Should the Quality Department be independent of Operations

M

muohio

#1
I work for a smallish steel coating facility. Recently the head of operations received a promotion that put him over my boss as well as the entire quality department. Before that we were an independent department reporting to the VP of manufacturing, who oversaw all the engineers, maintenance, operations, and quality. My question is this: Is having operations oversee the quality dept. create a sort of "conflict of interest"? Several areas where we can be prodded to make decisions that favor prime yield instead of customer satisfaction come to mind. Thanks for any feedback.
 

Jim Wynne

Super Moderator
#3
I work for a smallish steel coating facility. Recently the head of operations received a promotion that put him over my boss as well as the entire quality department. Before that we were an independent department reporting to the VP of manufacturing, who oversaw all the engineers, maintenance, operations, and quality. My question is this: Is having operations oversee the quality dept. create a sort of "conflict of interest"? Several areas where we can be prodded to make decisions that favor prime yield instead of customer satisfaction come to mind. Thanks for any feedback.
Whether or not independence is an issue is wholly dependent on local conditions, assuming there are no regulatory requirements. If there is a significant emphasis on "making the month" in billing, there's a good chance that the independence of QA would be a good thing. Ironically, that's also the type of situation where you're least likely to find an independent QA function, for obvious reasons. Beware of managers who, in giving the OK to ship NC product, describe it as a "business decision."
 
Q

qualityboi

#4
It shouldn't have to but because of human nature, conflict of interest which has happened many times in my career it should be separate. The mantra of having quality "embedded" into manufacturing sounds good in theory and works if the top management support the quality system. More often than not top management knows nothing of the quality system and appoints someone to "handle that stuff". In practice, keeping the quality department separate really helps to maintain the integrity of the company.
Often I wonder if someone from say the legal department really dug into my audit reports there are some write ups that could be interpreted as negligence on managements part.

Good luck!
 

Kales Veggie

People: The Vital Few
#5
I work for a smallish steel coating facility. Recently the head of operations received a promotion that put him over my boss as well as the entire quality department. Before that we were an independent department reporting to the VP of manufacturing, who oversaw all the engineers, maintenance, operations, and quality. My question is this: Is having operations oversee the quality dept. create a sort of "conflict of interest"? Several areas where we can be prodded to make decisions that favor prime yield instead of customer satisfaction come to mind. Thanks for any feedback.
It all depends on the local culture and the "quality" of the individuals in key positions.

The VP of Mfg is also operations. What is the difference? Is it a person issue and not a title issue?
 
M

muohio

#6
It all depends on the local culture and the "quality" of the individuals in key positions.

The VP of Mfg is also operations. What is the difference? Is it a person issue and not a title issue?
The current person in the position is actually the former head of operations. He received a change in title but essentially has the same responsibilities. VP of Mfg is over a lot more than operations, and he has a much broader scope involving business planning and direction. Very much hands off as far as the day to day. The new person is much more involved in day to day, and we get a lot of questions involving actual disposition of product, such as "why did you downclass this product", etc. So that in a nutshell is the difference.
 

kgott

Quite Involved in Discussions
#7
I work for a smallish steel coating facility. Recently the head of operations received a promotion that put him over my boss as well as the entire quality department. Before that we were an independent department reporting to the VP of manufacturing, who oversaw all the engineers, maintenance, operations, and quality. My question is this: Is having operations oversee the quality dept. create a sort of "conflict of interest"? Several areas where we can be prodded to make decisions that favor prime yield instead of customer satisfaction come to mind. Thanks for any feedback.
I can't disagree more. The quality department should not be in the business of regulating the quality of the product, that is the role of the process owners. Such a claim has its parraell in OHS where line managers believe that the safety advisors/whatever, should be responsible for regulating the behaviour of the workforce and not the supervisors or the managers.

Suggesting that quality people should regulate product quality is going back to the dark old days where its the worker not the system that produces bad product, unsafe behaviour or accidents.
 
#8
I can't disagree more. The quality department should not be in the business of regulating the quality of the product, that is the role of the process owners. Such a claim has its parraell in OHS where line managers believe that the safety advisors/whatever, should be responsible for regulating the behaviour of the workforce and not the supervisors or the managers.

Suggesting that quality people should regulate product quality is going back to the dark old days where its the worker not the system that produces bad product, unsafe behaviour or accidents.
The old "cops and robbers" system.

I would agree. The Quality "department" should be there to assist production, not regulate them. At some point, especially in smaller companies, the decision comes down to one person - ship or hold. Thus, "independence" is a myth anyway. Good luck.
 
K

KathySmith

#9
It doesn't matter were QC reports, if the quality person knows how to build a general consensus. At the end of day, the top guy can make the call to ship regardless of what the quality system says in a smallish shops. Know when to stand on principle and retreat or be pragmatic.

There are many times I was cornered, abused for not shipping, I instruct inspectors it's never their decision to send NC product. Have operations sign off on the inspection reports ok to ship. Of course, certain industries, bound by contract and specified customer requirements will frown on operation folks signing off on NC material.

Also be on guard for "fear".... Fear of change and a new head boss. The human nature stuff... now is not the time to be starting debates out in the shop on were quality needs to report. You will be the first on the new boss short list of changes. Quality is a customer service department to operations as well as customers. Be ready to have three bosses in a single day every day.
 
M

muohio

#10
I can't disagree more. The quality department should not be in the business of regulating the quality of the product, that is the role of the process owners. Such a claim has its parraell in OHS where line managers believe that the safety advisors/whatever, should be responsible for regulating the behaviour of the workforce and not the supervisors or the managers.

Suggesting that quality people should regulate product quality is going back to the dark old days where its the worker not the system that produces bad product, unsafe behaviour or accidents.
Having trouble figuring out what "claim" you disagree with. Being that I asked a question, seems very contrarion to disagree with it. If you have an opinion that's fine, I asked for them. Please quote the "claim" you're referring to.
 

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