In May 2023, I had the opportunity to attend the 2023 World Conference on Quality and Improvement in Philadelphia and participate in a lot of great sessions. I had the honor of presenting this year on “FMEA – New Ideas for Greater Effectiveness”. Many of you reading this blog will be familiar with the new AIAG-VDA FMEA handbook that was published in 2019. This presentation took highlights from that new handbook and offered some of the best new innovations from the automotive industry to a wider audience from across all industrial and service sectors.
The conference was a great opportunity to see many old friends and learn new topics and perspectives from a variety of great presenters. There were too many outstanding sessions to mention by name, but topic areas represented a wide variety of topics such as Quality 4.0 and the future of work, technical writing and presentation skills, Lean and Kata, and even applying quality tools to planning and managing your family vacation! The annual ASQ World Conference is a valuable opportunity to reinforce the basics or be introduced to new cutting-edge quality and technical methodologies. If you have never attended an ASQ World Conference, I highly recommend that you do so. Our next conference is in San Diego CA on May 13-15, 2024.
For me, the key takeaway from this year’s ASQ World Conference wasn’t technical, it was social. After two to three years of virtual interaction brought on by the pandemic, I now appreciate face to face connections more than I ever did before. It’s tempting to think that because virtual meetings and conferences were made to work during the dark time of the pandemic (because they had to), we should continue to use such formats into the future to increase convenience and keep costs down. But I’ve learned that such an approach will not be successful in the long run. Relationships are forged and sustained by meeting people face to face, shaking their hands, and sharing a drink with them. New relationships can’t be created virtually. I’ve learned that ASQ, like all businesses and organizations, will perform at a higher level when trusted colleagues are meeting and working together as a team, rather than as virtual pixels on a computer screen.
Denis J. Devos, P.Eng., is a professional engineer and senior consultant at the Luminous Group. He works primarily in the automotive industry, and specializes in Lean Methods, Problem Solving, Quality Tools, and Auditing. Denis is a Fellow of the ASQ and is currently the Chair of the ASQ Quality Management Division.