When is a QMS not a "Quality" Management System?

B

Blackdog

#1
Has anyone had the experince with a QMS that impeded quality instead of driving quality?
Where I work, our system is more concerned with documenting quality issues than with solving them. The amount of forms and reports that are required to be generated with the same information in them take up so much of everyone's time that no real problem solving gets done.
Another problem is that procedure and form numbers are continuously changed for "continuous" improvement and everyone is then required to update any documents that had referenced the previous number. Again, time that coud be spent on actual value added activities is wasted.
This has come about under two Quality Managers that have had no previous quality expereince, but this is thier perception of quality.
 
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Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#2
Welcome to The Cove Blackdog!

Well, my heart is with you.

I've had a share of difficulty, but in my worst of times they didn't even bother calling it a QMS...

This kind of dysfunction happens, and it's why Dilbert is so popular. Around here we usually advise to put up with it to the point where it can help you, and generally get to a better place when you can. However, no place is perfect because people are always subject to the seven human vices like in the fables of old.

Want something to entertain you in the meanwhile? Check out this thread for starters.

Best to you, don't be a stranger!
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#3
Has anyone had the experince with a QMS that impeded quality instead of driving quality?
Where I work, our system is more concerned with documenting quality issues than with solving them. The amount of forms and reports that are required to be generated with the same information in them take up so much of everyone's time that no real problem solving gets done.
Another problem is that procedure and form numbers are continuously changed for "continuous" improvement and everyone is then required to update any documents that had referenced the previous number. Again, time that coud be spent on actual value added activities is wasted.
This has come about under two Quality Managers that have had no previous quality expereince, but this is thier perception of quality.
Most of the form-intensive systems that I have seen as you described were either in the Nuclear sector or designed by people from a certain nationality keen to xxxxxxx and yyy. But let's not create nationalistic divides in this forum. Irrespective of why your system was developed such as this, I hope you can be an agent of change there. The situation, as described, is not sustainable.
 
Last edited:

BradM

Staff member
Admin
#4
Hello Blackdog!

Welcome to the Cove!

If you ever saw the movie Spinal Tap, you will remember the part where the band was lost behind stage. They would get really pumped up, as if they were making their grand entrance, only to meet another dead end. So they would again think they were reaching the stage a few halls later, only to get revved up again for another disapppointment.

Many quality systems, IMO, are similar. In their infancy, many perceived the most logical step to be write procedures to cover everything. So they got all this paperwork- we're ready to go. Although, they never bothered finding out if they are even headed in the right direction.

You have done the most original but valuable thing at this point: Identifying there is a problem, and what the causes may be.

Just some suggestions:

1. Don't get discouraged, and don't get in a hurry. I imagine your system was not created in a day; it won't get fixed in a day.

2. Start making notes regarding potential savings. If there are two forms for the same purpose, identify them very clearly. Maybe you can have a little pocket notebook and take notes. Try to get realistic $$$ savings beside every observation.

3. Have a little political savvy. I absolutely despise playing the politics game; yet, it's a fact of life. Find out who made the two forms. If they are still there, persuade them of the need to go with one. If you're so inclined, spin it where you both win out of the deal.

4. Always learn; Everyday, from every person in your organization. To steal a phrase: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Some of those forms/policies/ etc. may have a really good purpose to them that has not been adequately explained. You don't want to just throw out some potentially valuable organizational knowledge.

Anyway, thanks for the post. Feel free to bring up some more specific things (if you would like) and we'll see what we all think.
 

harry

Super Moderator
#5
From my experience in this part of the world, many such systems are the result of companies going for 'bargain' consultancy fees. Typically, such standard systems will have more than what is needed because most auditors will not penalized you for having more than required but not the other way round.

It's like buying ready made shirts versus tailor-made ones. If your body measurements do not belong to the standard group, you will feel very uncomfortable.
 

RoxaneB

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#6
Welcome to the Cove, Blackdog! :bigwave:

I'll be honest. I don't know what you're looking for with your original post in this thread...unless you're looking to vent. ;) In which case, hey, you'll find many of us willing to listen and vent ourselves! :D

That being said, a QMS which changes for the sake of change - you really can't call it continual improvement, can you? - provides little stability and useability to the work force. This results in little support from all levels - both floor and management.

Personally, I'd put a hold on inconsequential changes and let the system stand on its own feet for a little while. Try doing a gap analysis, as well...current state versus ideal state.

Put a stop to issuing NCRs for every little hiccough. Record all abnormalities, but establish triggers (with the process owners!!!) to determine when true corrective actions will be taken versus quick fixes versus no action (some abnormalities are a 'cost of doing business'...at least for the time being aka the state you're currently in).

You might also need to do some re-communicating about the importance of the QMS, why it was developed and why the company is going to keep it. Better yet, have the top dog (no pun intended against your name) do the communicating - this might show commitment and dedication from the upper kennel. (I really need to stop making dog jokes)
 
S

silentrunning

#7
Try doing an end run around these clowns. Get your company to change its Quality Statement to include that their goal is improving quality while improving profitability which will improve the company's stability. I'm not a wordsmith, but somewhere there has to be someone that could write this up.

PS. I don't want to deal with suppliers that are marginally profitable. They tend to cut corners too often just to stay alive.

Doug
 

Helmut Jilling

Auditor / Consultant
#8
Has anyone had the experince with a QMS that impeded quality instead of driving quality?
Where I work, our system is more concerned with documenting quality issues than with solving them. The amount of forms and reports that are required to be generated with the same information in them take up so much of everyone's time that no real problem solving gets done.
Another problem is that procedure and form numbers are continuously changed for "continuous" improvement and everyone is then required to update any documents that had referenced the previous number. Again, time that coud be spent on actual value added activities is wasted.
This has come about under two Quality Managers that have had no previous quality expereince, but this is thier perception of quality.

I think it sounds like you and the management team need to order some lattes, and discuss what the purpose of your QMS is supposed to be. It sounds like you folks are going in circles.
 
A

Amaterasu

#10
When is a QMS not a "Quality" Management System?

That's easy to answer: When there is no awareness and commitment from Management.

Many folks do believe that a QMS is just a bureaucratic set of documents (manuals, procedures, work instructions, non conformities reports, corrective and preventive action reports, visual aids and quality alerts).

If you are a Manager you can be in a position of change. If not (like me) try to give them numbers (ever wonder why do engineers need to be good at math, statistics and basic accounting :cool: ) they can convince more than one of true and fair ways to customer satisfaction and good company revenue.

Have a nice week and stand out proud!

:tg:
 
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