Creating a Culture of Quality


Question

I was introduced to Quality Management (& ISO 9001:2015) recently. The culture of the organization that I am concerned with has not embraced Quality Management, and it is often the subject of outright and unprofessional antagonism. I seek direction in order to arm myself with greater knowledge or qualifications as well as change attitudes toward Quality Management at all levels within the organization. I thought that ASQ would be a good resource. Since there are so many channels, a plethora of literature, and various certifications and conferences, I am a bit overwhelmed. I need to focus my efforts, and I hope to be able to do so with some direction from a professional who can relate to such growing pains. Thank you.

Answer 1

Thank you for your question.  I can certainly to relate to you and your plight – I was in a similar circumstance early in my career.   If you were introduced to ISO 9001 this year, I have to assume that your company is not yet registered.   Most manufacturing companies are required by their customers to have registration, but if you are not in that situation, you have to sell Quality Management on its own merit.  The bad news is, that if your senior management doesn’t want a Quality Management System, there is nothing you can do about that.  Now, that being said, you can begin by examining some of the “pain points” in your organization and showing how quality tools can help to solve them.  Management will never embrace quality until they see what is in it for them.   You can start with an analysis of the Cost of Poor Quality.  When your leadership sees the cost of nonconformance, they will be keen to bring those costs down.  COPQ typically includes the cost of external customer complaints, replacing products, late deliveries, and internal costs such as scrap, rework, re-makes etc.  If there has ever been a problem that traces back to not properly understanding a customer’s needs, that is a text-book example of how Quality Management can help.  Start with that.   Look at the costs of poor quality, and sell the idea of using quality tools to bring those costs down.  You will have no chance of selling your management on quality until they can see what’s in it for them.  Good Luck!

Denis J. Devos, P.Eng
A Fellow of the American Society for Quality
Devos Associates Inc.
(519) 476-8951
www.DevosAssociates.com

Answer 2

it sounds like this company needs a culture change. This change can happen only at the direction of the company’s leadership.
Here’s some suggestions:

  1. Each department head has to establish three (3) measurable goals on how his/her department is improving on the quality of their department’s output/work.  These are to be reported at each executive monthly meeting.  Department manager’s must be held accountable for lack of quality improvements.
  1. Every individual’s performance review must include “quality performance.”  This also needs to be measurable (less than last year, improved customer satisfaction from surveys, reduced ‘cost-of-quality’, reduced audit nonconformance observations, etc.)
  1. If the company has a bonus program, individuals/departments bonus is tied into quality performance.  ISO observation means 10% or more cut in bonus.
  1. Have top executives hold meetings on the need for quality and it’s everyone’s responsibility – not just the QA department.  If employees don’t like it they are welcomed to find employment elsewhere.

Jim

Jim Werner
Voting member to the U.S. TAG to ISO TC 176 Quality Management and Quality Assurance
Medical Device Quality Compliance (MDQC), LLC.
ASQ Senior Member
ASQ CQE, CQA, RABQSA Lead QMS Assessor

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