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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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 read his new books: Quality Fables 1 and Quality Fables 2

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

 

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

 

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

 

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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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Proactive Problem Solving: The Art of Finding Problems When there are None

 

 

 

 

Source: https://meetville.com/images/quotes/Quotation-Richard-Bach-gifts-problems-Meetville-Quotes-112450.jpg

 

PROBLEMS

There are problems of poverty.

There are problems of ill health.

There are problems of crime and corruption.

There are problems of environmental pollution.

There are problems of inefficient business processes.

There are innumerable problems. It is possible to address each problem and find a solution.

But there are many who feel problem solving takes too long. Particularly, remedying the root causes.

So we indulge in quick-fix problem solving. Band-aid problem solving.

With this negative attitude, problems surface again and again.

A negative attitude is useful for pointing out the problems, but inadequate for solving them.

If the attitude is right and constructive habits are in place, then problem solving is much easier. It can trigger a positive revolution.

PROBLEM SOLVING: NOT JUST FOR OPERATIONS

 

 

 

Source: http://img.bangalorebest.com/uploads/2015/01/akshaya-patra-foundation.png

 

 

I can think of no better example than Akshaya Patra for a positive revolution in India.

Akshaya Patra Foundation proactively embraced the elephant size problem of classroom hunger and malnutrition in India, in 2000. The symptoms of the problem needed no data gathering. The benefits from solving this problem were obvious:

· Improved ability to focus and learn in class

· Improved school attendance

· Improved socialization among castes

· Vocational opportunity for women.

We all know that problems scheduled for solution need to be specific, observable and measurable. They also need to be of a size that is manageable. So the focus for the first project was Bangalore, H K Hill.

The first step in problem solving is to understand stakeholders needs. In this case it was: South Indian cuisine; balanced meals; interesting meals. Akshaya Patra designed the menus for non-repetitive, nutritious and interesting meals.

But how do you service 100,000 children daily? How do you ensure hygienic practices in the kitchen processes? How do you ensure quality inputs and no avoidable waste? How do you ensure on-time delivery of perfect hot meals? How do you build a quality culture in the organization? Etc, etc, etc.

 

 

 

Source: http://im.hunt.in/cg/City-Guide/V-akshayapatra1.jpg

 

The answer lay in adoption of world-class kitchen technology and world-class quality practices. There was simply no room for error. The solution to the challenge had to follow the mantra: better, faster, cheaper, and different.

The Bangalore kitchen proved a successful pilot. Today Akshaya Patra has over 20 kitchens. Their reach varies from 10,000 to 100,000 students, at each kitchen.

 

 

 

Source: http://cdn2.yourstory.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/AkshayaPatras.jpg

 

In conclusion, if you are sitting on a pin, you can remove the pin. All is well.

However, most problems are much more complex. It is not a matter of removing the pin.

Most problems require a constructive and creative approach. An approach that exploits the left- and right-brain.

That is what the positive revolution is about. It’s about Proactive Problem Solving.

There are 4 Steps to Problem Solving:

· Problem Definition

· Problem Diagnosis

· Problem Remedy

· Locking the Improvement

These 4 Steps can solve problems of poverty, ill health, crime and corruption, environmental pollution, and inefficient business processes.

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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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Is the CEO 400 times more important than you?

 

Image credit: http://s3.amazonaws.com/corpwatch.org/img/original/6-25-CEO-Pay.jpg

 

This is no secret.

The leaders of most of the top 100 Indian corporations make at least Rs 10 million per month, plus annual bonus. Leaders who have the ability to run a major corporation deserve to be compensated well. But talented executives are not that rare.

On the other hand, the average salary of a worker in these same corporations is less than Rs 25,000 per month. This is a mockery of the role all the workers in making the organization buzz. Or is it tick? Hum is probably what I have in mind.

To think of it, even in the United States, CEOs make 300 times the salaries of their workers.

What is worse than mockery? Disdain. That’s how many rank and file people feel they are being treated. Corporate boards would do well to heed the rumblings of rank and file workers. Those with high values do. One, two, three….Are there any more?

Defenders of generous leader pay packages justify the quantum by comparing them(selves) to cricket superstars and Bollywood icons. Are we comparing apples with oranges? These superstars have peaked to top performance within a shorter life-cyle.

The irony of this is that we’re in the land of Mahatma Gandhi.

What do you think? What is a more equitable method of compensation for our CEOs today?

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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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What can you do to drive ‘Make in India’?

MAKE IN INDIA is the catalyst for creating jobs in the country. It is the right strategy.

 

 

 

However, for MAKE IN INDIA to happen, it is important that the government deal with the following anticipated challenges:

· New factories will require land

· New factories will require power

· Road infrastructure will need to be world-class

· Indian Railways infrastructure will need to be enhanced

· Ports will need to be multiplied

· Skilled manpower will need to be developed at an accelerated pace.

These challenges can be addressed through long term goals. We can make it happen. However, we need leaders of the caliber of E Sreedharan, the “Metro Man”, to make MAKE IN INDIA an invitation to the world. Do we have such clean leaders? 

 

 

Our leaders must rise above corruption, crime, caste, and community. Only then can the challenges be addressed.

So what can we do in the short term? We can, and should, transform our current factories to be the most efficient in the world. Our focus should be MADE IN INDIA.

The prescription is simple: Make a Habit of Quality Improvement.

Go beyond simply maintaining the standards through Quality Control. Proactively challenge the standards; and reap savings in terms of Cost Of Poor Quality (COPQ).

Next, plough the savings into solar power; and into building institutions for skills development.

Build brand MADE IN INDIA.

These are short term, but powerful, measures that are equally applicable to the service sector: BPO, transportation; communication; hospitality; health care; education; and more. We need to be the most effective service providers in the world.

Build brand SERVICE FROM INDIA.

We need a Quality Revolution. Quality Improvement at a rate faster than that in Japan, South Korea, and Germany.

I believe, India can make it….And make it better.

Are you ready to build your country up? Tell me how You specifically can contribute to this!

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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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Image credits:

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SEVEN STEPS TO BUILD A QUALITY CULTURE

The popular belief is that building a Quality Culture is a major exercise for an organization, or for that matter, government. I disagree.

Building an organization-wide Quality Culture starts at the top. Now, that’s the hard part.

Based on my interactions with the Tata Group, Aditya Birla Group, Mahindra Group, L&T Group, HUL, and many more, here is my lab-prescription for leaders, on how to build a Quality Culture?

  1. Walk your talk. People listen to what you say they believe what you do
  2. At monthly review meetings have Quality as the first item on the agenda. The grape-wine will communicate the ‘action’ organization-wide
  3. At the monthly review, feel free to excuse yourself from the meeting once Quality has been discussed and action points established. This will sink in the priority
  4. Go meet customers to understand their Quality requirements. This is the best Quality education for leaders, regardless of function
  5. Conduct executive briefings on Managing for Quality; as well as Quality of Management. With utmost humility, demonstrate your expertise through effective answers to questions
  6. Include Quality in the Strategic Plan; on par with Finance, Marketing, Technology, Human Resources
  7. Redesign job descriptions to include Quality; as well as factor Quality into the Performance Appraisal and Induction Programs. Conduct the introductory session of the Induction Program underlining Quality.

Is this a choice with any options?

Only leaders can make MADE IN INDIA happen.

Try this today, and comment below on the benefits you saw.

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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 is the Founder & Managing Director of Qimpro Consultants Pvt Ltd. The company offers a range of services that include: Process Management, Quality Life Cycle Management, Business Excellence, Benchmarking of Best Practices, Professional Certifications for Quality & Reliability, and Recognition of Excellence in Individuals, Teams, & Organizations. Under Mr Lulla’s leadership, Qimpro has saved its clients well over Rs 175 billion in terms of cost of poor quality, as well as significantly improved customer satisfaction levels in the manufacturing, service, and healthcare sectors. Apart from India, Qimpro has conducted assignments in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Viet Nam, Pakistan, Sultanate of Oman, Bahrain, Iran, and Kenya.

Click here to see more blogs

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

 

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