Production System) extended the effectiveness and propagation of Quality Control.

By knowing the traditions, the legacy can be preserved, and the future of Quality and  Country Music can be sustained.

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