Quality Assurance Manager ? Next Steps?

calimar75

Starting to get Involved
#1
Hi Cove,
I work at a manufacturing plant as the Quality Assurance Manager. I have served in this role for the last 1.75 years. The quality system is 9001:2008 and is rather mature but had some gaps and areas for improvement when I on-boarded.
Since assuming my role I have closed gaps in supplier control, internal auditing, management review, complaint handling, trending, process validation, new product development and risk management. Honestly, I feel like we are in a great place and the quality system is functioning as intended; like a well oiled machine.
So my question is, what?s next? I have always worked within an organization that has had gaps and areas for improvement that are ?somewhat obvious? and for the first time in my 18 year career as a quality professional I feel like I?ve really got to dig deep and put the strategic hat on?but I?m not sure where to start.
Have any of you felt that you have hit that plateau in your organization and are scraping at the bottom of the barrel to almost ?justify? your existence?
 
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PaulJSmith

#2
Congratulations on your successes!

To answer your question: no.

Is there really nothing in your organizations that could benefit from some manner of improvements? Start asking around...at all levels. I'll bet you'll find plenty to do.

If not, start spending your time writing a book on what you did and how you did it. You'll be famous in no time.
 

calimar75

Starting to get Involved
#3
Hi Paul,
Your sarcasm is not lost on me. My post was not intended as a discourse about how wonderful I am; it?s quite the contrary as I clearly lack a certain level of strategic thinking. My hope was to find others who may have hit a wall or their quality system reached a maturity level whereby they no longer felt as ?needed?. I wouldn?t mind tapping into those individuals to understand what sorts of things they did to keep digging and to think ?strategically?. Your suggestion about approaching other areas of the business is well taken, and although unfortunate, it also requires a certain level of discretion about how ?busy? the quality department is.
 
P

PaulJSmith

#4
Yes, the book bit was sarcasm, and no, I was not taking any shots at you personally. You really are in a great place, if this is your situation.

Sometimes, it's as simple as just listening. Most people complain at work. A sad fact. Listen to them. Many will just be whining. Some, though, will have legitimate complaints. I learned very early in my Quality career to ask those people, "How can we make this work better for you?" Start there maybe.
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#5
Hi Paul,
Your sarcasm is not lost on me. My post was not intended as a discourse about how wonderful I am; it?s quite the contrary as I clearly lack a certain level of strategic thinking. My hope was to find others who may have hit a wall or their quality system reached a maturity level whereby they no longer felt as ?needed?. I wouldn?t mind tapping into those individuals to understand what sorts of things they did to keep digging and to think ?strategically?. Your suggestion about approaching other areas of the business is well taken, and although unfortunate, it also requires a certain level of discretion about how ?busy? the quality department is.
To give a brief answer to your original question:
In 50 years of work, I NEVER "hit the wall." Looking forward to the future, I don't anticipate doing so in my remaining lifetime. I also do not recall getting anything accomplished without help and cooperation. I am a strong advocate of Deming's System of Profound Knowledge (SoPK.) This means I'm not really satisfied with knowing only a small segment of a business, an industry, an entire economy. I direct a lot of effort toward helping others develop that same thirst for knowledge to know more about how it all interacts.
 

Michael_M

Trusted Information Resource
#6
I would say: Try to be careful not to spend a $1.00 on a $.01 problem.

You have a good system in place. Can you look at each section of the standard and see if something can be improved that will be of benefit to your company.

For example, I am watching an inspector do calibration right now, and I have noticed several things that should be fixed/addressed that will be of benefit to us. At first glance, he is spending too much time calibrating each device. I can (and will) look into why and see if we can get the process smoother. Of coarse, we don't have a mature system in place yet so my example is fairly simplistic.
 

normzone

Trusted Information Resource
#7
Internal audits and corrective actions are ongoing challenges - if you don't have one leading to the other on a regular basis then I envy you. Are your internal audits effective or soft?

In the past I have reached places where I could make no further progress because of corporate culture or resources, but never because everything was running smoothly enough.
 

calimar75

Starting to get Involved
#8
There are plenty of smaller issues and daily maintenance activities ongoing as a result of complaint reviews, trends and audits, etc. There are some other things like a revamp of the training system and supporting a paperless initiative at one of our sister sites. It could very well be that I have a great team and I'm at a point where I need to move up or move on because the whole thing functions remarkably well without me.
 
M

mguilbert

#9
I agree with others there is always room for improvement. Listen to those performing tasks, increase dialogue both top down and bottom up, this will create a better workplace for all and increase job satisfaction. You may find ways to improve existing procedures that remove uncertainty, increase productivity, lower costs, etc. Possibly look into Lean if you haven't already.
 

normzone

Trusted Information Resource
#10
Well, I'm glad to hear that it functions well without you. That's a well built tool. I've seen systems that hinged around the QA Manager - they were only as effective as his mood.

My goal is to get my operation running so independently that I can lay on the beach and periodically answer my phone.
 
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