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HISTORY

17 YEARS OF APQO AND THE FUTURE

(Updated from an article published in the IAQ Quality
Anniversary Magazine, 1997)

Miflora M. Gatchalian, PhD.
Secretary General, Asia Pacific Quality Organization (APQO

 

INTRODUCTION

In the early 1950s, many European countries formed national quality organizations which later organized themselves into a confederation, now known as EOQ or the European Organization for Quality (Hurd, 1991). Twenty years later (1970s), the national quality organizations of South America ( Argentina, Brazil and Chile) together with Central America and Mexico founded the Latin American Organization for Quality (OLAC) using the EOQ model (Hurd, 1993). Then in 1981, during the first Asia Pacific Congress on Quality Control (APC- QC) hosted by the Philippine Society for Quality Control (PSQC) in Manila, Philippines, an Asia Pacific Quality Control Organization (APQCO) was conceived. This was pursued through the efforts of an Ad Hoc Committee formed as part of the APC-QC'81 Resolution (Ad Hoc Committee,1981). The first follow-through activity was the ratification of APQCO Constitution in Mexico in 1983 when the Instituto Mexicano de Control de Calidad (IMECCA) hosted the second APC-QC'83. Finally, in 1985 the APQCO Charter was signed by the 15 founding member countries in Beijing, China. This marked the birth of the Asia Pacific Quality Control Organization (APQCO) which implemented the First APQCO Conference'85.

APQCO is a confederation of national quality or standard organizations in the Asia Pacific, patterned after EOQ, where the member country organization Representatives form the Core Council that sets policies and directions for the organization. In the words of the late General Walter L. Hurd, "APQCO stands alongside EOQ and OLAC " (1993). Where there used to be a vacuum for quality association leadership in the Asia Pacific region, this had been filled-up by the APQCO. The future of APQCO (Modified to APQO in 1994) rests heavily on its leadership, the sustained efforts of its membership and the continuing moral support from powerful organizations in the Asia Pacific region like the ASQ and the CQCA ( now China Association for Quality or CAQ).

The 8th APQO Conference marks 17 years of triennial and biennial Conferences hosted by member countries in the Asia Pacific region of the world. The 8th APQO Conference is most significant since 17 years had passed before China once again had the opportunity to host the Conference. It may take a similarly long period before other Core Council member countries can once again host the Conference unless the annual hosting will truly take effect. Then a greater hosting frequency may be realized in the next decades of APQO life.

HISTORY OF APQO

The Asia Pacific Quality Organization (APQO) was conceived in 1981, nurtured in 1983 and finally born in 1985. Since then APQCO continued to grow in its efforts to be an effective confederation of Asia Pacific quality or standards organizations.

Conception of APQO. The first Asia Pacific Congress on Quality Control (APC-QC), organized by the Philippine Society for Quality Control (PSQC) was successfully conducted in Manila, Philippines on December 1-6, 1981 (Gatchalian, 1991). There were 15 countries represented. At least six international speakers from the Asia Pacific region participated. They were funded through the assistance of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Asian Productivity Organization (APO). This was made possible through the representations of then Ministry of Trade and Industry (now Department of Trade and Industry) and the Productivity and Development Center (PDC) of the Development Academy of the Philippines. Other government agencies which provided support included Philippine Airlines and the Philippine Convention Bureau.

PSQC's vision in organizing the Congress was mainly to draw national attention to the Philippine's urgent need to speed-up the promotion of quality awareness nationwide and to generate the stimulus for a continuing relationship among participating quality organizations in the Asia Pacific region. Success towards these ends were observed through tangible evidences becoming more concrete with the progress of time. Early in 1982, barely a few months after APC-QC'81, quality-related promotions activities, organized by the private and public sectors escalated in the Philippines. There was a noticeable increase in demands for more training and consultancy services in the areas of quality. PSQC, in fact, not only grew in terms of company and individual memberships but also significantly increased its capability to lead in quality crusades. This was highlighted by the entry of Ms. Zenaida Veloso as PSQC President.

Another concrete evidence of the APC-QC' 81 success was the creation of an Ad Hoc Committee, by consensus of the 15 participating countries (The Body), empowered to pursue the quest for an Asia Pacific Quality Control Organization (Proceedings, 1981). The Committee was to be led by Prof. Miflora M. Gatchalian and assisted by Ms Carmen Loot , then PSQC President and Treasurer, respectively and by Mr. S.W.R. Donnon, President of the Australian Organization for Quality, Mr. Alfred Bonney from Sri Lanka and Mr. M.K. Cheung from Hongkong Productivity Center (Proceedings, 1981). A critical decision made by The Body, at that time, was to accept the offer of Eng. Agapito Gonzalez y Hernandez, President of Intituto Mexicano de Control de Calidad (IMECCA), to host the second APC-QC in Mexico City on October, 1983.

Birth of APQCO. In 1983, at the second APC-QC in Mexico City , the APQCO constitution was seriously discussed and would have been approved if only the remaining 50% of the potential "Core Council" members were present. The Ad Hoc Committee was requested to stay-on and to mail to all those concerned copies of the constitution which was expected to be approved by referendum and for the APQO Charter to be later signed at the third APC-QC in Beijing, China in 1985. The Congress, hosted by China Quality Control Association under the leadership of its President, Dr. Yuanzhang Liu, was a resounding success. According to Dr. Liu, this was the first huge international affair after China opened its doors to the world. The historic signing of the APQCO constitution was done on October 23, 1985 at the Great Hall in Beijing, China. Unfortunately, the first APQCO President could not be elected at that time due to some problems related to international protocols. It was then unanimously agreed by the "Founding" Core Council members (representing 11 quality or standards organizations in the Asia Pacific region) to have, instead, two "Honorary Presidents" in the person of Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa for Asia and Dr. H. James Harrington for the Pacific. This was deemed urgent to provide assurance that a solid APQCO foundation is set, since both Dr. Ishikawa and Dr. Harrington, together with General Walter L. Hurd, are respected and well-known personalities in the quality world. They had continuously provided the moral support and encouragement throughout the most trying times of APQCO's organizational development. The "Founding" Core Council members unanimously approved in 1985, the appointment of Prof. Miflora M. Gatchalian as the first APQCO Secretary General. She was expected to work for the incorporation of APQCO and to take charge of the Secretariat which was to be domiciled in the Philippines (Proceedings, 1985). The occasion also marked the First APQCO Conference. Henceforth, triennial conferences would be hosted by Core Council member organizations in their respective countries after successfully winning the bid to host. Also, all individual members who signed-up and paid for their dues were considered "Founding" members and were assigned their "Founding member number" (FMN 001 - 0030).

Continuing Growth and Development of APQCO. Figure 1 presents the sequence of APQCO conferences showing respective host organization and President. Note, that as predicted by General Hurd (1991), the triennial conferences became biennial as agreed by the Core Council in its 1994 meeting in Kuala Lumpur. Also, in the same meeting, the word "Control" in Asia Pacific Quality Control Organization was deleted giving the acronym "APQO" now without a "C".

The constitution, defines APQO as an autonomous, non-political, non-profit, scientific and technical organization domiciled in an Asia Pacific region fixed by the Core Council. Asia Pacific includes countries in Asia and those located near the Pacific rim. Its major objective is to become an Asia Pacific scientific and technical association for which the membership are jointly working towards the achievement of continuous quality improvement of goods and services. This is expected to be attained through organization, promotion and development of appropriate means to meet with other associations, institutions, groups and individuals concerned with and/or engaged in work related to quality improvement. APQO was incorporated in the Philippines where its Secretariat is located. It is currently being managed by a Secretary General who assists APQO Officers, Core Council and individual members, from all over the world, in networking with each other and with other quality organizations (Gatchalian, 1994). The Secretariat runs mainly on funds generated from membership fees and contributions from sustaining members. The quarterly issues of the APQO MONITOR keeps members informed of each others' activities and of forthcoming world events. APQO has successfully led the promotion of biennial quality conferences in the Asia Pacific, whereby, member countries take turns in hosting the affair as shown in Figure 1. Further sharing of scientific and technical advances is done through the ASIA PACIFIC JOURNAL OF QUALITY MANAGEMENT (through the initiatives of Dr. Amrik Sohal, editor) published by MCB University Press Ltd. in England. Lately, this was incorporated in The TQM MAGAZINE under MCB. Some members of its Editorial Advisory Board are APQO members.

Figure 2 presents the Core Council member country organizations and the list of countries with APQO individual members . Expansion of membership had been quite slow. There were 11 "Founding" Organizations in the Core Council in 1981. To date, only two had been added to the Regular Core Council membership and two to the Associate Members list. Among individual members, there are 30 classified as "Founding" (member number or FMN 001 to 0030) and 74 individual members (MN 0031 to 00104). To date, more than 40 have either died, retired, resigned or have lost contact (returned addresses).

An APQO project in 1996 organized the Walt L. Hurd Foundation to honor the memory of one of APQO's pillars and to annually recognize the world's quality leaders. The late General Hurd (died in April 1995) was an ASQ President and Chairman of its Board, a member of the prestigious International Academy for Quality (IAQ) and a much awarded quality executive/professional. Other awards developed by the Walt Hurd Foundation was the Harrington-Ishikawa Medal which was meant to honor the two individuals who accepted the post of APQO Honorary President to represent Asia (Dr. Kauro Ishikawa, died 1992) and the Pacific (Dr. James Harrington, Official Adviser of APQO). The Foundation lately organized the "International Asia Pacific Quality Award" to identify the best among the best Companies. For this award, only National Quality Award winners are qualified to vie for the IAPQA trophy. The first set of awardees received their honors at the 7th APQO Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona in year 2000.

  • 1981. First Asia Pacific Quality Congress (APQC '81) - Manila, Philippines; Philippine Society for Quality Control (PSQC) ; Dr. Miflora M. Gatchalian, President
  • 1983.Second Asia Pacific Quality Congress (APQC'83) - Mexico City, Mexico; Instituto Mexicano de Control de Calidad (IMECCA); Eng. Agapito H. Gonzalez , (died 1998) President.
  • 1985.First Asia Pacific Quality Control Organization Conference (APQCO '85) - Beijing,China; China Quality Control Association; Dr. Yuanzhang Liu, CQCA President.
  • 1986.Second APQCO Conference'88 - Seoul, Korea; Korean Standards Association; Dr. Jong Wan Choi, KSA Chairman and First APQCO President
  • 1991.Third APQCO Conference '91-Auckland, New Zealand; New Zealand Organization for Quality; Mr. Mark Dykes, NZOQ President, Second and Third APQCO President
  • 1994.Fourth APQCO Conference '94 - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Institute of Quality Control, Malaysia; Mr. Aziz Mat, IQCM President. (Note: The Core Council agreed to make conferences biennial instead of triennial at the 1994 meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
  • 1996.Fifth APQO Conference'96 - Manila, Philippines; Philippine Society for Quality Control; Mr. Roberto Katigbak, PSQC President. (Note: The "C" from APQCO was deleted as per Core Council agreement in their 1994 meeting at KL, Malaysia)Eng. Jose Gonzalez Prado, APQO fourth and fifth President .
  • 1998.Sixth APQO Conference '98 - Seoul, Korea; Korean Standards Association (KSA); current (1996) Chairman, Young Bae Kim & Gen. Manager Hyun Woo Shin
  • 2000.Seventh APQO Conference 2000 - Service Division of the American Society For Quality Control (ASQC) in Scottsdale, Arizona; headed by Dale Morgan and Michael Harris supported by current President (2000) Gregory Watson and ASQC Liaison to APQO, Charles Aubrey and APQO Sixth President. 2002 Eighth APQO Conference 2002 - China Association for Quality, Mr. Chen Bangzhu, President and supported by Ms. Ma Lin, Chairman of Steering Committee and assisted by Mr. Yu Keyang.

Fig. 1. Sequence of Asia Pacific Quality Congress/Conference with respective host organization and President/Chairman.


APQO REGULAR CORE COUNCIL MEMBERS (* not a founding member)

  • American Society For Quality ( ASQ- Sustaining Member)
  • Australian Organization For Quality-NSW (AOQ-NSW)
  • China Association for Quality ( CAQ -Sustaining Member)
  • Korean Standards Association (KSA )
  • Indian Statistical Institute (ISI)
  • Institute of Quality Control , Malaysia ( IQCM)
  • Instituto Mexicano de Control de Calidad (IMECCA)
  • New Zealand Organization for Quality (NZOQ)
  • Philippine Society for Quality (PSQC)
  • Singapore Quality Institute (SQI formerly SQRA)
  • Sri Lanka Association for Quality ( SLAQ)
  • Vietnam Directorate for Standards and Quality (VDSQ)*

APQO ASSOCIATE CORE COUNCIL MEMBERS

  • Shanghai Quality Control Association
  • Indian Association for Productivity, Quality and Reliability APQO INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS (founding members have Membership Numbers or FMN 001 to 030) as of 2002:
Country
Number of Members
A. Active Members Canada, Egypt, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, South Africa , Switzerland, Chile, Argentina
1 member each country
England, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, Vietnam
2 members each
Malaysia, New Zealand, China
4 members each
Philippines
24
USA
40
Original Total
104
B. Deceased
11
C. Retired/resigned
13
D. Inactive/returned address
20
Sub-total
44
Total Active
60

Fig. 2. APQO membership, country of origin and status.

The first awardees for the Walt L. Hurd Executive Medal (Excellence in Management) and the Harrington/Ishikawa Medal (Excellence in quality-related researches, publications and/or academic pursuits) were proclaimed at the Fifth APQO Conference in Manila, Philippines on October 21-23, 1996. Both Mrs. Ann Hurd and Mrs. Keiko Ishikawa did the honors of awarding the respective medals. Every Conference year thereafter, awardees were presented to the delegations during the plenary session, where each gave a 10-15 minute acceptance speech.

THE FUTURE OF APQO

In the very near future, APQO membership can look forward to a successful Eighth APQO Conference in Beijing, China on September 16-18, 2002. An in-depth review of the organizational goals in the Beijing 13th Annual Core Council meeting might stimulate a deeper concern for APQO's future especially at a time when the world already started to organize itself into economic blocks. The future is for those who can internalize "quality" and, therefore, APQO should recognize that people need to empower themselves with better and more scientific understanding of quality practices. More intensive interchanges of ideas on a wider geographic scale would, thus, be most desired. For this reason, APQO should serve as the channel for enhancing scientific and technical interchanges most urgently needed by many countries in the Asia Pacific region (Gatchalian, 1994).

By 2003, the seventh APQO Conference will be held in Sri Lanka. Dr. Srilal De Silva, President of SLAQ should already be coordinating with the Secretariat to assure its success. Perhaps greater consolidation of efforts and conscientious strengthening of member-country networks should be given emphasis by the APQO President. This will lighten Dr. De Silva's load in the promotion of APQO' 2003. This also marks the start of the APQO Annual Conferences ( change from the biennial which started in 1994).

For years 2004, 2005, 2006 APQO will have its Annual Conferences, respectively in Vietnam, Mexico and Australia . This will be the first hosting for all these countries. It is hoped that the Core Council members will extend a unified hand in helping each of these hosts to organize a most successful Conference. What new approaches can be initiated?

By year 2010, APQO will celebrate its silver (25th) anniversary, which could highlight the presentation of all living recipients of the Walt L. Hurd Foundation Medals (and possibly other awards).With the much improved information technology, interchanges of communications will be facilitated, the more advanced nations will be sharing their quality technology with the less fortunate. APQO shall have at least 20 Regular Core Council Members, 10 Associate, 30 Corporate, 250 individual members and 20 Life Members. APQO shall be an active confederation, meeting the needs of its members.

These predictions can only happen if there is sustained commitment and dedication to the cause for which the APQO was founded. The fate of an organization rests heavily on the quality of its leaders and members. APQO, being a confederation, urgently needs a leadership with the capability to activate member countries. APQO Core Council and individual members should take the challenge to develop capable and committed leaders for a better APQO and a brighter tomorrow for the Asia Pacific region.

REFERENCES CITED

Ad Hoc Committee. 1981. Minutes of the meetings of the First APC-QC Ad Hoc Committee. APQO Secretariat, P.O. Box 116 U.P. Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines.

China Conference. 1985. Minutes of meetings during APQCO organization in Beijing, China. APQO Secretariat, P.O. Box 116, U.P. Diliman, Q.C. Philippines. Gatchalian, Miflora M. 1991. APQCO - A Challenge to Quality and Standards Organizations in the Asia Pacific. Plenary Speech at the Annual Conference of the Institute of Quality Control, Malaysia (IQCM). APQO Secretariat, Philippines.

Miflora M. 1994. APQCO - A Channel for Networking of Quality Information and Experts. Proceedings, Fourth APQCO Conference. IQCM, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Miflora M. 1997. The History and Future of APQO. The Quality Anniversary Magazine, 50 Years of Quality.The International Academy for Quality. Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Qualitat e.v. P.O. Box 507063, D-6000 Frankfurt am Main 50, Germany.

Hurd , Walt L. Jr. 1991. Quality in the Asia Pacific Region. Earnst and Young, 55 Almaden Blvd. San Jose CA 95115 , USA. 7pp. ( also at APQO Secretariat)

Hurd, Walt L. Jr. 1993. The Asia Pacific Regional Quality Organization . Proceedings of ASQC's 47th Annual Quality Congress. 611 East Wisconsin Avenue. Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202 USA. (Also available at APQO Secretariat). 9pp.

Proceedings. 1981, 1985, 1988, 1991, 1994, 2000, 2001 of APQCO Core Council meetings held in various countries available at APQO Secretariat, # 11 Barrion St. BF Homes Quezon City, Philippines.