>HP and Enterprise Architecture

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Enterprise architecture is always looking for ways to improve results of operations through business process improvement and technology enablement.

Joseph Juran (1904-2008) was a man who dedicated himself to these goals.

In the Wall Street Journal, Remembrances, 8-9 March 2008, it states about Mr. Juran: “Pioneer of quality control kept searching for ‘a better way’ to make and manage.”

While Edward Deming is perhaps better known for statistical methods of quality control, Joseph Muran emphasized the management aspects. Both worked at the same time for Western Electric Co.’s mammoth Hawthorne Works manufacturing plant, making telephone equipment for Western’s parent, the American Bell Telephone Co.

“Having noted that a small number of problems produce most quality complaints, Mr. Juran formulated his ‘80-20’ rule, which stated that 80% of a firm’s problems stemmed from 20% of causes. Management should concentrate on the ‘vital few’ rather than the ‘trivial many’. He called it his Pareto Principle.’”

Mr. Juran’s phrase was: “There is always a better way; it should be found.” “Although producing higher quality goods might seem costly, he argued it could pay for itself through fewer repairs and a better reputation in the marketplace.”

All too unfortunate that many companies these days, bowing to their shareholders’ desire for a quick buck and looking to maximize their executive paychecks, have cut quality to cut costs and have blasphemed the term “made in America.”

Here is a telling example of how corporate America has abandoned the teachings of the true quality pioneers, like Deming and Juran:

Just recently, I purchased a HP all-in-one printer and paid a pretty dollar for it, but I thought, hey it’s an HP, it’ll be worth it. Oh boy was I surprised when I got it and it printed horribly (not like the HP printers I remembered). I thought it must be the cartridge (even though the cartridge was also HP). So I bit the bullet, spent the money and ordered a new cartridge. Lo and behold, I received it, installed it, and the exact same lousy printing quality came out. I contacted HP after a little more than a month (since it took time to get the new cartridge) and when I called them, they basically told me too bad–no refund allowed past the 21 day refund period. Then they gave me another number for technical support (they couldn’t connect me) and I had to provide all my information all over again to the HP rep there. Then they told me they would connect me to a technical specialist for this particular printer, at which point I had to for the third time now give all my information yet again. They apparently had no customer records to access or note. It was appalling and pathetic for a company that is as large and at one time prestigious as the old HP to be so completely customer and quality berserk. HP’s Tech support put me through the ringer: testing pages, downloading new firmware, unplugging and plugging, and then finally, they had the gall to want to charge me $49 (which they finally agreed to waive) to get an exchange for the defective product they sold a month earlier.

HP did end up sending the replacement; they sent instructions to return the defective printer through UPS, but sent along a FedEx shipping sticker (yikes). They told me they would call me the day the new printer was to arrive to confirm that everything was okay, but called a day later (ok, so what?). They told me that the replacement printer would come with a replacement cartridge and it didn’t (another boo-boo); when I told the technical rep, he checked on this and said he had made a mistake. Upon request and after a prolonged phone delay, he agreed to send me one because of their error.

While I appreciate the friendly and very decent technical rep that I finally worked with on the phone, HP as a company has become customer and quality clueless.

I used to love HP, so I hope they work to improve their quality and customer service.

Juran “lamented that quality control in America tended to consist of a limited project, while abroad it was treated as an evolving process.” The all too often shoddy state of quality of many American-made products (and poor service) these days has left people shaking their heads in disbelief. Unfortunately, those companies that seek short term profit at the expense of quality and service, damage their brand and put their long term survival at risk.