Implementing Quality Thinking in an organisation is easier than you think … mainly because you’re already doing it.
Any time you spend thinking how you can make your customers happy is Quality Thinking. The fact you don’t do this in a formal way yet does not detract from what you’re doing so far. So well done you!
Quality Management may be a term you’re unfamiliar with, so let’s break it down. If we were discussing Financial Management, we’d be talking about financial objectives, analysing how money was arriving and leaving, how it was being handled internally, and making sure that everything was working the way it should. The same logic applies to Quality Management. The other phrases you may be unfamiliar with is ‘management systems’.
A Management System is the way that an organisation manages the process of achievement of a goal. Your organisation will have many Management Systems in place, covering different areas. Your HR Management System, for example, includes all your HR policies and procedures, the systems you have in place for coordinating job descriptions against adverts, matching candidates to roles, providing training, etc. A small organisation may do most of this manually, whilst a large multinational will have extensive departments of people and computer systems, but they are both HR Management Systems. They are just implemented in different ways.
Quality Management follows the same principles, but we’re talking about quality objectives, analysing the quality of goods and services as they move through the organisation, and making sure that everything is working the way it should be. To do this, we need to identify what the customer wants, and how we’re going to deliver that to them. This second stage involves breaking down our processes to make sure they’re up to the job and are capable of delivering what we want. We do that by using either Quality Plans, or a larger Quality Management System (QMS) which we’ll discuss in more detail later.
Moving from Quality Thinking to a more formal Quality Management method is the next logical step and will hopefully help you and your customers reap some benefits from your efforts.