Quality Assurance Manager - Tasks and Responsibilities...?

M

MonikaG

Guest
#1
Hi,
I have recently been appointed to the QAM role for my company. That's nice but at the same time very challenging. I have been with the company for 5 years now. I have worked as an IT manager for 4 years (with previous experience from IT ) and as a project leader/quality developer for 1 year. I have no formal education in quality, I have only made Internal Revisions education and learned little about ISO. We are ISO 9001 certified company.
My company has 80 employees. We develop and sell advanced systems within telematics. Our business is to develop and sell solutions of quite complicated character. Very often we sell as much knowledge as physicall things (project management, development, installation). We don't have any production in house. We cooperate with many subsuppliers. We buy mostly production of our products but even some part of development.
Allthough we are quite small now, we used to be a part of a large and well known company and our quality system has a good base from this time.

For a few yeras we've had a consultatnt as a QAM and now I'll get this job.

My company is quality minded. We have inherited our quality level from our previous organisation. But I see that we don't focus on quality any more. Quality has become something uncomfortable to talk about - to work with. We are good and so it is. But I think that if we will not develop and go further in our quality thinking than we will not be good in future.

Anyway, I've got a new position but my boss (GM) don't tell me what I am expected to do. Yes I know I must manage our re-certification which we'll have later this year. But what more? How would you act if you were in my shoes? What should a QAM do in this type of company? I am going to write down an action plan for the coming year but I don't know really how ambitious I should be. I must learn more and get some experience to begin with.... As you se I am quite confused (but not scared:)Any advice will be apreciatted.

Monika G
 
M

morgand - 2006

Guest
#2
Monika,

I wear multiple hats and was "asked" to fill this role for about 80 persons as well, but that was a few years ago (I survied and still have a job with the same firm).

Since you had consultants in the past, you might want to review the following:
Contract with the consultant
any notes, etc left by said consultant,
all of the current documentation.

You should look for defined duties and responsibilities assigned to your new role. Many of them should be in the consultant contract if it is detailed. Make a list and go over it with the GM. The GM will likely have an opinion then.

If your company is still interested in making your customer's happy and having little waste due to rework, then you are still "Quality Minded." If the quality words are uncomfortible, change them. You have a lot of company experience and should have access to a lot of management material. You might want to consider elimiating the word "quality" from the quality managment system and making it just an overall "management system" and addresses quality as well as everything else. If things are working well, you should already be running a management system verses a quality management system and a management/business system or plan anyway. We have become against separating quality out as its own thing as the years have gone on. Everything we do is quality. Why run, maintain and manage more plans than you need to?
 

ScottK

Not out of the crisis
Staff member
Super Moderator
#3
Similar to what morgand said - document. Write yourself a job decription based on the former consultant's contract. Then go over it with the GM and and get him to sign off on it.
From there you can make goals for the next year.
 
M

MonikaG

Guest
#4
No contract exists

Hi,
thanx for very quick responses. The idea about the contract is very good, but I know there was no contract with this consultant. He is a QM in the company that used to be our sister company - he was well known to the people in our organisation so I think they just decided to hire him on half time basis to run the quality management. I have asked him this question but he couldn´t give me the ansver I am supposed to get from GM.
/Monika
 
#5
Hej Monika, och välkommen hit till the Cove :bigwave:
MonikaG said:
I have recently been appointed to the QAM role for my company.
Congratulations are in order then :agree:

MonikaG said:
I have no formal education in quality, I have only made Internal Revisions education and learned little about ISO. We are ISO 9001 certified company.
Internal audit training is not half bad as a way to learn about quality and quality systems, but there is a bit more to the QA mgr position, and I think you should get more training.
MonikaG said:
Allthough we are quite small now, we used to be a part of a large and well known company and our quality system has a good base from this time.
That sounds good. Just one thing: When a small company uses a system left by a biggie, it may not be all that well adapted to the needs of the smaller one. Something to have a look at.
MonikaG said:
For a few yeras we've had a consultatnt as a QAM and now I'll get this job.
Interesting. I do hope he is still around, so you can make a smooth transition?
MonikaG said:
We have inherited our quality level from our previous organisation. But I see that we don't focus on quality any more. Quality has become something uncomfortable to talk about - to work with.
Also interesting. Can you put your finger on why?
MonikaG said:
I think that if we will not develop and go further in our quality thinking than we will not be good in future.
That would be the probable result, yes.
MonikaG said:
Anyway, I've got a new position but my boss (GM) don't tell me what I am expected to do.
That is really bad form. Of course you are entitled to know what you are expected to achieve.
MonikaG said:
Yes I know I must manage our re-certification which we'll have later this year. But what more?
It the sole objective is to acieve re-cerification, I would say that the aim is set pretty low. That, after all, is nothing but a piece of wall decoration.

Above all the system should be useful. Is it?

/Claes
 
M

morgand - 2006

Guest
#6
No contract? Yikes.

There went the easy answer. Here is a list of the non-contract specific things I normally handle.

Ensures documentation of quality procedures and work instructions
Develop and maintain a quality system in accordance with ANSI/ISO/ASQC Q 9001:2000 Quality Management Systems-Requirements (2000-12-15: Third Edition) and ANSI/ISO/ASQC Q 9001:2000.
Enforces adherence to the Quality Manual, procedures, work instructions, and ANSI/ISO/ASQC Q 9001:2000 Quality Management Systems-Requirements (2000-12-15: Third Edition).
Train auditors
Schedules and communicates information on external audits
Prepare and implement the audit schedule
Interface with project managers and site manager
Interface with team leads
Interface with purchasing, system engineer, and quality control
Retain or monitor the retaining of quality records and their anaylsis
Participates Monthly Management Reviews and Corprorate Program Reviews
Chair any ISO 9000-based/Process meetings
May attend department product quality meetings
Take notes at the Management Review meetings with the site manager
Perform, schedule, create process awareness training for staff
Acts as mediator or impartial chair in meetings as ask by management
Interfaces directly with management on process manament resourse needs
Informs management of any negitive trends
Manage and validate the corrective and preventive action system
Manage on the job training database
Cordinate process activities between teams
Process Cheerleader- rewards for good process and quality related activities & tours to the customer
 

Groo3

Quite Involved in Discussions
#7
With regards to the role of a QAM, that is dependent on the nature of the company and the size of your facility and whether or not you are wearing multiple hats or just one...

Our facility has approximately 250 employees and some of the roles of our Quality System Manager (comparable to a QAM I believe) are as follows:
* Management Representative for our ISO Audits
* Manage and oversee our Internal Audit Process, including the responsibility for overseeing the training and development of our Internal Auditors
* Manage and oversee our Corrective Action Process
* Assist in the effective resolution of our Customer Complaints
* Manage and oversee our Quality System Documentation
* Organize and schedule our Management Reviews
* Help support our Supplier Management Program (in conjunction with our Purchasing and Maintenance functions)
* Assist in the Quality Planning portion of Product Realization
* etc.

PS: Our Quality System Manager currently wears one hat.

Just our slant on things...
 
M

MonikaG

Guest
#8
My own thoughts are verified by you

Thanks to everyone!
I see that my expectations and thougths about my coming tasks are verified by your answers.
I think I can start to write my own job description to discuss with the GM ...and then I'll write down my goals for the rest of this year.
As a beginner in the area I must have some way to measure my own progress to know that I am moving forward.
I'll ask for more training of course, but I want to deliver some results also...to do this I will try to write down some measurable objectives and review the results by the end of the year ...

I am very greatfull for all help I've got.

Regards,
Monika
 
T

theedgeradio

Guest
#9
Hi Monica,

You are in a tight situation I can relate to first hand. I also worked IT at my company and moved into the quality role, although I have about 15 years working in other management areas in the industry and am working my way through my MBA, so I have more of a Management bent. Still, I am behind the curve specific to quality.

If it is anything like my situation, your struggle is not so much related to the quality position as a function, but more where it is situated in the organizational struture.

1. Be aware of the authority in your position
You have legitimate authority from you boss (ideally the CEO), expert authority from what you know (sounds like a bit to learn) and referent authority from how well you fit in the place. You can't take legitimate authority, but if it is given, you will have to beef up on the other two to make a difference. If you don't have legitimate authority, trying to take it will likely rob you of what little you have.

2. Be aware of and accept the purpose of quality in your organization
Simplistically, a company differentiates on cost or quality (or a focus on a niche market, but that aside). Apart from what they say, ask youself what their actions say they do. If everything they do is cost orientated, then quality is likely done just enough to get the cost down to an acceptable limit.

3. Be aware of the purpose of the Quality Management System
Is your QMS outcome based or is it a showpiece to gain customers? Some companies don't care what people think about their QMS, but are focused on the system working for them. Others are only concerned that the system passes muster at audits and don't care any other time.

Statistically, they say it takes 3 months to integrate into a new position. I would bump it to 6 or 9 months if you are new to the role.

Three things that will make it hard is 1) lack of definition in the role; 2) lack of knowledge in the role; and 3) additional stressors from outside the job. Any 2 you can overcome. An undefined and unfamiliar work environment can be battled through if you have a strong support outside. You can push through a lack of a defined role if you've done it all before. And you can work throught the learning curve if you have a defined and supporting work environment.

There are a lot of books and seminars on quality, most of value and worth while if you want to invest in your position. However, to get from here to there, I highly recommend Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Cheezy title, but it helped me survive by focusing on what I had control over and what to just let go.

Good luck.

Chad
 
M

MonikaG

Guest
#10
Thaks

Hello Chad,
I've read your message with great interesst. I like your analysis and wellchoosen conclusions. I realize that it will not be easy to gain success on this new position. Not immedietaly if ever...
Yes - 6 months is the minimum for me to become to feel comfortable in this role. I count with some training during this time - I'll apply for it to my boss. But practise and experience is such asset in this case... I'll try to be patient and give it time.

I agree so much with your wise words. I do not know all the answers. I think that time will show where I stand, the only thing I can do is give it a try...hoping that it'll be accepted.

I am really curious about the book you recommended. I'll certainly take a look into it.

Thanx Chad for your time and wise words.
I see your location is Melbourne - It's a funny coincidence but my company is very active in Australia and specially well known in Melbourne...although we are not very big we have long-distance relations:).

Best Regards,
Monika
 

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