Excuses for Not Improving Quality

S

skdiamond

#1
I?m trying to move my organization to higher quality. I think they get why it is important (shared some customer experiences) but some fraction of the employees respond with ?well this place is all about revenue? or ?our staff has been decreased?. They seem to take the view that the only way to improve quality is more staffing and/or more time. The thought of doing things differently doesn?t occur to them.

I?d like to address this at the next all hands. I plan on having some examples of ?wins?. Cases in which we changed our method and addressed a quality issue without more people. I wonder if there are other examples people could provide. Examples of quality improvement or general business improvement. I was thinking of things like FedEx built a whole business by rethinking how packages are handled or McDonalds serving billions of customers by driving efficiencies (not by staffing). Any great examples? Thanks for your input.

-Scott
 

Pancho

wikineer
Super Moderator
#2
One of the biggest "wins" my company achieved as we implemented ISO 9001 was getting up and running a functional CAPA process. In fact, it was a "meta-win", because this process makes improvement continuous rather than discrete. Each individual change is small, but permanent.

To this day, 5 years later, this CAPA process keeps generating a constant flow of small wins. Over 500 per year. These small wins polish every single process beyond anything imaginable when we started. Over time these add up to huge improvements in quality and every performance measure.
 

Stijloor

Staff member
Super Moderator
#3
I’m trying to move my organization to higher quality. I think they get why it is important (shared some customer experiences) but some fraction of the employees respond with “well this place is all about revenue” or “our staff has been decreased”. They seem to take the view that the only way to improve quality is more staffing and/or more time. The thought of doing things differently doesn’t occur to them.

I’d like to address this at the next all hands. I plan on having some examples of “wins”. Cases in which we changed our method and addressed a quality issue without more people. I wonder if there are other examples people could provide. Examples of quality improvement or general business improvement. I was thinking of things like FedEx built a whole business by rethinking how packages are handled or McDonalds serving billions of customers by driving efficiencies (not by staffing). Any great examples? Thanks for your input.

-Scott
Focus on three things and in this order:

How such quality improvement effort
  1. Benefits the Employees
  2. Benefits the Customers
  3. Benefits the Organization
If your Employees do not understand how this effort benefits them directly, you're not going to get many takers. :nope: Skepticism galore because they have heard all these good stories before. They also know what lip service is.

Other Members may chime in.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#5
I took an excellent class in change management in my masters program, which included Kotter's book Our Iceberg is Melting and its sister book The Heart of Change, which describes many stories about how real companies made change work. The examples were interesting and doable, such as the one that decided they were ordering too many different types of gloves so they brought a sample of each in a big tub and dumped it in the middle of the table at one of their meetings.

Bottom line is, we usually accept change out of necessity or because we feel we want to. If people were never agreeable to change, no one would desire a promotion or agree to moving to a new house. The fact is, we resist change when we thing it will make us sorry somehow. We don't always even know how or why we will be sorry, we just believe we will regret that new thing. Kotter does a good job of taking us through the process of getting past that.

I'm not affiliated with Kotter International - but I kind of wish I was. :D
 

harry

Super Moderator
#6
............ I think they get why it is important (shared some customer experiences) but some fraction of the employees respond with ?well this place is all about revenue? or ?our staff has been decreased?. They seem to take the view that the only way to improve quality is more staffing and/or more time. ...................


I read these as signs of the 'FEAR' of change. Jennifer had given you some good points as well as resources/materials for you to refer.

In general, change is very much easier to implement if top management has the 'will' - Pancho's example (post #2) is a very good one as he is the CEO and he lead the change. Poor business environment (and its loads of uncertainties and fear for losing ones job) such as the current situation in most countries also presents a right environment to implement change.
 
#7
Focus on three things and in this order:

How such quality improvement effort
  1. Benefits the Employees
  2. Benefits the Customers
  3. Benefits the Organization
If your Employees do not understand how this effort benefits them directly, you're not going to get many takers. :nope: Skepticism galore because they have heard all these good stories before. They also know what lip service is.

Other Members may chime in.
I already posted this before, but long ago I asked myself what I could gain from working with quality improvement, and came up with this:

  • Quality products will make the customers happy.
  • Happy customers will make the company profitable.
  • Profits will make the companys owners happy.
  • Happy owners will allow the company to live on.
  • A company that lives on will be able to keep paying my salary.
  • My salary makes me happy. It is what I am here for, after all.

...simple isn't it? What it boils down to is self preservation.

That is the gospel we need to convey.

/Claes
 

TPMB4

Quite Involved in Discussions
#8
We introduced changes in our production environment and basic practices. It was in order to win work. It was very simply sold to everyone by being honest. If we make these changes we become an approved supplier. As an approved supplier we win work. Do it good enough we will win enough to to grow as a company both in size and profitability. We don't then we won't have enough work to keep everyone employed. Harsh but true. We made the change and it worked well for us. The shopfloor saw that these changes made their jobs easier too and it is not unusual now for changes to be driven from the shopfloor now. Responsibility has shifted to operators to some degree.

I think that's called buy-in??
 
S

skdiamond

#9
Thanks for all who have provided responses. There has been some great input and I appreciate everyone providing their thoughts.

If I can provide a little more background, I think most employees get the connection Quality Product -> More Sales -> Better for me. But where the connection seems to break down is in their personal responsibility. The response, from some, seems to be ?quality is important and when will management realize this and provide the staffing we need to do a quality job?? I?m trying to shift those employees out of the mindset that more staffing is the only way to improve quality. That is the easy answer. The more difficult but better way is to look at how they can change their role/process, do their job smarter, etc. (But of course those on the list know that.)

I?ll probably pull some examples (and I just bought the Heart of Change book referenced above). Just thought I?d see if there were other examples out there of large companies that did amazing things by relooking at how they did things rather than increasing the staffing.

Thank you, Scott
 

kgott

Quite Involved in Discussions
#10
I already posted this before, but long ago I asked myself what I could gain from working with quality improvement, and came up with this:

  • Quality products will make the customers happy.
  • Happy customers will make the company profitable.
  • Profits will make the companys owners happy.
  • Happy owners will allow the company to live on.
  • A company that lives on will be able to keep paying my salary.
  • My salary makes me happy. It is what I am here for, after all.

...simple isn't it? What it boils down to is self preservation.

That is the gospel we need to convey.

/Claes
I work in safety and a good safety person is supposed to answer "people" when asked what is the most important asset a company has but I take the view that knowhow and management systems are the two most important assets any organisations can have.

At the end of every day everything the company knows, gets up and walks out the door leaving the company vunerable to failure. Pancho has seen this and learned the value of highy tuned and responsive management systems in enabling staff to kick more goals more easily and efficiently.

In a nushell, management systems that enable staff to be more effective, which focus on customer satisfaction; bring profitability and job satisfaction are goals to aspire to.
 

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