Quality by Quantity, this has long been the way of dealing with needs in our world. It’s not a bad thought if you think about it: when there is not enough, you need more. And Quality Management has always played an important role to achieve this.
“The Homo Sapiens Sapiens is an ape with an attitude”
During the 20th century, there was a lot of influence and a lot of good improvements in Quality Management. But the situation has changed for the 21st century! The increasing global population, environmental problems, etc., most of these problems are of the type “too much” problem in our western world.
Overproduction, creating more and more en polluting more and more. We can state that the homo sapiens sapiens is an ape with an attitude. Environmental problems are global and connected. Think about the charcoal industry in China that has an effect on The Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
We still massively focus on quantity while we base our hope on more quality. If we keep on going for more and more and more, we will end up with a big problem!
“The system has become the goal”
In the 21st century we lost track of the real goal. The system has become our goal, instead of the people, who should be our goal! Our educational system has turned into an HR factory, and speaking of HR, Human Resources is kind of a strange definition if you think about it. Resources you use and throw away afterwards, which is a very bad choice of words since we are dealing with humans. Instead of people being our goal, our goal is to produce more and more and earn more and more.
“Is work and consumption the meaning of life?”
What is the meaning of life? Is it living you own life? Or is it do what people expect you to do? Answering this question is quite hard and different for everybody, but fact is that we overrate hard work. There is a crumbling impact of work in our system, the amount of money going to workers decreases year by year.
In the light of these events we can say that the ideas of quality guru Joseph Juran are containing a lot of value. While living in the 20th century, he already pointed out that companies should add value to the community instead of putting their focus on money. We should think more about our planet, and less about our pension!
“Do not forget the value of lost natural capital”
We should start measuring differently and take into account the value of lost natural capital! Externalized cost should also be implemented in our balance sheets. Take for example the charcoal site in Zeebrugge, it started in 1905 and closed in 1992. It provided energy and jobs, but today the polluted site had al 70 million dollar clean-up cost. So we really should put more thoughts in external costs. In the 21st century, we need to put costs back where they came from, otherwise there will never be taken action!
Systems have proven to be unbelievably strong but it speaks for itself that if we want to keep/improve quality of all life on our planet, we will have to be modest and responsible.
Edgar Schelfaut, student UGent
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