Sustainable Positive Change
A step-by-step Guide to Process Improvement and Change Resistance Mitigation
Earlier this year, my team was brainstorming how we could best serve our clients. Our Client Services Manager had a great idea: “Why don’t we ask them what their biggest problems are?” We all agreed this was a novel approach and would help us develop tools to address clients most immediate needs. So, a few months ago, we sent an invitation to more than 50,0000 quality management professionals and business leaders from in Aerospace, Consumer Goods, Energy, Industrial Manufacturing, Medical Device Manufacturing, Oil & Gas, Pharmaceutics, Services, and other industries. Specifically, we wanted to understand the challenges they face implementing and maintaining an effective management system and provide guidance on how to address the most common issues. Given that the participants represented small, medium and large organizations, the results were surprisingly consistent.
After considering the survey questions, we considered the common problems of effective management system implementation. This two-part series is a how-to-guide for anyone looking to implement a process-based approach to organizational improvement. Some of this guide is derived from other’s research and applied as an original adaptation. I’ll include sources when referencing others so that you may perform their own research or expand on the ideas. All of what you’re about to read is real-world tested with success, implemented by myself and others. This can be adopted at any business or service provider. Heck, this can work at a fire station, grocery store, hotel or a factory where fighter jet parts are manufactured.
Here’s a quick overview of what this series discusses:
Out with the Old, in with The New
The New Way (or) Training: Keep it Short and Make it Often
Fast-track Process Improvement: The Agile Method
Non-conformance Process. Your Most Valuable Tool?
Setting New Expectations: Zero defect?
Wash, rinse, repeat!
Everyone should take a look at the survey results as you may be surprised to find yourself in a similar boat as most others. Experienced Quality Management and Continuous Improvement professionals may want to jump to page three as pages one and two are reviews of basic management principles.
The Survey Results
We wanted to keep the survey simple and focused. We asked only six questions. We’ll look at four of the questions and responses. The last two questions were to identify the organization size and revenue.
Survey Question One:
Which best represents your expectation of your Quality Management System?
Survey Question two:
What are the pain points in your business?
The data is clear. Document management, employee training, and non-conformances exhibit the most hurdles in any quality system. But they shouldn't. These processes are some of the most crucial to an effective management system.
Survey Question Three:
What are your challenges during customer audits?
The data point on the right is telling. This is a typical experience that most quality managers can relate to.
Survey Question Four:
Would you keep your QMS if your top customers did not require you to have one?
Survey question four is a validation of the first question. The inference seems to be that they rely on their quality management system for real, positive continuous change. We'll come back to the survey results in Part Two of this article. But next up: What is a minimum viable management system?