Quality Focus and Improved Company Performance


The 2016 Printing Industry Management Survey findings recently published by Printing Industries of America (PIA) provide compelling reasons to attend PIA's 2017 Continuous Improvement Conference. The survey, which focused on studying effective management practices in the printing industry, was conducted jointly by PIA and the College of Business at Middle Tennessee State University. Companies representing about 5% of the total PIA membership returned completed survey forms.

Six different strategic management practices were studied, including: entrepreneurial orientation, strategic thinking, goal setting, quality focus, social capital, and analyzing financial ratios. Each of the six practices was addressed with several different questions. After all responses were received and tabulated, these six strategic management practices were ranked in effectiveness by examining their relationship with company performance.

Quality focus ranked a close second, only slightly behind the first place practice of analyzing financial ratios. In the study, quality focus is seen as a company-wide initiative to create a culture focused on continual improvement of processes and products. While several studies conducted by the American Society for Quality and the Association for Manufacturing Excellence have shown that a strong culture of process improvement and problem solving correlates with improved financial performance, those surveys have not specifically focused on printing companies. This study provides evidence that it holds true for the printing industry as well.

This is precisely the reason that PIA holds its annual Continuous Improvement Conference. In 2017 the conference will be held April 2-5 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The conference brings together companies that are using quality focus as a strategic management practice, experts in the field of quality and continuous improvement, and companies that are just beginning to adopt improvement methods as a way of boosting performance. Attendees include upper management, middle managers, and department supervisors from printing companies large and small.

Interestingly, in the aforementioned study, the two strongest elements most closely connected to the practice of quality focus are emphasis on quality training and management by fact. These two topics and other quality elements contained in the study will be addressed in many of the 25 conference sessions. For more information on the 2017 Continuous Improvement Conference, visit ci.printing.org.