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Designing a Quality Culture

Take a second to reflect about your last 3 months; in most businesses there are always more ‘problems’ to solve than resources to deal with them effectively. Companies with complex manufacturing or supply chain processes are often most chronically affected, consuming resources of the operations and engineering team. Solutions degenerate to the point of ‘what will get us through today’ instead of how should we address this for tomorrow with a Quality culture.

Do any of these sound familiar:

  • Incomplete solutions – we fixed the issue but didn’t solve the problem
  • It happened again… just worse – The issue has recurred, except this time we have less resources and time to fix it
  • Small issues turn in to business-wide crises – Small issues that may have been de-prioritised, build up in to immediate catastrophic crises
  • Culture shift and performance drop – A culture that is indoctrinated around management making it a higher priority to push product out the door than to make the product of service the right way. Leads to a lack of empowerment for staff; often associated with high turnover rate or a loss of talent.

What can you do about it?

Make communication a foundational value internally and with external parties Leading from the front and empowering the team Measure the desired outcome and have the team hold the team to account Make time to review, plan and organise our Quality approach

We have found that the best way to change this has been to

There are extensive studies on Quality culture including an insights piece from Forbes and ASQ. Some snippets include:

“Strong leadership is essential to developing and sustaining a culture of quality. But here, only 60% say their management supports the quality vision and values unequivocally. The numbers increase to 81% among world-class businesses”

“Though 48% overall say that customer needs are the key driver of their quality programs, the figure rises to 71% for world-class companies”

“Eighty-one percent of world-class companies say that all KPIs can be tracked directly to an overall business vision compared with only 64% of the overall respondents.”

Sometimes we get overwhelmed

There are days when as a team we present in our daily stand ups and all the attention is on what happened in the past. It’s all about how we are going to fix the issues. I am sure this happens to most companies:

  • Customer A needs some attention on their site, as the rushed out workflow from last week is not working today
  • Customer B work is running late as there is a new set of tasks that weren’t planned out
  • We are still covering for the extra person needed to manage product documentation
  • Internal initiative to address the code sharing issues has been pushed back even though it would fix a lot of issues

Often these are Mondays mornings and set a tone for the rest of the week.

We make our choices

However we have made a conscious effort over the past quarter and set our strategy and mission to use our Quality Management System and tools internally to drive better outcomes for our customers and stakeholders in the long term, rather than fixing just the urgent issues. As part of the process we are empowering team members resulting in a new team motto; ‘do it right, now.’ However this needs to be supported by strong communication with our customers and keeping everyone on the same page.

The default is to take the time and solve the problem and prevent it from recurring. As we started with there are always more problems than resources; so sometimes we need to make an assessment of the issue and park it till there is a better time. We still document these issues and review them periodically to ensure we are understanding of the risks and opportunities.

We want to share our journey

At QikSolve we strive everyday to ensure a Quality culture, there are days that we struggle and days where we reap the benefits without even noticing. We want to share our journey and help others to improve and change the way they work. I know for me having a vision around Quality culture inspires us. It keeps us going when times are tough. Contact us if you would like to learn more about our eQMS and our consulting services.