written by Maree Stuart
We’re starting to get that sense of a new year right around the corner. The Melbourne Cup has been run and won. Hints of slightly warmer weather are appearing. Unless you’re in Melbourne and then you have our sympathies and hopes for warmer temperatures from now. And the sounds of Christmas are heard in supermarkets across the land.
In today’s article, we wanted to share some insights on quality trends and patterns emerging over the next 12 months. These will likely impact businesses in general, including labs. They will probably affect the way we “do” Quality in our organisations and its relevance.
These came up in conversations with clients and colleagues way back in March at the Humans United by Business Conversations event! If you don’t have time to read on, listen to the audio through the link below.
And while we don’t intend to be the next Nostradamus, we hope it will prompt some reflection on new challenges on your horizon.
Automation has been around forever! Basically, humans are a creative and inventive lot. We like to make things easier and more efficient. How else would we have come up with the banana slicer?
The knack with automation is to deliberately create efficiencies that are good, and not just adopting automation for automation’s sake.
But automation will often mean that people’s jobs look a little different to the way they do right now. In some cases, they may be totally replaced.
Think about how garbage was collected 30 years ago to now. We used to have a driver and a couple of “garbos” keeping our rubbish in hand. Today, we have one driver with an automatic hydraulic arm.
It’s important that we are alive to what’s just over the horizon in terms of technological influences over the way we do business. We need to create awareness and understanding through conversations with our people. And not just our staff, but also our stakeholders or interested parties so that they’re brought along on that journey.
Consumerism and Individualism
The second big trend we see is to do with consumerism and individualism.
Put plainly, Consumerism is a propensity of humans to buy “stuff”. The development of mass production techniques made for less costly and greater ability to create goods (and today, services).
With our voracious appetite to get more goods and know more sometimes inconsequential details of other people’s lives, humans are becoming used to things being on demand with sometimes little thought to the purpose of acquisition of goods, services and knowledge. It’s available, so we’ll have it.
Into that frenzy comes the idea of Individualism. This is perhaps at odds with the capabilities of mass production in its earlier forms. The push for goods and services with particular attributes set to meet our individual needs, wants and preferences drives us towards a new landscape of how we do business. Technology is an obvious path to this “nirvana”.
Let’s take the example of personalized medicine.
It wasn’t that long ago that we had the human genome project and we were able to map the human genome. This same technology of DNA sequencing is what helped us identify COVID-19 to develop vaccines and other treatments. The technology is helping us to improve our knowledge of disease and the very discrete, individual nature of disease processes,
Recognising that it’s no longer a “one size fits all” situation is one thing. Deciding what this looks like is another. To do this we should look deeper into the very bespoke attributes of a product, service or problem. While this will help drive greater improvement in customer satisfaction, it will also create more headaches.
What’s the solution?
Enter “Quality”. The tools we use and principles we understand are once again critical to navigating our way through these new challenges. Concepts such as quality by design, understanding the needs and expectations of customers and stakeholders, and the processes we have for fixing problems and driving improvement are things we just have to get on and do.
Our upcoming eBook looks at the 7 greatest challenges every company should be ready for in 2023. Not only will it put these challenges out there, it will also put forward some solutions for dealing with them.
What do you think are upcoming trends and patterns for the next 12 months?
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