product quality. QMP can serve as a valuable model for addressing water-quality issues. One of the most important features of QMP is the continual improvement cycle, which is intended to accomplish continuous improvements in management systems. The cycle has four phases: planning, doing, checking, and acting. Each phase of this cycle, from designing and implementing projects to checking for improvements, can play an essential role in finding solutions to water-quality issues.
Eastman Chemical, the 1993 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award winner, has applied QMP to every aspect of its business, including its water-quality management systems. Figure 1 is a schematic representation of QMP. Eastman organizations that are responsible for water-quality near Eastman facilities have carefully considered the customers for their work. These customers include plant management, the public, employees, the board of directors, stockholders, and state and federal regulatory authorities. Communications between customers and Eastman water-quality organizations are encouraged and help provide the organizations with direction. Conflicting demands often make finding resolutions difficult but do serve to focus attention on important issues.
Based on an understanding of their mission and the demands of their customers, the Eastman water-quality organizations enter the continual improvement cycle and plan improvement projects. These projects range from spill prevention