Management and Strategy Institute’s 2017 ‘Quality in Business’ Survey Results

This year the Management and Strategy Institute conducted a survey to measure “Quality and Quality Management” within the corporate world.  The goal was to see what types of organizations are using quality improvement methods such as Six Sigma, Total Quality Management, Lean, and 5S.  It also attempted to measure the attitude of those organizations in regard to quality, at least through the eyes of the employees who work there.  

This was not a scientific survey, and there were many factors which could have affected the results.  The sample size was rather small, 260 people responded to the survey.  Still the results are interesting because they give us a feel for “quality” through the eyes of the people who work within different industries.  Let’s break down the results!

​Approximately how many people work at your employer / organization​

This question helped us gauge the overall size of the companies people work for.  Having this data, we can then compare it to other metrics to help draw a larger picture.

The majority of people in our survey, 61.5%, work for an organization of at least 250+ people.  This wasn’t surprising given that most quality-initiative programs are run in large companies.  It’s nice to see that quality is a concern even in smaller organizations however!

Results by industry

We had a very good mix of industry responses.  As expected, Manufacturing/Logistics scored the highest number of responses.  That was followed closely by Healthcare.

Manufacturing / Logistics / Transportation 
Healthcare or health related needs
Information Technology / Computers / Software 
Finance / Accounting / Money Management 
Government (Local, State, Federal)   
Retail / Direct Sales / Online Sales 








Active Quality Projects (All Industries)

63% of respondents stated that their organization has at least 1 project currently in progress.  Considering this represents all industries from our survey, that’s a great response!

We didn’t ask which type of quality improvement processes were being used.  We weren’t trying to gauge a specific process such as Six Sigma, 5S or Total Quality Management.  We were trying to determine how many organizations have some type of active project.

Has the organization you currently work for ever provided you with some form
of “Quality” or “Process Improvement” training  (All Industries)?

Even though this response includes all industries, it’s still a little concerning.  Only 48% of respondents have received some form of quality training from their employer.  Regardless of whether an organization has an active Six Sigma or Lean project, process improvement training should be a priority.

Many times an organization underestimates how much waste can be eliminated from within.  Having employees who are trained to streamline processes and operate a “lean” department can drastically cut costs.  This even includes frontline employees who don’t have direct control over processes and budgets.

Let’s take a look at some industry standouts:

Healthcare – Quality is critical, but where is the training?

One thing that was very obvious, quality in healthcare is important!  92% of respondents in the Healthcare field stated that “quality” was critical or very important to their profession.  On top of that, a full 100% of respondents reported that quality is critical or very important to their job function within the organization.  

This is great to hear, but we did find one area of concern.  Only 58% of Healthcare respondents reported that their organization had actually provided them with training in quality initiatives.  This was surprising when you consider how popular Lean Six Sigma is in the Healthcare industry.

Government – Quality is critical, but very little focus

The findings on those who work in the government were a little unfortunate.  While 100% of the government responses indicated that quality was critical, 50% reported that there was little to no focus on quality in their department.  25% did state that there was a lot of focus and that their department had more than 1 quality improvement project currently in progress.

​The government sector is an area of high growth for both Six Sigma and Lean.  We have seen a lot of adoption of waste reduction processes over the past few years, especially at the state level.

Education – Industry may need more focus

85% of respondents in the education industry reported there is minimal or some focus on quality, but more is needed.  This seemed a little surprising at first, but it may simply be due to the fact that initiatives like Six Sigma and TQM aren’t as prevalent in the education industry yet.

One piece of good news was that everyone indicated that quality was critical or very important for their specific job role.  Even if process improvement processes haven’t been formally implemented, the individuals working in education take quality seriously!

Information Technology – Industry adoption is growing

57% of respondents reported that they have at least 1 active quality improvement project within the organization.  Reports from several years ago indicated that the IT industry was well under 50% in adoption of “lean” principles.  This means the Information Technology industries may finally be embracing process improvement on a larger scale.

Six Sigma is a perfect fit for IT because of the industries heavy reliance on data.  Organizations with a high degree of data retention have an advantage when it comes to finding waste within its process flow.

Yes, there is a lot of focus on quality within the organization
There is some focus on quality, but more quality focus would help
There is minimal focus on quality, more focus could help
There is little to no focus on quality






Some focus on Quality, but more is needed

The best way to summarize the results of our survey would be to end with this chart.  It’s clear that many organizations, across many industries, are starting to focus on process improvement.  That’s great news but it looks like we have a long way to go until we have wide-scale adoption of lean.

The Management and Strategy Institute works with organizations throughout North America to certify their members in process improvement methodologies.  This survey helps us learn more about what organizations are doing to improve processes and increase profits.  We’re happy to share this information with the public.