Vol. 8, No. 3

March 2006

PQ Systems

Right First Time DVD

Quality Quiz: With a video!

Six Sigma

Data in everyday life

Bytes and pieces

FYI: Current releases


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Celebration of Quality
Re-issue of 'Right First Time'

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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