A Blog for Philippine Development and Competitiveness

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Absence of a Culture of Quality

Go forward to YEAR 2009 in the PHILIPPINES.
What do we see ?

33 % of the Population lives in Poverty. More than 50 % of the population say they have always been poor. (Based on various sector surveys)

National leaders losing credibility and accused of corruption.

The Philippines ranking 87th out of 133 countries in world competitiveness

The Philippines Ranking 141st out of 180 countries in the Global Corruption index

The Philippines ranking 105th out of 182 countries in UNDP Global development Index

8-10 % of the population work abroad or find livelihood there.

Government and Business well-stocked with Filipino bureaucrats, technocrats and managers trained in the world's best Ivy league schools.

Filipino school children excelling in international math and science competitions topping even students from advanced developed countries.

And yet why do common Filipino Citizens still grapple with the following issues affecting their lives ? :

Frequent interisland ship accidents and sinkings in domestic sea lanes

Government investigations which fail to pinpoint ROOT CAUSES of these sinkings and therefore don't solve the problem and prevent recurrence.

Severely lacking disaster prevention protocols, equipment and preventive actions worsening first responses to disasters.

Security breaches in Public places-where police and security agencies blame each other of faults

High incidence of vehicular accidents and deaths in roadways all over the country

Factories and Plant fires where root causes are not identified and pinpointed

Lack of equipment in weather forecasting despite sufficient government budget allocations

Long queue lines in Government offices in public transactions irritating citizens

Public garbage clogging flood waterways

Lack of or slow government action resulting to large population (informal settlers) build-up along rivers and bays.

Government agencies shipping audits which are opaque and lack insight to real root causes of shipping disasters.

Decades of social unrest and lack of development in the southern Philippines, e.g., Sulu, Basilan- contrast to the progressive and prosperous neighboring Malaysian enclave of Sabah just next door.

Unregistered and dilapidated cargo planes continuing to fly unrestricted resulting to crash and burn incidents.

Poor quality roads in many parts of the country ( bad asphalt or cement quality)-contrast to the world-class quality of roads in Singapore or Malaysia.

Lack of government attention to the development of the coconut industry such as the expansion of the coconut downstream industry - contrast to the agressive development of the Palm Oil upstream and downstream industry by Malaysia and Indonesia.

Provincial governments who lack accountability some reportedly purchasing huge swaths of land later discovered to be partly underwater and resulting to blame fixing and charges of corruption.

Local government heads who act like juveniles bickering with each other and calling each other names grabbing media headlines.

Local bars serving alcoholic beverages to minors in front of schools without local government monitoring or oversight.

Some national legislators showboating on national media over unproductive issues.

Several firetrucks reportedly under repair while a huge fire rages on in a central Philippines province and the local fire department unable to respond.

Does it look as if these several examples are completely unrelated ?
Maybe not. All of the above are concrete proof that Philippine society has so far failed to acquire a culture of QUALITY.

Sound simplistic ? Not so. The Philippines as a society needs to rediscover QUALITY. Quality as espoused by Dr. W. Edwards Deming-the man who introduced the concept to Japan and later propagated it in America. (Don't know Deming ? Google him and learn what he has done for Japan and the USA)

Sadly, for a country which practically worships the USA and people mimicking the latest American trends, the Philippines until now has not,collectively as a nation, caught the lessons learned from what Stephen Covey described as "the (20th) century's most profound,comprehensive alteration in management theory and practice."

Let me quote from a book I read a bit of Dr. Deming's revolutionary ideas about quality : Dr. Deming developed a philosophy of quality management that is rooted in an understanding of the power and pervasiveness of VARIATION and how it affects the process, that delicate interaction of people, machines, materials and the environment.
All systems are subject to some amount of VARIATION that leads to inconsistency and, eventually, to an erosion of both process and product quality. Inconsistency makes it difficult for management to predict how its systems and strategies will perform....Deming's teachings on VARIATION give management the vital knowledge it needs to recognize when a problem is the result of an isolated glitch in an otherwise well-run organization and when it is the result of deep-rooted systemic problem. Thus, an understanding of VARIATION is vital to MANAGING CHANGE.

VARIATION is the Prime enemy of Quality.

Management's job, and this applies to government leaders, is to "work on the system" to achieve continual product and process improvement. The Deming-style manager/leader must ensure a system's consistency and reliability, by bringing the level of variation in its operations within predictable limits.

"A central tenet of Demingism : Decisions made by management or workers must be based on DATA and the theoretical knowledge needed to know how to use it, not on instinct."

More quotes :* True improvement will ultimately result only when the causes of
problems, which usually come from deep within the system, are identified
and eliminated. For example, improving Chernobyl involves more than
cleanup and damage control at the site. It must involve dealing with
policies, practices, and technology in the Russian nuclear power system
that caused the Chernobyl accident and could cause other disasters like
it. When we are content with culprits, we will never look for systemic
causes and the problem will be likely to recur with a new culprit.

" There is a new paradigm of leadership. Managers must
reformulate what it means to lead.
* Leaders must have a customer's point of view.
* Leaders must have a systems' point of view.
* Leaders must have a statistical point of view.
* Leaders must have a worker's point of view."
(From Scholtes, Peter R. )
It is perhaps a great step in the right direction if our future elected leaders change their governance paradigm to adopt the principles at the heart of QUALITY as part of their platform of government.

By absorbing and assimilating the core Principles of Quality transformation and understanding how it works, government leaders now possess concrete strategies for making their platforms of government work instead of grasping at abstract concepts and motherhood statements about eradicating poverty and improving Philippine productivity, etc.

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