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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.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

ASQ Canada - Proposals to Overcome Member Attrition in Canada

I wanted to raise for your attention the fact that in Region 4, there was a 15% overall drop in ASQ Membership numbers from month-to-month (see chart below comparing membership levels for June and July).   This seems excessive for a typical month-to-month change, and I wanted to explore the assignable causes for this significant decline.  The range of attrition by section was 8%-22%, and all ASQ Sections in Canada experienced a membership decline in the last month.  I would like to understand how this compares with overall ASQ trends between June and July 2016.  Even if the problems are not unique to Canada, the solutions proposed below can be applied to entrench and strengthen ASQ in Canada, and reverse this trend.


Analysis and Solutions


Since members do not leave abruptly but instead wait for their last expiry period, I think this relates to the non-renewals of the ASQ membership, plus a grace period for unpaid members.  Significant reductions in membership affect business planning, as membership levels, combined with participation rates, determine the estimates for attendance and capacity planning (i.e. banquet bookings, meeting room sizes).  


Today’s Canada-US exchange rate (0.76) makes the annual ASQ rate approximately $209 (a 27% increase over the last 3 years).   If this membership value is not recovered or recoverable by Canadian members, the attrition rates will continue and potentially increase.  Even if the new levels stabilize, we cannot sustain our membership or member units in Canada with 15-20% annual membership attrition rates.  This currency devaluation also affects the overall cost and participation rate of ASQ Certifications among ASQ Canada members, with the result that revenues and purchases of ASQ products and services will decrease overall in Canada.


I respectfully propose that ASQ consider adopting the following innovations to more effectively align to the expectations of the Canadian market, intended to reverse the evident member attrition:


-          Extend the capabilities of ASQ Customer Care to support ASQ members in Canada in both official languages (English and French), during core business hours (8AM-5PM) across all time zones (Newfoundland, Atlantic, Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific).


-          Offer French translations for ASQ Certifications (i.e. exams, training, webinars, and published material).


-          Price ASQ products and services at par for ASQ members based in Canada, with non-members paying the USD rates.  This at-par (i.e. ASQ membership is offered at $159 CAD) discount would incentivize Canadians to remain in ASQ and procure products and services.


-          Have ASQ HQ organize annual ASQ conference events with staff participation and support (similar to WCQI, Lean Six Sigma) in Canada.  This could be co-located with an ASQ BoD meeting or SAC/TCC training.  This would have the additional advantage of enabling ASQ to benefit from the 30% currency discount in Canada, relative to USA prices.


-          Allocate a proportionate ASQ infrastructure and staffing in Canada reflective of the membership.  Assuming a benchmark of 7.5%, this allocation could be devoted to Canada-based ASQ staff or staff specializing on unique Canadian concerns (i.e. tax planning for Revenue Canada not IRS, banking solutions with Canadian banks, etc.)


-          Allocate a minimum of 1 seat on the ASQ Board of Directors to a Canadian-based ASQ member.  If this is not already represented through SAC or TCC, then one of the Member At Large roles should be earmarked for a Canadian representative.


I know that these will not happen overnight.  My hope is that the necessary dialogues already started will continue and bear fruit.  I would like to build on the excellent discussions organized to reinforce the importance of the Canadian market to ASQ.




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