1. 4th International Benchmarking Conference, Manama – Bahrain

    May 12, 2009 by

    You probably have noticed a new banner starting to appear in the BPIR header regarding the upcoming annual conference of the Global Benchmarking Network (GBN). This year the conference will be held on 27th & 28th of October in a very special place; Bahrain, a small island in the Arabian Gulf almost the first in every achievement among gulf states; the first public school system, the first in oil discovery, the first F1 racing circuit.  Bahrain also boasts the largest modern aluminium smelter in the world, represents the financial hub of the region, and is centrally located between Europe and the far East making it an ideal location for stopovers.

    Back to the main topic; the conference; a number of international keynote speakers and speakers have already confirmed their participation in the conference. Several topics will be presented and many people will attend this unique event.

    Whether you are looking to find out how quality professionals have reacted to the economic slowdown to identify the latest trends in the profession, or you simply want to know more about quality and benchmarking then this is the right event for you.

    If you are interested in delivering a presentation or attending the conference please visit http://GBN.BahrainQuality.org for more details or contact the organising committee at GBN@bahrainquality.org

    C U in Bahrain

     Ahmed

    Benchmarking Researcher, BPIR.com

     

     

    Manama
    Manama skyline at nigh, thanks for DarkGrey for the photos

    63rk7jyi2c

    Management Blog Directory


  2. The World Recession is Great for Quality Professionals Or Is It?

    by

    I recently attented the Annual Quality Congress Middle East in Dubai hosted by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University. It was clear that I was in a Dubai much different to the one I visited a year previous. The economic recession had hit Dubai hard – much of the construction work had stopped, many of the foreign workers had been forced to return home.. I visited a few companies there – one company whose Head Office had previously been bustling with people was now quiet – there were mostly empty desks and one of their first departments to experience lay-offs was their Business Excellence Dept – deemed to be expendable in hard times.

    At the conference many of the presentations addressed the recent downturn.   

    One of the most interesting presentations was by Steve Unwin of AssesstoExcellence – titled "Role of Paradox and Uncertainty in Success".  The general theme of the presentation was on "change" and "perception" – informing us that we all perceive situations differently based on our experiences, our culture and how we filter information and that  when a potential learning event occurs (e.g. a quality problem or a recession) can we really learn from it and is it useful to do so? The point here is that we never find ourselves in exactly the same situation as every moment in time is different – time is constantly changing, we are changing, our perceptions change, the business environment and associated variables are changing etc etc..     

    Whether you agree or not with Steve's views he certainly got everyone thinking – something many of us don't usually have time to do!

    To highlight Steve's thought provoking views on life I have provided a snapshot of his recent newsletter below. He begins his newsletter by sharing his experience at the conference in Dubai …

     "Much of the conference reflected the current 'exceptional' times. I was struck by one speaker's plea from the heart. 'I wish we had tools to deal with the unexpected'. In my hotel I noticed the fire buttons. My mind wandered and I imagined an Emergency button for Improvement Tools.

    In a fire we'd all be breaking the glass, yet I don't see anyone breaking my imagined glass..

    I am sure many quality professionals would argue this is precisely what we should be doing. And that we aren't because we don't understand, or "we lack management commitment", or vision or the good sense to realise the power of the tools.

    I can't help thinking that if these worked we'd be deafened by the breaking glass in times like these.

    The real explanation I think is much simpler. The tools don't work. That isn't to say that they can't work, just that they very seldom do, and even when they appear to work, it's only briefly and always by accident." 

    So do you agree with Steve? Why is it that quality professionals do not become more valuable in times like these? Is it because the tools don't work? Your thoughts please..

    Dr Robin Mann

    Co-owner, BPIR.com Limited.  

    PS. The American Society of Quality published a report on How The Economic Recession is Affecting Quality Activities in December 2008. This report presented the views of 47 individuals offering comments on ways that the economic recession is affecting them and the companies where they work. The results show companies paying more attention to cost cutting, waste reduction, efficiency, and downsizing, and somewhat less attention to growth through either new product introduction or acquisitions.


  3. The Cult of Six Sigma and PodCasts

    by

    In a recent survey it was found that from 20 improvement tools that Six Sigma was the least popular.. with 22% of respondents indicating they used Six Sigma.  Whilst this % is relatively high (more than 1 in 5 organisations) I was a little surprised that it was the least popular considering the publicity and fanfare it has received over the past five years.

    Obviously least popular does not mean that it is not effective. Popularity and effectiveness do not necessarily go together.. Also, perhaps, some industries are more likely to apply this technique than others – perhaps Service Industries do not see the relevance of Six Sigma as much as other industries where data may be more readily available or perhaps some organisations think that they are too small to get the benefits from Six Sigma. 

    Some answers to the relevance of Six Sigma to Service Industries and Small Organisations and an excellent overview of the technique has been provided by Alan Skinner of the Faculty of Business, University of Sydney. Go to the PodCast here to hear Alan's views.

    Also, if you are aware of other useful PodCasts or Videos showing the use of quality tools or best practices, please let us know at the BPIR.com.

    Thanks 

    Dr Robin Mann

    Co-owner, BPIR.com Limited.