The Perfect QMS: One without a Quality Manager? (your opinion wanted!)

M

Martijn

In my continuing search for a fitting management system for my company I've explored quite some approaches, and I'd like to propose this one to my fellow covers. I was wondering if anyone has ever tried / seen this approach or has other useful comments to this idea.

So what is the idea: to create an ISO 9001 certified management system and organization without a quality manager.

To pull this of I’d need a couple of things implemented in the organization:
  • Quality = business, stop naming things "quality". This is "business management"
  • Top management commitment: the plan requires a lot of discipline and awareness to succeed. It would have to be an integral part of everyone’s objectives to make sure things really would be done
  • Management representative: each manager on each level is their own management representative
  • Process responsibility: every process within the company needs a process owner assigned who is responsible for ISO 9001 compliance of their process.

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I've made a list of requirements that would have to be applicable to all process owners:

GENERIC PROCESS REQUIREMENTS (for all process owners)
  • 4.1, 4.2.1 Describe processes
  • 7.1 Plan and develop processes needed for product (and service) realization (objectives, product/service requirements, processes, documents and records, required monitoring, inspection, testing)
  • 4.2.3 Implement document management
  • 4.2.4 Implement record management
  • 6.2.1 Ensure personnel is competent on the basis of appropriate education, training, skills and experience
  • 6.2.2 Manage personnel competence, awareness and training
  • 6.3. 6.4 Determine, provide and maintain infrastructure and work environment needed to achieve (customer and) product requirements
  • 8.2.3 Monitor processes to demonstrate ability to achieve planned results
  • 8.5.2, 8.5.3 Take action to eliminate the cause of (potential) non conformities in order to prevent their occurrence / recurrence (complaint handling, incident investigation & follow-up)

SALES process owner
  • 8.2.1 Monitor customer satisfaction
  • 7.2.2 Review requirements related to the product (order acceptance)
  • 7.2.3 Implement customer communication in relation to product information, order handling and complaints
  • 7.2.1 Determine requirements related to the product/service (proposals)

R&D process owner
  • 7.3 Design and development planning, define input and output, design and development review, verification, validation and control of design and development changes.

PURCHASING process owner
  • 7.4.1 Ensure that purchased product conforms specified purchase requirements.
  • 7.4.1 Evaluate and select suppliers based on their ability to supply product in accordance with requirements
  • 7.4.2 Describe and communicate purchasing requirements
  • 7.4.3 Verification of purchased product

MANUFACTURING / SERVICE PROVISION process owner
  • 7.5.1 Carry out production and service provision under controlled conditions (product/service characteristics, work instructions, equipment, monitoring and measurement, release, delivery and post-delivery activities.
  • 7.5.2 Validate processes for production and service provision where the resulting output cannot be verified by subsequent monitoring and measurement
  • 7.5.3 Identify product by suitable means throughout product/service realization
  • 7.5.4 Identify, verify, protect and safeguard customer property provided for use or incorporation into the product
  • 7.5.5 Preserve the conformity of the product during internal processing and delivery to the intended destination
  • 7.6 Control of monitoring and measuring devices (calibration)
  • 8.3 Ensure that product which does not conform to requirements is identified and controlled to prevent its unintended use or delivery
  • 8.1a Plan and implement monitoring, measurement, analysis and improvement processes needed to demonstrate conformity of the product or service provided
  • 8.2.4 Monitor and measure characteristics to verify that product / service requirements are met

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Let's just say that it's feasible to assign the above responsibilities to process owners throughout the organization. What is left to be assigned for our “qualitymanagerless” management system?

  • 5.1, 5.2, 5.3 Establish quality policy
  • 5.4.1 Set quality objectives
  • 4.2.2 Create and maintain quality manual
  • 5.4.2 Establish and maintain management system
  • 5.5.1 Define and communicate responsibilities and authorities
  • 5.5.2 Appoint management representative
  • 5.6 Hold regular management reviews
  • 5.5.3 Establish appropriate (quality) communication processes
  • 6.1 Provide resources to implement and maintain the management system and meet customer requirements
  • 8.1b,c Plan and implement monitoring, measurement, analysis and improvement processes needed to ensure conformity of the management system and continually improve effectiveness of the management system.
  • 8.4 Determine, collect and analyze appropriate data to demonstrate the suitability and effectiveness of the quality management system and to evaluate where continual improvement of the effectiveness of the quality management system can be made
  • 8.5.1 Continually improve the effectiveness of the quality management system through the use of the quality policy, objectives, audits, data analysis, corrective and preventive actions and the management review
  • 8.2.2 Conduct internal audits to determine if the quality management system conforms standard and organization requirements and is effectively implemented and maintained

Some of these point can be assigned quite easily, since our approach is quality = business. So policy, objectives, management representatives, communication, performance measurement, providing resources, management reviews, it's all directly related to existing business structure and responsibilities. This set of requirements must be assigned to top-management. It's only the internal audit part that I can't really give a logical place in my qualitymanagerless organization. Although I guess I'd be able to assign it as a process responsibility in the section above.

And for everyone who is still with me here: This section seems to contain the typical "quality manager tasks" within an organization. I guess we normally have quality managers because the management is too busy to do the things described in this section.

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So summarized I think it's definitely possible to create a management system without a quality manager if you'd be able to assign the responsibilities above. Here are my thoughts on this set-up:

Weak points:
  • Organization for document & record management including formats and such would be decentralized
  • Requires almost unrealistic levels of discipline and awareness throughout management
  • I'd lose my job :notme:
  • Quite a bit more work for management

Strong points:
  • Isn't this exactly what quality management should really be about? Quality = business and such
  • No quality manager sounds cool. As in we don't need a "quality conscience", we understand it ourselves.
  • High quality awareness on all levels of the organization

Even though this scenario is a bit unlikely to really happen, it might be a good basis for any management system being implemented. Start with this set-up, and only take away the tasks that could be done more efficiently by a quality manager. Appoint a quality manager for these things (I'm thinking audit management, management review preparations, certification organization and document & record management).

Any ideas / experiences / comments / omissions?

Please discuss, Martijn :thanx:
 
P

Pudge 72

I have often heard this mantra chanted from consultants who

#1 - Are usually not around long enough to feel the pain that a "captainless" ship causes. It's wonderful to be able to say that for the sake of saving 90K a year you don't need a good Quality Manager and the system should should sustain itself, until you need someone with the guts to do what he is getting paid for to make the decision and put up with the crap that he does.

#2 - Need to make an impact right away to show everyone that they really are "out of the box" thinkers and oos aahhs of such progressive thinking.

I believe that if your Quality Manager becomes a babysitter - then you are wasting your money and time with any effort. However, if your Quality Manager has the technical expertise for your particular industry as well as the background for implementing sound techniques to continue improvement, it's money well spent. The system will maintain itself that has been proven, but, what about the human factor? If you let everyone in your organization use the QA Manager as an excuse - shame on you, it is a waste, if you utilize talent, vision, improvement and communication skills, it is a wise investment.

Let's also face it, sorry no offense here, but my every day worker is not going to my management review meetings and being an active part of any discussion that involves financials, my Quality Manager is.
 
Q

Quality Priest

A world with out a Quality Manager? <ponder>
Is your next long term plan a world with out Lawyers :notme:
 
D

Don Palmer

In a perfect world we would'nt need a QMS at all. I feel your pain.
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Leader
Admin
So what is the idea: to create an ISO 9001 certified management system and organization without a quality manager.

snip...snip...snip

Any ideas / experiences / comments / omissions?
It can be done, provided the organization is enlightened.

Does your organization have to have an Ethics Manager, in order to be an ethical organization? Does any organization have a Chief Ethics Officer? Most organizations operate ethically in the absence of an ethics manager or ethics officer. The same could be accomplished in the quality field, in my opinion.
 

Jim Wynne

Leader
Admin
It can be done, provided the organization is enlightened.

Does your organization have to have an Ethics Manager, in order to be an ethical organization? Does any organization have a Chief Ethics Officer? Most organizations operate ethically in the absence of an ethics manager or ethics officer. The same could be accomplished in the quality field, in my opinion.

This is a good point, imo. I've often asked why it is that production is the only business function where inspectors are considered necessary. Why are there no inspectors in Accounts Payable, or sales/marketing? The answer is that everywhere in a company except production, people are expected to know what they're doing and do it correctly the first time, and there just aren't enough errors to justify having a dedicated inspector on hand--the idea is rightly considered ludicrous. A well-led organization shouldn't need a QM, and also shouldn't need a quality department.
 
T

Ted Schmitt

A well-led organization shouldn't need a QM, and also shouldn't need a quality department.

Especially if we go on the premise that "Things should be done right the first time" then yes, we should not need a QM or a Quality Department... but then again, most of us would be out a a job! :mg:
 
D

dna_leri

A well-led organization shouldn't need a QM, and also shouldn't need a quality department.

Martijn,

I think your proposal for a QMS without a QM has many merits. To pick up on Jim's point, it does give you a template for an organisation without a Quality department.

However I still think it falls down on the quality leadership question. Without quality leadership, the opportunity exists for the QMS to be deprioritised when business situations or personnel change. There is a need for someone to be the reference point for the process owners and top management when they need clarification or interpretation of requirements. Critically there needs to be defined responsibility for integrating the processes into an overall system, including many of the tasks you describe as "typical quality manager tasks".

This person might be called the Quality Manager or the Operations Manager or the CEO or the Business Process Manager - the name is not important but the responsibility is. I know many small businesses do not have a Quality Manager, I am sure some of them reading this thread can provide their insights on how this works and whether it is scalable.
 
G

Geoff Withnell

This is a good point, imo. I've often asked why it is that production is the only business function where inspectors are considered necessary. Why are there no inspectors in Accounts Payable, or sales/marketing? The answer is that everywhere in a company except production, people are expected to know what they're doing and do it correctly the first time, and there just aren't enough errors to justify having a dedicated inspector on hand--the idea is rightly considered ludicrous. A well-led organization shouldn't need a QM, and also shouldn't need a quality department.

Jim, just because they arn't called inspectors, doen't mean they aren't inspectors. Have you seen the approval process it takes to get a check cut? Every "approval" beyond the initial signature is an inspection step. Sales and marketing materials and campaigns go through editing, aka inspection. By the way, many large companies do have ethical officers. I would have been nice for Enron employees if Enron had one.

That said, I believe the quality function shoul be embedded in the operational departments, not separate.

Geoff Withnell
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Leader
Admin
I would have been nice for Enron employees if Enron had one.
When the top echelons of an organization are intrinsically unethical, you can have ethics officers, ombusdmen, social responsibility directors, ethics inspectors, hot lines, etc...and none of that will prevent fraud. Enron was the classical example against the "GREED IS GOOD" mindset.
 
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