This is a follow-up to our State of the Supply Chain Union blog from late February. In this blog, we talked about three interrelated issues that American companies are facing these days. Too much work and too few people.  Loss of process and process improvement focus.  Not understanding and fully communicating the capabilities of the supply chain.  We continue to hear evidence and examples of these issues preventing companies from achieving their full potential.
I had the opportunity this past week to have coffee with Paul Zaleski. Paul's a Director at Cost Reduction Analysts: http://expensereduction.com/analyst/paul-zaleski. He is a very qualified and experience business leader whose current focus is helping small to mid-sized companies determine savings opportunities in both MRO and non-direct expenditures. Companies of any size can easily be spending too much if they are not focused, on constantly assessing the market and looking for opportunities. Smaller companies have less human resources and thus are not doing this assessment and subsequent sourcing work to ensure they are getting the best pricing, service, and quality they can. They are probably leaving a lot of money on the table.
After the airing of the NBC White Paper, "If Japan Can... Why Can't We?, on June 24, 1980, W. Edwards Deming quickly went from an obscure quality and statistical consultant to a vertible business celebrity. Because of that White Paper, Ford Motor Company engaged Deming to help them improve. Ford was incurring billions in losses. Product quality at Ford was lacking both poor quality design, poor production quality. and poor product reliability. Deming is credited with contributing to Ford's improvement to become the most profitable US based auto company in a few short years.
There is indeed a Quality improvement dilemma in many organizations. This dilemma is faced by organizations that need Quality improvement the most. It is simply stated: We need to improve, but there is no time. We are too busy fighting fires. You have heard it hundreds of times. You may have uttered this very statement hundreds of times. It is both true and false.