ALARM – Is the Economy ready for Smart Cars?

A couple of weeks back I was in conversation with a friend who is a Researcher at the head office of Microsoft in Seattle.

During the course of our chat, I learned that the current research at Microsoft was aimed at Smart Cities and Smart Cars. Now this was a wake-up call!

My friend wished to understand how “quality controls” can be built into the digital processes that supported Smart Cities and Smart Cars. I know close to nothing about digital processes, Smart Cities and Smart Cars.

What I do know is what I learned at college in the late 1960s. My professor for Reliability Engineering, from General Motors head office, clarified the difference between Quality and Reliability. Apart from classroom sessions, he had arranged for a visit to Ford’s Mustang plant. It was a state-of-the art factory. My first exposure to Just-In-Time. Further, I had done my summer training as an industrial engineer at Chrysler, Highland Park. This too was very useful.

This exposure had helped me as a consultant in India, particularly at Cummins and Caterpillar. What did I facilitate? Building quality into the design. In other words, Reliability on the field…for diesel engines and earth moving equipment.

Can this be the answer for Smart Cars?

On the one hand, a Smart Car has very few moving parts compared to a diesel engine or any earth moving equipment… Perfect.

On the other, customer expectations for performance of a Smart Car are similar to that for a Smart Phone… OMG.

Smart Cars will be successful only if their Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) is extraordinarily long, and their Mean Time To Repair (MTTR) is of micro duration. So we are going to need much simulation, under fatigue conditions, to map out the failure rates. Thereafter, to use appropriate logarithmic charts to predict field failures. Field failures, sporadic or chronic, will  require speedy re-design, and intense customer empathy.

My friend listened intently. We parted after an hour.

On reflection, my concern is that when (not if) Smart Cars become the preferred choice, there will be a negative cascading impact on the oil, metals and manufacturing sectors. Are these sectors ready for the disruption?

If this is where we are headed, performance excellence models -such as the Baldrige or  IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj – will need a major overhaul. Therefore, I believe, the core competencies of an organizations  will need to be:

  • Understanding Customer Needs
  • Product Design
  • Process Design
  • Outsourcing.

Do you have any additional ideas?

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Click here to read more of his blogs here Click here to read his new books: Quality Fables

1, Quality Fables 2 and Quality Fables 3 Quality-Fable-123

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The MADE IN INDIA tiger is a creative representation of the idea behind becoming a manufacturing behemoth in the global markets. Any resemblance to any other logo, is purely unintentional.

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BENCHMARKING: Uncovering Innovative Practices

Benchmarking is the search for industry best practices that lead to superior performance… Dr Robert Camp

Benchmarking uncovers innovative practices that deliver superior performance.

So the trigger is superior performance. Benchmark performance.

Over 80% of managerial practices in any organization are generic. They deliver Results in terms of Leadership Effectiveness, Customer Satisfaction, Employee Satisfaction, Efficiency of Support Processes, etc. etc.

These managerial practices are not industry specific. Therefore, they lend themselves to cross-industry Benchmarking.

The IMC RBNQA model is an orchestra of generic processes and practices that deliver Results. The examination process is a search for innovative practices that delivered superior performance. The examination roadmap demands a careful scrutiny of Results (Category 7) before searching for the innovative practices (Categories 1-6) that delivered the Results. WHAT before HOW.

In summary: The Benchmark Performance of an organization is the trigger. Eg Effective deployment of Values by Leadership. The managerial practices that enabled the Benchmark Performance are Best Practices.

Unfortunately, in India, the usage of the term Best Practice has been diluted to a threshold level. In particular, the term is carelessly used in financial management. It breeds bureaucracy!

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Click here to read more of his blogs here Click here to read his new books: Quality Fables

1, Quality Fables 2 and Quality Fables 3 Quality-Fable-123

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The MADE IN INDIA tiger is a creative representation of the idea behind becoming a manufacturing behemoth in the global markets. Any resemblance to any other logo, is purely unintentional.

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Shrink the Mountains of Waste

We are a rich nation. We can afford waste…. Mountains of waste.

This waste is created by governments, organizations, institutions, households and individuals. In this prioritized order.

Let’s focus on organizations – manufacturing and services. The waste generated by these organizations is typically one-third their total cost. Waste involves rework, rejects, scrap, and corrective effort. Unfortunately, we budget for such chronic waste. In reality, this is the phantom of Cost Of Poor Quality (COPQ). Strangely, banks even give us margin money for working capital against some categories of chronic waste.

For example, we budget for inventory – incoming materials, work-in-progress, and finished goods. Why? Our supplier processes, our operational processes, and our distribution processes are of low capability. Customers who receive the output from such incapable processes are in for surprises that lead to dissatisfaction. This gives birth to complaint handling processes. Why? For customer retention. Customers, after all, pay our salaries! We also have chronic waste in the recruitment process, invoicing process, purchase order process, maintenance process, etc, etc, etc.

The challenge for Indian organizations is to “Halve the COPQ and double the profit, without capital investment”. It is an option with no alternatives. This will surely build the brand ‘Made In India’.

In summary, we need quality in our processes so that they are faster, cheaper and better.

Extend this concept to governments at the center, states and cities. If this were to happen, we could be flushed with funds, instead of  waste. Amongst others, the water supply, power supply, garbage collection and roads could be better. With absolutely no capital investment.  If this were to happen, the quality of life for an average citizen will be significantly better.

And if we also include hospitals and educational institutions in the transformation journey, India can be a preferred destination for these noble services.

In conclusion, it is critical that we collectively shrink the mountains of waste in our circles of influence. Only then can a government in power tumble the poverty line.

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Click here to read more of his blogs here

Click here to read his new books: Quality Fables 1, Quality Fables 2 and Quality Fables 3

Quality-Fable-123

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The MADE IN INDIA tiger is a creative representation of the idea behind becoming a manufacturing behemoth in the global markets. Any resemblance to any other logo, is purely unintentional.

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Indian Craftsman. Our Differentiator.

Indian Craftsman

In 1973, when India’s population was a little over half a billion, the Ford Foundation awarded a Second India assignment to Tata Economic Consultancy Services (TECS). Their projection was that by 2000 India’s population will double to one billion.

The Second India assignment was personally led by Dr Hannan Ezekiel, Chief Executive, TECS. I was a junior member in his core team.

Among others, the major projections made by TECS were:

  1. Communication will substantially replace transportation in India
  2. Tourism will drive India to glory
  3. India will be a global supplier of agricultural products.

We have seen the first prediction come true. The second prediction has had knee-jerk success. The third has simply not happened.

If I had a wish list, I would like to see tourism thrive, and India become the bread basket to the world.

It is worth noting that India is a nation of excellent craftsmanship. Historically, this was manifest in the Indus Valley Civilization. Later, it was abundantly displayed in the excellent architectural marvels during the Mogul Empire and thereafter, the British Empire. The workers had always been Indian. In addition, we had amazing crafted textiles, swords, furniture and jewellry. There was much more.

All these creations required gentle personalized attention, where machine and scale were less important. They were skill and labor intensive.

Unfortunately, while the craftsman is still alive, he/she is forgotten in the technology dominated business environment. We have the threat of losing this unique differentiator.

In my view, craft-centric tourism should be institutionalized across the length and breadth of the country, state by state. It will bring well deserved dignity back to the ignored craftsman. This sector can also attract earnings in foreign exchange.

For this to actually happen, each craft-centric destination should have affordable hotels, world-class housekeeping, zero failure of infrastructure, clean water and healthy air. These destinations should also be well connected by road, rail, air, and sea (where possible).  The lodges and hotels must serve memorable meals with world-class service. I can go on and on cascading the businesses and services that could benefit.

Indirectly, manufacturing will also get a shot in the arm. In particular, manufacturing of autos, steel, cement, electrical machinery. The primary sector will also grow exponentially, namely, agriculture. We can actually become the bread basket to the world.

Such is my snapshot for 2025.

We have two more differentiators that can explode tourism in India: Healthcare and Education. Both noble professional sectors.

However, the prerequisites for this total transformation are: a Quality Mindset; and Being Trustworthy. Are we ready?

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Click here to read more of his blogs here

Click here to read his new books: Quality Fables 1, Quality Fables 2 and Quality Fables 3

Quality-Fable-123

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The MADE IN INDIA tiger is a creative representation of the idea behind becoming a manufacturing behemoth in the global markets. Any resemblance to any other logo, is purely unintentional.

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How to be a Quality Practitioner in 2016?

It doesn’t matter which department you’re in. Quality is no longer just for operations! Its even more important for each member of Marketing, Finance, HR, and IT to become Quality Practitioners!

Throughout our journey, my consultancy Qimpro and I have simply done one thing to remain relevant. That is to assiduously follow the customer wherever they go. And trust me, they go places!

At the beginning of 2016, we’re at a highly critical juncture for our future business. I can only see a 1000 days into the future. All roads lead to one key person: the digital customer.

Keeping this in mind:

  1. I will focus on the digital customer; offering Quality Management services that are better, faster, cheaper and different!
  2. I will write stories that are catalyzed by my experiences in Quality Management consulting
  3. I will avoid travel, to reduce my carbon footprints
Is Quality restricted to one department?

In my view, Quality is an integral part of every discipline. Every discipline has a customer – internal or external. The customer defines Quality.

Individuals seeking careers in Quality must first be generalists, and then follow this up with education on the Juran Trilogy: Quality Planning, Quality Control, Quality Improvement. But with a difference.

So what’s the difference?

The customer is now likely to be a digital customer. In addition, digital media will be the probable platform for communication and delivery. These hard skills are non-negotiable.

Learning hard skills will be easy, through digital campuses. However, soft skills to interact with digital customers, in multiple time zones, will be the challenge.

As we all know, Quality is in the minds of customers. Therefore, Quality Management will need to address digital customer expectations, as well as understand digital customer perceptions.

While customer perceptions for your offering may turn out to be stable, customer expectations will most likely be the trouble makers. The latter has always been a moving target, which is continuously pampered by competitors. In a digital world, it will be even greater.

Key Lessons:

  • Quality professionals must proactively court digital customers. This will require proficient Knowledge Management. In turn, this knowledge must feed into the Product Development processes in order to deliver better, faster, cheaper and different results!
  • Quality professionals should be adept at global soft skills. Geographical boundaries have dissolved. Will Quality professionals be a threat to Marketing? 

My prescription for someone starting out in Quality is simple:

  • Make understanding customer needs your obsession
  • Learn to communicate customer needs to the Product Development team
  • Learn to map processes and rid the subject processes of waste and wasteful work
  • Treat the workers with dignity.

Success is assured. Always remember, customer pays your salary.

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Click here to read more of his blogs here

Click here to read his new books: Quality Fables 1 and Quality Fables 2

quality fable 1 & 2

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The MADE IN INDIA tiger is a creative representation of the idea behind becoming a manufacturing behemoth in the global markets. Any resemblance to any other logo, is purely unintentional.

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Stories: The Art of Effective Communication

Think of Batman, or Snoopy in Peanuts. Think of Hanuman in Indian mythology, or Enid Blyton’s Famous Five.

All good stories have a hero or team of heroes, plus two other key elements:

  • A serious challenge
  • The hero(es) dealing with the challenge and learning something, as a consequence.

But this does not happen. Company stories repeatedly fail.

Here is a story from a typical brochure:

“ In 1950 we started business as XYZ Tractor Company in Calcutta. Today, we are a dynamic company with offices in 50 countries, spread over five continents. Our annual revenues are over US$ 25 billion. We are ISO 9001 certified; and have won the IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award. For the past three years we have been selected as one of the Best Global Companies to Work For.”

In some ways, it is an impressive story. There is only one problem: It is not a good story.

Why? It has the wrong hero.

If you want your prospect to identify with your story, you must do what good story tellers do. Make that person identify with your hero.

Your prospect is not going to identify with you, your company, or your products. For a simple reason: You are not, and never can be, their hero.

Instead, they are their own heroes. People identify with themselves. They want solutions to their problems. They are not interested in helping you reach US$ 27 billion in annual revenues; or in opening an office in Rio de Janeiro.

People are interested in making the quality of their own lives miraculously better.

The ideal story talks about a client, not about the company. It puts the listener in that hero’s shoes, and creates tension around the challenge that confronted the hero: customer rebellion, high cost of poor quality, aggressive competition, lost vision, etc. The good story shows how the client overcame those challenges. It always has a happy ending.

Your best stories are not about you. They are about them.

Tell stories that make your clients the heroes, and make your prospects identify with them.

Then they will see how you can help them.

Lesson Learned: Put the audience, not you, in the hero’s shoes.

Qimpro has branded such stories as Quality Fables. These fables are based on real experience and involve real people.

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The MADE IN INDIA tiger is a creative representation of the idea behind becoming a manufacturing behemoth in the global markets. Any resemblance to any other logo, is purely unintentional.

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Click here to buy his new book: Quality Fables?—?now available on Amazon Kindle

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Who is the Hidden Customer?

 

Quality is about delighting your customer. Delighting through product and service features that satisfy the customer; as well as that are delivered to the customer without deficiencies.

But hold your breath. The definition of customer has evolved over the past three decades. The definition now includes:

  1. External Customers
  2. Internal Customers
  3. Societal Customers
  4. Hidden Customers

We are organized to deal with customer dissatisfaction (or rebellion) of external customers. But how about internal, societal, and hidden customers? The rebellion impact is a geometric progression from external to hidden!

So who is the hidden customer?

Answer: Mother Earth. The Planet.

Last week, on 15 September, my friend of two decades, Bittu Sahgal, addressed an audience at the Indian Merchants’ Chamber, Mumbai. He is the Editor of Sanctuary Asia. The theme of his talk and presentation was Social Upliftment in an Era of Climate Change. His talk, according to me, was a very evolved version of Quality Management.

Some of the lessons I learned were:

  • Our myopic thinking got us to where we are today. Systematically producing waste.
  • In nature there is no waste: every by-product of one natural system is a nutrient for another.
  • Innovative thinking can also help us find a way out from this problem.
  • We can’t solve the problem project by project. Solving isolated social and environmental problems will not get us very far. At best we will provide interim brief relief.
  • New technologies will not come as guardian angels. The planet will rebel. Enough is enough.
  • We need to solve this problem of mankind, of living, by mimicking the principles of nature.

This is pure Quality Management. At its best.

It is quite apparent that we have landed where we are because of certain assumptions we believe are axioms:

  • Humans are the primary species on earth; others are less important; some are even irrelevant.
  • There will always be enough room to dispose our waste.
  • Energy is infinite and cheap.
  • Weather patterns will remain relatively stable.
  • Water and topsoil are unlimited.
  • Productivity and standardization are keys to economic progress.
  • Economic growth and rising GDP are the best way to reduce social inequities.

I wonder if a FMEA would help us understand the risks associated with these assumptions? Will that help pull the alarm? Real loud?

Bittu concluded with a strong message:

  • A regenerative society is a flourishing society.
  • For one billion years, life has flourished on earth based on one source of energy that powers a forest, a marine ecosystem, or a tiger.
  • By contrast, 90% or more of our energy, within the Industrial Age comes from burning fossil fuels.
  • Our food is rarely local, travelling instead thousands of kilometers, and is even genetically modified or artificially preserved so that it can survive the trip.

In my view, we need to benchmark Bhutan. Progress in Bhutan is measured by GNH (gross national happiness). GNH includes forest cover, child nutrition, education levels, and health of the elderly.

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The MADE IN INDIA tiger is a creative representation of the idea behind becoming a manufacturing behemoth in the global markets. Any resemblance to any other logo, is purely unintentional.

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28 Years of Qimpro. Reset.

 

Qimpro is 28 years young.

Over these years, in my experience, Quality perceptions have changed. Quality is no longer an inside-out subject. It is an outside-in subject. Outside, by definition, now includes customers, community, climate, and share holders.

In addition, Excellence is no longer foreign to Quality. And Best Practices are an integral part of Quality.

Since 2001, Quality is no longer a choice. It is a prerequisite for survival and success in the market place.

As a consultant, all this evolutionary change has been relatively easy to deal with. However, life has not been all vanilla.

In order to consult, one needs to market one’s services first. That is the turf where I confronted an uninvited trouble maker.

My  challenge over the past decade has been to align my marketing skills to organizational behavior shifts:

  • From thinking about top management as my client; to everyone within as a client
  • From organizing by products / services; to organizing by client segments
  • From building a brand through advertising; to building a reputation through delivering tangible and intangible results
  • From making profit on every assignment; to long-term value for each client.

I thought I had come to grips with the change. I was mistaken. There are new challenges. Disruptive to the core. Making my 28 years of experience a punctuation mark.

The new challenges are multi pronged:

  • Digital media for understanding client needs
  • Digital media for developing service offerings
  • Digital media for marketing services
  • Digital media for delivering services
  • Digital media for service support.

Is this real?

Try ignoring this! You will be terminated for being ‘undigital’…..RIP.

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*The MADE IN INDIA tiger is a creative representation of the idea behind becoming a manufacturing behemoth in the global markets. Any resemblance to any other logo, is purely unintentional.

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12 Questions that every Director should ask!

Asking the right questions is at the heart of good Corporate Governance.

I have had good and disastrous experiences on various boards, including my own companies. Based on these experiences I have compiled a list of twelve questions directors of an organization should ponder over. If not comfortable with the self-responses, I believe directors should table these questions at board meetings.

  1. What are the key responsibilities of Independent Directors?
  2. What are Independent Directors accountable for?
  3. Do we have the right CEO?
  4. Is the CEO compensation linked to actual performance?
  5. What is the collective vision of the leadership team?
  6. Do the leaders own specific strategic goals that will enable reaching the vision?
  7. How rigorous is succession planning?
  8. Is process capability the basis for selecting suppliers and partners?
  9. How do managers solve chronic problems?
  10. Organization-wide, how productive are meetings?
  11. What is the Cost Of Poor Quality of the organization?
  12. Do we practice the Triple Bottom Line?

There will always be many more questions that should be asked. Ask.

There will always be many more questions that should be asked. Ask.

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*The MADE IN INDIA tiger is a creative representation of the idea behind becoming a manufacturing behemoth in the global markets. Any resemblance to any other logo, is purely unintentional.

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About Suresh Lulla

SURESH LULLA established Qimpro Consultants Pvt. Ltd. in 1987 as a focused quality management consultancy based on The Juran Trilogy: quality planning, quality control, and quality improvement. Since inception, Qimpro has saved Indian corporates over Rs 20,000 crores in terms of cost of poor quality, using the Juran methodologies. In 1989, Mr Lulla established Qimpro Convention as a culmination of a quality improvement competition for the QualTech Prize. Currently, there are three parallel competitions?—?improvement, innovation, and sustainability in the manufacturing, services, and healthcare sectors. Areas of Specialization • Problem Solving • Process Excellence • Performance Excellence • Benchmarking Best Practices Author Mr Lulla has authored ‘World-Class Quality: An Executive Handbook’ published by Tata McGraw- Hill (2003). Quality Fables In 2014, Mr Lulla released Quality Fables. Unlike Aesop’s Fables, these 25 fables are not based on fiction and/or animals. They are based on real experiences and involve real people. Each is a short narrative making a significant point. Recognition In 2004, Mr Lulla was awarded the IMC Juran Centennial Medal for his pioneering contribution to quality practices in India. In 2005, Mr Lulla was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in recognition of his outstanding achievements in Quality Management Consultancy. In 2006, the Institute of Management Consultants of India conferred on Mr Lulla the award of Fellow Member. Professional Bodies • Chairman, IMC Quality Awards Committee?—?IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award; IMC Juran Medal • Director?—?Membership Retention and Engagement, Global Benchmarking Network

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Performance Excellence: Harness the Creativity Resident in your People

 

Old School of Thought

Source: http://www.adluge.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/old-school-marketing.jpg

Once upon a time (about a decade ago) only a few people in an organization were considered to be creative. Also, it was believed that breakthrough ideas were needed only in strategic business areas.

As a practice, engineers were routinely brought in to solve production problems or customer problems. Further, there was heavy dependence on consultants for breakthroughs in products and markets.

All this is history. The old approach to creativity cannot generate dramatic results at speed.

New School of Thought

Source: http://i.forbesimg.com/media/lists/colleges/the-new-school_416x416.jpg

In the new age, breakthroughs are required in every discipline of a competitive organization.

In products, services, management systems, manufacturing proceses, non-manufacturing processes, operational practices, managerial practices, and more.

While engineers and consultants are still critical for breakthroughs, it is obvious that more people must engage in creatively tackling competitive organizational challenges. In order to accomplish this, we must harness the creativity that is naturally resident in the people.

As an aid, an appropriate common process must be developed for Problem Solving; a process that harnesses creativity.

What does it mean to be creative?

Source: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/d7/36/a6/d736a6eafa56d9dec9836205846daba1.jpg

Creativity means consistently producing a lot of ideas for solving organization-wide problems. In commercial and non-commercial organizations.

It requires mature harvesting of these ideas to develop alternative innovative solutions. In short, this means igniting the creativity that is dormant in left-brain logical thinkers.

A choice with no options

Organizations adopting Performance Excellence models have an advantage.

A core value in the criteria is Managing For Innovation.

The scoring guidelines seek disruptive changes at mature levels of performance; driven by structured Problem Solving the creative way.

Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (USA) [baldrige],  IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award (India) [imcrbnqa],  Thailand Quality Award [], etc. all reward organizations that display exemplary Performance Excellence.

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*The MADE IN INDIA tiger is a creative representation of the idea behind becoming a manufacturing behemoth in the global markets. Any resemblance to any other logo, is purely unintentional.

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Click here to see more blogs

Click here to buy his new book: Quality Fables?—?now available on Amazon Kindle

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