There is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, ‘ See, this is new? ’ It has been already in the ages before us.

— Ecclesiastes, Old Testament

Over the last three decades high profile consultants have marketed quality initiatives in the form of a host of three letter acronyms (TLAs), such as TQM, JIT, BPR, TPM, MRP2, ERP, etc. The consultants are careful to point out that TLAs are not ‘ quick fixes ’ . But by the very act of this warning they subtly imply that, if their firm is consulted, a quick fix can happen. There are some success stories but there are also many failures. Further one consulting firm often derides the previous initiative to promote their own ‘ solutions ’ in search of problems. Therefore it is not surprising that a CEO may draw little comfort from the writings of quality gurus in order to select an appropriate quality programme in the organisation. There little doubt that managers are confused by the variety of advice available. In order to make the tools and techniques effective the organisation needs a quality programme and the selection of the programme is underpinned by a broad understanding of both the distinctive and common features of each initiative.