ONE GOOD IDEA
Craft a Meaningful Quality Policy
by Dennis R. Owens
One way to align a quality management
system policy with its objectives is to use the Ishikawa cause and effect (CE) method.
These five steps will help management effectively structure a meaningful and in-tegrated
quality policy (see Figure 1).
Step one: Apply a process approach using the CE method to create quality objectives:
- Manpower: Develop and maintain a highly skilled professional workforce knowledgeable of and capable of providing organizational leadership and establishing, maintaining and improving world-class business and quality processes. Minimize and maintain employee turnover to 25% below the industry and location standard.
- Materials: Establish, maintain and improve supplier relationships to reduce product costs by 5%, delivery schedules by 10% and work in progress by 40%, while improving product quality on subsequent purchase orders.
- Machine: Establish, maintain and improve machine availability and usage of 95% through the use of predictive/preventive maintenance and preventive action.
- Methods: Establish and maintain a quality management system that will allow management to perform PDCAs (plan, do, check, act) on the key administrative and product processes that provide tangible value to internal and external customers.
- Measurement: Establish, maintain and improve key administrative and product processes (at a Cp of 1.33) that constrain internal customers and are expected by external customers.
- Mother nature (environment): Establish, maintain and improve employee knowledge and compliance to environmental, health and safety requirements that jeopardize individual safety and the company’s future.
Try to make each objective quantifiable. There can be several goals for each objective depending on the organization.
Step two: Use the five-why ap-proach to test each objective’s alignment to the organization’s core values and management commitments. If all are aligned, move forward. If not, repeat step two. For example:
- Objective: Develop and maintain a highly skilled professional workforce knowledgeable of and capable of providing organizational leadership and establishing, maintaining and improving world-class business and quality processes.
- Why? To ensure business processes are developed, understood and used appropriately.
- Why? So management personnel can accurately understand business operations and apply the appropriate resources in a timely manner.
- Why? So management personnel can manage the business effectively.
- Why? To provide value to our customers and meet their explicit and implicit expectations.
- Why? To provide value to society by providing a stable economic benefit to our employees and local economy.
Use this process for each objective.
Step three: Use the final why statements to shape a comprehensive quality policy statement that encompasses the six objectives. For example:
To consistently provide customer value and satisfaction in product or service through world-class leadership, continual im-provement, employee develop- ment, recognition and social responsibility.
Step four: Choose the quality tools that will be used to evaluate and monitor each objective. Encourage leadership to use basic tools such as Pareto charts to perform trend analysis and monitor continual improvement.
Step five: Incorporate a feedback loop, as input, into the management review process.
Crafting a meaningful quality policy need not be complicated. Successful management and leadership originate from a clearly articulated and focused purpose.
DENNIS R. OWENS is a senior member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM. He is a member of ASQ and a certified systems provisional auditor and lean Six Sigma Black Belt.