Jonathan Bishop MCQI, Chair of the CQI London Branch and Head of Management Systems, Mace Dragados HS2, describes the latest branch event and asks if quality professionals are ready for the next industrial revolution

In CQI London Branch’s event Quality Profession 4.0, on 25 April, Vince Desmond, CQI’s CEO, helped us reflect on how quality has responded to change in the past and how the next industrial revolution 4.0 is shaping our future.

We discussed how the role of quality has evolved over the past 100 years, as changes in technology, globalisation, demographics and personal values have all shaped how organisations manage themselves. It’s not only that advanced analytics and automation are now managing many of the verification and validation activities associated with operational quality control and assurance. All disciplines of management now have powerful technology at their disposal to control and assure processes, which a few decades ago could only have been dreamt of.

Attendees reflected on how the quality professional’s role is increasingly focused on leadership and coordinating management system design and not just on technology and ‘tools’. While, for example, Distributed Ledger Technology will help organisations better understand and manage variation, it will only be effective if quality professionals also bring their expertise to bear on understanding organisational context.

Desmond challenged us to review our interpretation of the quality principles and to consider how the scope of these is evolving e.g. customer focus increasing its scope to become stakeholder partnership. Organisations are now operating in a smaller, faster, more complex global environment where the capacity to amplify error quickly is as real a risk as the opportunity to realise value. Hence, marketing quality as a strategic business discipline and as part of the ‘conscience’ of the organisation remains a requirement for us all in the profession.

As the next industrial revolution brings many changes, establishing confidence and trust will remain fundamental for quality management professionals. Perhaps there’s never been a more exciting time to be a quality management professional. So ask yourself: How are you responding to Quality 4.0?