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Qualitative Supply Chains
“Quality is never by accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort. There must be a will to produce superior things”
Before we discuss the process of implementing quality, it is necessary to understand what lies for us in Future as far as Quality Management is concerned. It would help us in fine tuning our process of implementation.
Seven key forces have been identified that are most likely to shape the foreseeable future:
These are the areas identified as things in store come our way when we progress into future as far as quality management is concerned. Having understood the future requirements, we may have to carefully plan a process for implementing quality management.
Quality Management Principles:
International Organization for Standardization has identified eight quality management principles and they are:
I would highly recommend that the Quality Management can be introduced using the above 8 principles. The detailed process is discussed hereunder:
“Don’t try to tell the customer what he wants. If you want to be smart, be smart in the shower. Then get out, go to work and serve the customer!” Gene Buckley, President, Sikorsky Aircraft
Customer is the objective and meaning of the business. Every organization depends on their customers and therefore should understand current and future customer needs, should meet customer requirements and strive to exceed customer expectations. Any business will be successful, if they are able to think one step ahead of their customers. I would call it as proactive approach towards customer. Most of the businesses fail because of the reactive approach. As the competition is introducing e-commerce offerings, the management is taking a critical look at their operations. This should change and the change would bring the following benefits:
This means one has to do his homework well. Applying the principle of customer focus typically leads to:
The best way to gain and hold the loyalty of your personnel is to show interest in them and care for them, by your words and actions, in everything you do.
Secrets of Effective Leadership
Ordinary people believe only in the possible. Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but rather what is impossible. And by visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as possible. The leaders have to be extraordinary.
Leaders establish unity of purpose and direction of the organization. They should create and maintain the internal environment in which people can become fully involved in achieving the organization’s objectives.
Applying the principle of leadership typically leads to:
“Managing at any time, but more than ever today is a symbolic activity. It involves energizing people, often large numbers of people, to do new things they previously had not thought important. Building a compelling case -to really deliver a quality product, to double investment in research and development, to step out and take risks each day (e.g. make suggestions about cost-cutting when you are already afraid of losing your job) -is an emotional process at least as much as it is rational one”. – Tom Peters.
The three tools (Human Resources, Processes and Technology) that make things happen include human beings. A good system may bring some discipline in work place and a technology may make things easier to execute. However, we ultimately need people to translate objectives into results. “Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.”
People at all levels are the essence of an organization and their involvement enables their abilities to be used for the organization’s benefits. Human resources are identified as one of the Supply Chain enabler. Any organization which fails to involve all levels of their employees may progress towards their objective due to indifferent thinking process in the organization.
This would ultimately lead to people understanding the importance of their coordinated contributions to the organization. People get to know their constraints in their performance and they will try to improvise their performance which leads to quality product development and delivery. Information sharing will help the employees to extend their knowledge base and leads to innovative thinking.
ISO 9001:2015 definition of a process approach is working the following way:
A process is using resources to transform inputs into outputs. An organization can function more effectively if it identifies its processes and manages them accordingly. One can achieve desired results if one manages the activities and related resources as a process.
When we put processes in place we have defined the key responsibilities and key persons responsible for achieving the same. The process will enable identification of interfaces of key activities within and between the functions of the organization. And also will help the organization in evaluating risks, consequences and impacts of activities on customers, suppliers and other interested parties.
Identifying, understanding and managing interrelated processes as a system contributes to the organization’s effectiveness and efficiency in achieving its objectives.
The objective of this approach is to structure the management system to achieve the corporate goals in the process defined and accepted by the management.
NASA has defined continual improvement as: Continual Improvement is a recurring activity to increase the ability to fulfil requirements or to increase the effectiveness of the management system and its processes.
One can never rest thinking that everything is in place and all is well. One should not forget what Thomas Edison has commented about finding new things:
“There is a better way. Find it”
The re-engineering process or continual improvement methodology will enable the organization to take a re-look into their systems and processes to check whether there is any better way doing things which would lead to cost reduction, quality improvement and increase in customer satisfaction.
Effective and efficient decisions are always made based on conclusions supported by logical data analysis and interpretations.
The author has suggested in earlier assignments that the relationship between the supplier and buyer should be as that of strategic partners and not vendor and the buyer. An organisation and its suppliers interdependent and a mutually beneficial relationship will enhance both parties chances in improving their business opportunities and growing and healthy bottom-line.
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