Align Your Quality System with Your Organization’s Goals
When starting your quality system improvement journey you need to know where you want to go. Since the endpoint or goal might not be clear to start with, determine at least the direction you need to go and then evolve the goal over time. Finding the right goal is not easy. Should the goal be product or service focused, how can it help to differentiate your company from the competition, how can it become a viable motivator for the team, are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself.
Rather than looking to the outside for help it sometimes is beneficial to look on the inside: your culture and your company values. Goals must align with the company culture and its values to be authentic. It is difficult to have goals like the best quality product when you see managers making compromises in quality in order to get a shipment out on time. In case you want to be the lowest cost provider, it has to be engrained in your culture and values. This needs to manifest itself in every decision making where the question ‘Will this keep the product/service cost low?’ is automatically asked.
Identify Your Core Goal
As goals are getting defined it is very often not just one goal which gets established but typically two to four. Within this group of goals make it very clear which is your core goal. Your core goal is the one you cannot compromise, it is the most important goal.
Clear goals unite the team together as the organization grows. Goals keep individuals focused to move in one common direction. Clear goals provide motivation and accountability as the team works in a relentless effort closer and closer on the path towards the goals. . A powerful visual message which is seen, understood and executed.
One of the best examples I have seen was in a manufacturing facility in Ireland. When you walked into the building you could see a large poster on the wall with big numbers showing 0-1-100. Every employee in this building, from management to the worker on the shop floor knew by heart what it stood for. It was like the North Star for this team, they were using it to navigate every decision. When a proposed project moved the team closer to the 0-1-100 goal, the proposal was approved, otherwise, it was rejected. Since every employee understood this goal, the decision process was faster and the likelihood that they would make the right decisions was significantly higher because every employee knew where they had to go. 0-1-100 for this team stood for zero recalls, one day turnaround time, and less than $100 product cost.