Monday, October 15, 2012

Beyond the traditional quality function

I always enjoy posting in response to Paul Borawski's post on A View from the Q and this month is no exception.  The question of the month: 'How well understood and embraced are the contributions of the quality professional beyond what is traditionally thought of as the quality function?'

Let me begin my answer by telling a story:

I've been working in my current position for about 2 1/2 years.  As Senior Quality Assurance Manager my primary site (I have responsibility at 3 sites within our division) has the QC Supervisor as my direct report.  He is an older gentleman who joined this company about 20 years ago after selling his own business and semi-retiring.  His perspective on Quality is, in my opinion Old World.  His primary concern is the inspection for acceptance / rejection of product...this is a necessary evil in this business.  My primary concerns are (1) Customer Satisfaction (both internal and external) and (2) Continual Improvement.  He continually comments to me that I don't know what I'm doing, I'm always getting into things that are not Quality's concern, I am trying to undermine him.  For instance, I volunteered to be a member of the Safety committee.  He questions this asking, what does that have to do with Quality.  No matter how many times and different ways I explain to him that without a safe work environment we cannot produce a quality product he just disagrees with me and says I'm into things that I shouldn't be involved with.

Okay, enough he said / I said.  This is not the first time I've been down a road like this and I can deal with it.

With 4 generations in the workplace old style and new style approaches to all aspects of business, including Quality, will clash.

Expanding the involvement of the Quality function beyond our traditional silos is paramount to our overarching goals of Customer Satisfaction and Continual Improvement.