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As Digital transformation remakes manufacturing, so too does it recreate quality management. Despite this exciting change, Aberdeen’s Quality Management benchmark study findings reveal that Best-in-Class organizations still strongly embrace quality management fundamentals (culture, attitudes).

The Best-in-Class Edge Begins with Quality Culture…

The quality management edge starts with company culture. Cultural transformation is imperative for successful digital transformation, and Best-in-Class manufacturers are 83% more likely than All Others to place company culture at the center of their quality efforts, and 90% of these organizations implement a unified quality management strategy.

Since poor quality has a far-reaching impact on the business if a Best-in-Class companies seek to ingrain quality into their business DNA, making it an integral part of production. To be successful, manufacturers must stress first time quality — real-time visibility across processes, workflows and the supply chain — and compliance throughout the process.

…And Continues With Attitudes

The Best-in-Class quality management edge continues with their superior attitudes. They are:

  • 64% more likely than All Others to view quality as a strategic planning activity to manage product lifecycle, supply chain, and operations from the Cloud’s faster implementation speed.
  • 53% more likely than All Others to view quality as the result of continuous improvement philosophies such as Lean / Six Sigma.
  • 47% more likely than All Others to view quality as a competitive advantage.
  • 31% more likely than All Others to focus on product quality (increasing / maintaining standards, meeting customer requirements, and reducing product cost).

The Organizational Context for Quality

Organizational capabilities count too. The Best-in-Class begin by establishing strong executive sponsorship for their quality management goals, they are 35% more likely than All Others to command the continued commitment and attention of senior management to their quality strategy.

To increase agility, they are 2.1x more likely than All Others to balance their decision-making between centralized (alignment) and decentralized (empowerment and accountability) for quality across distributed operations.

Best-in-Class manufacturers set up cross-functional continuous-improvement teams for collaboration, automation, and interoperability.

Forward-thinking manufacturers also establish centers for excellence (40%) to share best practices for quality across the enterprise, from standards to budgeting for quality.


Digital transformation is planned, underway, or even a reality for many Best-in-Class manufacturers; 46% plan to achieve digital transformation (Industrial IoT, Industry 4.0, Smart Manufacturing), up from only 26% two years earlier. However, as seen in this study, a quality culture and the right attitudes must precede digital transformation.

As the speed of business continues to increase, companies are being forced to accelerate their processes and pressure is on for them to maintain and improve quality to remain competitive. Top-performing companies demonstrably understand the importance of a quality culture and attitudes supporting this journey.