Nike is currently advertising for an Apparel Product Integrity Auditor.
What exactly is product integrity?
The Nike job description focuses the definition on the two goals of maximizing customer satisfaction and of minimizing quality failure costs.
Is this simply a quality concept in disguise?
Let’s take a look at product integrity and what it means for Nike and for you.
We have defined integrity as wholeness, consistency and objectivity.
• In simple terms this is: do the right thing, do the next right thing and do things right.
• In practical terms this is: the governance of organizational performance, the compliance and ethics of the requisite human behaviors required for performance and the continual elimination of inefficiencies in all operations.
An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
Product integrity is not only a function of its physical characteristics but also of its relationship to the whole.
The component parts of the whole can be categorized as: the value stream system, the organizational structure, organizational process and the individual.
• The value stream system goals are to safely produce products to customer standards at world class costs first time, every time.
• The organizational structure (leadership, sales, marketing, finance, human resources) enable the operation of the value stream system.
• Organizational processes (decision-making, problem-solving, team processes) provide ongoing guidance and direction for the value stream.
• Individuals actualize value by displaying the requisite behaviors for success as determined by employee involvement and talent development programs.
Superior results through integrity occur when the organization and all its component parts are aligned, integrated and optimized.
An Apple Does Not Fall Far From the Tree!
If the value stream creates scrap and rework tasks or if the organizational structure perpetuates or condones any waste, then product costs are increased.
The cost of these inefficiencies and ineffectiveness is passed onto the consumer through higher prices.
More importantly, the quality errors and defects create products that do not meet performance expectations and require unnecessary warranty repairs.
If the company lacks the governance structure and problem-solving processes to deal with their current realities, then the result is predictable. Marketplace erosion will continue, competition will increase and performance will decline.
This is the cost of a lack of integrity in systems, processes, and structures. It occurs when people and organizations do not do things right.
One Bad Apple Spoils the Whole Barrel
The manufacturing of a product takes place within a socio-economic community that exists within an ecosystem.
Financial wizardry can produce superior results for shareholders by minimizing tax contributions that inadvertently inhibit the growth of community infrastructures.
Organizational returns can be maximized by decisions that minimize compliance requirements for the control of harmful substances into the ecosystem.
The quest for profits often transfers human resources costs for health care and human rights into the socio-economic community.
If the company does not have a strategy for compliance and ethics, then one person alone can inadvertently sub-optimize everyone in the mistaken believe that profits trump compliance and ethics. The consequences can be horrific.
This is the cost of a lack of integrity in people. It occurs when leaders and people do not do the right thing.
Does Your Product have Integrity?
So a superior product that provides value and satisfies customer expectations may not have integrity if the product contains production inefficiencies and/or sub-optimizing behaviors and/or underperforming component parts.
A product with integrity not only meets and exceeds customer expectations, but it is manufactured in an organization where all the systems are aligned, integrated and optimized.
Is Nike on the right track? We don’t have enough information to say one way or the other.
But you have enough information to investigate and decide whether you and your company are creating product integrity.
Want to learn more? Contact Douglas Ross or visit Principle Dynamics . I want to speak to you about integrity and how it can help you and all of us.
Douglas Ross is an advocate for the promotion of integrity as a strategy for performance.
© 2008 All Rights Reserved, Douglas Ross, Principle Dynamics Consulting Inc.