Category Archives: ISO9001

Process Mapping

Every company has their own way of working, and are either implicit or explicit in documented processes. These processes are followed by almost anybody in the company. In order to find efficiencies in processes or during the interaction between them, it is important to map the processes. Make sure every process is included in the exercise.

High Level

It is always good to start mapping the processes at the highest level of processes in the company. Don’t go into much detail of every process, for now just note them down. Some great examples of high-level processes you can think of are, for example, sales, order handling, and project management. Also point out the support process on a high level like HR, IT, quality, compliance, etc. As a guide, you can just answer this simple question:

For every company this can be different, but there are some defined steps someone needs to take in order to become a paying customer. Having a clear overview is key, so create some kind of flowchart to put the process in logical order.

Which process does a person/company following to go from a prospect to a paid customer and what other non-core processes are there in the company?

Dive Right In

When the big picture is clear, it is time to zoom in on the individual processes. Sales can, for example, exist of prospecting and selling and maybe even marketing. It depends on where you draw the line. On the other hand, project management can be just managing the steps to produce the product or maybe also on the side to install/implement it. You draw your own line, but make sure you go one level deeper and check all the steps that are within a high-level process.

The Handover

The points where one process goes into the next are critical points in your company. During the transition from one process to the next, communication is critical. In this part of the processes lots of improvements can be realized by many companies. We will touch upon this point in one of our next posts. For now, it is important to highlight these handover points in your processes to make sure everybody is aware of them.

Audits

A great way to have a feeling if people are working roughly according to the processes is auditing. The different ISO standards forces certified companies to audit their processes, but also for non-certified companies this would be a great practice. There are different kinds of auditing techniques, but the Brown Paper Audit is a great innovative approach. Next week we’ll look more at this technique.

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How to Implement a QHSE Platform

Buying new a new SaaS solution always requires changes within the way the company works. Sometimes these changes might be minor and sometimes they will be major, but either way they are always for the better. However, not every employee will experience it this way. Some might feel they simply don’t need to change, as most people are resilient to it.

When a new Quality and Safety solution has been purchased, this is no different. Whether you previously worked with Word and Excel files on your server or with an on-premise solution, there will be changes that come along with this new solution.

Key Users

These are mostly the easiest to convince to change. They use the solution quite frequently and have experienced the downfalls of the current way of working. The Key Users are therefore eager to change and might have even been involved or consulted during the selection process. This is relatively easy to do. However, there is another important role for the Key Users and that is a lot harder to convince them of. They should become the internal trainer/consultant. When other people experience problems or difficulties with the solution, they should be able to consult with a Key User. The Key Users are crucial in having a wide adoption on the platform because of this role. Hence, make the Key Users aware of their important role and thank them for this. They are the specialists and they should be made aware of their importance. Everybody wants to feel special in some way, so make sure they feel appreciated.

What Is in It for Me?

The regular users are much more resistant to change. Some might experience the day to day problems but most don’t see many problems with the current way of working. They don’t follow the process completely or somebody else always takes care of this. The introduction of a new solution will force them to do a bit more or simply follow the processes properly. When this is known, make sure you clearly show to the people why it is important that they start to work this way. Explain to them why the solution has been purchased, which problems it solves and how it will help them. For example, now the employees can file issues with their mobile phone thanks to a mobile app. Previously they needed a printed form for this. There is a lot of time saved, not just by the regular user but also by the quality department. Make them not only aware of the time saved for them but also for the entire company. Most people do want what’s best for the company and if they don’t, you have a completely different problem.

Celebrate Success

When the new platform shows good results and gets adopted, celebrate the successes. The success can be big or small, but celebrate them no matter what. When a significant number of hours has been saved or incident costs have been reduced significantly, celebrate this. Order a lunch, get cake or grab a beer with the team. Think of something special and celebrate the success with everybody, not just with the Key Users. Even though you bought a new online solution, in the end you need everybody to make it work.

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The impact of Quality and Safety Management on Project Profitability

Quality and safety are key topics in a number of projects. It already starts during the tender phase. Companies need to prove they have a functional QMS and a proper safety culture. Most companies prove this by showing their portfolio of certificates in combination with their “days without injury” metric. These are all general pieces of information and are used mainly to win the project. However, during the execution of the project, these topics should still get the priority, as they need to check if the company ended up making money at all.

Costs of Quality

Things always go wrong when you try to create something new and that is a good thing. However, it is crucial to register the issues that do occur during the project to be able to have a reality check on the margins. Whenever a supplier arrives late and your team needs to wait or when the wrong materials were delivered, always register the issue. Also, when a part needs to be repaired due to a mistake, register the hours. It is crucial to have this data and take actions to solve them, but never blame the employees because of it. Costs involved in mistakes can be significant and even eat away a lot of the margins. This can be crucial to success, especially in industries with low margins to begin with, like constructions. Hence, register the issues to be able to calculate the margins correctly.

Costs of Safety

Incidents have quite the impact on everybody involved. Even though the injury can be minor, it is always a wake up call of the risks involved in the job. Hence, issues with injuries or even sick days should also be registered. The company should learn from these risky situations and try to avoid them in the future. On the other end, the safety issue can have a big impact on the project. Deadlines might be missed due to the person not being there and morale might be impacted due to the injuries. Putting exact costs on these injuries isn’t easy, but you can always make an estimation.

Project Profitability

As noted above, quality and safety can have a significant impact on the margins of a project. This isn’t an exact science, but adding up all the costs and including some administration costs for handling the issues will give a great idea of the additional costs made to get the project done. These costs were never taken into consideration during the tender phase. Reducing these costs in future projects allows the company to potentially make a healthy profit. These profits can then be used, for example, to reduce the price of the project that gives the company a better position during the tender phase. Looked at it this way, it means that quality and safety becomes an even bigger competitive edge than just having the certificates on the wall.

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Why Quality Management Automation Should Be on Your Agenda.

Delivering consistent quality for products and services is quite a challenge. There are thousands of variables that influence the quality. On the other hand, your customers expect the same level of quality every time they buy the product or use your service. All kind of mechanisms can be used to maintain a consistent level of quality. A few examples include the training of employees and providing standard ways of working including processes and procedures. Even with these tools in place, maintaining consistent levels of quality can still be demanding. A good automation solution helps to get a better insight into the challenges and how to approach them.

Data

Data is a key element in getting a feel for the consistency of the quality of your products and services. With this data, you can track customer satisfaction levels, customer complaints, supplier issues, quality and employee satisfaction, among others. Tracking data over time allows you to spot trends. It also gives the ability to easily see if the values are within range of the acceptable levels. Though every company knows leveraging data is a differentiator, a lot of companies struggle to gather this kind of data in the first place. There are numerous different systems that don’t integrate with one another. On top of these systems, there are numerous Word and Excel documents that hold quality-related data. With all these silos it is hard to combine the data and turn it into actionable information. This is a big loss because all the information that has been gathered over the years cannot be used to actually see how the company is performing. In essence, the company isn’t really able to get a feeling on how it operates from a quality standpoint. While quality is one of the main values that most companies state either in their mission or in their corporate values, without the data this statement is not really measurable.

Automate

Wherever Excel and Word documents are part of the quality process, it is important to replace them by proper web and mobile solutions. These solutions allows for fast data gathering and store the information in a structured manner. In case other solutions are used like for example a separate app and some webforms. It is important to break these silos and make sure these systems talk with one another. On top of this, an integrated platform can hold all the information and allows the company to slowly break down their silos. This platform doesn’t have to hold all the information, as long as it is able to communicate with the other solutions used within the organization. With this way of working the information within the company can be used to improve the company.

Why Now?

Getting a real grip on the quality will help bring the organization to the next level. Data is a key driver in this process. This is why a well integrated solution for managing quality should be on the agenda of the directors. Every day this decision is postponed, the company loses valuable information that cannot be leveraged in the future. Aligning the quality activities and systems is crucial in maintaining consistent quality. Start now! Published by: