What lies below the waterline – Part 2?
Ok so in Part 1 we looked at the perceptions many business owners have when it gets down to implementing a Quality management system, or in fact any management system. We also started to look at the hidden realities and particularly those associated with management commitment and empowerment of the people.
So, what now?
Your staff will play a vital role in your success or failure when it comes to Quality. As a manager it is imperative that you lead by example, show your commitment and provide the resources and support to assist your staff as they transition the inevitable culture changes.
When committing internal staff to implementing a quality system, a number of factors need to be taken into consideration including the level of knowledge regarding quality management, the disruption to productive work, the cost of wages and the ability to develop policies and procedures. Even simple things like who has the skill to write procedures using Microsoft Word can be "show stoppers" when trying to implement a system.
How do you go about implementing YOUR system?
You have a few choices here including outsourcing the activity or doing it totally within your company. Don’t be surprised when you realise that the internal costs may be as high, or even higher, than hiring a consultant!
While outsourcing the activity is seen as a better way to go, organisations need to be mindful that generally consultants don’t know your business as well as you and consequently will be utilising the resources and experience of your staff. If you thought outsourcing the implementation of a Quality system will free your organisation of the burden, think again. You and your staff have to embrace the Quality culture and that will only come from being actively involved in all steps of the process.
Does it matter how long the implementation takes? Remember here that extended time means reduced enthusiasm and motivation to push forward.
Many organisations have a very optimistic view on the time-frame required to build a compliant Quality Management system, however as days turn to weeks and weeks to months, with very little obvious progress, enthusiasm tends to wane. It is imperative that someone takes ultimate responsibility for developing an implementation schedule and manages that schedule with an "iron fist".
What do you and your staff know about Quality?
The biggest problem most organisations face when they embark on the Quality journey is understanding the intent of the International Standards Organisation (ISO) standards and knowing exactly where to begin; itself a daunting task! I can here you say “ah it can’t be that hard to read the standard and then build a compliant system, can it?”
Once the Quality System has been developed, the organisation needs to audited both internally and externally by a 3rd party auditor eg SAI-Global. This audit is a two phase process; phase one to determine suitability for accreditation and phase two being the actual accreditation audit. Management and staff need to be "Quality cultured" if the organisation is to be successful and this culture takes time to be instilled into a business.