23 Dec 2014

WHAT CAUSES PROCESSES TO FAIL WITHIN QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS?

 

Some processes may be proactively designed and updated, but many just evolve.  In either case, when leaders allow the systems (in which the processes operate) not to deliver the necessary direction, information, resources and controls, these “starved” processes fail to add value. This article examines how process failure impacts quality management systems.

Process Failure = Leadership Failure

The modes of a quality management system’s process failure are many, but we should start with leadership. Authority figures may (implicitly or explicitly) undermine requirements. Consequently, employees are not incentivized to help each other to understand and meet the requirements of their quality management systems. Employees are essentially let down by their organization when faced with a system that may be confusing, boring or expose them to unsafe or unproductive working situations. All work is a process, and process failure benefits no one involved. In fact, many do not ascribe often common problems to poor process implementation such as:

  • Improper recruiting and training processes result in employees being ill-suited or ill-prepared for their work.
  • Individuals in work teams may not be coordinated, resulting in misaligned work priorities and self-serving behavior
  • Incoming items (to which the intended work adds value) are unavailable, nonconforming or late
  • Late or inaccurate information would also undermine processes directly or indirectly controlled by the organization’s quality management systems
  • Incapable, unavailable equipment, software or tools are indications of larger process failure, even if the problems may seem unrelated or sporadic

Many processes fail because they are not monitored and corrected as necessary. Process failure an also be the result if documented procedures required by quality management systems are ignored, inaccurate, too detailed or too vague, or not based on the facts that would fulfill the needs of stakeholders. The result? the now “uncontrolled” procedures may be forgotten or remembered in critically different ways. There are countless ways that organizations may fail to provide the required support effective processes, but they all result in the same failed state, primarily because none had a workable process, supported by management and implemented by their workforce.

An Improved Model for Creating Processes that Work

As an antidote to process failure, our clients and other organizations have used the QMII Process Model (QMP) for nearly thirty years in order to enhance their quality management systems. QMP helps them quickly determine the root causes of system, process and product failure. This facilitates removal of the root causes of failures from the quality management systems for more successful processes.

Our whitepaper describing the QMP is available here for download. It explains key points of failure that often occur in less balanced (or absent) processes including:

  • Learn the critical importance of analyzing and defining key business processes from an external auditor’s point of view
  • Save time and lower risk by formalizing “as-is procedures” first before designing new ones to fill gaps in the system
  • Learn and apply new skills (auditing, environmental management, quality management techniques, etc.) with total organizational buy in and support
  • Avoid the often-made error of confusing corrective and preventive actions by controlling key processes first before widening preventive actions
  • Audit and manage to initiate corrective actions and prove system integrity by correctly managing continual improvement

By CEO and President, Captain Inderjit Arora