Posts Tagged ‘objectives’

Are company objectives for quality really working as a tool for improvement?

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Part of our top ten series of reasons some companies are not getting the most from their quality system -

Reason #7 – Quality objectives are never changed

One of the key requirements in quality standards such as ISO 9001, ISO/TS 16949, AS9100 and others is that an organization must establish and measure objectives for quality. Even though this is just one of numerous requirements found in various ISO standards, this one key mandate may provide the most overall benefit to an organization.

Setting objectives for quality throughout the company and monitoring those objectives should provide a useful overview of how well processes are performing. At times, we see companies that establish simple goals and objectives that are too easily met and remain virtually unchanged, sometimes over a period of years. When this pattern of perceived “success” in meeting objectives is investigated, it is often exposed that there is a company culture that assumes it is better to portray a positive than display any type of negative trend to either customers or third party auditors.

This can be a major roadblock in making the quality system a true tool for continual improvement. It often fosters a feeling of apathy in many employees who view the quality system as simple window dressing for keeping the current customer base happy and impressing potential customers. Once this attitude becomes part of the overall organizational culture, it is tough to reverse – but not impossible.

A primary function of top management should be to examine if current objectives and goals are providing a true evaluation of overall performance. The key output of this review should be to establish new goals that may be more realistic in terms of driving process improvement. Just because an organization may not be meeting goals and objectives and an analysis of data may show a negative trend, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the company is a quality freight train wreck.

By linking continual improvement initiatives and programs to numbers that aren’t traveling in the desired direction shows that the organization is truly dedicated to continual improvement. Once the top management of an organization like that described above makes a strategic paradigm shift in reviewing and understanding quality objectives, good things will happen. It will not only make the company look stronger to customers and auditors, but to those employees who are hoping for real process improvement.

Congratulations! You are now in charge of creating an ISO 9001 system – now what?

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Quite often, the G3 staff is asked to recommend a plan of action for people who find themselves in the position of “being volunteered” to put together an ISO 9001 (or any other ISO 9001-based standard) system for their company. Unfortunately, for employees that have little to no experience with quality standards, this can be an overwhelming task. We recommend the following steps:

Step 1 – Before you can plan what to do, you and the management team need to know what is required. Start with an overview training session on the standard for yourself followed by a session for top management. Strongly emphasize that the standard is process based and highlight the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) model. All parties involved in the implementation must realize that the standard has a couple of key principles that are referenced all throughout the standard – customer satisfaction and continual improvement. The ultimate goal is to make all customers happy, but the method of getting to that goal is by the continual improvement of your processes. This is where top management needs to make a little paradigm shift – customer satisfaction means more than a reduction in phone calls from the customer yelling about something that wasn’t just right. It certainly means more than assuming a customer is happy if they continue to give orders for more products and services. Remember, customers can multi-task by giving your organization a new purchase order while giving a new supplier the thumbs up for the next order. By the time some realize the customer isn’t happy, it can be too late.

This is where continual improvement comes into play. By knowing what your customers think of the level of service and value they receive from your organization, your company can initiate the proper continual improvement objectives that can reduce or eliminate the problems and issues that can make their way to the customer.

This is why you need to get all of top management involved. Everyone must get a clear view of the big picture. Having a quality management system (QMS) based on the appropriate ISO standard should become the implementation of a quality philosophy and roadmap for doing things right. Stress that it is a quality management system by which the company will operate and oh, by the way, it just happens to comply with the ISO standard. After that, don’t mention the letters “ISO” – just QMS. Companies that implement systems based on the need to meet ISO requirements often find that employees put an emphasis on doing things just to meet the standard as opposed to improving the process.

Additional steps will be discussed in future posts. Visit g3iso.com for more info.

ISO Implementation – Get People Involved!!

Friday, February 13th, 2009

The proper implementation of any quality management system should invole all employees in some manner, regardless of the standard. Many times it is common to see procedures and work instructions developed by personnel who do not (or have never) been part of that function or process. This can be one of the biggest mistakes a company can make in implementing a quality system.

One of the key principles that ISO 9001 and many other standards were based on is the involvement of people. People at all levels are the essence of an organization and their full involvement enables their abilities to be used for the organization’s improvement.

The resulting output of employee involvent can provide numerous benefits, such as:

  • Motivated, committed and involved people within the organization.
  • Innovation and creativity in furthering the organization’s objectives.
  • People being accountable for their own performance.
  • People eager to participate in and contribute to continual improvement.

    Applying the principle of involvement of people typically leads to employees:

  • understanding the importance of their contribution and role in the organization.
  • identifying constraints to their performance.
  • accepting ownership of problems and their responsibility for solving them.
  • evaluating their performance against their personal goals and objectives.
  • actively seeking opportunities to enhance their competence, knowledge and experience.
  • freely sharing knowledge and experience.
  • openly discussing problems and issues.

    Let us know what you think – sign in and voice your opinion.

  • Visit our wesite at www.g3iso.com today!

    Getting real value from quality system implementation

    Thursday, February 12th, 2009

    A well-functioning quality management system can provide real value and cost savings in a number of ways. One of the most important requirements found in ISO 9001-based standards such as ISO/TS 16949, AS9100 or ISO 13485 is the requirement of section 5.4.1 – Quality Objectives. The section states “Top management shall ensure that quality objectives, including those needed to meet requirements for product, are established at relevant functions and levels within the organization. The quality objectives shall be measurable and consistent with the quality policy.” This can be a great opportunity for the management of an organization to determine what exactly should be measured and analyzed to drive continual improvement and profitability.

    One of the better measurements that every company can monitor is the cost of poor quality. Some standards such as ISO/TS 16949 make it a requirement. This measurement can be applied to any organization regardless of whether they provide some type of durable good or a type of service involving intellectual property. When a company examines the true dollars spent in scrap and/or rework, the resulting data can be an eye-opening epiphany.

    Check back soon to see more postings on quality objectives. Visit our full website at www.g3iso.com today!