World Quality Day is observed on the second Thursday in November every year, which falls on November 10th in 2022. It celebrates the business impact of Quality and looks at how corporate culture can have a positive impact on stakeholders.
We have sat down with Agustin Lopez Diaz, Senior Vice President of Customer Satisfaction & Quality in Schneider Electric, to discuss his perspectives on Quality and his personal career path.
A Career in Quality
I started my career at Schneider Electric many years ago, where I was responsible for quality on a production line. Then I became supervisor of quality, quality manger, operational manager all the way up to plant manager.
Later, I worked in quality and customer satisfaction departments in automotive, aerospace, energy (renewable and thermal), and consulting. Now, I’m Senior Vice President Customer Satisfaction & Quality at Schneider.
Quality is a great function. All the missions are very customer-oriented and at the end of the day we’re proud because we make sure that the products, we make meet the specifications, that they are safe to use, that we are improving our customers’ experience and that we do all of that ethically.
‘Quality Conscience, doing the right thing’ is World Quality Day theme for 2022
I believe quality is part of a larger sustainability definition that goes beyond the protection of our environment. Quality plays a huge role in the protection of the people and societies. If everybody is securing quality at the source, doing the right thing, prioritizing, and making sure that the robustness and the reliability of the products are secured, then we are creating a higher ethical value.
I always define quality in 4 four keynotes:
- First and foremost, quality is safety. It starts with our customers’ safety and, the safety of our field teams who install our products. Quality has an ethical dimension. The consciousness and the ethical behaviors around respecting the robustness of our quality processes means more than just reducing the failure rate or the cost associated to it. Quality creates safety and we will continue to think about how to further protect society, individuals, and the environment.
- The second element is from a financial standpoint: quality is free. We spend hundreds of millions because of poor quality. Warranty expenditures, transportation, rework, repairs have a tremendous financial impact on the corporation. Enhancing quality means that we save costs.
- Quality is also crucial for customer experience. You can ship anything, you can have the best technologies but if your products don’t work as they are meant to work, it leads to customer dissatisfaction and puts at risk the long-term sustainability of our business. Hence, having perfect quality is a key differentiator and creates a very important competitive advantage on the market.
- Finally, at Schneider Electric everything is about sustainability, it’s a critical part of our mission and that’s why we feel so proud to be part of this company. Quality is paramount to achieve our carbon neutral commitment because a massive part of the carbon footprint comes from extra work, reworks, repairs, field issues or recalls. For us to achieve our sustainability targets and to reduce footprint, controlling quality is primordial.
The future of quality
I think that feedback analytics will play a major role in the next five to ten years. We will have the capability of monitoring gaps in our processes, and we’ll use digital tools to detect a deviation at its point of occurrence to be more preventative in our approach. I think digital evolution has enabled possibilities and will continue to do so, but we can’t miss the point that respecting the procedures and process behind the tools must remain our priority.
We haven’t arrived at the point where digital replaces completely human interactions. The hybrid environment we live in puts too much emphasis on the digital and not enough on the human. We must make those two worlds work together. Our teams need to be trained and driven with the same discipline and rigor as those in the digital world.
There’s a lot of career possibilities in quality and customer satisfaction. If you like problem solving, technology, statistical methods and robust processes Quality Function is made for you. I’ve been in Quality Functions for over 20 years, and I learn every day. In this field, you have the chance to see so many aspects of quality from manufacturing execution to reliability calculation. You can change functions and expertise along your journey, the career paths are endless and allow you to learn every day. So join me today in celebrating World Quality Day!
About the Author
Agustin Lopez Diaz is a multicultural leader who has worked and lived in 6 different countries (US, Mexico, France, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland), has managed teams all around the world and is now leading Schneider Electric Customer Satisfaction & Quality division (CS&Q) for the entire Group.
Quality, customer satisfaction, customer experience, reliability, and continuous improvement are some of the areas he has expertise in.
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