At an inaugural address Professor Zairi spoke on “Total Quality Management- Myth, Mystery, Marvel, Miracle.”
He said that “Total Quality Management as an emerging science is still at its infancy. The world has just started to benefit from its application and we are still scratching at the surface in terms of understanding its scientific value and its usefulness to society at large, the business community and the whole of humanity. As we enter a new knowledge based era, access to information and the level of sophistication that customers will have, will put pressure on everyone to get things done in the right way and right first time.
Shoddiness will no longer be tolerated and compromising quality for financial incentives will mean the start of the end for businesses that do not appreciate what quality is.”
The lecture was attended by over 100 people representing the local business community, eminent scholars from around the country, senior university staff and students. Professor Zairi argued the case for quality by depicting its origins and tracing its significance and impact to previous civilisations. He described how quality during the Industrial Revolution had shaped the work environment and how mechanisation has changed the nature of quality from craftsmanship to a new scientific concept.
Professor Zairi went on to demonstrate the benefits of quality by discussing how the Japanese economy was transformed after the Second World War to the point where it became the most powerful exporting economy in the world. He then talked about the quality in more recent times.
In his final remarks, Professor Zairi discussed the challenges of the twenty first century particularly the knowledge based requirements driven by the internet and telecommunications technologies. He predicted that the new shape of quality will be more in the area of customer centricity under management of emotional and brand dimensions as opposed to physical product based attributes.