A Grass-Roots Effort to Create Jobs
In the late 1970s, Lawrence, Massachusetts, a small city on the Merrimack River, faced an uncertain future. The textile mills that had brought the city to life in the nineteenth century were no longer competitive in the new global economy.
At a meeting of the Lawrence City Council in 1978, more than 100 people from labor and business met to form a citywide labor-management committee. The mission of this grass-roots effort was to improve the economic climate and the "quality of work life" in the area. The committee of workers and managers named themselves GOAL-Growth Opportunity Alliance of Greater Lawrence. Three people were elected to co-chair the committee: Bob King, then Industrial Relations Director of Malden Mills Textile Company, Mayor Lawrence LeFebre, and Charles McCarthy of the AFL-CIO. The group set out to help create jobs in the area by improving communication between labor and management.
Malden Mills eventually set aside a small office space in one of its factories for GOAL staff members, who were organizing an Employee Involvement (EI) project and other city improvement projects. The Malden Mills project became one of the most ambitious employee involvement programs in the Northeast, and GOAL was invited to set up similar EI programs for other organizations throughout the area. However, the employee involvement program was not welcome in non-union companies and in the large union companies like Raytheon and Western Electric. GOAL/QPC sought other improvement models at that point.
Dr. W. Edwards Deming Message Reaches GOAL
In 1980 NBC aired a white paper called "If Japan Can.Why Can't We?" that galvanized GOAL's efforts. The documentary described the declining productivity of U.S. industry and increasing competitive pressure of Japanese businesses. The white paper cited the statistical quality-control theory of Dr. W. Edwards Deming as the key factor in Japan's economic progress. GOAL invited Deming to become part of its effort to help improve economic opportunity by educating businesses on the importance of quality and productivity. In 1981 GOAL sponsored its first four-day course by Dr. Deming. With help from almost every major company in the area, approximately 180 managers and executives came together to listen to this internationally renowned statistician.
A Model for the Nation
Dr. Deming, a professor at New York University's Graduate School of Business, had tried earlier to teach his theories of quality-control to US companies, these approaches were required of all US companies supplying the war effort. They were very effective, but limited to training engineers. After the war their use was discontinued. When Deming was invited to Japan in 1950 to teach, he required top management to get involved and companies to work together. Japan recognized his contributions to their nation by awarding him the Emperor's medal and naming their coveted annual quality award "The Deming Prize". In a similar way GOAL/QPC had brought together top managers from area companies to work together for quality improvement. Deming called GOAL's efforts a model for the nation. Similar efforts were started around the country but none had the lasting efforts of GOAL/QPC.
GOAL also researched other approaches to quality and productivity improvement by Philip Crosby, Joseph Juran, and Armand Feigenbaum, integrating and synthesizing them into a cohesive, conceptual model. The result was the GOAL Total Quality Management (TQM) Wheel.
GOAL Visits Japan
In November of 1983 GOAL made its first trip to Japan, seeking the best company quality-improvement practices, experiences, training programs, and material. They visited the leading quality improvement organizations, including the Japan Management Association, the Japan Productivity Center, Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers (JUSE), and the Japan Standards Association (JSA) and the central Japan Quality Control Association.
In 1981 GOAL had created a Deming Follow-Up Steering Committee with representatives from twenty five to thirty attending companies. The purpose of the committee was to ensure the continuous study and use of Dr. Deming's theories through the long transformation process. GOAL gained extensive knowledge and experience in statistical quality control by working with these committees and other groups in Massachusetts. Later on, this committee separated into smaller groups to allow members to narrow their focus. One group focused on the most critical issues of quality and productivity transformation. At that time, Ishikawa's Guide to Quality Control was by far the most widely used Statistical Process Control text in the United States. The committee felt that a new version written for an American audience was needed. This idea became The Memory Jogger: A Pocket Guide of Tools for Continuous Improvement, published in 1985.
The Memory Jogger Series
The Memory Jogger is now used worldwide by organizations to simplify the task of continuous improvement. The guide was designed to help hourly employees, supervisors, and non-specialist managers to improve their companies' procedures, systems, quality, and cost on a daily basis.
The response to this small book was enormous. The Memory Jogger II is now used by over seven million people worldwide and has been translated into six languages. Ninety of the Fortune 100 companies in the United States use it, making GOAL/QPC a leading business publisher and producer of training and educational programs.
GOAL/QPC Research Committee
In 1983, 1985, 1987, GOAL/QPC sent a delegation to Japan to see what impact Demming's work was having on them. What they learned is that the Japanese had gone beyond Deming in 1965 in creating Total Quality Control Systems in which all employees in all departments improve quality cost processes and systems to give employees product and service which is most economic and best qualified. See our Research Reports to see further details.
Seven Management and Planning Tools
In 1984 GOAL held its first annual conference, bringing together people from many different organizations in the United States. GOAL also introduced the Seven Management and Planning Tools at this time.
During the following years GOAL received federal and state grants to create training programs for high school, college, and university faculty, administrators, and students. This allowed many people to attend quality courses at little or no cost. Area businesses were also able to have employees trained at significant savings.
GOAL developed the Supplier Institute to help small vendors learn the philosophy, tools, and techniques of Total Quality Management that their customers demanded. GOAL also sponsored the Summer Institute to train college and university professors in TQM.
Better Designs in Half the Time and a New Name
In 1987 GOAL produced the first book published in the United States on Quality Function Deployment (QFD), called Better Designs in Half the Time. Bob King, who is now GOAL's CEO, wrote the book. By the following year, the company added "QPC" to its name-Quality, Productivity, and Competitiveness- to reflect its broadened mission.
GOAL/QPC has since expanded its research and publication efforts to Hoshin Planning, teamwork and coaching skills, project management, new product development, ISO 9000 certification, innovation and creativity, and employee wellness. It has published books on TQM specifically targeted to health care and education. In 1998 it published The Idea Edge: Transforming Creative Thought into Organizational Excellence by Bob King and Dr. Helmut Schlicksupp, which introduces the seven creativity tools. These tools enable organizations to develop a systematic approach to creativity and innovation.
Journal of Innovative Management
In 1996 GOAL/QPC began publishing the quarterly Journal of Innovative Management for managers who are leading or implementing improvement initiatives. It is a cross-discipline forum for new approaches to strategic planning, innovation, process improvement, knowledge management, customer focus, employee development, and performance. It presents the personal insights and hard-won experiences of today's business leaders and top academic researchers.
The Leading Edge
GOAL/QPC continues to research new management methods, responding to feedback from its members about their organizations' problems and needs. GOAL/QPC's annual conferences, workshops, and the Journal of Innovative Management present the newest research and techniques in quality improvement management, such as facilitation training and wellness.
A few companies that we have worked with and their achievements: