Healing factors for the Quality Management System
Any Quality Management System should contain certain pre-requisites to reap the
benefits of a successful implementation. For the same reason, many Quality Management
System. Systems fail--not only due to poor implementation, but because they have
not built a foundation on which to build a quality management system. Before adapting
a Quality Management System one needs to prepare an organization to go for it. Here
we look at some basic requirements.
This foundation is built on three pillars. The three pillars are
Structure, Culture and Technology.
The combination of the three will decide the robustness of the structure. The more
robust the foundation, the easier it is to built a system to fit the organizations
industry and ultimately get the needed results out of the Quality Management System.
When we come up with an idea of implementing a formal Quality Management System
we must understand that we are triggering a new process or change. Change is painful,
it moves people out of their comfort zone, so there is always resistance. The fear
of the unknown drives people to resist all efforts that ease their workload. In
order to manage this change process, we must handle the situation in a way that
causes minimum discomfort or pain to the organization, and thus we need some healing
factors like culture, structure and technology, which can reduce the friction to
bring it to acceptable limit. Unless we tune them to a level for easy transition,
these factors will automatically become an obstruction to the process of change.
The most important factor is people. The Quality Management System defines the organizational
way of life. The acceptance of the people involved becomes a crucial factor for
successful implementation. An organization is a group of people which forms a culture,
which is nothing but the belief, stories, routine, rituals, symbols, grapevine and
controls in the organization. If culture doesnt support the business it will be
difficult for people to support a Quality Management System that intervenes with
their style of functioning. Effective leadership has a strong relationship with
belief. If management has no belief in that systems, and they are under pressure
to implement the system due to customer requirements, then the chances of getting
business results from new systems will be quite low. A leader has to create a culture
which encourages adaptation to the new thing, and the leader must allow flexibility
in the organization, and show an enthusiasm for the important transformation thats
Another important healing factor is organization structure. Organizations looking
for an improvement area like strategic success cant discover it through addition
and subtraction of responsibilities or shuffling people across departments. To understand
this in a better way, lets take a very common example: supplier development. This
requires much more strategic planning than a mere technical upgrade. Issues like
cost reduction, supply chain development and in-bound logistic controls, using strategic
elements, require a review of the decision-making structure. Just assigning additional
responsibilities with disregard to individual competencies makes an organization
more tiered than flat. Fresh recruits are trained and equipped with high-sounding
tools like FMEAs, but they have neither the knowledge of the companys objectives
nor ability to influence decisions critical to supplier-customer relationships.
This usually, results in failures and unwanted training etc. It can be seen that
an unbalanced organizational structure is a major obstacle in achieving improvement.
So, the combination of organization structure and culture are the two most important
factors to be addressed by the healing organization.
Technology employed decides how much the organization will depend upon people in
day to day operations. With a highly technological process, peoples availability
is also high, and that can be a real asset to the company for improvement purposes.
The leadership style will also be influenced by the technology ingredient and will
influence the balance between a task- or people-oriented leadership focus in the
organization. In most of Indian manufacturing, research work is not a focus and
so most organizations have copied conventional technologies for low cost or have
utilized a technology transfer. The quality of technology transfer will decide the
companys knowledge and understanding of the manufacturing and design aspect. Most
organizations have technical collaboration and tie-ups etc. Half of the day-to-day
problem and product launch problems are due to poor technology transfer and adaptation
to the Indian environment. This directly affects an organizations knowledge management.
The outcome is that in the QMS process map and technology management as a process
is given a back seat to other activities and is not a focus element in the organizations
Quality Management System.
It is a requirement to review technological status on an ongoing basis and source
the appropriate technology for the organizations business needs; in other words,
a comprehensive technology management process needs to be considered. An organization
trying to improve its environmental performance mustnt fail to review all of its
technology that is not a cleaner technology. Today, organizations cannot exclude
the design issue. Even if one is not responsible for product design, still process
design responsibility can not be excluded. Similarly we cant skip the technology
management process, as we require some sort of technology whether it is a manufacturing
technology, product design technology, or cleaner environmental technology being
It is therefore understandable that if we dont make a conscious effort to strike
an optimum balance among these factors as a minimum criteria for an organization,
striving for System benefits and a successful implementation will remain a dream
for the company.
Culture, Structure and Technology factors are taken healing factors to an
easy and smooth transition; and without them there will be a greater resistance
to any new Quality Management System. Hence there will be a slimmer chance of success.
Getting a certificate doesnt guarantee business improvements and results. A Quality
Management System is not a complete system unless these factors are managed in order
to establish an effective foundation.