KPMG Peat Marwick recently sponsored a symposium on Leadership and Empowerment for Total Quality as part of the Diamond Jubilee of The Conference Board. Jon Madonna, chairman and CEO of KPMG Peat Marwick, opened the session by talking about the evolution of the quality movement. "We felt during the sixties and seventies, as we saw foreign competition coming in, that quality was not what it was all about. What it was about was price, we said. If we could draw the cost down, that would make us successful." Eventually U.S. business awoke to the fact that quality is what customers want. The recognition occurred first in the manufacturing sector. Madonna indicated that his firm is applying the concepts to the delivery of professional services. What they learned is that quality in the product, the tax return or financial statement is not enough. There must be quality throughout the process. Madonna indicated that there must be more attention to deadlines, an increased responsiveness to client requests, and heightened concern about the client as a customer.
There are two pieces to KPMG's program, named the "Constant Improvement Process:"
* Forming quality councils at the operating office level. "People from secretaries to the mail room to our most senior partner meeting on a regular basis, to talk about how we can become more efficient or responsive in serving our clientele. …