About Quality

EOQ Blog,  5 May 2021

Thanks to the contribution of our Norwegian National Representative, Quality and Risk Norway (QRN / KRN), we can share the following instructive message from Ayse Y Nordal with you.

You can read the complete article here.

EOQ Blog,  29 April 2021

Innovation, standards and the battle for global competitiveness

The UK Quality Infrastructure (UKQI) – an alliance of four institutions which oversees standardisation, testing, measurement, certification and accreditation in the UK, has stepped up its response to Industry 4.0. Why?

Find the answer in this blog

EOQ Blog,  12 April 2021

Analyzing Strategic Risks using SWOT –Jan Emblemsvåg and Lars Endre Kjølstad

The ongoing discussion on how to manage risks has been revitalized lately for at least two reasons.

Primarily, many investors have lost huge sums of money due to poor corporate performance and outright wrongdoings. Secondly, the accelerating change in the business environment is another crucial reason why risk management is becoming increasingly important. However, effective risk management can enable decision-makers to increase their knowledge about their options in times of uncertainty and thus reduce their risk of business failure.

In this article, EOQ European Quality leader finalist Jan Emblemsvåg and Lars Endre Kjølstad present their views on this topic.

EOQ Blog,  4 March 2021

EOQ European Quality Leader, Eric Wolff shares with us his vision on quality. We get an answer to the question: “Which is the most important: quality, safety or production? He also convinces us of the link that exists between quality and each one of us. But above all, he shares his vision on quality as Senior Vice President Quality and Environment, Health and Safety at L’Oréal

Read it all in the article “QUALITY IS A LINK BETWEEN ALL OF US“, by Eric Wolff, SVP Quality and EHS, L’Oréal

EOQ Blog,  22 February 2021

Under the heading ‘Quality Profile‘, the Swedish quality magazine ‘Kvalitetsmagasinet’ published an article about Ulf Gustavsson. Ulf tells how he will lead the European Organisation for Quality, which has a solid but somewhat outdated basis, into a new future.

Ulf has extensive experience and applies the lessons he learned at IKEA, for example, in his new position as secretary general of EOQ.

QUALITY PROFILE ULF GUSTAVSSON

Has command of a long-standing quality organization

The European quality organization EOQ is now led by the Swede Ulf Gustavsson with a past from the Swedish Armed Forces and Ikea, among others. Since taking office as Secretary-General, he has devoted time to setting an ambitious agenda to revitalize this 65-year-old organization based on the motto “The leading promoter of quality”. TEXT Leo Olsson

A SEARCH ON Google does not provide an immediate hit on EOQ, the European Organization for Quality. Only a few pages later is a link to the organization that was founded as early as 1956 under the name European Organization for Quality Control, EOQC, but which 21 years ago removed C as in Control.

– One of the big challenges is that EOQ did not really keep up with developments. Just take such a thing as our website. It has just been redone, but looked like a relic from the 90s for a long time. In other areas, too, it is important that we shift up and find new ways forward. EOQ must be the organization that is “top of mind” when it comes to quality issues, Ulf Gustavsson states.

Personnel certification in quality
Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the organization that Ulf Gustavsson now leads is on a stable foundation. The membership consists of just over 20 quality organizations with approximately 70,000 members, of which the Swedish Association for Quality, SFK is one of them.

In addition, there are 14 competence centers, so-called CC Agents, which are linked to the organization and accredited to carry out personal certification within area quality. For a long time, these personnell certifications were also carried out in Sweden under the auspices of SFK, but ceased in the middle of the twentieth century.

– My ambition is for us to resume certification operations in Sweden. It has been a great success in several other countries, such as Norway, where the quality managers can now show that they live up to requirements and expectations in a structured way, Ulf Gustavsson explains.


Military improvement work

It was at EOQ’s General Assembly in June 2020 that Ulf Gustavsson was appointed new Secretary General of the organization. Despite the fact that he has not yet turned 50, he has a long career as a manager and leader behind him. He got his first managerial job immediately after graduating in 1991 at the newly started Wallmans Salons in Stockholm. After that, he became a conscript as a mountain hunter in Lapland’s regiment in Kiruna, where he remained for four years after graduating as an officer. It was during his time as a professional officer that he first came into contact with quality work via the quality training – Bredd-Q – as then Commander-in-Chief Owe Wiktorin initiated. All defense employees, officers as well as civilian employees, had to undergo an introduction to quality and improvement work of 32 hours. Ulf Gustavsson was one of those who, in addition to training hunter-gatherers, traveled around to the country’s regiments to teach about quality. – It was a useful experience as a young ensign to instruct my colleagues, regardless of degree designations, in how to identify improvements and eliminate slack in the processes, he says.

QUALITY PROFILE ULF GUSTAVSSON

Ulf GustavssonUlf Gustavsson

Age: 48 years.

Education: Officer degree, Bachelor of Economics degree.

Career: 1991 – 1993 Wallmans Salonger (day manager), 1993 – 1999 Lapland Jägarregemente (professional officer), 1999 – 2001 Studentlitteratur Utbildningshuset AB (key account manager), 2001 – 2005 Dependum AB (own company), 2003 – 2005 Svenska Förbundet för Quality (union chairman), 2005 – 2010 Ikea (Älmhult), 2010 – 2011 Millicom Ltd (global performance and development manager), 2011 – 2016 Inter Ikea Systems BV (Netherlands), 2016 – 2018 Ikea (Malmö), 2018 – Gustavum AB ( own company), 2019 – 2019 Syncor-der AnS (CEO Denmark), 2019 – Qvalify AB (Chairman of the Board), 2020 – European Organization for Quality (Secretary General).
Family: Wife and four children – 23, 25, 28 and 30 years.

Lives: Condominium in Malmö.
Interests: Skiing, training, nature.

Ikea gave lessons
After his military career, Ulf Gustavsson was at Ikea in two rounds for a total of 12 years. First in various global positions with stationing at the head office in Älmhult, then at Inter Ikea in the Netherlands and finally at the Inka Group in Malmö. The time at Ikea provided several lessons, he states.

– On the one hand, I gained a greater understanding of the importance of entrepreneurship, and on the other hand, a great deal of humility. Humility in the sense of respect for people, courage to admit their mistakes and the realization of the need to involve those who can better. If you want to bring about change, it is not possible to sit in your own little bubble and make decisions that have no basis in reality, he explains.

For just over a year 2010 – 2011, Ulf Gustavsson also made an interlude at Milli-com, Kinnevik’s telecom company that is active in various emerging markets around the world.

– Even though Jan Stenbeck passed away much earlier, his spirit still lived on with a business philosophy characterized by “sense of urgency”. It could happen that we were called to a meeting one weekend in Dubai where we decided on a new global pricing strategy which would then be implemented in six African countries the following week. It was a pace without equal in combination with a genuine business acumen, he says.

Residing in the United States
It was during the time at Millicom that Ulf Gustavsson lived with his family in the USA.

– I have always formulated clear personal goals, he states. As early as 2008, I set the goal that we as a family would have the opportunity to live and work in the United States, and two years later we moved there. It is about selective perception or as Thomas di Leva once said: “Be careful what you want – there is a risk that it will become a reality”.

As Secretary General of the EOQ, Ulf Gustavsson is attached to the office in Brussels, which is staffed by three people. But due to the pandemic, he mostly works remotely from his home in the rebuilt shipyard area Dockan in Malmö.

Five focus areas
Since taking office last summer, he has established an ambitious plan for the organization based on five strategic focus areas.

The first area is about identifying the needs that exist within the organization. A long wish list has been received from the member organizations.

– An earlier pitfall is that you have not seen the forest for all the trees. Without priorities, there is a risk that nothing will happen at all. Now I try to clarify which path we should take, not least which external partners we should cooperate with. We have already started a dialogue with two Directors-General of the European Commission, one with responsibility for energy issues and one who works with the internal market, innovation and SMEs, he says.

The second area is to develop attractive offers for members. The goal is to launch a new product or service every six months – everything from a new logo to new network models in quality.

The third area is marketing and communication.

 

– We live in a time when you do not become known automatically. With the limited resources we have, it is important to find the right channels, not least in social media, to spread our message, he says.

Digital transformation
The fourth area is focused on digital transformation. Ulf Gustavsson has experience from digitalisation from his time at Ikea and emphasizes the importance of a seamless customer experience.

 

– At Ikea, the first idea was that e-commerce would become a complementary sales channel. But the customer does not think in channels, but has a need that you want to meet. Therefore, digitalisation is about working cross-functionally and breaking all silo thinking, he explains.

The fifth and final area has to do with leadership. As a leader, it is important to dare to make decisions about which new roads to take, even if there is no clear and distinct roadmap.

 

– Ingvar Kamprad used to say that only the one who sleeps makes no mistakes. In the fast-paced time we live, we must realize that everything we do does not become success stories – that mistakes are inevitable, emphasizes Ulf Gustavsson.


Capture people where they stand

A classic trap in a change work is that the management rushes forward too fast and lacks the ability to catch people where they stand, he says.

– An example is the management team or the board that has been sitting for months and discussing what changes should be made. Then they present their plan to the employees at a short meeting and expect them to be on the notes. It is as obvious for doubt and concern, he says.

To succeed with the change of EOQ, Ulf Gustavsson has identified four value rings that will permeate everything. It is about involving, simplifying, pragmatizing and finally delivering.

– The simple is also the most difficult. No business plan of 50 pages is needed, but a simple sheet is usually enough for everyone to understand what we are going to do. Only when everyone feels involved will the big changes be achieved, he concludes. Ñ

This article was originally published in the journal ‘Kvalitetsmagasinet’ on 01 2021.

EOQ Blog,  3 February 2021

Sustainability – Critical to Quality

The EOQ has laid down a challenge to it members with its 2021 World Quality Week theme: Quality: the next frontier.

What is the next frontier?

In 2019 the CQI interviewed a number of national quality bodies and asked that very question. The digital shift was a hot topic with overwhelming agreement that this would require a shift in how organisations create and deliver value to customers. Our experience of the pandemic in 2020 and of shifts in global trading arrangements has, arguably, re-balanced the focus from efficiency to resilience, from just-in-time to just in case with regard to supply chains and operations: at least for now.  And the need for speed has underlined the value of rapid innovation and change to create value at speed while also de-risking for customers and society. Last month’s DAVOS meeting included all of these topics, and one other factor we must consider: sustainability: meeting our needs without compromising those of people or planet.

The sustainability context

Organisations are facing many drivers for sustainability.

The Customer  – Consumer and customer attitude and behaviour in the sustainability context is complex. On a business-to-business level it appears that organisations are keen to associate with partners and suppliers that behave ethically and sustainably and are fast to act when there is a problem. Take for example, the fall of the British PR company Bell-Pottinger which was rapidly abandoned by its clients after scandal hit in 2017. The psychology of consumer attitudes and behaviours is more complex as we try to balance making the right choice with cost considerations: as Brecht said, ‘food comes first, then morality’. Driven by legislation and consumer expectations, the UK retailer Tesco removed 20 million items of plastic from its products over Christmas and the fact that their public statements on this were made by their Quality Director underlines both how sustainability is increasingly critical to quality, and that innovation is required to better enable consumers to behave in accordance with their attitudes.

Civil Society – The UK’s 2020 environment bill  includes a focus on reducing consumption of material resources and the UK’s Green Alliance is lobbying UK government to consider rewarding extended product warranty periods with tax breaks thereby making products last longer and reducing waste.  If this becomes law, economies, sectors and organisations with strong reliability management and innovation capability will win.

Corporate Governance – The UK’s corporate governance code was updated in 2018 adding to the traditional responsibilities of company directors (shareholder value, risk management and strategy) with increased focus on responsibility for societal impact and corporate behaviour. At the international level, ISO is developing a new Corporate Governance standard which includes a focus on sustainability and the CQI has been contributing actively to this through our liaison status. Of course, the management system provides the board with an existing, proven closed-loop mechanism to understand the voice of the stakeholder and deploy strategy and policy into ways of working: the CQI has been working with the UK’s Institute of Directors to make that very point.

Investors – Investors are a powerful driver for sustainability and increasingly make decisions based on sustainability considerations. Many people will be aware of Larry Fink’s call to CEOs to focus on the long term business sustainability and social and environmental  sustainability, and it is interesting to see Blackrock sustainability staff being included in Biden’s emergent team.  The Germans have always been good at distilling concepts – the Industry 4.0 term has its provenance in Germany – and they have long said that Green [good environmental behaviour] = Green [more profit]. Investors agree, and the literature on the business case for sustainability in publications, such as HBR, is growing.

Voluntary Standards – We are already seeing sustainability creeping into quality standards and models which may be recognised or required by customers: the new EFQM model references the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; ISO management system standards embrace the concept of interested parties; ISO itself has a focus on sustainability; and new voluntary standards have appeared from Bcorp to sector ethical supply initiatives, such as in the toy industry;

Critical to Quality

The trend is that a quality product or service will increasingly be sustainable as well as economic, useful, available and safe. Equally, a quality organisation will increasingly be viewed as one where sustainability is truly critical to process, from ethical supply to environmental impact. Organisations are free to make their own strategic choices on how they position themselves competitively, however, environmental and social sustainability is moving from being a PR exercise to being at the core of values, value propositions and business sustainability.

Because sustainability is a hot topic, the health, safety and environmental management communities are all focusing on sustainability with, for example, the UK’s Institute of Environmental Management using the strap line “Transforming the World to Sustainability”.  However, in the same way that today’s quality is tomorrow’s safety, we can also say that today’s quality is tomorrow’s sustainability. The worst that can happen is that professions compete rather than collaborate and we must look to engage with our peer professions and bring our unique scope of competence and expertise.

With that in mind, the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) is conducting a review of TQM which, I understand, sees quality as creating value for society through ESG (environmental, social and governance) as well as for the customer. In other words, the principles and methods of quality management remain relevant and very useful to the sustainability agenda for organisations and society. And in the January 2020 edition of the CQI magazine Quality World, JUSE stated that, “within a company the Chief Quality Officer must act as a quarterback in leading the corporate culture of quality on a companywide scale. This means instilling the essence of business management and quality to all employees, understanding the corporate ethics for the company (as manufacturer), the customers (as consumers) and society, then using it in human resource development.”

Sustainability may not be a ‘new’ frontier, but it is one that the quality profession can make a real difference to if we embrace it.

Vincent Desmond

CEO, Chartered Quality Institute

This is a re-print of the original blog on the CQI website

EOQ Blog,  29 January 2021

France Qualité  Quality for France!

This could be the motto of our AFQP network – meaning Association France Qualité Performance (French Quality Performance Association), so-called “France Qualité”. Because France Qualité does not only represent the French Community of professional people concerned by risk management, continuous improvement, performance measurement, sustainable development; it also intends to contribute, thanks to the Quality process, to the Nation economic, social and environmental efficiency.

In an extensive article that recently appeared in the trade magazine ‘QUALIDADE’, AFQP, EOQ’s representative in France, gives us an insight into their vision of quality.

You can read the full article by clicking on this link :

Revista_Qualidade_ED04_2020_FRANCE_QUALITÉ

Article republished with permission from APQ (apq.pt). This article first appeared in Qualidade magazine, January 2021.

EOQ Blog,  30 November 2020

During an interview in Quality Magazine, Ulf Gustavsson, Secretary General of EOQ described ‘quality’ as follows :

QW: What does quality mean to you?

UG: From my perspective, quality is where everything comes together. Let’s take a product as an example.

“Quality is the customers’ perception of all the effort combined that an organisation is doing before, during and after their interaction with a customer. The value of that effort is the measure of quality.”

In other words, where everything comes together in the eyes of the customers.

The concept of ‘quality’ is further defined by Patrick Mongillon, the representative of EOQ in France:

Quality can be defined with three points :

  1. Excellence in products and services : to satisfy increasingly demanding customers and conquer new markets
  2. Performance : processes, operations and organization, aiming for compliance, organizing change through projects, being creative
  3. Managerial practices : modes of cooperation for the satisfaction of all stakeholders especially employees

Starting or boosting quality approach targets three challenges :

  1. Optimize your organization : more fluid, more efficient, less costly
  2. Control your growth : your range is expanding, you workforce is growing, your information system too, and everything becomes more complicated. The growths need to be managed
  3. Motivate your employees : motivated staff smile at their customers and seek to improve operations.