Mitnyan, Paul (1990, ASQC) Gaz Metropolitan, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The emphasis on quality is more and more present in our industries and our services. The competitive strenght of a company, affecting its success and survival, is now more and more dependent on a management style that stresses the values of quality.
Quality systems have undergone a rapid evolution during the last few decades. How have industries reacted to this evolution? Are these principles applicable to the natural gas distribution industry? To answer this question, Gaz Metropolitain of Montreal has developed an approach towards quality in regard to its distribution network. This article describes our experience during the last six years.
Gaz Metropolitain is a company with an annual revenue of one billion dollars from natural gas sales reaching 5,000 million cubic meters. Its network comprises of approximately 5 000 kilometers of underground pipelines. At the beginning of the 1980's, the quality system was reevaluated at Gaz Metropolitain in order to define an approach that would be more representative of the company's needs in the distribution of natural gas. In fact, this distribution network represents 95% of the potential gas market in the province of Quebec.
The approach was developed in conjunction with external and internal intervenors and suppliers. The internal intervenors are the various services at Gaz Metropolitain directly involved in the network. The external intervenors are the manufacturers, suppliers and contractors. In order to insure a high level of quality, all intervenors must realize they represent an important link in the production chain. Therefore, the quality of the network is as strong as its weakest link. So, an appropriate communication system, well structured preventative programs and mechanisms to bring about corrective measures are essential.
To insure a global approach, internal intervenors must team up with external intervenors. For this reason, it is important for the manufacturers and contractors to apply quality assurance programs. The application of a quality assurance program is more widely-known at the manufacturers than at the contractors. The manufacturer often assures himself of this quality control while the contractors are invariably verified and inspected by a third party.Ideally, everyone should have in place their own self-control program since the one who executes, manufactures and builds is in the best position to proceed to the inspection. Is this also possible in the construction area? Judging from past experiences, we believe so as long as the program is properly structured.
Case study,Chemical and process industries