Professor Cheng Hong is the director of Wuhan University Institute of Quality Development Strategy (IQDS) and the chief expert of major research projects supported by National Social Science Foundation. He was honored the “National Quality Control Advanced Individual” during 2009 to 2010. Prof. Cheng Hong has contributed his due share to the founding of IQDS, which is a result of cooperation between National Quality Supervision and Inspection Bureau and Wuhan University and also the first institution of quality teaching and research to be located in a prestigious university in China. Naturally, Prof. Cheng was appointed to be the first director of IQDS.
Over the past few years, Prof. Cheng devoted himself to the teaching and research of macro-quality management in China. He has always been a pioneer in the quality control field who has made a great contribution to the construction and development of quality development nationwide through innovative researches and consistent efforts. During the in-depth dialogue with the interviewer, Prof. Cheng mentioned about his special life experiences and academic career related to quality and gave some advice and suggestions to young generations.
From “Economy” to “Quality”: A More Practical Move
Prof. Cheng, a Doctor of Economics, changed his research focus from economics to quality. When asked about the reason for the move, he said, quality is an economic phenomenon in itself. The research on quality is a further and deeper research branch which is actually in the scope of economic field. More importantly, due to the rapid development of economy and improvement of people’s living standards, quality study has gathered strong momentum. In recent years, the heated debated social issues of quality aroused great attention from the public while some social or economic problems also kept cropping up. For this reason, Prof. Cheng believes the research on this field is of great practical significance.
Besides, Prof. Cheng also mentioned how quality is important to us all. As a consumer, we share the same social identity and conduct inevitable consumption behaviors with others if we manage to survive in this world. The only purpose of our consumption is to obtain the utility right of certain kinds of services or products. The utility lies much in its quality. So we can safely draw the conclusion that his move from economics to quality research is practical in nature because there are different approaches to the research on quality but equally satisfactory results only combined with the economic research.
Quality, which is a simple word but an unfamiliar discipline to us. Prof. Cheng explained that the quality we refer to in our daily life means the certain attributions of the products or services such as the accountability and safety. But it is not enough. As a consumer, the standard for quality varies from person to person based on our own perceptions. However, in the research on Quality Management, quality is the satisfaction of a set of certain attributions which is the combination of object’s attribution and subject’s assessment. So the research on quality includes a certain attributions of commodity and the subjective assessment of people.
Difficulties and Gains: The Establishment of IQDS
Any reform cannot be accomplished overnight without obstacles and strenuous efforts. Prof. Cheng told us that the biggest problem facing the founding of the institute is a large scale of empirical investigations. In recent years, inspired by the spirit “Try Your Full Strength and Struggle Unremittingly” and under the lead of Prof. Cheng, IQDS insisted on the investigations into some departments and organizations like quality management departments, manufactural enterprises, etc., carried out quality observation surveys based on the requirement of consumers and developed the “Deep Web” to collect and predict the quality information on the internet. Step by step, the team overcame all these difficulties eventually and found out the real quality problems and effective solutions to tackle them.
“No pain no gain.” said Prof. Cheng. During the past 8 years since the founding of IQDS, he has gained a lot. The institution has been working on the national quality career development for years. Not only has it promoted the structural reform of national detection mechanism and institutional mechanism reform effectively, the IQDS has also worked on Guangdong Provincial Elevator Security Supervision System. Being an intellectual support to the national quality career and local economic development, the whole scientific research group has improved their ability along the road. Unique research techniques and research paradigm have also been discovered by the IQDS.
What’s more, Prof. Cheng also talked about his plans and ideas on the IQDS. In recent years, IQDS has established cooperation links with Duke University, Universite Sciences Sociales Toulous, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Tsinghua University in the fields of talent cultivation, project research as well as academic writing. In the future, IQDS will continue to work as a “think tank” to nurture more quality professionals for the country. Prof. Cheng promised they will adhere to the principle of “Work Like A Peasant-worker, Think Like A Scientist”, and strive to establish IQDS into a world-class scientific research institution.
From “the Times of Speed” to “the Times of Quality”
As a frontier researcher in the field of Quality Control in China, Prof. Cheng raised his own thoughts about how we can step forward “the Times of Quality”:
As he said, the first thing we should do to change from “the times of speed” to “the times of quality” is to convert governmental functions. Chinese government should cancel those unnecessary prior approvals so as to make “quality” the most important competitive factor and the endogenous power of the companies. In the second place, we should change the government-led standards to the standards set by the organizations. Enterprises are supposed to develop the intrinsic motivation measured by quality and promote the differentiation of products. Moreover, it’s of great significance to alter economic evaluation mode and introduce the assessment system decided by residential living quality and the third-party organization. The most important, Prof. Cheng stressed, is to evade from the trap of low-price competition and to produce more products labeled with “made in China”. It is imperative for us to explore international market so as to enhance our international competitiveness.
At the end of the interview, Prof. Cheng gave some suggestions to those who want to study at the IQDS. He hoped those students would love and be willing to devote themselves to the researches of macroscopic quality control. It would be better if they both have good learning ability as well as an open mind to accept something new. Diligence can also be a significant quality for the students who are encouraged to make efforts to fight for their goals.
（Edited by Mengtian Wang & Sijia Hu）