Do YOU "get it"?
During our time working with clients we have seen those that “get it” with quality and those that don’t “get it”! If you want to grow your business and gain access to higher value contracts than these are five things, you must avoid or address.
1. Management commitment limited to paying the bill
Too often in business today everyone is so busy, particularly during a growth spurt, that senior management just wants to delegate and pay the bill. In many cases this works well, however when implementing a quality culture into your organisation your employees are watching and they will take your lead.
A quality culture must extend across all areas from the most senior to the most junior employee and all in between. Quality is not about the nice certificate hanging on the boardroom or reception area wall and if that is why you have expended all the effort then sad to say it will not last. Employees will pay “lip service” to the system and the business will eventually see quality as an overhead and not as a growth and business improvement enabler.
Senior management must be genuinely committed to the quality culture through monitoring, control and improving the processes.
Organizations that implement an ISO system without this desire and commitment often take the cheapest road to get a certificate on the wall and ignore problem areas uncovered in the audits.
Managers at all levels must realise that first and foremost the quality system is a MANAGEMENT SYSTEM designed to help you develop and grow the business while involving the commitment of your employers.
Don’t be the manager who just pays the bills to get the quality system implemented – be integral to the process.
2. Getting it right before involving or empowering the employee
We all dislike change, that deviation from the normal daily events, that seems these days to be never ending. Our employees are exactly the same, they like stability and direction and like to be somewhat in control of their destination.
On many occasions we see clients keeping their employees in the dark while they create a system in the background in the hope that they can create the perfect management system and then direct their employees to input the data, or raise a non-conformance or even an opportunity for improvement.
But guess what!
Employees are so overwhelmed by the “new” system and will instantly put up barriers to using the system, to changing the way they do business in their daily jobs. Management will be frustrated that there is no “buy-in” by the employees and the employees will be frustrated that management have given them even more work to do.
So what is the answer?
Get the employees involved in the implementation of the quality system from day one. Help your employees understand the value in developing a quality culture, let them make mistakes during the implementation but most importantly, let them develop ownership in their system.
Businesses who involve their employees from the outset are rewarded with better quality data, better customer service and customer experiences, more suggestions on improving the business and greater profits and returns.
3. Failing to integrate quality into your daily operations
Quality management is not a system that you turn on and off depending on when an audit will occur. If that is what you believe is a quality management system, then you are basically wasting your money and time getting that certificate on the wall. We have seen many “quality certified companies”, downing tools across the entire organisation three weeks out from an audit.
Imagine the cost in terms of wages and lost productivity particularly in organisations with lots of employees and high wages.
In addition, many organisations that implement ISO try to make their system fit into a cookie-cutter quality manual instead of creating a manual that documents existing practices and only adds new processes to meet business requirements when necessary.
So how do you change from being reactive in quality management to being proactive?
The answer is simple!
Make the quality system integral with your daily operations, allow access to the system at all levels and maintain a schedule to manage audits, reviews and performance on a regular basis. Having an electronic system will automate many of the processes and allow access by anyone anytime and from anywhere. Remove the backlog of data entry requirements typically seen with manual based systems.
4. If it moves, document it – wrong!
There is a perception that if it moves than it should be documented. This concept is no more obvious than in large multi-national organisations where they have a department dedicated to their management of quality. Making a simple change to a document or process is shrouded in red tape and takes an eternity to have implemented. But is it all necessary, I think not!
Small and medium sized business despite their size can have very complex processes but if they are to remain agile in supporting their customers, they must keep their documentation and change process simple.
We encourage to look at their processes and decide whether they are critical to the output of quality product or service and if not then to question why it requires a documented process. If the task is complex or requires specialist knowledge, then go ahead and document the process BUT only to the level required to ensure a quality product or service is delivered.
Have a look around, does that process really need to be documented or is it a legacy of times past?
5. Leaving audits and reviews until the last minute
How quickly does Monday become Friday and the intentions of the week past get rescheduled for the following week? Those in business know full well that business generating activity takes precedence over all other activities, if we don’t produce then we go to the wall.
So is management of your quality system important or is it just an overhead that needs to be addressed to “keep the auditors off your back” and the certificate hanging proudly over the reception desk? Well I guess it all comes down to whether you want to improve the business or just keep putting out the “bush fires” as they occur.
Remember when you crammed for an exam at school, TAFE or University and left it until the night before the exam! So to it is with businesses when it comes to managing their quality system. Too often they leave the internal audits, management reviews or the management of non-conformances to the last minute.
Yes, I am sure the auditor will make allowances on the first occasion but is that why you paid out your hard earned cash and “wasted” all your employees time just to get certification?
If you commit to the implementation of a quality management system than do so to achieve two main goals:
6. Get on board and lead the pack
All is not lost!
If you are serious about improving your business, gaining higher value, longer term contracts, increasing customer satisfaction, reducing wastage and increasing bottom line profits than don’t fall for the “fateful five above”.
Get on board, stay committed and take your team on a journey that will benefit you, your business and your Quality Management Australia is focussed on the Small to Medium Enterprises who are interested in increasing their productivity, reducing costs and capital expenditure and looking to grow through the use of technology.
Contact us today