Implementing a Quality Assurance Program

S

SirLancelot

#1
Hi,

I've recently graduated from college, and have my first job. Thanks to much of the advice here in the career forum, I recently just got promoted after 5 months to a quality position.

Unfortunately for me, this is the first time my company is implementing any type of quality program, and they want me to head up the new QA department. My educational background is in business, and I've had classes in Process reengineering, TQM, and SPC.

We are a financial services company, doing mortgage servicing and debt management for large banks.

The problem for me, is I have no idea where to start. I don't begin the new position until next month, but I need to start thinking of these things now. I'm a little nervous.

Perhaps if anyone could give me a small bit of advice, on even where to start, or at least some resources for developing a QA program for financial services, I would greatly appreciate it.

For now, I think I will start developing workflows of our major processes. Any advice at all as to what to do next would be beneficial. I am very grateful for these forums.

Thanks for reading!
 
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Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration with a Mask on...
Staff member
Admin
#2
What you really have to do is read and ask more specific questions. Most important - Read. There are lots of discussion threads here on implementing a quality system. Some are about manufacturing, some are about the service industry, some are about medical device systems/standards such as ISO 13485. The basics are the same.

Unfortunately, there isn't much here related to financial services companies so I doubt you'll get much feedback specific to your sector.

I agree that you should be listing and developing workflows of your major processes (aka "Process Mapping") in coordination with every process owner. The next step is to ensure you have identified all of your process interactions.

Are you planning to register to one or more standard(s)?
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#3
SirLancelot,

Congratulations. First understand that QA is confidence that requirements will be fulfilled. You would be well advised to join a certified lead auditor course so you have an in-depth understanding of ISO 9001 (your country's national standard for quality management systems) and should know the questions to ask to determine conformity and effectiveness of management systems that deliver QA.

Your course may also include the opportunity to learn how to develop process-based organizational management systems.

You may already understand that when working together to fulfill objectives and customer requirements, your colleagues deliver QA. You know that process are key but so is culture so make sure your process thinking includes leadership and monitoring to reinforce care and commitment for the requirements.

Therefore it is better to start with your leaders in understanding how your organization (the system) converts the needs of your customers into cash in the bank (or how you get work, do work and get paid). Having done this everyone will be able to see the sequence and interaction of the processes in your system. For each of these processes the leaders should be able to name the person who knows how this process functions (fulfills its objectives).

Then work with each of the process owners to capture their processes and their interactions in sufficient (but not too much) detail for effective planning, operation and control. Search the Cove for SIPOC. Deployment flowcharts are a good way of documenting your procedures if only as a blueprint for developing your computer system.

When cross-referencing the processes to show their interactions you will be glad to have designed or adopted your organization's document coding scheme.

Help the process owners to engage their process teams in their as-is reviews of the flowcharted procedures to determine any inaccuracies.

Tell your leaders that you will be running a workshop for them to learn about their management system, it's obligations and benefits so they can explain it to the employees. You will also be recruiting and training cross-functional teams of problem solvers and auditors.

Search the Cove and with Google for developing a process-based management system for more information.

Good luck,

John
 
J

JaneB

#4
The number one thing for me would be to understand what your company wants, so find out from your boss what the company wants and expects of its QA program. Because if what you are planning to do isn't aligned with management expectations, and you don't understand what the company does now and what issues it has, then these are big gaps.
From that, you should be able to develop a few measurable objectives, and get these agreed to, from which you develop a plan to achieve them. Eg, to reduce back-office processing errors by at least 15% over the next 6 months is a quite different objective from 'to improve turnaround time on mortgage approvals to a maximum of 2 days, with no increase in error rates'. You need to know what your company's objectives are.
There will be solid reasons why management have decided to take up QA - so job number One is: find out what objectives/goals/outcomes (whatever they call 'em) they want and ensure you agree how success and progress will be measured. Once you know what the actual goals are, you can start working on ways to achieve them. Without these, you're setting out to go somewhere, and presumably assuming or hoping your destination is the same as theirs. Get very clear on that first.
 
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