Quality management (QM) has often been advocated as being universally applicable to organizations. This is in contrast with the manufacturing strategy contingency approach of operations management (OM) which advocates internal and external consistency between manufacturing strategy choices. This article investigates, using the case-study method, whether customer focus practices - a distinctive subset of the whole set of QM practices - are contingent on a plant's manufacturing strategy context. The study strongly suggests that customer focus practices are contingent on a plant's manufacturing strategy and identifies mechanisms by which this takes place. The findings inform the implementation of QM programs.