Re-issue of 'Right First
When the British Productivity Council released
"Right First Time" in the mid-50s, the world was in a
post-war economy, with increasing attention to manufacturing production
and nascent interest in quality. Fifty years later, companies continue
to struggle with issues of productivity and quality, and the classic
black-and-white film with its quaint speech and vintage dress has
assumed an almost timeless appeal.
PQ Systems will re-issue the classic film as a DVD
and make it available to customers this month, as a 50th-anniversary
celebration of its impact on the world of process improvement.
After a customer drops what appears to be a bombshell
in the film by announcing that his company will accept goods from
suppliers only if the supplies are manufactured strictly to specification,
the supplier is thrown into a stunned sense of confusion about quality
and the costs of producing all goods to specifications, and even
wonders about the future economic viability of his firm. The company
president visits Marks & Spencer, a retailer known for the high
quality of its goods at the time, and then begins to compute his
company's quality costs, which are, he is shocked to learn, between
15 and 20 percent of factory costs. He forms a team of managers
to investigate and take action. Their recommendations include:
1. determining the standard required by the customer;
2. instructing and training inspectors;
3. determining the capabilities of machines;
4. establishing the use of control charts.
By the end of the film, they have--surprise--reached
their goals and improved the quality of their products in order
to meet the specifications outlined by the customer.
What gives the film its contemporary appeal, according
to PQ Systems marketing manager Beth Savage, is slightly different
from its original impact. "While the film reinforces concepts
of teamwork, continuous improvement, statistical process control,
and concepts of quality leaders W. Edwards Deming and Joseph Juran,
it also gives a sense of progress. Characters in the film, unlike
modern managers, seem shocked at the notion of quality improvement.
We've come a long way since then."
Those who enjoy classic films will also find "Right First Time" appealing. Clipped British accents and fifties-style context offer nostalgia and occasionally give a chuckle to the viewer.
Copyright 2006 PQ Systems.
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