Implementing lean business practices doesn't mean overlooking quality controls. Even if employees are held accountable for the quality of their output, your business still needs a quality department to monitor quality practices. A quality department serves to address customer issues as well as watch for developments with technical tools and improved quality management approaches.
It’s not a matter of whether your quality department should exist – it's a matter of what role it should play in your organization.
So, what should your quality department be held responsible for?
Customers Concerns Regarding Quality
Customer concerns land in the quality department, which then routes them where needed and reports back to the customer on next steps and/or permanent solutions in a predetermined format. This assures quick response times, leading to higher levels of customer satisfaction.
In the event of a product emergency, quality managers have the authority to stop production and execute a recall. Internal and external quality teams are usually managed together to work with distressed customers, stop the shipment of defective products, and resolve the issue(s) that caused the recall. Acuity can help you select the best software solution to decrease recalls and/or recover quickly.
Company Quality Practices
Shifts in management and employee turnover can put your company's quality practices at risk. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the quality department to post all instructions, properly calibrate tools and gauges, and be proactive by including mistake-proofing devices to prevent issues from happening at all.
Company Certifications and Accreditations
The management and maintenance of certifications and accreditations are the responsibility of the quality department – that is, ensuring that documents and processes are correct and current to minimize negative impacts on the company.
Nurturing Your Reputation for Quality
Delivering high quality is not enough. It should be the goal of your quality department to promote and defend your excellent performance reputation against competitor attempts to tarnish it.
Does your information system support quality by managing workflows (e.g. CARs) and documentation (e.g. electronic SOPs)? Is it a resource to support a quality audit by a customer or agency?
Does your business successfully merge lean practices with quality processes and responsibilities? If not, the experts at Acuity would love to discuss your current processes and implement a software solution to help your business reach its leanest potential! Contact us today for more information.