Wednesday, July 02, 2008

So, where is perfection

It will take a generation for us to be perfect. Perhaps more.

When Sundaram Fasteners won a quality award nearly 20 years ago, most of us were too busy to react or those who did, were stunned. How come an Indian company is producing perfect stuff? Then the story of the dabbawallas, though I doubt if many of us read too much into it. I doubt if the educated class really thought too much about it.

And ISO certification became the rage - then Infosys got a SEI CMM Level 5 (and so did many others). Leave aside the fact that certification processes rarely address perfection, but we all thought it was a great achievement. So, many companies are doing pretty well in the "quest for perfection". On the government side, there is a longish rope. We have development programs that continue for decades without visible progress while some others like the space program have given us predictable results.

On mobile phones and networks, we are getting better. Local courier and even post office services are nearly predictable. Trains running on time? Nope. Flights? Almost. Good, predictable roads? No way. So, all in all the culture that drives us towards perfection is missing. If you cannot predict what time you will reach office or what time your courier will reach you, then how will predict anything else?

Overall, it is simply tough to achieve "perfection" in this environment. When all the inputs are "adjusted", how can the output not be so? If that is the case, how have some of the above mentioned entities achieved it? When will our services get there?  Will they ever?

Continuing thought, here, here, here and here.


Sriniani said...

It is because of their unflinching dedication and persistent efforts to improve quality, they have reached zenith in their respective fields. The lack of that zeal for uncompromising quality has proved to be the bane of Indian manufacturing. Let’s hope that others learn a lesson from these extraordinary organizations and try to emulate their performance.

Kavi said...

I personally dont think that the certifications by themselves add great value. But for some basic process understanding, some basic measure of quality and downtime in terms of audit !!

Whats more important is the spirit with which they are followed. If they are !

Which answers...
'When all the inputs are "adjusted", how can the output not be so?'

That brings us to the next question as to what the objective is. Is it 'Quality' or is it 'keeping up with Jones's' !!