Work ethics and quality standards for products and services are being negatively affected as the business world moves faster and faster – as companies and their staff opt for the "easier route out".
This strong message is from Dr Richard Lewis, non-executive director at Wynleigh International, a technology-focused compliance and risk management specialist.
"As the pace of business increases we are seeing the breakdown of business principles and ethics – we are seeing deterioration in quality standards when it comes to products and services," he says.
"Part of the reason for this is that it is becoming harder to ensure that employees are adhering to business principles and quality standards – even if ISO standards have been put in place. In many cases it is just a case of companies ticking the right boxes and sticking a certificate on a wall somewhere – but at the end of the day they are not really following the standards on a day-to-day basis."
Dr Lewis says the tempo of change has been rapid.
"In 1970 there was more trade in one day then in the whole of 1960. More e-mails were sent in 1994 then the whole year of 1990. And there were more SMS messages sent in one day in 2001 then in the whole year of 1994. This is the pace of life now – and of business."
He says that, as the tempo of business increases, corners are being cut and, added to this, we are experiencing a cost cutting environment due to the current economic recession.
"Quality is definitely suffering. What companies need to do is to install quality business and process management systems that minimize the risk that comes with the reduced ability in today's environment to control staff," Dr Lewis says.
"These business processes, which can be customised to ensure compliance right down to the most basic but mportant functions, are what is needed to ensure quality. Human intervention and manual monitoring can no longer cope. An environment of risk management needs to be created and there are systems in the marketplace that offer companies this ability.
"At the end of the day, companies – in order to be considered as participants in the supply chain of successful, quality-driven organisations – will need to achieve an ISO accreditation pertaining to the business environment they operate in. But this is not going to be possible unless there is a complete buy-in – right from board level down to every last employee involved in the loop.
"Employees need to be taught that quality begins with them. If this mindset is not achieved, any system, no matter how good it is, will not work effectively. There has to be overall buy-in from all workers."