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Author Archives: Florent Kuiper

Impact of mental health in Safety Management

Sadly, at any given time, approximately 1 in 5 workers is likely to be experiencing a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety. This is estimated to cost the global economy $16 trillion by 2030. The enormous economic cost is primarily due to the early onset of mental illness and lost productivity, with an estimated 12 billion working days lost due to mental illness every year. Unfortunately, we see too little emphasis on this from an OHS or HSE point of view.

Business performance can be impacted significantly when business managers or their workers, costing businesses time and money through days off work or not working at full capacity, experience mental health conditions. Relationship with stakeholders, other workers, or family members may also be damaged. Mental health problems have a serious impact on the way someone performs his/her daily activities.

Prevention and effective management of mental health conditions in the workplace can reduce the social and financial impact significantly. As a manager, there should be nothing better than knowing that your staff are healthy and happy. The interaction between work-related and personal related stress makes it pretty hard to find the right way to deal with it. However, the fact that it isn’t easy shouldn’t be the reason why the company doesn’t try. Having a great coach or psychologist ready to help out will be a great way to start.

Safety Solution

Implementing a strong occupational health and safety management system is also another way organizations can reduce accidents and mental health conditions. In order to make mental health an important part of the OHS management system, it should be mentioned in the policies and other key values. We still see that most companies don’t even touch upon this topic from an OHS point of view. Yes, we all have KPI like days without injury but mental health incidents are hardly part of this KPI. Start incorporating mental health issues as well as a KPI. You have to do this carefully, of course, with all the personal information—but it gives a clear message on how serious the company takes this.

Safe Workplace

Start with creating a safe workplace with effective processes—a OHS management platform can help you create. By implementing a safety management system, you can easily put processes in place to ensure your employee’s mental health needs are being addressed as well. It can be a great benefit to train people to realize when they feel stressed and what to do when they are. Give them access to help when needed to make them feel accepted, rather than hiding it away.

Conclusion

Somebody’s mental health is just as important as your physical health and safety in the context of overall health and wellbeing. Make sure the company start to take it as seriously as any other part of the human body and make it part of the OHS Management system.

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Key IT consideration When Selecting a New Quality Platform

Quality management is a key target for digital transformation, and while adoption of quality systems is growing, it’s important to address IT concerns before you make your final decision.

If you’re considering to invest in a quality management platform for your organization, it’s essential to think about the security, ease-of-use, and integration with other systems. Today we’re looking at each of these, so that you can make a well-considered choice.

Cloud vs. On-Premise

By 2020, Gartner expects that Software as a Service (SaaS) will officially surpass on-premise software solutions. The main reasons so many companies are opting for cloud, and SaaS inparticular, comes down to the total cost of ownership. Updates are part of the package and most of the time on a regular basis, so updating your system isn’t required anymore.

Easily Deployable

SaaS solutions are much faster to deploy than the on-premise solutions. Most SaaS solutions start right away without any requirements for installation. You simply login and are ready to go. This will cut deployment time by at least a couple of weeks, or even months, depending on thecapacity of the server.

Security and Reliability

The SaaS platforms put a lot of time and effort in the security and reliability of the system. These security standards are at least on the same level and regularly higher than most on-premise servers. Due to the infrastructure of these platforms, they have big incentives to keep the platform secure and reliable. Security and reliability shouldn’t be a reason to move to SaaS any-more. The infrastructure of the major data centers allows these platforms to have new serversalmost instantly.

Ease of Use

Enabling people to really add value to the management system can only be accomplished whenthe solution is easy to use. The employees have to have access to the platform from anywhere in the world and with any device. These characteristics are critical when you want to reach massadoption among the employees.

Integrate with Business Intelligence Tools

Most SaaS solutions come with API’s to easily integrate with other solutions like BI tools. The data has to be structured in such a way that the other solutions can interpret the information. The API is the unified way to accomplish this. When selecting your next solution, make sure the solution has an API to connect to.

Conclusion

There are a number of important points to look at, but when selecting a new Quality Management solution make sure you start to move towards a SaaS solution.

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The Impact of Poor Quality on Organizations as shown by Boeing

Boeing is facing big challenges these days. You bring a new product to the market and suddenly this seems to be the cause of several flight accidents. Since then, all the airplanes are grounded and the impact is huge, not only for Boeing, but also for the airlines.

This example clearly shows what a tremendous impact, a lack of quality can have on an organization. This can range from inefficiencies to lower customer satisfaction and even plain legal issues. As well as how important it is to invest in good quality control to prevent issues from happening. Hence, we use this article to highlight three possible effects, on how poor quality can affect your organization. 

Influencing Customer Satisfaction

Poor-quality products and services can have a significant impact on customer satisfaction. Such products and services cause a business to lose customers faster than they can gain new ones. In Boeing’s case, the crash will result in lower customer satisfaction because many countries around the world, have banned the 737 MAX from their airspace. The airlines aren’t allowed to use these plains anymore which will have some serious financial impact. Boeing’s product failed to meet customer expectations, which harms the company and the brand. Therefore, losing potentially business and revenue. 

Impact on Company’s Profitability

Poor quality can have a significant impact on a company’s profitability. This could be a lack of quality in human, physical, financial or knowledge factors that are needed to perform business processes. Boeing for example, delivered a product that was not up to mark, which will lead to significant costs. All the errors needs to be fixed, this leads to unbillable hours and delivering free components. These recalls have significant impact on the brand on the long term and on the profitability in the short term. An efficient and high-quality QMS platform can help prevent this in the future. Patterns can be analyzed and errors can be reduced.

Also all the financial litigations after the fact will have some serious impact on the bottomline of Boeing. There will be legal cases by airlines due to diminished revenue potential. The costs for this problem will be very high.

Causing Problems with Productivity

Poor quality costs a company a significant amount of money in terms of productivity problems. If quality is not a proactive measure, employees will spend their time on inefficient process and fixing incidents on a regular basis. It is crucial to find out which processes are inefficient and how to improve them. A correctly implemented QMS platform enables quality managers to access real-time productivity information, in terms of errors or incidents. With this information you can look for smarter, more efficient processes to get to the same goal and boosts productivity.

The solution

Investing in proper quality control is key to reduce poor quality. An effective QMS platform can help you to collect data and perform analyzes. Therefore, increasing the quality of your products and services over the long term. Ultimately, the cost of working with an ineffective system are exponentially higher than the cost of working with a proper quality management platform. Now let’s take a closer look at the benefits of a good quality management platform.

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How to Successfully Transition from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001

The ISO 45001 standard has been released for about a year now. Lots of companies haven’t taken the step to this new standard due to the three year transition period. Those that did, noticed that there are quite some differences. The companies that already made the transition to the HLS because of their 14001 or 9001 management system had an advantage, but still noticed the differences.

Focus on Risks

The new ISO 45001 has a big emphasis on risks and how to mitigate them. In particular, the more dangerous industries such as construction, heavy industry, and chemical industry are impacted by this. Most companies are aware of the risks involved in the business but don’t always properly identify and manage them. A good action plan is critical for proper risk management. Make sure these tasks are easy to manage and clearly defined.

Stakeholders

Stakeholder management is a key new aspect in the ISO 45001. Most companies have a good understanding of the stakeholders involved in the business. The OHSAS 18001 did have a communication requirement, which some companies used to manage a part of their stakeholders, but with the stakeholder management coming in this isn’t enough anymore. A proper stakeholder management approach is required and good practice for any company actually. Not every stakeholder needs the same information. Having a rough understanding of who needs to receive what kind of information will help to reduce communication errors and improve productivity.

Identifying Opportunities

Next to risks and stakeholder management, opportunities are a newly introduced topic as well. The organization should identify opportunities to improve the safety of the employees. Some companies try to combine this with risks, but this isn’t always that easy. To be able to properly identify opportunities with respect to OHS, the company should have the tools available for the employees to report shortcomings. A great way to help employees with reporting shortcomings is with an application that lowers the barriers. Employees are the ones that face the risks every day and therefore hold the knowledge when it comes to OHS opportunities. The company can use unsafe situations as a great input for new opportunities. These opportunities are identified by the employees and will have more support than an opportunity identified by some top manager.

Reduce Barriers to Participate

The new ISO 45001 requires companies to lower barriers to participate in the OHS Management system. This isn’t always easy, but can be established with a proper solution. Not only giving the employees access to the right information, but also providing them with the tools to help improve the OHS system. They need to be able to report risks, incidents, and unsafe situations and easily create safety walks. This will lead to a higher involvement in and understanding of why the OHS Management System is essential for their safety. In the end, everybody wants to go home the same way they arrived in the morning.

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The 7 Essential Quality Tools for Process Improvement

The 7 basic tools of quality (or 7 QC Tools) were conceptualized for the first time by Kaoru Ishikawa, a professor of engineering at the University of Tokyo. They are a set of relativity simple data analysis tools used to support quality improvement efforts.

The 7 basic quality tools are essentially techniques used to identify and fix issues related to product or process quality. When an organization starts the journey of quality improvement, they normally have many low hanging fruits. These could be eliminated with these basic 7 QC tools. The 7 QC tools are fairly simple to understand and implement because they don’t require complex analytical/ statistics to use.

So What Are the 7 Basic Tools of Quality?

  1. Control chart
  2. Flow Chart
  3. Check Sheet
  4. Pareto Chart
  5. Fishbone Diagram
  6. Histogram
  7. Scatter Diagram

Flow Chart

Flow charts are the best process improvement tools that you can use to analyze a series of events. They show you how processes work visually. This tool is mainly used to map out processes to determine where the bottlenecks or breakdowns are in work processes.

Cause and Effect Diagram

The cause-and-effect diagrams can be used to understand the root causes of business problems. This analysis is designed to get into the detailed fundamental causes of the issue, without any bias. The analysis will lead to significant insight into why thingswent wrong.

Check Sheet

A check sheet is a structured, prepared form (document) for collecting and analyzing data to evaluate quality. For example, you can use a check sheet to track the number of times a specific incident occurs.

Histogram

A histogram is a chart that shows how often a value, or range of value, occurswithin a given time period. Histograms provide a visual summary of a large amount of variable data. If the histogram is normal then the graph will have a bell-shaped curve.

Pareto Chart

Pareto charts are charts that contain bars and a line graph. A Pareto chart takes advantage of the 80/20 rule to visually show the categories with the largest impact on a problem. It states that 80 percent of an effect comes from 20 percent of the causes.

Control Chart

A control chart is a graph that displays trends, shifts, or patterns in the output ofa process over time. These charts allow you to identify the stability and predictability of the process and identify whether the process is under control.

Scatter Diagram

A scatter diagram or scatter plot is basically a statistical tool to represent the value of two different variables. The purpose of using this is to find the relationship between the problem (overall effect) and causes that are affecting.

Once a tool is learned, it can be adapted to various problem-solving opportunities. As with everything else, the use of these tools will require some practice and experience. Simply start with the tool that is easiest for you, and over time you will get the hang of it and become a great problem solver!

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The Truth about QMS platforms vs. alternatives

It remains a bottleneck for many companies—do we opt for a quality management system or do we prefer one of the many alternatives? All solutions have their strengths, but they aren’t always the right solution to stay compliant and get the most out of your quality management. To give you a better insight into the bad and good sides of these solutions, we will shortly discuss the most common alternatives. 

Paper-Based Systems (Supported by Excel/Word)

Many companies still have a paper-based QMS system in combination with Word, Excel, and other Microsoft Office files to keep track of their documentation. The problem in a paper-based system is that companies constantly battle to make sure they are up-to-date with the latest procedures, copies, and more. Such systems require a lot of maintenance and are time-consuming to administer, which does not favor the benefits of a certificate. This approach also has a lot of time-consuming activities such as keying over the information from paper to Excel sheets. This not only costs a lot of time but also introduces lots of errors.

ERP Solutions

The use of ERP “solutions” for QMS has the potential to minimize the number of IT systems and offers “special” modules for certain aspects within QHSE compliance management. However, the fact is these systems are not built to be used as a compliance platform and certainly do not favor the functionality, flexibility, and support of a specialist system. These solutions can work for you, but they come at a cost of missing features and functionalities.

In-House Development

Of course, it is possible to develop a complete management system in-house. Choosing this route is usually the most expensive one. Not only does it cost scarce resources of developers, but it also requires a lot of input from operations. The developers have no idea what to develop. This needs to be analyzed and clarified by the people in the operations. When they help out, they cannot do their own job so the cost gets doubled. An other downside is the requirements of updates. Every time something needs to change the developers need to be available. This will lead to some serious costs to the company.

Specialized QMS System

A specialized QMS system such as Qooling provides the right tools to improve your business so that you can make decisions based on data from within your organization. These platforms are continuously improved based on feedback from customers and other specialists in the field. The updates are part of the package and don’t require additional costs. The fact that these platforms are built for compliance only, means that all the features are present and all aspects from different standards are embedded. The other big plus is that they run out of the box, which leads to an implementation time of weeks, not quarters or even years.

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How to identify ROI for an QMS

It isn’t an unreasonable question for anyone to ask, especially if you are going to ask them to spend money on quality. If you want your business to invest in a quality management platform, you should have some idea of what the costs currently are and how long it takes before you earn back your investment. 

‘’60 percent of organizations don’t know or don’t measure their financial impact of quality’’

Measuring ROI on QMS

There are countless benefits of implementing a quality management platform. Some can easily be measured, while others are more intangible and take place over time. However, the most important fact is that quality management platform can significantly improve the efficiency and consistency within your organization, resulting in improved overall quality. 

To help you understand the ROI on quality management platform, I’ll give you some key success metrics that you can use to track your improvement. 

Paperless Workplace

Manual or cumbersome processes take up resources and slow down productivity. No matter if this is in man-hours or administrative work, this is time spent on the system, rather than the business. A lot of time can be saved in the preparation of paper forms and documents. This could be incidents, work orders, work instructions, toolbox meetings, and so on. 

Greater Client Satisfaction

Quality management platform improves response and customer satisfaction while ensuring that customer reported quality issues are always properly documented and effectively resolve. The possibility of losing a customer based on the problems is very hard to measure but we all know when we screw up too often we will get burned. Having a clear overview of these issues, big or small, will help you get a better feeling of the likelihood of this happening.

Up-To-Date

Keeping employees up-to-date with the latest processes, procedures, and other documents is not only very labor intensive; it is also prone to mistakes. Forgetting to train somebody can lead to serious costs when old formats are used or processes followed. This could lead to missing out on a deal or even losing a customer.

Increased Productivity

The real hard ROI can be measured on time saved. Here also lies quite a number of challenges. Most companies have no idea how many hours are lost with an unstructured management system. Companies don’t track the hours people spend on searching for documents to use or training on new procedures. These are seen as the normal costs of running a business. However, saving on these activities directly impacts the bottom line of the company and therefore can have a significant impact. Try to find a reasonable amount of hours people spend searching for documents within your organization in order to benchmark.

Real Time Insight

A manual or Microsoft Office based management system lacks the real time insight. Data needs to be structured from a Word document to an Excel sheet in order to do some kind of analysis. Besides the time it takes, mistakes are also made. When the data is used and input for business decisions, this means that they are made on the wrong data. Every time data needs to be keyed over to other documents, mistakes are introduced. Make sure you have a single source of truth that can be analyzed in real time.

Get Started 

If you’re at the point where you are ready to find the right quality management system for your business, we can help you. Through a short phone call, our product specialist will look at the problems you are currently experiencing, and will advise you with choosing the right solution that fits your needs. Get started today!

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Simple Guide to Process Improvement

As discussed in one of our previous blog posts on process mapping, the handover from one process to another is a critical point where many difficulties arise. When both processes are done by the same person, the difficulties might be limited, but when performed by more than one person, it becomes exponentially harder. On top of that, when information needs to flow from one system to another, significant difficulties can arise even when performed by the same person.

Different People

In the first case when the handover is between people, communication is key. Every person needs to have access to all the critical information. A good example is when the customer switches from sales to project execution, or from project execution to support, or in a different scenario from sales straight to support. Having the right information is crucial for the next person in line to support the customer effectively. All the information needs to be known to the next person. This includes all the things that went badly, as well as all the things that went well. This allows the next employee to be prepared for any potential difficulties. The handover between people can practically be done by having a physical or digital handover meeting. During the meeting, the team will have an open discussion. Simply start by creating a structured calendar for every handover meeting to give some guidance to the people.

Different Systems

Another potential pitfall is the switch between systems when one process flows into the next. For example, when a deal has been closed, it may have to go from your CRM to ERP for order handling. A seamless integration prevents people from keying in the information again and introducing errors. Hence, a good integration is money well spent. Also check which information is crucial for an effective handover. You don’t have to hand over every email and calendar invite, but make sure you give as much relevant information as possible. As pointed out in the previous paragraph, make sure you hand over what is important.

Outcome Is Key

Regardless if the process goes from one person to another or switches systems, the end result is what matters during the handover. It happens all too often that information cannot be found or just disappears. This seriously harms the outcome of the process and the start of the next. Make sure you have some sort of guidance in place for the handing over process.

Audits

Audits are great methods to check how the handover is performed in practice, not just on paper. Companies come up with the best playbooks, but it doesn’t mean it always works. With an audit, you can simply check the handover and see what went wrong. You can even perform a brown paper audit to get a good idea of where the handovers actually are and which information is crucial during the handover.

Conclusion

Handovers can costs the company some serious money if they aren’t done properly. This means that a lot of money can be saved by coming up with a great way of handling this. Check out what information is crucial and make sure it is transferred properly.


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How to Manage Suppliers Effectively?

Suppliers are a key variable in the quality you can deliver as a company. Whether they supply materials or perform services, they do have a significant impact. Suppliers are almost as important as customers and employees. Therefore, it is crucial they are managed properly and evaluated regularly. 

Suppliers Check

When a new supplier is needed, make sure you do a thorough suppliers check. It is still very common to have the standard checkboxes, generally the ISO certificates is one of those boxes. However, with your knowledge of the certification processes, would you trust the quality of a company solely on their certificate? Especially when they are a key supplier for your product or service? 

You could go for a supplier audit and check their facility yourself. This is very labor intensive and time-consuming, so it’s unlikely you will do this for all suppliers. However, for critical suppliers this might be a good way to start. For less critical suppliers, you can do a paper check. Ask the company to get access to their management system to see how they operate and where their key quality checks are. Also, ask for some additional pictures or maybe a video about their facility to give you a better idea. It doesn’t give the complete picture, but it is much better than just checking the box of an ISO certificate.

Continuous Supplier Evaluation

When you’ve selected a new supplier, make sure there is a proper supplier evaluation process defined, preferably an ongoing process. Tracking minor and major issues related to the supplier is key here. This information is crucial during discussions with the supplier and how to improve the combined efforts. The information could be gathered by performing quality checks on incoming goods and services or by finding out through customer issues. A mobile app is crucial to make it very easy for people to register an issue. Regularly checking on-time deliveries is also a good method to evaluate the supplier.

Periodic check

On top of continuous evaluation, it is good practice to have a periodic check on the key suppliers. This doesn’t have to be monthly, it can very well be quarterly or yearly depending on the importance of the products or services of the supplier. 

This periodic check allows for a more thorough examination of the supplier. Again, this can be on paper or you could go for a supplier audit approach. Make sure you have a concise approach on evaluating suppliers so it is carried out correctly. An audit checklist or supplier checklist is a great way to do this. In this process, it is important you not only look for things that went wrong, but also look for positive things. When the audit is performed at the supplier on-site, make sure the auditor has a proper mobile app to file the audit reports. This makes analyzing the results much easier. 

Not only focusing on the issues but also communicating the positive results with the supplier will help establish a good relationship. Even though they get paid for their service, it is still good for morale to give them a compliment when they did a great job. If you want to go one step further, you can create different statuses for your suppliers. This will give them an incentive to keep up their good service. In the end, you are all in it together.

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Innovating Internal Audit: The brown Paper Audit

Innovative audit method

The Brown Paper Audit is an innovatieve audit method, where people who work together in a certain high level process are invited to map out the process and underlying procedures together. During this exercise people get a good feeling of what happens in the company. After this, the process will be improved in groups and concrete improvement actions are appointed. The brown Paper Audit is very effective in gaining insight into improvement, the prevention of  waste in the process and increasing (customer) value.

The complete group goes through a number of steps to identify opportunities for improvement, and translate these opportunities for improvement into measurable goals and actions. These action are then divided among the team members to create ownership of these actions among them.

Brown paper audit

The Brown Paper Audit offers room for discussing HLS-themes such as leadership, evaluation of performance or communication, and offers space for colleagues to participate. In some organizations it is clear that the distance between quality management and the business is increasing. The Brown Paper Audit brings these two worlds closer together and allows the participants to experience the added value of quality management.

Involve employees

The Brown paper Audit ensures that the focus shifts from checking to actively improving. Employees will feel involved through the innovative approach and employees can contribute to improvement from their own expertise and experience.

The support for this audit method with companies is high because the approach feels natural to the participants. By working with a clear step-by-step plan, the Brown Paper Audit brings structure and allows participants to share wishes, feelings and thoughts. By making time and space for each other, the Brown Paper Audit offers employees the opportunity to talk to each other about the quality in their organization.

Through a brown sheet of paper, post-its and markers the wishes, feelings and thoughts of the participants are collected. The structure makes it easy to name opportunities and causes. In this way a positive collective start is made with continuous improvement. This approach shows that active improvement can be done in a fun and refreshing way, wherby the participant get excited to get started with improvement.

The audit cycle

More than 250 companies have become acquainted with Paper Brown Audit as an audit form and are setting up their audit cycle differently. These companies apply a combined audit strategy, a combination the Brown Paper Audit and classical audits. The brown Paper Audit provides a lot of new insights and concrete improvement actions that the organization can work with, while the classic audit helps in checking facts.

By applying the Brown Paper Audit to a process in which several officers or departments are involved, several subprocesses can be combined in one audit. This allows companies to shorten their audit cycle.

Please check out: www.brownpaperaudit.nl

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