When continuing the quality journey through to the end, as discussed in this Part 4 of “What is Quality?” series, it is important to remember every journey reaches its destination because of commitment. Commitment is required from everyone on the team, most significantly by senior management. History proves that when senior leadership is not committed and the going gets tough, the journey gets abandoned.
An effective way for senior management to show this commitment is to create an organization wide mission statement, and present that as the beacon and guiding principle for decision making at every level of the organization.
Prioritizing Quality Over Other Goals Keeps It On Track
In his work as a quality management thought-leader, Phillip Crosby, spoke of quality being the priority between equals of time and cost. What he recognized was that if a problem were encountered, a team would end up in three camps:
- those that would want to solve it in a least cost way
- those who would want to resolve it in favor of speed
- those who recognized that a solution was only valid if it still met the customer requirements
The inherent conflict between these three camps shows why it is of the highest importance that senior management makes the commitment that the quality journey is one the whole organization will participate in.
The Journey Requires Effort
Quality requires quantification in order to be achieved. In order to quantify we have to define. Effort is required to create the specification and more effort is required to design our processes so that that specification can be consistently met. Finally it takes effort to complete the testing and recording of results that provide proof of conformity and consistency.
In Quality Essentials Suite, we provide the tools and records to manage, track and demonstrate the effort. Leadership in turn demonstrates its commitment to the effort by making sure that the effort is more than lip service, they allocate the resources needed and they define the penalties for non participation.
Resources Fuel the Journey to Completion
Finally, resources are required. The investment by management demonstrates the degree of their commitment.
Resources come in the form of people and tools. Many organizations have a quality department and that is both beneficial and often necessary to support logistical tasks like training, document management and line of control for functions like communication.
Whether there is a dedicated quality department or not, it is still important to know that quality involves satisfying the requirements of the customer and this is the journey that is the responsibility of everyone in the organization.
The destination and the journey are both worthy of deep commitment by the entire team. We discuss the destination in Part 3 of this 5-part discussion of “What Is Quality?”