Tools

Tools

Monday, 14 September 2009 17:28

How do I get management to care about Quality?

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For top managers or small business owners without a background in quality management, “quality” can mean products that customers don’t reject. After all, Quality Control’s job is to make sure that only good products go out the door. But there’s a huge difference between QC (quality control of products) and a QMS (a quality management system that identifies, controls, and improves the processes that produce those products). So how do you get management to pay attention to quality? By showing them what it is costing to NOT have a well-functioning QMS. Present hard “cost of quality” data. Facts, figures, graphs – whatever they typically pay attention to. Then compare that to a vision of what could be.
Friday, 30 October 2009 17:03

Why do root cause analysis...

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I'm often told "We fix the cause of any complaints or returns - isn't that the same thing?" Unfortunately there is a dramatic difference between an immediate correction to a failed product or service and doing root cause analysis to help you make lasting corrective actions which will prevent recurrence. Whether the failure is related to a product or service, fixing the surface cause of the individual occurrence (e.g., rework the part, replace the document, or call and clarify the miscommunication) may relieve the pressure temporarily, but it doesn’t really find out why it happened. And the problem with quick fixes is they often turn out to be short-term, which leaves you open to repeat failures.
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 16:49

Making audits useful and not just a compliance tool

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Maintaining employee involvement in continuous improvement is all about corporate culture. If top management, managers, and supervisors are not routinely involved in addressing audit findings and driving improvement projects, it is all too easy for the QMS to have insufficient support to be more than compliance busy work. ISO 9001:2008 says in the section for internal audits (8.2.2) that “management responsible for the area being audited shall ensure that any necessary corrections and corrective actions are taken without undue delay to eliminate detected nonconformities and their causes”. This sentence emphasizes several potential weaknesses to the effectiveness of any audit program: Management attention to audit findings -- see earlier blog
Corrective action is when I fix a problem and the customer is happy, right? While this may be the way most folks view it, actually there’s a lot more to it. In 2005, ISO added an additional word into their vocabulary list to help clarify it: “Correction” as opposed to “Corrective action.” In 2008, they added this clarification into the ISO 9001 standard. So, what’s the difference? A Correction is when you fix the thing that went wrong (the nonconformity) This is the immediate action to keep customers or management happy: rework the product, replace the thing that’s not working right with one that does, or edit the document requiring accurate information. A Corrective Action, then, is described in 8.5.2 of the ISO 9001 standard as something done to “prevent recurrence.” This is the thing you do to ensure the nonconformity never happens again. It also requires some strategic thinking. Therefore, it is crucial to always identify causes of nonconformities before defining and implementing a Corrective Action.
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