Japanese Dipsticks: How to Measure an Organization’s Quality Culture?

Japanese Dipsticks - Qimpro

The Japanese assess an organization’s Quality Culture using a few dipsticks:

  1. They walk through your plant and make note of the visible inventory: incoming; in-process; finished goods
  2. They visit the workers toilets and make note of housekeeping practices
  3. They study the safety practices institutionalized in the plant.


The observations on inventory in the plant answer the following questions:

  1. Incoming : What is the capability of supplier processes?
  2. In-process: What is our process capability?
  3. Finished goods: What is our understanding of customer needs?

Since inventory has a cost, the Japanese question: Why should I pay for your inefficiencies?


The workers toilets are a mirror of the Quality Culture in the plant. After all, people make quality. Good housekeeping practices:

  1. Give dignity to the workers
  2. Sensitize workers for detecting errors.


Safety practices in a plant breed a Quality Culture. Accidents reflect:

  1. Failure of a system
  2. Failure of a process
  3. Failure of a product.

Safety practices communicate “we care” to the worker.


These practices are well cemented in Indo-Japanese ventures in India. Particularly in the auto industry. For example: Maruti Suzuki, Honda Motors India, etc. They are also institutionalized in Bajaj Auto, Tata Cummins, etc.

Conclusion: Building a Quality Culture is possible in India.


  1. Businesses should improve the living conditions for workers….. A Quality Culture at the plant will follow.
  2. Banks should be skilled at assessing Process Capabilities of clients….Inventory is one aspect of Process Incapability and the related Cost Of Poor Quality.
  3. Civic bodies in the state should not allow humans to carry out cleaning operations of manholes… Human life is at risk.

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