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Insight

Award winning clients investing in a quality future

It’s always good to know that your clients are succeeding in quality and in business. Two QFactorial clients have recently received prestigious awards, demonstrating their commitment and achievement in different aspects of quality management.

During 2015-17 QFactorial was privileged to be part of a multi-skilled consultancy team tasked with helping a global organization to develop and implement a new quality strategy. The goals were to drive performance improvement and create revenue growth in their manufacturing and installation businesses. We are proud of our small contribution to that project and even prouder of their success in the 2018 CQI World Quality Awards.

Another of our clients has been steadily climbing up the rankings in the annual ‘Sunday Times Best Companies to Work for’ competition, culminating in first place in the 2019 awards. We have worked with them since 2016 to establish a business-friendly management system to meet four different ISO standards. Again, QFactorial can only claim a supporting role in their success, but we are nonetheless proud to be associated with them. They have succeeded in infusing quality management into every aspect of their catering management business.

On a smaller scale, the very first client we worked with on an ISO 9001:2015 transition has gone from strength to strength since our first engagement in 2016. They are no longer a start-up family business but an established service provider in asset management. They had the insight to establish formal structures and processes before growing the business. Not yet award-winning, but perhaps on the way?

Reflecting on these success stories, it strikes us that they all have one thing in common: doing quality for the right reasons. They have all used the tools of quality management, the concepts of management systems and the power of quality culture to strengthen their business. They have all recognised that quality is attained by investing time and money in people, processes, technology and infrastructure. They have all benefitted from playing the long game instead of seeking a quick fix.

QFactorial’s expertise is in the process arena where the first investment is usually to establish a single, simple, integrated business management system. This is because a meaningful BMS provides the foundation and framework for every other investment in quality: people, processes, technology and infrastructure.

Realizing that quality is an investment rather than a cost is the first step towards understanding the benefits that a quality management programme can bring to your organization. This was brought home to us in a quality policy workshop with a client in the construction industry.

As each member of the leadership team offered their view of a quality future, the word ‘investment’ emerged as a red thread linking all their perspectives. They now have a quality policy document that starts with the words “Quality is an investment...” and continues to expand on that theme, demonstrating to all their stakeholders that they are doing quality for the right reasons.

Too many organizations separate the quality of their product/service from the quality of their business operations. They go through the necessary hoops to obtain various approvals simply to satisfy tendering requirements. But they don’t step up onto these foundation stones and see, never mind seek, the better future that management systems can provide. These organizations lack the vision, ambition and imagination to invest in quality. But whose fault is that? It is a legacy of the era of management system standards. Many business leaders have grown up thinking that quality is all about bureaucracy. The style of bureaucracy may have changed over the decades, but the quantity, complexity and ubiquity has grown with each new fad. From the procedures and forms of the 1980’s, to the flow charts of the 1990’s, the detailed process mapping of the 2000’s and the move towards risk management in the current decade. All of these tools have their place, but none have ever been a panacea, and none were ever meant to be applied to everything!

Investing in quality does not mean drowning in procedures, forms, flow charts, process maps and risk registers. It does mean spending time, money and resource to establish a quality process, a quality mindset, a way of working at every level of the organization. This was the great discovery of the original quality gurus, Walter Shewhart and W Edwards Deming. They realised that quality was all about planning the work, doing the work, checking (or studying) the work, and then acting to improve it. Despite everything that has happened in the half century since PDCA/PDSA became popular, nothing has bettered its succinct and accurate description of quality management.

Most QFactorial clients have been unknowingly using the PDCA/PDSA model for years. Our approach is shamelessly based on it, although our solutions are always bespoke. At the highest level we encourage business leaders to manage their management systems using the PDCA/PDSA model.

 

Plan:

·         Goal Setting

·         System Description

·         Governance Programme

Do:

·         Communications

·         Resources

·         Change Management

Check/Study:

·         Metrics

·         Audits

·         Reviews

Act:

·         Correct

·         Prevent

·         Improve

 

Your system may be designed solely for managing product/service quality, but these days it is more likely that you have a specific set of goals, possibly including health and safety, environmental protection, energy efficiency, security, sustainability, legal compliance, performance improvement, business growth, ethical governance – you name it, your management system can be configured to help you deliver it. Successful companies, including award winners, integrate all such themes and elements into a single business management system.

At QFactorial we specialise in designing business management systems to suit the current reality and future aspirations of our clients. Like you, we believe quality is a long-term investment. That’s why we offer a flexible long-term partnership, from designing your system, through certification, maintenance, improvement, expansion – whatever is required to support the growth and success of your business.

Talk to us about the benefits of a quality management programme for your business.

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