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Quality Management and its role in Sustainability, Environmental Management, and Climate Change

Quality Management

There are a range of definitions of Quality, and of Quality Management, many of which are, helpfully, customised or simplified to suit particular activities, leading to phrases such as “Right first Time” and “Meeting the Needs of the Customer”.

However, as important as these focused messages are in reinforcing best practices in how activities should be planned, carried out, and evaluated, Quality Management has a much broader, and potentially vital, role to play.

With so much attention now being given to the urgent need for organisations to embrace Environmental Management and Sustainability, it is worth looking again at a more comprehensive definition of Quality that embraces not only the value of managing Quality to the organisation, but also to society at large.

Taguchi, one of the major contributors to modern thinking on Quality, wrote that:

“Quality is that which maximises the value added to society resulting from the creation, use, and disposal of goods and services, while working to continually reduce the “loss to society” that results”

All organisations, large or small, public or private, producing goods or delivering services, could adopt this statement, in its complete form, and build it into their strategies, policies and procedures, business plans, management approach, operational activity, and training and development activity, until it became an integral element of the organisation’s culture.

In the developed economies this could be achieved without difficulty.

In the undeveloped and emerging economies, it would, realistically, need to be a long-term objective, implemented incrementally, but nevertheless be an objective that was pursued with determination until achieved.

For individual organisations, at any stage in their development, the benefits would be considerable.

In the world’s impending battle with Climate Change, it would be an invaluable contribution.

Written by the Tutor Team at Brighton School of Business and Management

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