Small Business–The Future of TL 9000: An Update From The QuEST Forum Americas Best Practice Conference, 2012

If you weren’t able to attend this year’s Americas Best Practices Conference, you missed an incredible event, so be sure to participate in next year’s conference, which is planned for September 9-11, 2013 in Las Vegas.

When we discuss the future of QuEST Forum and TL 9000, small business is emerging as an integral segment of the communications industry (ICT) and small business was definitely one of the highlights of this year’s conference.   On Monday, there was a panel made up of procurement and supplier diversity managers and executives moderated by Marianne Strobel, Executive Director of AT&T Global Supplier Diversity.  Other participants were Jesse Crawford, Sr. Manager, Global Supplier Diversity, Verizon; Chris Stuart, Tellabs Program Manager of Global Sourcing; Art Morrical, Quality Manager Alcatel-Lucent; Marc Bolick, Vice President, KGP Logistics and Venus Ng, Area Manager of Global Business Operations and Sourcing, AT&T for Asia Pacific Group Co. Ltd. Venus traveled all the way from Hong Kong to participate in the conference.

The panel was rich in information and we heard the perspective of supply chain participation from the service providers and Tier 1 suppliers.  The panel was followed up by a first ever Face Time networking session.  Small businesses met face to face with 14 representatives from AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, Tellabs, Alcatel-Lucent, Alta Telecom Group, KGP Logistics, Adtran and Ericsson.   The small business event finished with a record attendance for the Small Business Group breakfast.  At the breakfast, Tim Harden, President of AT&T Procurement and Fleet Operations provided participants with insight into the telecommunications industry and how small business plays an important role.

The QuEST Forum Board of Directors has recognized the tremendous impact that small business has made in membership for the last two years.  As a result, the Board decided 2 years ago to make a concerted effort to establish a dialogue with small businesses, realizing they are the next generation of suppliers for the ICT industry.  Under the direction of BIZPHYX President and CEO, Sue Clancy, with Board sponsorship from JoAnn Brumit, President and CEO of Karlee, the two developed a strategy to really reach the small business segment.  The results of the Small Business Group have been truly amazing.  Small business membership and participation in QuEST Forum has more than doubled.  What was the basis for their strategy?  The membership surveys indicated that 94% of small businesses respondents saw value in their QuEST Forum membership.  They listened to their customers–the industry’s small businesses, and then set out to provide them with member value, as a key segment of the ICT industry.

This model helps to forge real relationships with service providers and Tier 1 suppliers, many of which translate into contracts and advancement of TL 9000 quality standard.  The networking opportunities are real and powerful.  QuEST Forum will now use the model set by the Small Business Group to reach out to other sectors of the industry and to drive TL 9000 as the preeminent quality management standard in the industry.

If you’re a small business or diverse supplier wanting to advance in ICT corporate supply chains, what are you waiting for?  You are the future of TL 9000.

For more information on TL 9000 implementation and certification or QuEST Forum membership, contact