Quality Management Systems: What they can mean to your company and to you

Management has announced a new quality initiative. So what does it mean? Is it this month's theory for success or is there long-term management support behind it? Let's take a look at several quality management systems and what they can mean for a company...

Team focus
For quality initiatives to be successful, there needs to be employee buy-in. The establishment of cells or teams allows this to happen. As Jim Wilson, manager of external ACE activities for P&WC, explains, "ACE is a bottoms up approach." In moving the implementation to the cell level, employees can see the influence they have on what gets changed, and are more receptive to more and more demanding changes. If change comes from the top there is usually more resistance as there is less input from the individual or cell level.

Team involvement also means team rewards. Some companies reward teams monetarily with a bonus for meeting goals or with a share of the company's profits, some provide flexibility by allowing teams to chose their own hours. The ACE program uses personal involvement by senior management along with plaques located by each cell and polo shirts for the entire cell with the ACE level achieved for recognition throughout the company. By year end P&WC will have about 20 cells at the Gold level out of 300 cells, according to Dallaire.

Some programs like ACE also rely on pride and peer pressure to meet goals. The pressure to move to the next level is high and no one wants to be responsible for not getting there. This can positively influence turnover rates and attendance statistics.

What it can mean to you
If you're part of a company that successfully implements quality management systems, there are many positive aspects. The first is the change in the company culture, you feel part of the team and you can take pride in contributing to the success of your team and your company. Your work day is more satisfying as there is less rework, as systems have been put in place to ensure it is done right the first time, so you can get more accomplished. And it's also reassuring to know that improvements can ensure the profitability of your company so you have a place to work.

Additional ReSources
American Society for Quality (ASQ)

Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME)

Cirrus Design


International Organization for Standardzation (ISO)

Pratt & Whitney Canada
Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE)

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