Chapter 3: International Competitiveness, Productivity and Quality
Pg 99-102
By Ravenclaw House
To sustain a competitive advantage, a country or business must always be on the
lookout for ways to improve. The Japanese have a name for the concept of continual
improvement: kaizen (ki-zan). Kaizen is the belief that to gain competitive advantage,
there must be a commitment to quality. When applied to business and workplace,
kaizen promotes everyone working together to make improvements. Kaizen helps
eliminate waste in all systems and processes of and organization but does not
necessarily mean an increase in investments or costs.
Quality Control
Deming’s “14 points for management”
Always continuously improve the product or service to stay competitive and
create jobs
Encourage education of the workforce, both on and off the job
Allow workers to take responsibility for and pride in their work
Remove communication barriers between management and the factory floor
Encourage teamwork between departments to improve product quality and to
create common goals
Japan adopted Deming’s 14 principles and Japanese businesses dedicated themselves
to change and worked together with a commitment to quality and productivity to
eventually receive the reputation “Japan, Inc.” rather than “Made in Japan”.
Total quality management (TQM)
This is a method of managing organizations with a commitment to continuously improve
the products, processes, and the work habits of employees; management also is
determined to consistently meet customer needs.
Market-driven organizations are those that respond to market needs by providing
customers with high quality goods and services that are low cost and available when
To successfully compete globally and improve their competitive advantage, Canadian
companies must be market driven.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
The ISO’s job is to promote development of voluntary standards and related world
activities, facilitate the international exchange of goods and services, and to develop
cooperation in intellectual, scientific, technological, and economical activities.
ISO is non-government and was established in 1947. They are now a worldwide
federation of national standards organizations for 140 countries. They have published
12000 standards including the ISO 9000 series on quality management and assurance.
The ISO 9000 are the requirements a business needs to meet to have its Quality
Management System (QMS) verified and registered. Verified businesses advertise the
QMS on their facilities. There are 400 000 verified businesses worldwide.
The Standards Council of Canada leads Canada’s participation in the two leading
standards bodies – ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The
Standards Council promotes efficient and effective standardization and has accredited
over 300 public and private organizations. They also oversee the National Standards
System (NSS).
Many large company and government buyers now require businesses to meet certain
ISO standards.
Extension Activity: