opportunity to participants to exchange expertise
By Syed M. Aslam
Oct 11 - 17, 1999
A two-day International Convention on Quality Improvement was held on
October 5-6 in Karachi. The Convention was organized by the Pakistan Institute of Quality
Control (PIQC) and co-sponsored by Pakistan 2010 Programme, Government of Pakistan; the
National Productivity Organization PITAC; the Association for Overseas Technical
Scholarship (AOTS) Japan; the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM); the
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and the Export Promotion Bureau, Government of
The theme of this years Convention, which is being organized
every year since 1995, was Best in Quality Practices. the Convention
highlighted various quality management methodologies by a number of renowned companies
that have excelled at national as well as international levels.
A number of local and foreign speakers presented their papers at the
Convention to share experiences and foster a mutually beneficial learning environment
aimed at improving quality practices. Delegates and speakers from Japan, Bangladesh, Iran,
Sri Lanka, Singapore and the US attended the Convention.
The head of PIQC, Kamran Moosa, highlighting the quality culture in
Pakistani organizations based on basic research findings said that the competition and
rising quality and productivity standards are forcing organizations to institutionalize
quality and productivity management. This stress on Performance Improvement
Management can only be achieved if management and technical skills, systems, and
technology are regularly up-graded. This process of improving the performance of
organizations is called Total Quality Management (TQM) and the implementation
state of this process is generally known as Quality Culture.
It is difficult to classify the quality culture of companies in terms
of their practice levels in quality management because even poor companies have a few high
level characteristics and vice versa. However, organizations can be divided into the
following quality categories:
Level 0, companies which have no concern for their customers and do not
incorporate management systems to control the quality of their products or services. Most
government organizations in underdeveloped countries fall in this category and exist
solely due to the monopoly which they enjoy.
Level I organizations are inspection-oriented only and defect is
considered to be a defect only if it is detected. Most manufacturing companies in
Pakistan, and other developing countries, under this category.
Level II organizations are the ones which try to control many processes
that affect the quality of the products. The present popularity of ISO 9000 concept in
Pakistan is basically an up-gradation of companies from Level I to Level II.
The companies which fall under the Level III category are the ones
which realize that process improvements are directly proportional to the competence,
commitment, and team-work of employees at all levels. For them the mere conforming to the
defined specifications is not enough to compete. ISO 9000 certification becomes
insufficient for these companies which mobilize company-wide campaigns for developing
quality management at all levels up to workers. Few companies fall under this category in
Level IV companies are the global champions and dominate markets
wherever they chose to market their products or services. These companies have mature
quality culture, depicts long-term survival and are technologically advanced in
introducing new products. In addition to Level III these companies also set trends and
R&D. These companies show their superiority not only in management but also in
technological skills and resources. They provide benchmark to others. Hardly any company
in Pakistan falls under this category.
In his paper, Avoiding pitfalls in implementing ISO 9000,
the Executive Director of SGS Iran, Dr Mir Mohammad Rouzbeh said, "There are
indications that the year 2000 edition of the ISO 9000 standards will have a different
grouping and reference than the ones in use today." In addition, there would probably
be no more than 20 clauses as the requirements are going to be regrouped in four
provisional categories executive management, process management, measurement and
evaluation and improvement.
He stressed the need to select the correct ISO 9000 model which may
differ from organization to organization. While most companies are better off to acquire
ISO 9002 for others which lack routine designing and development activities, 9001 would be
a better choice. He also cautioned against the unfocussed training as some organizations
tend to interpret the training requirement to require a training unit within the
Twenty-one papers were read at the Convention each of which dealt with
a specific aspect of quality improvement necessary for the enhancement of quality culture
in Pakistan to help local entrepreneurs meet the changing demands of the consumers the
world over. The speakers represented organizations engaged in diversified production in
companies of various sizes and the Convention provided them a forum to share their
experiences for a mutually beneficial learning environment.