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

Jim Wynne

Leader
Admin
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.
But there are rarely, if ever, employees dedicated to checking the work of others. Note that I didn't question the need for inspection, just the need for inspectors.
By the way, many large companies do have ethical officers. I would have been nice for Enron employees if Enron had one.
Most companies have at least a few ethical officers, but not many have ethics officers. :D
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
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
WE call it "in-process" inspection, whether it is widgets or checks or advertising!
 
C

CliffK

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.
How do we know that Enron didn't?
That said, I believe the quality function shoul be embedded in the operational departments, not separate.
I've never seen this work well. It causes a (real or perceived) conflict of interest that reduces the confidence that other areas have in the quality function.

Because any part of the company can find a way to cause customer dissatisfaction, the quality function needs to be objective, both in fact and in the opinion of all.
 

BradM

Leader
Admin
If an organization can operate effectively without a quality manager, then couldn't they theoretically operate without any middle management?
 
J

JaneB

Most companies have at least a few ethical officers, but not many have ethics officers. :D

And even if they do, doesn't mean it will happen unless the company walks the talk as well.

In Australia we recently had the outcome of a longstanding case which finally resulted in convicting Visy, a listed company, of multiple outrageous breaches of the Trades Practices Act which went all the way up to the Board Chairman & owner. Who had been agreeing and authorising various executive managers in cartels and secret collusions with their major trading competion over a period of years. To keep prices up. And probably anyone in Australia who's ever bought anything that was packed in a carton has paid for it.

Yes, they had a 'Corporate Compliance Manual'. Probably had a compliance system too.

And this is what the judge sentencing them had to say about the manual:
"The Visy Trade Practices Compliance Manual might have been written in Sanskrit for all the notice anyone took of it."

Leadership is principle #2 underpinning ISO 9001 for very good reason. Without sound leadership it ain't gonna happen.
 
C

CliffK

If an organization can operate effectively without a quality manager, then couldn't they theoretically operate without any middle management?

Yes, as many companies are discovering as they thin their management ranks because of economic forces.

What do middle managers contribute?
 

Caster

An Early Cover
Trusted Information Resource
Martijn,

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.

And there it is in a nutshell.

Quality is a output of all the business decisions being made.

If the top dawg understands quality saves money, the product has quality.

The company would not need a quality manager.

For most of us the top dawg only understands "make 'em" and only looks to quality to sweep up the mess.

The enlightened quality leader can never prevail over the top dawg, but this is good, it keeps us in job and under stress!
 
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M

Martijn

Thank you all very much for your contributions so far. I think I've got a few useful answers and insights. To sum up some of your replies, I dare say that yes, the perfect QMS has no quality manager. But.... the problem is the need of quality leadership within business management to succeed. And apparently management prefers to hire someone who provides this leadership.

Following this reasoning there are two things that are expected from a quality manager:
1. do the typical quality manager tasks (see my original post)
2. provide quality leadership

So what is quality leadership? I know there are loads of nice definitions, and most likely tons of books written on it, but what is this thing that top management apparently expects from a quality manager?

Is it really being the "conscience" of the company when it comes to quality? Being the person who says, this is not acceptable, I'm starting a product recall. The person that keeps moaning about the importance of proper incident investigation? The person that decides to stop using a supplier because of poor performance? Is this part of why these jobs exist. Being the policeman, the bogey man, the border guard that draws the line of what is acceptable and what not? The person that only costs money and never makes any? And if that is true, does this function truly exists because business management is not capable of doing these things, or is it just that they don't want to be too directly associated with these kind of issues that are generally perceived as "negative behavior"?
:soap: [/rant off]

Of course there is also a more positive way to describe this functionality of the quality manager, being the Independent Voice Whose Sword of Quality Is Not Blunted by the Unstoppable Urge to Make Money and such. Perhaps this is what I need on my business card! I'd say that if your function as a quality judge assisting in business decisions is a bit more specified, things are not that bad.

I'm going to present the option to start doing quality management without a quality manager to my management team, although it's only one of a couple of options. This being the most demanding option, and stopping ISO 9001 certification completely as the simplest one. It'll be most likely a solution half way, with some sort of decentralized quality organization, perhaps not even oriented on processes, but on locations instead. But this is food for another thread I guess :).
 
J

Juris

Hello, everyone!
I catch sight on this topic - it is very interesting approach. In my company we have made something similar. There is some conclusions coming from final audit report (against ISAS BC 9001 - which is the same as ISO 9001 and plus special requirements for broadcasters)

"Quality is a shared value among the directors and heads of unit; each of them is personally involved in the operational management of quality within his/ her department or programme; as a result indicators and non-conformities registers do exist, improvement measures are sought, various transversal committees are constituted to assess contents quality, evaluate new programmes, judge the voice and expression skills of journalists; sometimes expert from the Riga university are also invited to participate. Even the General-Director is part of the quality system and plays the role of Quality director;
Efficient decentralized quality management system: Latvijas Radio has designed a tailor-made quality management system, where each director and head of unit is responsible for quality at his/ her level; this permits to quick react when some problem appears; the decentralization also allows personalized solutions and innovative ways of tackling with issues related to each department, in terms of contents monitoring, audience satisfaction measuring, journalists’ award systems (proper to each channel), etc.;

Production processes (including advertising) well controlled and monitored as far as contents and technical quality are concerned: this is a direct consequence of staff professionalism and quality management organization mentioned above; at technical level, the signal quality is permanently controlled and all defects and non-conformities are registered; at contents level, each channel and the News department are verifying the quality of their production, sometimes systematically, sometimes by samples; the Broadcasting department coordinates the technical work, the allocation of technical resources to each production, the final edition and the air broadcasting through very complete planning which also includes times deadlines; commercial and legal units are working closely to secure all the advertising contracts."


In this case the question raised : what is Quality manager tasks and responsibilities? And does it still necessary have to have Quality manager in company with decentralized quality management system?
If still necessary - what he could do for system (that means what can I do:) ) ?
It is strange feeling - when you try to make good system where everyone is in charge on their own activities (plays the role of Quality manager) and after you are successful (more or less) you have discovered that you are not "marketable" anymore :)

And auditors has mentioned to Top management - why your Quality manager is "quality manager" - it is quite enough having just ISO coordinator. After that our top management is still thinking what to do with me - lay off or not (to be or not to be).

I`am IRCA certificated auditor (trained according IRCA requirements) and I want to think that incentive advice coming from auditors was out of auditors ethical principles. But might be I`am wrong.

Thanks for any comments!
P.S. BTW - English is my third language...:)

Juris
 
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