We've been working on improving quality for a long, long time. In the last century we even decided that quality should be treated as a science and created the profession of quality management. Since then we've developed tools like quality circles, total quality management, statistical process control, and Six Sigma, all designed to help us reach the nirvana of zero defects.

Despite all that, my dry cleaner brings me someone else's clothes, my substitute mailman brings me someone else's mail, my order for a new IBM T42 laptop computer was mistakenly filled with a used one, and my surgeon removed the wrong kidney. Just kidding about the kidney, but unfortunately hospitals make errors that serious every day. Why do so many businesses find it so difficult to provide good quality to their customers on every single transaction?