ASQ Report: Significant Gaps Remain in Management of Quality, Use of Metrics Worldwide


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ASQ Global State of Quality Research data show disparities in how manufacturing and service organizations use quality

MILWAUKEE, Wis., May 6, 2013 — Thirty years after U.S. business embraced the quality movement, research by ASQ — among the leaders of the aforementioned effort — shows there are significant gaps in the governance and management models of quality, and the availability and use of metrics in manufacturing and service-based organizations worldwide.

The ASQ Global State of Quality Research: Discoveries 2013 report also shows disparities between manufacturing and services in quality management frameworks and training.

In general, manufacturing organizations are more likely to use mature quality practices, according to the research, which will be unveiled Tuesday at a panel session at ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement in Indianapolis, Ind. The panel includes quality leaders from India, Finland, Germany and the United States.

The ASQ Global State of Quality Research: Discoveries 2013 is the first of three reports that will be released this year. Discoveries 2013 provides a first view of the data, collected from 1,991 organizations in 22 countries. Future reports — due in July and in World Quality Month in November — will provide deeper insights and greater context to the findings.

To conduct the research, ASQ partnered with APQC, an internationally recognized resource for process and performance improvement. The ASQ Global State of Quality Research is an unprecedented study that provides the first comprehensive view of quality and continuous improvement worldwide. The research explores current practices used by organizations to govern, manage, measure and support quality.

“The ASQ Global State of Quality Research is groundbreaking in scope and — we expect — in impact,” said Laurel Nelson-Rowe, managing director for ASQ. “With data in hand, business leaders worldwide can begin to gauge their quality operations, continuous improvement disciplines, and resource allocations, ultimately helping them increase efficiencies, improve products or services, and deliver better top- and bottom-line performance.

“The Discoveries 2013 report is an initial view of the data, and will serve as the catalyst for continuing conversations throughout 2013,” Nelson-Rowe said.

Travis Colton, senior consultant for APQC, said initial analysis of the data has identified worldwide trends based on industry, company size and region.

“The data shared in the Discoveries 2013 report is just a sampling of the information collected as part of the Global State of Quality Research,” Colton said. “As we continue to analyze the data, we will be able to further identify opportunities to support the quality discipline.”

Services, manufacturing view quality framework differently
According to the Discoveries 2013 report, 78 percent of manufacturing organizations use ISO as a quality framework, compared to 52 percent of service-based organizations.

Internationally, Finland has the lowest percentage of organizations that use ISO as a quality framework at 56 percent. The Czech Republic led the way with 83 percent of organizations using ISO as a quality framework. In the U.S., 60 percent of organizations use ISO, while 62 percent of companies in India use ISO framework.

While 64 percent of Brazilian companies use ISO as a quality framework, 23 percent of Brazilian companies use no quality framework. Only 2 percent of companies in India use no quality framework. Sixteen percent of U.S. companies don’t use a quality framework.

Larger companies provide more training
Companies worldwide with annual revenues of more than $10 billion provide more training opportunities than smaller organizations. In fact, all companies with annual revenues of more than $10 billion provide training to staff working on quality-related activities — including training in lean, Six Sigma, ISO, auditing and quality management.

Ninety-eight percent of manufacturing organizations and 96 percent of service-based companies provide training to staff working on the quality-related activities.

Compared to services, manufacturing organizations provide approximately twice as much training in the areas of Six Sigma and lean, and approximately one-third more training in the areas of auditing and ISO.

Manufacturing and service-based organizations provide equal training for quality management to staff working in quality-related activities, according to the report.

In Germany, 77 percent of the organizations provide ISO training and 82 percent provide general quality management training — the highest of any group of organizations. In comparison, Australia has the largest percentage of organizations providing no training at 11 percent, the report says.

To download a free copy of the ASQ Global State of Quality Research: Discoveries 2013 report, visit

About ASQ
ASQ is a global community of people dedicated to quality who share the ideas and tools that make our world work better. With millions of individual and organizational members of the community in 150 countries, ASQ has the reputation and reach to bring together the diverse quality champions who are transforming the world’s corporations, organizations and communities to meet tomorrow’s critical challenges. ASQ is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., with national service centers in China, India and Mexico. Learn more about ASQ’s members, mission, technologies and training at

About APQC
APQC, a 35-year-old nonprofit organization located in Houston, Texas, USA, is an internationally recognized resource for process and performance improvement. APQC helps organizations adapt to rapidly changing environments, build new and better ways to work, and succeed in a competitive marketplace. With a global focus on productivity, knowledge management, benchmarking, and quality improvement initiatives, APQC works with its member organizations to identify best practices, discover effective methods of improvement, broadly disseminate findings, and connect individuals. Founded in 1977, APQC is a member-based nonprofit serving more than 350 of the Fortune 1000 global companies and numerous government organizations worldwide. Learn more at


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