My short article, “The Mission Matters Most,” is out in the latest issue of Air & Space Power Journal. It’s a short critique of a short critique of my 2006 article, “How the Air Force Embraced ‘Partial Quality.'”
The main point I wanted to make was that industrial and commercial quality improvement methods didn’t work well in the military setting because they were usually applied to support functions instead of warfighting functions.
Obviously I did not make that point clear enough in my original article, so let me reiterate that, in order for members of the rank and file to see Lean or any other improvement effort as vital to their service’s continued success, these efforts must be adapted to the core military mission as much as (if not more than) they are adapted to ancillary functions.
Statistical techniques designed to ensure that repetitive processes produce uniform results; continuous quality-improvement efforts that seek to improve “form, fit, and function” and customer satisfaction; and Lean initiatives that eliminate non-value-added effort and other waste are all highly effective, time-proven ways to make organizations better. But all too often they do not touch the military mission, and therefore they do not reach the military mind.
We’ll see if the point gets across any better this time.by