Where Will Asia Stand With TL 9000 Telecom Quality Management In 2012?

As we returned from the QuEST Forum APAC Best Practices Conference in Beijing, China which centered on the demand for quality, it was very coincidental that several articles had just been released in the USA regarding issues with supply chain quality in China and India.  One has to wonder–can Asia really embrace quality management practices and standards like TL 9000 in the years to come?

Tim Harden, President of Supply Chain and Fleet Operations for AT&T, who is also the 2011 QuEST Forum Executive Board Chair, delivered the opening address of the conference.  In his thoughtful and powerful remarks, he discussed network evolution and the resulting mandate for quality.  This mandate is clearly reinforced through TL 9000 certification, which delivers on a common quality language for the communications industry.  TL 9000 measurements help certified companies use their data to improve performance like OTD (on-time delivery), because organizations can see where they benchmark against their industry peers.  Tim provided impressive metrics regarding what AT&T is experiencing relative to their supply chain performance as a result of utilizing TL 9000 certified suppliers.

Dr. Yang Gang (Freeman), Founder and CEO of the Zero-Defect Management Institute and Deputy Director of Quality and Competitiveness for the Research Center at Peking University, delivered a keynote presentation entitled:  China Needs a Quality Revolution From “Made in China” to “China Quality”.  The title of his keynote address could not have framed the current challenge any better.

For those APAC companies who showed leadership by attending the conference, they were able to learn quality best practices from numerous workshops and presentations like the one delivered by Rachel Buckley, Director of Quality Programs for AT&T regarding supplier performance management and supplier scorecards.  S.M. Balasubramaniyan’s presentation on The Value of TL 9000 Registration: A Supplier’s Journey was also compelling.  S.M. is a Vice President with Wipro Technologies and a QuEST Forum Executive Contributor.

Yet after all of the workshops delivered by these industry leaders and other participating companies like Alcatel-Lucent, Bharti Airtel, BIZPHYX, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Huawei, IBM, Infosys, JDSU, KARLEE, Motorola Mobility, Nokia Siemens Networks, QuEST Forum, Telmar Network Technology, Wipro and ZTE—where do Asian service providers and suppliers go from here?  There is a small buzz that China as a nation may look to adopt the standard, perhaps from a regulatory perspective.  While this is purely speculative at this point, do quality standards with their service providers like China Telecom—really matter to us in the USA?

Well, it’s very short shortsighted to believe that with the next generation networks, cloud computing and integrated global supply chains, many of which utilize the same suppliers—that it doesn’t matter.  China and other APAC nations need to embrace quality management standards like TL 9000 with more vigor.  A recent article featured in Supply Management predicts offshoring to China will hit $10 billion by 2015.   Another article from Insurance Insight reports that the China may be the location of the next big supply chain disaster.  Just last week this article from Reuters presents a case that India supply chain chaos is the next hurdle for global retailers.

One significant advantage of certifying to TL 9000 (there are many) is the risk management component.  The potential suppliers that may be depicted in these articles can certainly benefit from certifying to the standard to improve their organizational efficiencies.  By implementing risk management contingencies they can help prevent global supply chain catastrophes.

Where will Asia stand with TL 9000 in the years to come?  We are hopeful and encouraged that their telecom industry leaders will continue to foster a culture of quality, similar to the demand for TQM in Japan in the 1980’s.  BIZPHYX is going to be on the forefront of this continued TL 9000 education movement.  In February, BIZPHYX Senior Vice President Bob Clancy will be heading to India to conduct TL 9000 education and training in 4 cities including Bangalore and Dehli.  Bob along with Satyendra Kumar, Senior Vice President and Group Head of Infosys Technologies, who is also a member of the QuEST Forum Executive Board, will be leading an accelerated effort to help Indian suppliers and service providers champion quality management practices in the region.

So stay tuned, it’s going to be an interesting year for the growth and adoption of TL 9000 in the USA and around the globe, including China and India.  Xu Feng, Co-Chair of the QuEST Forum Greater China Hub and others like Sheng Fei with CNCA and Yang Zhongatao with China Telecom are going to be very busy!  For more information about TL 9000 training, implementation and consulting contact info@bizphyx.com.