There is one concept that I have heard called “The Great Equalizer.” Time. A minute is a minute, for each of us. A minute is the same unit of measure, regardless of how much money either of us may have. Time must be spent, whether we want to spend it or not. How we spend our time matters, especially when we are choosing whether to spend our time doing something well… or doing something over. When enjoying what we love, with whom we love, time flies. Time spent suffering, can seem endless.
I have been looking into the emergence of Quality 4.0. The American Society for Quality provides an overview of the concept1 that describes the evolution of Quality 4.0 as a parallel to developments within industry (summarized) as follows:
- Quality 1.0 – Prior to 1890, work was done locally and manually, inspection and measurement were relied upon to assure quality and labor conditions were not as important as productivity.
- Quality 2.0 – From 1890 to 1940, automation increased production scale and speed while railways expanded locations manufacturing could take place. Standards were introduced for minimally acceptable quality levels. Finance-based quality measures, such as costs of scrap and rework, were established, and worker performance was assessed based upon quality costs.
- Quality 3.0 – from 1940 to 1995, computers and robotics reduced reliance upon human beings. Continual improvement, organizational excellence and globalization emerged with emphasis upon customer expectations. Focus shifted from product-based quality to process-based quality. Management standards based upon best practices were defined.
- Quality 4.0 – from 1995 to present, machine learning, pattern recognition, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) are applied to business processes. Communications exponentially expand. Global economies begin to become integrated through blockchain technology. Human involvement with wealth creation shifts from production processes to business systems.
Having spent half of my career in the Quality 3.0 era, and half in the era of Quality 4.0, I have observed many struggles to rise above prior eras. I love what I do, so time has flown for me. For those stuck in those struggles… the suffering may seem to be going on forever.
No matter what our perspectives may be or how they may differ, time is the one thing money cannot buy. It matters how we spend it. Quality 5.0 is coming2 and, although formative, it speaks of massive integration between humans and machines, digital neural interfaces, levelling of the economic playing field, increased longevity, global quality of life, ecological healing, and prolonged existence of humankind off-planet. I want to be ready for that!
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1 “Quality 4.0” © 2022 American Society for Quality; retrieved on July 31, 2022, from: https://asq.org/quality-resources/quality-4-0
2 “Quality 5.0 Should Take Quality Beyond the Quality in Quality 4.0” Business Process Improvement Blog; retrieved July 21, 2022 from: https://business-process-improvement-blog.blogspot.com/2020/12/quality-50-should-take-quality-beyond.html