25 years of the TQU: ensuring quality in companies

Steinbeis anniversary in Ulm

25 years ago, Professor Jürgen Bläsing founded the Steinbeis Transfer Center for Quality in Companies (TQU) in Ulm. Since then, the TQU has itself spawned a number of other respected consulting and training companies within the Steinbeis Network. The TQU publishing house, also founded by Bläsing, was the first publishing house in the Steinbeis Network and has made a name for itself in its field.

The TQU was founded in 1986 with three aims: to promote a professional approach to quality management and the development of management systems, to attract young engineers to the field and help them to find exciting professional opportunities, and of course, to be profitable. Without a doubt, one of the deciding factors that spearheaded the birth of the “quality movement” in Germany, which continues to this day, was the introduction of the new international standards of the ISO 9000 family, and the wave of certification that followed. Another factor: the phenomenally successful “lean” organizational structures used by Japanese automobile manufacturers, news of which was greeted with astonishment in Europe. PCs also introduced revolutionary new ways to process data.

The TQU embraced all of these new possibilities. Quality management professionals came to the center to take their first tentative steps in learning how to use a PC. With the TQU’s support, companies brought their quality management into line with international standards and achieved their first certifications. The TQU studied quality management methods in Japan and the US, then offered them to the domestic German market. For a number of years, the TQU also hosted panel discussions for professionals in the field – such as the quality managers’ forum.

Selecting the right partners is a key success factor for every company – and this is also the case at the TQU. Right from the very start, the center has been part of the Steinbeis Network, made up of innovative companies, professors and dedicated experts. The principles of Steinbeis are also those of the TQU: decentralized organization, complete self-financing, and a service portfolio based on innovation and customer-orientation.

In the same way biological cells divide and multiply, the TQU has successfully reproduced its ideas by spawning new transfer centers itself. A few years after the TQU was founded, a group of staff became independent and founded their own Steinbeis companies. The TQU supports and encourages this process, and it continues today. After all, being able to compete fairly, honestly and successfully is key to Steinbeis principles. Of course, this means there has even been competition between the new centers that have spun off from the TQU – and there still is. Just like there is across the whole Steinbeis Network. This is good for customers, as it means they can select from a variety of outstanding providers. The TQU’s core principles, methods and approaches continue to be applied successfully at all the Steinbeis companies it has helped create – which also translates into financial success.

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