The American Society for Quality is the largest professional association of quality and continuous improvement experts, practitioners and professionals around world, says Nelson-Rowe. "We have about 75,000 individual members and 700 corporate and institutional members, who are increasingly global," she says.
While ASQ’s roots are in manufacturing, the demand for continuous improvement, quality assurance and quality control is growing in all sectors. “If a company or government or healthcare institution lacks quality control, there will be problems in terms of recalls and customer dissatisfaction,” she says. “When that happens, a company’s brand and business results are impacted.”
Supply chain programs are among the operations directly affected by corporate quality control and quality assurance, says Nelson-Rowe. “One of the key issues for supply chain managers is to understand quality controls among suppliers of materials in order to ensure that quality material is being delivered,” she says.
Lean initiatives in the supply chain are quality-based programs, says Nelson-Rowe. “Lean is very important and prominent in the supply chain and we embrace, support and teach Lean, along with Six Sigma, the Baldrige Framework and other quality programs. Yet Lean is only one part of a full-fledged culture and system of quality.”
ASQ advocates a culture of quality that is pervasive from the C-suite down and from the front line up, she says. “We advocate quality language, standards and practices that are pervasive as well as a system of rewards and recognition that celebrate quality.”
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