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When you ask people, what is the most important principal of a quality management system you will undoubtedly get a multitude of answers, some formed by facts, some not so much and some are just sitting on the fence claiming all are important.
Anyone who knows me will agree here, I'm not much for sitting on the fence! Maybe it's part of being Scottish, maybe it's the Engineering background, yes us scientific folks like our facts and outcomes but we also really really like processes. So when you ask me what is the most important principal of Quality management that answer, for me at least, is simple…The Process Approach, let me pitch my case.
The ISO 9000 standard does go into a fair amount of detail about exactly what the process approach is. It talks about what the benefits are, what the possible actions that you may take to run your business are using this tool.What it's really saying however is that things, anything, gets better the more you do it, you will come up with a great process for something in your business which makes perfect sense at that moment in time, but when you come to review it as your system requires you too, then you may look and say hmm, we have lived with this for a year or two but actually if we did X, y and Z it would be simpler and more effective.. BOOM! An interactive approach.This approach is the foundation of the ISO system, and with very good reason..
Strangely though businesses still seems to be a surprise to many management teams, they would much rather reach for the trusty fire extinguisher to put out yet another fire, hoping the customer doesn't notice too much and their satisfaction levels with the customer doesn't drop too much, hopefully they also remember to get a new fire extinguisher for the next set of flames.
There is also, of course the ever-popular scatter gun approach, this is where a problem happens and rather than dig into it and figure the root cause they will load up and hit 17 things at once in a pretty haphazard way, sometimes causing new fires to deal with!
The last one is what I call the ostrich approach where by the team look at it and quickly determines it's not in their silo so not their problem and stick their heads quickly in the sand.
The Process approach however, well Ok again I'm a little biased but it works!, need more? Ok so what if I said that this method gives you transparency, efficiency gains, consistent results clarity on the issues, improved ownership and bets of out.. your customers will love it, not forgetting of course your general business performance will increase… "wanna buy some?"
There are a huge number of processes in your business, even a small business such as (and when you think about your business you will see there are a horde more!)
design process, the measurement process, the internal auditing process, the delivery process, the training process, the distribution process, the customer communication process, the traceability process, the complaints process, the market research process
When step back and you look at the list you may be come daunted, don't… yes the process approach may seem a huge undertaking but you know deep down you need to do it so procrastination is not your friend.
There will no doubt be much discussion, debate and nashing of teeth. There will be back-and-forth with differing ideas and viewpoints which is a great thing as it builds belief in your system and breaks down the silos.You'll go to a lot of meetings so take the occasional pizza or cake.You'll talk to a lot of staff, more importantly you'll listen to a lot of staff and they will thank and respect you for it.Many hours of your day will be spent mapping out the many dozens of processes that your organisation is built on and you will become an expert in flowcharts, beautiful, simple and clear flowcharts that will be your new best friend on this adventure and be better for it,not for you the 7000 word process document, now, let's knock it out in a page, maybe 2 of a lovely flowchart. You will know your processes completely. How they work and when needed how to effectively short cut them without impacting your quality or customers.
Starting the process is hard, scary even but when you do start and quickly start identifying the things which just don't add any value or get in the way of success because of dumb red tape or a process that was set up for one customer some time that you no longer deal with the results are liberating.
Just think of all the Waste you will eliminate from your business..
If you need any support in understanding or starting with the process approach then click here to make an appointment and find out how we can help you Make Things, Better
You can also call John on 0211649739 to set up a meeting
Did you know that many Caps Consulting offers a Virtual Quality Management Service that will help you in your process management and any other Quality management area/ Check out the information below.
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