Quality as a part of Upper / Senior Management



Is there any quality professionals out there that are of the senior / upper management level?

Do you feel that it is important?


The reason I'm asking is, with the new standard "Management Committment" is a biggie.(As we all know) but can a Management Represenative and/or Quality professional be sitting on the senior management level actually help the company move forward strategically in change/improvement and developments then if they were at, say a middle management level?

Look forward to your comments on this!!!!
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I work for an organization of about 85 people. Our management structure is fairly flat, and the President/Owner is accessable to everyone. As the quality manager and QMR for the company I am as near to "senior staff" as we get.

Your question is a difficult one. I think that yes a quality professional can be a valuable asset at the senior level. One of the issues I see in our profession and its tasks is that, even today, many people don't have a clear idea if what we do. (of course that ain't all bad:vfunny: ) The mere presence of a quality rep as senior management says something about the companies committment.

As far as the ability to have significant input, it will depend mostly on the individual. I think we can bring to senior management methods of measurement, and evaluation to help measure company progress. Ideas and directions under consideration can be reviewed immediately for how they will fit with the overall quality goal etc.

The QM brings out of these meetings, a thorough understanding of company goals and direction, and a sense of ownership.

I am sure others will have better input, as I am sitting here at a very bleary eyed 5:30am, but I hope this helps




Like James, I work for a similar size company and our org. structure is fairly flat. I am staff, reporting to the President. So as James said, "about as senior as you can get."

I interpret your question as "can a Management Representative / be as effective in strategic development and improvement if he is middle management and not senior management.

If I have misinterpreted your question, please correct me.

IMHO, the amount of respect a Mgt. Rep. has will determine, to a large degree, his effectiveness. A position as senior management without the respect of peers will not guarantee that person's effectiveness. I think a Mgt. Rep. needs responsibility, authority, respect and cooperation to be effective.

Hope this helps.
Best Regards,
Hank Fowler

Fire Girl

I work for a very small (maybe 24 people) company. The managment is all familiy and pretty much a flat line (literally). Anyway, I am the management rep from no where. I look after the system and give people crap when they need. I personally think that if our management rep came from senior management then nothing really would get done. But what can you do. I think it doesn't matter if your management rep comes from the cleaning staff or the board of directors, if there isn't management committment there just isn't.

Sorry for the bitterness.




Management Committement

Very interesting input, thank you for sharing your comments with me.

Fire Girl!!!!!!! Thumbs UP!


I'm at the "middle management" level, if you could call it that. We have a very flat org too, with only VP's, some managers, and then small administrative staff (each dept. has one). Then there are the offshore guys, but no one ever really sees them. Their manager is the only one who really "manages" anybody.

Our QMS management rep is a VP; not me. And I report to him. I have no real authority here to do anything, since everyone else is either a VP or a manager also. In our case, it was essential for a VP to be the rep so that he could fight with the other VP's.

I feel that more would be accomplished if my position, while maybe still called a "manager", was given the authority to tell people that they had to do what I say. As it is, they essentially have the option of blowing me off. Which happens regularly and is slowing us down.

So to sum up, I think that it is crucial that whoever is given the responsibility of the system, also has the authority to make it happen. Which essentially is going to be upper-mgt whether the title is there or not.

Aaron Lupo

JMHO, as long as 'Upper Mgmt' gives the Mgmt Rep. the authority to 'make it happen' and actually supports the Mgmt rep. then I don't think it makes a difference if they are Upper, Lower Mgmt or even the janitor. I

Paul Simpson

Trusted Information Resource
Is it me? I followed this thread because I'm interested in how people are getting on with the new ISO 9001.2000 requirements for Top Management involvement. We seem to be having problems getting senior managers at MD Level (U.K.) and V.P. Level (U.S.) to buy into the quality system thing as a whole. How are we going to get them to do things that the new ISO asks of them? Providing leadership for the business in Quality, getting hands dirty etc. I'm advising clients and talking to the Quality Manager and I'm telling him to get his M.D. on side or there is a good chance that the assessment will fail without evidence of the Top Managers supporting the system.

On the down side I get the rumours that certification bodies are saying "as before, guys" and letting the Top Managers duck the audit. This isn't the idea and maybe us Quality Professionals are ducking the responsibility that ISO has built into the new standard of making Top managers take part in the systems. Having said that we as professionals and the auditors in particular need to be able to speak the M.D. / V.P.'s language. I hope I can but some auditors I've come across I wouldn't let near the boardroom!

What do you think?


Hi Paul,

I share your concerns, especially after our 9000-2000 audit in November. The external auditor spent a day with upper mangement alone. (It was only a two day audit, so that should tell you something!) Our Senior Canadian Management team consists of 7 VPS including the MD. I have only about 3 on side including the MD. In my manual/procedures I make him responsible/accountable to getting his National Management committed. Of course I am there as a resource. They need to hear it from him not me! The good news is, he is very committed and making each of them accountable through pay rises and bonus distribution. (That should get them wanting to get their hands dirty.)

It's crazy, but I want the registrar to identify the weakness if it exists. Sometimes, this is the only way you can get the message across.

Talk to you soon!



Upper Management as part of the quality function?

This is a tough one, I have experienced being in place where executive management was in charge of the organizational quality function, The paradox that exists here is that, If upper management have organizational control of the QF, Independence and objectivity no longer is as strong as it would be if an independent quality manager or rep was in charge.
The QF, IMO should be given the organizational independence and freedom because upper management basicaly, is in the business of managing the core organizational inputs and outputs that equate to profit. It's an extremely efficient and effective quality manager that can achieve complete buy-in from upper management. I note that Edith is probably on the right track with her use of CRM/QMS integration.
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