Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs – February, 2021

Welcome to February 2021 edition of the IXth volume of Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs.

We recapitulate that the 2021 theme for the IXth volume of our Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs is Future of… as the basis for Creating and Maintaining Sustained Success.

Presently, we will take up a McKinsey article, The next normal arrives: Trends that will define 2021—and beyond – By Kevin Sneader and Shubham Singhal to provide us a broad over view.

Excerpts from the article:


There is at least a faint light at the end of the tunnel—along with the hope that another train isn’t heading our way….

Barring any unexpected catastrophes, individuals, businesses, and society can start to look forward to shaping their futures rather than just grinding through the present. The next normal is going to be different. It will not mean going back to the conditions that prevailed in 2019. Indeed, just as the terms “prewar” and “postwar” are commonly used to describe the 20th century, generations to come will likely discuss the pre-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 eras…

The crisis has sparked a wave of innovation and launches a generation of entrepreneurs. …There’s no going back. The great acceleration in the use of technology, digitization, and new forms of working is going to be sustained.

Supply chains re-balance and shift

Think of it as “just in time plus.” The “plus” stands for “just in case,” meaning more sophisticated risk management. …When a single country or even a single factory went dark, the lack of critical components shut down production. Never again, executives vowed…. Once businesses began to study how their supply chains worked, they realized three things. First, disruptions aren’t unusual. Second, cost differences among developed and many developing countries are narrowing. In manufacturing, companies that adopt Industry 4.0 principles (meaning the application of data, analytics, human–machine interaction, advanced robotics, and 3-D printing) can offset half of the labor-cost differential between China and the United States. The gap narrows further when the cost of rigidity is factored in: end-to-end optimization is more important than the sum of individual transaction costs. And third, most businesses do not have a good idea of what is going on lower down in their supply chains, where subtiers and sub-subtiers may play small but critical roles. That is also where most disruptions originate, but two-thirds of companies say they can’t confirm the business-continuity arrangements with their non-tier-one suppliers. With the development of AI and data analytics, companies can learn more about, audit, and connect with their entire value chains.

The future of work arrives ahead of schedule

The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) estimates that more than 20 percent of the global workforce (most of them in high-skilled jobs in sectors such as finance, insurance, and IT) could work most of its time away from the office—and be just as effective…. There are two important challenges related to the transition to working away from the office. One is to decide the role of the office itself, which is the traditional center for creating culture and a sense of belonging. Returning to the office shouldn’t be a matter of simply opening the door. Instead, it needs to be part of a systematic reconsideration of what exactly the office brings to the organization….. The other challenge has to do with adapting the workforce to the requirements of automation, digitization, and other technologies. This isn’t just the case for sectors such as banking and telecom; instead it’s a challenge across the board, even in sectors not associated with remote work…In 2018, the World Economic Forum estimated that more than half of employees would need significant reskilling or upskilling by 2022.

Portfolio restructuring accelerates

In previous downturns, the strong came out stronger, and the weak got weaker, went under, or were bought. The defining difference was resilience—the ability not only to absorb shocks but to use them to build competitive advantage…. The implication is that there is a resiliency premium on recovery. Top performers won’t sit on their strengths; instead, as in previous downturns, they will seek out ways to build them.

Green, with a touch of brown, is the color of recovery

All over the world, the costs of pollution—and the benefits of environmental sustainability—are increasingly recognized.

The COVID-19 crisis has created an imperative for companies to reconfigure their operations—and an opportunity to transform them. To the extent that they do so, greater productivity will follow.


We will now turn to our regular sections:

We now watch ASQ TV, wherein we refresh our viewpoints about–

  • Remote Auditing – Recent health guidelines have caused companies and independent auditors to view an online audit as a viable alternative to the on-site audit. Lance Coleman, ASQ Instructor, and Principal Consultant, Full Moon Consulting, details the benefits of online audits, how to get top management buy in and how to conduct an online audit.

We have taken up one article from Jim L. Smith’s Jim’s Gems this month :

Fail SuccessfullyThe hallmark is that highly successful people are not afraid to try something new, set aggressive goals, and are committed to achieve success. The possibility of failure exists but they are willing to take that chance. In fact, the only real failure is not trying at all…. Failure is perceived as a negative aspect of life, but successful people believe that failure is good. Failing means that you tried something new, and the results will teach you valuable lessons that make future success possible. Another aspect of failure that falls into the beliefs of successful people is that no one cares about or remembers your failures, so do not carry them with you. Learn and move on quickly … One other thing is certain: If you do not try anything, you are guaranteed to fail.

From the Editor (of Quality Magazine) – by Darryl Sealand, we have

Leaders and Followers – What do you call a leader with no followers? A guy taking a walk…. In a broader sense, it begs the question of the importance of following in the footsteps of another. It is why leaders also are often referred to as trailblazers, those creating paths for others… An important part of trailblazing was—and is—documentation…Today, trailblazing and documentation take place in the form of standard operating procedures and best practices…to help their customers and others effectively and successfully use technology or follow a process…or users and practitioners to expand, innovate, and forge new paths of success.

I look forward to your views / comments / inputs to further enrich the theme of Future of… as the basis for Creating and Maintaining Sustained Success.

Note: The images depicted here above are through courtesy of respective websites who have the copyrights for the respective images.