Why are most companies have Quality reporting to Engineering or Operations and not to CEO

Thomas Dorner

Starting to get Involved
#1
Hello,

I have a general question about QMS or 9001 in particular.

During several visits at different companies, which were all ISO 9001 certified, 90% of the Quality Mangers had to report to Engineering or Operations VP's. I wonder shouldn't Quality report to the Top Management or better to the CEO or President? This would demonstrate that the Quality Management system is a priority to the Top Management (ISO 9001:2015 Chapter 5.1). Reporting to Operations - I think this is definitely a conflict of interest. Depending how the Quality is rated, some company will choose production output over Quality, when it comes down to dollars.

I would like to get the Forums valuable input, why is it this way most of the time? And, how is it possible to change this culture?

Thank you,
Thomas
 
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Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#3
In a company where periodic numbers (monthly, quarterly, annual) are given top priority, it doesn't make any difference who the quality manager reports to. On the other hand, where product quality is given top priority, it doesn't make any difference who the quality manager reports to.
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#4
For historical reasons, quality has been associated with inspection and non value added activities, thus the management of quality has been delegated to lower echelons in the organizational structure.

Let’s remember as well that, according to progressive thinking, quality should not be a department either; sustainable and cost effective quality is the one that is seamlessly embedded into the business processes. In today's world where some of the large, multi-international corporations are developing Governance and Compliance functions, they tend to manage those functional processes within the operations and don't rely on cost ineffective armies of "compliance inspectors" ensuring that the business transactions fulfill integrity expectations.

Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of corporate executives have a tough time realizing how strategic quality can be to the business long term prosperity and how to manage business processes while optimizing (not maximizing) customer satisfaction. Just look at the syllabus of any MBA course and see if you find anything close to modern quality management in one of those courses.

Even more disheartening, in my estimation: How many CQO’s have you ever met? Why isn't Quality in the boardroom? The only time quality goes to the boardroom, in most cases, is when the organization has a MAJOR crisis in their hands, such as a massive recall and/or scandal to deal with.
 

Thomas Dorner

Starting to get Involved
#5
Interesting responses... I always thought that Quality actually start at the individuals mind set. If no one takes pride in their work, Quality will always be in jeopardy. You can't inspect Quality into a product. Like Sidney said, is has to be embedded into the process. By the way, Sidney, I haven't seen any CQO yet, but I try to stay positive;)

I always wondering when I attend training's about ISO or Lean etc. it seems to me that this aspect is just not teached anymore. Well, maybe I am old school, but it has worked in the past. No matter what the standard was at the time.

To Jim's point, I agree , because if the Top Management doesn't take numbers serious, I mean really serious, then I guess Marcelo is right, which is too sad. I used to be a Quality Manger and I am very passioned about Quality, but if you have to report to someone who doesn't really care and you don't have the ability to talk to upper Management (because you have to go to the appropriate channels) to really improve things, this is what set's me off. This is why I think Quality (or better a Quality Manager) should report to to the CEO or President, ideally.

Bottom line, it is my conviction, to produce Quality Products, it is most important that everyone in the organization is bought in. From top to bottom. To install processes is then a piece of cake (ok, a little to easy said).

Now I went a little off topic, but thank you for all the responses.

Thomas
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#6
For us to report to anyone other than the chief exec is to diminish our authority to such an extent that we would not be able to fulfill our responsibilities.

Our authority for ensuring the entire business system satisfies customer requirements is delegated from the chef exec not the head of any department such as engineering or operations.

I recommend being prepared to sell this at your next job interview.
 
#8
I agree with everyone above. It's human nature. When you throw a party to celebrate a success you want to invite your coolest friends even though they are likely useless in times of need. How often do you invite your doctor to your parties? For the same reason, executives don't like to think about the Quality team unless they really have to.
 

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Ronen E

Problem Solver
Staff member
Moderator
#9
I agree with everyone above. It's human nature. When you throw a party to celebrate a success you want to invite your coolest friends even though they are likely useless in times of need. How often do you invite your doctor to your parties? For the same reason, executives don't like to think about the Quality team unless they really have to.
True. It's the same with risk management - when you do a good job it looks like you've wasted time. "Hey, our product is so safe and nothing bad happens, so why did we bother?..."
 

Big Jim

Super Moderator
#10
How about this answer to the question? Because that's what they want to do.

As long as the process works, who cares?
It is interesting to note that in the aerospace standard they still require a management representative, and also require that the management representative have unrestricted access to top management. The management representative does not need to be the quality manager, but it often is.

To Randy's point, as long as it works, who cares or why should we care?
 
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