World Quality Month Begins In November

The 6th Annual World Quality Month is set to begin in just a few weeks. As in prior years, the mission of World Quality Month is to bring together the global quality community and help raise awareness of the vital importance of quality.

The 2015 World Quality Month website and will continue to be updated with new content, events, story submissions, and much more now through November.  This is your one-stop resource for trusted event planning information as well as new ideas for 2015 such as the World Quality Month Proclamation, ready to be filled in and signed by a local dignitary.  Versions in other languages are currently being developed.

Remember, in October you can submit ideas about the future of quality to ASQ on Facebook (contest hashtag is #quality2030). See the complete contest rules on the World Quality Month site. Prizes for the top three entries include a variety of World Quality Month coffee mugs, magnets, notebooks, luggage tags, and a World Quality Month jigsaw puzzle. Entries must be received by October 30. Everyone can vote for the contest finalists from November 9 to noon on November 20.

Also on the World Quality Month site, you can also request a free World Quality Month magnet through October 19 (extended to October 23 or as long as supplies last).  These are a great way to raise awareness of the event or events in your organization and start conversations.

Other things you can do in October, especially if you work in an organization: Hang World Quality Month posters in visible locations. Work with your marketing, communications, or public relations department to send the news release created in September about World Quality Month to the media.

Begin to promote your organization’s main event or events internally.  Create event-related posters to hang around the building. Be sure to include information in your internal newsletter and on the intranet. Send invitations for events (via email or internal newsletter or through internal mail, etc.).  See the World Quality Month Celebration Guide for details and more ideas.

There’s a lighter side to World Quality Month! Start sharing one of the fun facts from the quality trivia fact sheet each day with your colleagues or add a new fact each morning to your email signature.

As always, you can submit quality-themed events taking place now through November to the World Quality Month calendar.  We also invite you to see the World Quality Month guidelines and submit your quality success stories.

ASQ Global State of Quality 2 Survey

This is a guest post by Laurel Nelson-Rowe, ASQ managing director.

The Quality Community is one that — to a person, or across a global enterprise — delves into data, feasts on facts, trounces on trends, and puts lazer beam focus on benchmarks. All that and more occurred with the release of the ASQ Global State of Quality Research in 2013. The series of quantitative and qualitative reports, the panel discussions around the world, the media reports, download after download of the data, information graphics — it all seemed to add up to success and impact for the work, its sponsors and stakeholders.

Previous View from the Q’s by now-retired ASQ CEO Paul Borawski highlighted the importance and scope of the inaugural research; ASQ Influential Voices picked up some of its data points and themes as well. After all, where else can you compare quality organization structures, governance, training, industry standards, pay scales and incentives, measurement system models from 22 countries? Those topics were just a few highlighted in numbers, graphs and case studies.
Well, that was then. This is now. And ASQ and our Global State research partner, APQC, need your very active engagement to get the word out and get response rates up from companies and institutions around the world in the ASQ Global State of Quality 2 survey. The link is www.apqc.org/ASQ_GSQ_Survey_2. Additional information on the research can be found at globalstateofquality.org, where the qualitative and quantitative data will be available following data collection. The call-to-action is clear. It’s up to you to shape the Global State — and check back here for some early returns on the data in the weeks and months to come.

How to Implement ‘Understanding the Organization and its Context.’

This is a guest post by Allen Gluck, president of ERM31000 Training and Consulting in Spring Valley, NY, and an adjunct professor at Manhattanville School of Business in Purchase, NY. He has a master’s degree in leadership from Bellevue University in Nebraska. Gluck is an ASQ member and a member of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to ISO Technical Committee 176 (TAG 176), which develops ISO 9001, and TAG 262, which develops ISO 31000. He may be contacted via his website: www.erm31000.com or at allen.gluck@erm31000.com.

 

The ISO 9001:2015 revision is bringing big changes.  This post is designed to assist your organization with the implementation of one of the new requirements: Clause 4.1, “Understanding the Organization and its Context.”

The new requirement reads: “The organization shall determine external and internal issues that are relevant to its purpose and its strategic direction and that affect its ability to achieve the intended result(s) of its quality management system.”

In order to explain how to go about making this determination and clarify the purpose it serves, an introduction is in place.

Although it is not obvious to the casual reader, the new standard alludes to decision-making in three places. The first is a quality principle quoted from ISO 9000:2015, namely “evidence-based decision making.” It is not hard to understand that better decisions are made when they are based on evidence rather than by conjecture.

The second almost surreptitious reference to decision-making is found in Clause 0.1, “Addressing risks and opportunities associated with its context and objectives.” Addressing risks means proactively managing uncertainties. The simple meaning of “managing uncertainties” is that decisions should be made with consideration of the possible positive and negative consequences that the uncertain future may bring.

Finally, in Clause 5.1, entitled Leadership and Commitment, we find a requirement for top management: “Ensuring that the quality policy and quality objectives are established for the quality management system and are compatible with the context and strategic direction of the organization.” Top management’s most basic role is strategic decision-making for the organization.

In essence, all three references require that informed decisions are to be made based on some kind of evidence. Where is this evidence to be found? All the evidence you’ll ever need is available in the context of your organization, whether it be external or internal.

What is the context of an organization? Let’s begin with examples of your internal context. Your company’s vision, mission, strategic objectives and direction, your org chart, SOPs, resources, culture, contractual relationships – these and more, are factors you should consider when making all decisions and when addressing uncertainties about the future.

On the other hand, the legal, social, political, regulatory, financial, economic, key drivers, trends, natural and competitive environment, and perceptions of external stakeholders (or interested parties) are all part of your external context. Each of these factors should be considered in the course of business leadership, when managing risk or uncertainty, and when making decisions that may affect the quality or service you provide.

One of the concerns raised about this new requirement is related to auditing. How can an auditor accurately audit context? What set of requirements does he or she audit against? Furthermore, will an omission from this potentially endless list yield many new non-conformances?

Quality management systems are built on PDCA, also known as the Deming cycle. “Understanding the organization and its context” are part and parcel of this process of continual improvement. As such, it is never complete on the first go-around. Indeed, the new standard states, “The organization shall monitor and review information about these external and internal issues,” which clearly indicates the standard experts’ broad understanding that context is a moving target.

As such, evidence of an ongoing process to establish and understand an organization’s context is absolutely satisfactory to satisfy an audit to these requirements. Only an egregious omission could legitimately be viewed as a non-conformance by an auditor who has trained for proficiency to this standard.

In summary:

  • Quality decisions are no different than any other decisions; uncertainties may help or hinder your objectives.
  • Your best decisions are based on the best available evidence.
  • Most of this evidence which you require is readily available within:

–        your organization’s external and internal context

–        the context and content of your “interested parties”

  • This process is auditable

Thank you to the hard-working men and women of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to TC 176 for their years of volunteer effort resulting in the new ISO 9001 standard.

September Roundup – Does Mission Matter?

This guest post by Pat La Londe, ASQ Fellow and incoming ASQ board chair, asked the question how often is a company’s mission considered when choosing a retailer or business partner.  Following a global brand and reputation study, ASQ found that many respondents rated organizational mission as highly important in their consideration.
Throughout the month of September and into October, ASQ bloggers reflected on mission and the value placed on it.

Blogger Tim McMahon responded that vision, leadership and values are key, that companies must determine what its vision and direction will be, and management must decide what core elements are to be deployed.
Daniel Zrymiak did not consider that mission mattered since missions are aspirational. He wrote that he is more inclined to look at the track record and reputation as a predictor of future expectations.
Scott Rutherford also took issue with some aspects of Pat’s blog, adding that he had a different take of Mission, Vision and Values.  “Maybe it’s me but I was taught that an organization’s vision is what they strive to be and the mission is the how the organization executes the vision…Vision is aspirational, mission is clarity, and values are the bedrock from which to move.”

John Hunter writes that it doesn’t matter if it is just words on paper that has no impact on how business is done. And sadly that is more common than having a mission that actually matters because it actually guides how decisions are made and how the business delivers products and services.

Bob Mitchell writes that his experience in leading the ASQ Statistics Division, the Minnesota Section of ASQ and his 34 years professional work experience reinforces the importance of an understood, well-deployed, consistent mission to developing the organization’s strategic plan and then working the resulting business plans to achieve excellence.

Dr. Lotto Lai agreed that looking at vision, values and leadershipis a good place to begin and writes about the history of Hong Kong Science Park and how it has evolved over the last 14 years.

Luciana Paulise suggests that mission does matter and it should start working together with the purpose the new sharing economy.  She added that more and more companies are starting to focus not only on defining a mission, but also a purpose, which emphasize how the organization should view and conduct itself.

Author Aimee Siegler concluded that mission does matter and there is no way you’re going to be able to get where you’re trying to go if you don’t know why you’re going there.

Dr. Manu Vora concurred with Pat’s views and offered that the mission should be realistic and not a pie-in-the-sky statement.

Other Influential Voices Blog Responses:

Rajan Thiyagarajan responded to Arun Hanrahan’s post on Knowledge Management commenting on recent trends that are helping organizations transform knowledge management.

One Response to How Does Knowledge Management Complement Quality?

1. Jim Judge says:

September 16, 2015 at 10:22 am

Interesting that this is capturing an audience once again. In 2000 my Masters Thesis was on implementing a KM system in a QA environment. Actually bought the software and tried to make it work. Discovered that folks didn’t want to share their knowledge as that was considered the key to them keeping their jobs.

Hope that this generation will accept the concept now. There are so many advantages.