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Value-added Services for Your Future
An address to the American Society for Quality, Detroit Section, November 7, 2005.
By Allan J. Sayle, President Allan Sayle Associates

Part 1 -- Part 2 -- Part 3

Renewal and change

Glasgow, home to my alma mater, the University of Strathclyde, experienced considerable economic trauma because of the effects of globalization on the heavy engineering, shipbuilding, mining and steel industries from the late 1960s through to the early 1980s. Famous named firms became extinct. As I recall, the city’s population, exceeding 1 million souls fell to about 600000. As the rapid economic decline proceeded, urban blight became a problem. Buildings were torn down unthinkingly giving the city a wasteland appearance, unattractive for inward investment. Sanity finally gripped the city council (good socialists all!) and they stopped tearing down the beautiful old stone buildings and began preserving and cleaning Glasgow’s famous architecture before it was too late. As it entered the mid-1980s, the renewal program, whose slogan was “Glasgow Smiles Better,” gradually took hold. Phoenix like, the city has risen again becoming, once more, a highly prosperous place with all manner of service businesses and modern industry. The gangs are gone. Property prices are unbelievably high. Brown field sites have been redeveloped and the city has done much to develop its assets: notably along the River Clyde waterfront. New buildings mostly blend in with the old. Detroit could learn much from Glasgow.

In England’s West Midlands as the traditional engineering and motor companies cratered, difficult times arrived. As with Clydeside, unemployment levels soared accompanied by the usual problems associated with a changing society experiencing hard times. Here, to, is another emerging success story. New industries and services arrived. Old factories were transformed for new uses. Some brown fields made way for new opportunities. The old 18th century canals were recognized as assets and then regenerated together with key aspects of the industrial heritage jointly and severally becoming useful tourist and recreation attractions. Birmingham is now once more a city with a bustling nightlife and much to offer. A Charles Dickens’ Black Country image of Coketown is long gone. (Ref. 7.) There can be life after automotive.

The British coalminers famous 1984 strike aimed at protecting the coal industry from business reality. Mrs. Thatcher beat the strike. Little now remains of that once huge industry and employer. New industries arrived, ranging from food processing to electronics to retail: each offers a far healthier workplace than did the mines and from my conversations with some miners, they do not hanker for a return to the mines and privately wonder what they were fighting for. Silicosis, other lung diseases and the job security of union leaders?

Similar stories were repeated on Tyneside, Teeside, Wearside – and in various areas throughout Britain which possesses substantial experience of economic restructuring in the face of global change and loss of its former preeminent world status.

Though Margaret Thatcher is more associated with defeating trades unions, of far greater significance is her tackling of weak, inept, anachronistic, risk-averse management. Managers had to realize they could not expect subsidy for failure and must learn to meet global competition head-on. The shakeout in British management was far more vital than that of unions. Perhaps Detroit’s automotive industry needs a similar dose of medicine.

And, when it comes to automotive, British Leyland is no more. Inadequate management, Bolshevik unions and indifferent workforces in equal measure caused its demise. (Not to mention their joint achievements of poor quality, lackluster design and models, and uncompetitive value for money.) In its place, and far more relevant for today’s world, is a new auto industry. Britain embraced and learned from the Japanese implants and in the early 1980s welcomed them with open arms. It did not take long for suppliers to appreciate Japanese techniques and technology or to prefer as customers the new arrivals to the old. The traditional type of quality programs needed to be abandoned in favor of ones more relevant to the changed circumstances. Detroit auto firms face a similar challenge if it is to survive in today’s global rat race.

It should not matter which country owns a firm: the bulk of an implant’s revenue is spent on local jobs, suppliers and services. And taxes are created benefiting the community as a whole. The economic multiplier is considerable – for all stakeholders, a group of entities about which quality people like to wax lyrical when extolling the merits of QMPs while not promoting examples that maximize service to each member of it. America’s politicians could usefully learn that fact and encourage inward investment instead of acting so xenophobically when a rather small oil company (Unocal) might be taken over by a Chinese organization, for example. The USA should welcome Chinese inward investment – it needs the jobs and the money. China has plenty of the latter and will have $trillions more in years to come as its hinterland develops.

As an example of the growing prospects of Chinese financial concerns, consider this: as a result of its recent IPO listing in Hong Kong, the China Construction Bank is valued as being worth more than Barclays. American Express or Deutsche Bank. (Ref. 8.)

In one of its October editions, Barron's observed: Delphi is a 'test case' for what is occurring globally. Stephen Roach of Morgan Stanley whose percipience I admire, thinks it is 'the long-awaited wake-up call for the re-balancing of a US-centric global economy...a new set of pressures bearing down on the US...[perhaps signaling the start of] a major tilt away from the US and dollar-based assets...Delphi is telling you the future is here'. (Ref. 9.)

Business Week recently advised the next Fed chairman must have global skills and savvy because the Fed can no longer act as 'central bank for the world.' as it did less than 10 years ago in dealing with the Russian debt default and the LTCM meltdown. That is, the US is no longer the dominant global force it was in recent years. (Ref. 10.)

I agree with those sentiments. Foolish one would be to think America will continue as the world's dominant economy. Such days are over.

The quality professional’s future

Combine topical analyses and commentary together with history's lessons and one sees the pertinent questions facing quality professionals. One also sees the key solutions regarding the service needed and how to prosper.

The individual’s challenge is how to position himself or herself in an economy that is undergoing one of mankind’s periodic tectonic economic shifts. The challenge is to help your chosen employers or clients succeed in the new order of things (and I would choose them wisely! My St. Louis speech outlined the cornucopia of new opportunities presenting themselves – the CD is available at this evening’s desk.) (Note1.) Value is not just a battleground: it is the war zone. Those wishing to make a contribution to quality’s future and their own prospects need to prepare themselves and act accordingly.

They can reap fine rewards if they are willing to restructure their portfolio of services. We all know America generously rewards those who deliver quantified positive benefits to the business results. Pay-rises, bonuses and promotion are but a few. Perhaps, though, the best reward will be a feeling that one has helped the nation’s business restructure itself for success in tomorrow’s value driven global economy.

© 2005 Allan Sayle Associates. All rights reserved.


1. Business Week, October 24, 2005, page 94.
2. Business Week, November 7, 2005, page 46.
3. The Economist September 24, 2005, A survey of the world economy, page 24.
4. ibid page 26.
5. Hall, Sir Peter, Cities in Civilization, 1998, Pantheon Books, New York, pages 889-897. ISBN 0-394-58732.
6. Barron's, 17 October 2005 p. 23.
7. Dickens, Charles, Hard Times.
8. The Economist 29 October 2005, p. 71.
9. op cit, page 14.
10. Business Week, October 24, page 62.


1. That CD, “Auditing – At the dawn of opportunity”, is available from Allan Sayle Associates. Contact via web site www.sayle.com. The text version can be read online at www.saferpak.com/latest_280305-1.htm.

Allan J. Sayle
Allan J. Sayle
President Allan Sayle Associates
Allan J. Sayle has published numerous articles and delivered major speeches around the world in his 35 years experience. His book "Management Audits", ISBN 0951173901, now in its 3rd edition was first written in 1978 and is acknowledged as the "classic" and "definitive" text on that subject. Sayle is also acknowledged as the originator of the "Process Approach" (or "Task Element" approach) to auditing and quality programs, a method he developed in the early 1970s and which is now the de facto approach used around the world: the process approach is now at the heart of ISO 9001:2000. He is a pioneer of value-added audits. Allan Sayle's seminal work in Quality Management has influenced every practising quality professional. More information is available at his web site www.sayle.com.




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