Monday, April 4, 2011

Social Responsibility: An attribute of Quality

rightly quoted about the Tata group  and their dedication towards social responsibility (SR).  Being a Tata group employee (of Tata Consultancy Services) I acknowledge the same.   Tata group companies compete every year for the JRD QV business excellence award that is based on the TBEM (Tata Business Excellence Model) framework. One of the core values defined in the TBEM framework is social responsibility. Please note that TBEM is modeled from the Malcolm Baldrige award framework. 

Quality, in simple terms, can be defined as meeting the stated and the implied needs of the customer.  Customers can be internal and external, direct and indirect.    Considering SR as an attribute of quality, it should be met, from any customer perspective at the least as implied needs.  For example, let us take the case of a product, say, polycarbonate eyeglasses.  Typical stated and implied needs to be met for polycarbonate eyeglasses are  lightweight, shatter resistance and scratch resistance.  The beauty of SR compliance, in this case,  is (1) to ensure that the (chemical) hazards of polycarbonate are taken care both from a product and environment perspective, and,  (2)  to educate the (customer) community to properly recycle the glasses after use.

Yes, SR is beyond charity.  Its dimension is big enough that meeting the SR requirements one hundred percent will be a  challenge.  I believe that companies and the quality practitioners across the world should work on models to measure social responsibility as a quality attribute.

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