CEO: “I don’t want our quality management system to be a Rolls Royce. I don’t even want a Cadillac.
Quality Manager: “So… you want a Volkswagen-level QMS?”
CEO: “No. I want a Yugo.”
In order to fully-understand that conversation, it is important to realize that there are popular views about the cost, performance and/or reliability of cars, namely, about a Rolls Royce, a Cadillac, a Volkswagen… and a Yugo, that can be related to quality management system (QMS) cost, effectiveness and/or sustainability.
Following are some popular views about the cars mentioned related to quality management systems, above. Substitute the descriptions of the cars for descriptions of a company’s QMS and you’ll realize what the CEO is actually asking for in the conversation.
A Rolls Royce is of “peerless quality” but costs “more than most of us make in a year, or several”.1 Such a QMS might cost more than the company’s annual revenues to implement and maintain. The QMS would also probably do so much more than is required that it would be viewed as a burden upon the organization, at best. At worst, a nuisance to contend with.
A Cadillac is a luxury brand of automobile of above average cost but with average to low reliability ratings. It can cost more to fix (than other cars), no matter what the problem is.2 The cost for such a QMS might be viewed as an ‘investment’ toward achieving the company’s quality mission and objectives.
A Volkswagen has the benefit of embodying some of the best engineering in the world (that is, German engineering) while being affordable to purchase and maintain. Loyal Volkswagen drivers embody the philosophy that “A car that is treated well is a car that lasts.”3 This type of QMS might be just the right type to sustainably ensure most of the company’s quality objectives are achieved… while consistently ensuring regulatory compliance.
A Yugo has been called the “worst car in history”. It was cheap to make and buy, but it failed every standard performance and safety test. Toyota could not even give a Yugo away with the purchase of one their other vehicles during one of their sales campaigns! The Yugo brand car finally died when the United Nations declared a trade embargo against the country (Serbia) that manufactured the parts.4 This type of QMS does no good, could actually cause more harm than good, and doesn’t even pretend to be adequate.
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1 “Rolls Royce” © 2022 CarBuzz, Inc.; retrieved on July 27, 2022, from https://carbuzz.com/cars/rolls-royce
2 “Are Cadillacs Reliable?” © 2022 GetJerry.com; by David Ghanizadeh-Khoob, published May 4, 2022; retrieved on July 27, 2022, from https://getjerry.com/car-repair/common-problems-with-cadillac#are-cadillac-cars-reliable
3 “Where does the huge VW fan base come from?”, June 25, 2015, © 2022 TrendMotors Volkswagen; retrieved on July 27, 2022, from https://www.trendmotors.com/blog/why-do-people-like-volkswagen/#:~:text=People%20love%20the%20German%2Dengineering,they%20follow%20their%20maintenance%20schedule.
4 “A Quick Look at the Yugo, the Worst Car in History” © 2018 by Jason Vuic for Car and Driver; retrieved on July 27, 2022, from https://www.caranddriver.com/features/a21082360/a-quick-history-of-the-yugo-the-worst-car-in-history/