Unlea$h Quality!
Capture the hidden profits you are missing in your business!
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Qualnamics will help you to unlock the hidden potential of your business
What would it be worth to improve you business by 5%, 10% or even 25%? What if you could do so while improving the Quality of your products or services at the same time? You can! The process is called Qualnamics.
Here is the introduction chapter to my new book titled:
Unleash Quality
Find your missing growth and profit potential
Arron Angle
Chapter 1
Introduction to Quality

      This is not your typical book about Quality. If you think that Quality is just for manufacturing or service, think again. This is about survival of the fittest in a highly competitive business world. Quality must be embraced by every department in your company. Fit companies will understand this and embrace Quality. What about you?

You need to unleash Quality and let it work for you in ways that you have likely not thought of before. There, I said it! Most books will guide you through the process of Quality Assurance or lead you down the path of Lean Six Sigma for cost reduction focused on manufacturing and service functions. While those are certainly aspects of Quality, they are not the complete picture or set of tools that will uncover the hidden profits that you are missing in other parts of your organization with traditional approaches. How can Quality bring so much to the table? For years we have been led to believe that Quality is about assuring that Quality functions are in place and controlling process output through inspection and cost reduction initiatives. These traditional approaches have channeled our thinking and actions to focus primarily on manufacturing and service functions. Naturally, we believe that this is where the largest impact to our profits occur and thus the largest opportunity areas for cost avoidance and cost reduction. Not too far off the mark, but what about where of all this manufacturing output starts, back in the bid and proposal stages prior to design of the product or service? What about design engineering, product costing, financial control, product/program management, marketing, sales, accounting and more? More specific, if you are not getting Quality correct from the beginning and maintaining it in all these non-manufacturing areas, you are leaving behind unrealized opportunity cost and profit that will fail to optimize your bottom line financial performance. 

Wait, this sounds like a manufacturing book and I run a restaurant chain or have a medical practice, why should I read this book? My answer is that Quality is Quality no matter what line of work you are in. If this is you, then please read this book with the knowledge that manufacturing is a very broad term which essentially means the integration of processes that build upon one another to reach an end result output deliverable. That deliverable could be a tool, service, medical examination, delivery of a properly cooked meal to a customer, or much more. So when you read, consider manufacturing in the context of delivering the service or product you provide to your clients and customers.

Do I have your attention now? Good, let’s talk about solutions and how to capture those hidden profits and grow your business.

Have you ever wondered why Quality keeps coming up as a topic of discussion in Senior Staff meetings or even in the boardroom? Stuff happens, right? So it would only be natural that the topic comes up where things have slipped through the crack and problems occur. But we have a Quality department, you say, so why are they not fixing this? Why are they allowing this to happen? Why can’t they stop it? We have put fixes in place for past problems of non-conformance, why are they recurring? My first observation based upon the frequency and severity of issues is that you have not implemented sustainable solutions to the issues. Later chapters in this book will lead you to the process of defining and implementing sustainable solutions to process issues.

Secondly, I would suggest that you assess the existence or health of the culture of Quality in your company. If your solution to issues is reactionary with actions that drive for a quick fix and then move on, you do not have a culture of sustainable Quality. Moreover, with this approach, I would suggest that the behaviors surrounding Quality practices are not intrinsic to the values you or your employees impart to their daily work activities. Tough words, but now that I have mentioned behavior, don’t think that this book is going to launch into a long philosophical narrative about the psychology of behaviors. What I am going to show you are some tips on how BBQ (Behavior Based Quality) will bring about sustainable long term results.

Third, I would ask if you have a strategy for Quality. Not just an organization that is named Quality, but an actual plan to implement, improve and sustain Quality practices and behaviors throughout your organization. The aim of this book is to help you to understand and appreciate the value and the positive impact that Quality and its associated behaviors can have on their organizations. For larger companies, the establishment of an organizational structure supporting a behavior-based Quality culture can bring about profound positive results to your financial bottom line when practiced and supported from the top executive down to the employee level in each department.

Now that that is out of the way, let me also state that this book is not about Quality Management Systems (QMS) which is the process of implementing or maintaining conformance to international standards that your company has or may need to adopt in order to attract or maintain customers. There is plenty of reading material from American Society of Quality (ASQ) or the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and other organizations that define the requirements of QMS. You may have a department in your organization that deals specifically with compliance to QMS. Fine, let that department worry about implementation and conformance in that context.

Compliance is pretty well understood from the perspective of building the processes that meet international standards, but by itself it does not generate the structure nor behaviors of a learning organization that is constantly in motion to achieve growth and profitability. Therefore, this book proposes to educate you about the other foundational tenants of Quality behaviors that will allow you to lead and build your company culture to a level that adds to conformance, the actions of prevention and improvement as the three foundational tenants of your Quality culture. Thus, out of what I consider the three foundational tenants of Quality (Conformance, Prevention and Improvement), I will be referring to them often in this book as CPI. We are going to focus more on the things that bring about prevention and improvement. To have a culture of Quality you will need commitment to all three principles.

Having said that, where are you on your Quality journey? If you are still wondering, the journey is not so much about whether you believe in Quality (who wouldn’t) but whether you support and promote a behavior-based culture of Quality. So here lies the conundrum of defining Quality. After all, how can you support and promote Quality if you don’t know what it is? The old school belief of Quality is focused around the aspect of “control” as achieved through inspection. Newer thinking, of course, has moved to Lean/Six Sigma methodologies to improve Quality. These are outstanding tools that may reduce a product’s cycle time by some percentage and may eliminate material cost through redesign or better sourcing, but if the process is still operating with a 10% reject rate, the cost of defects (Quality) has not improved at all. You are just making product faster and cheaper without preventing the causes of the defects. This is not improving Quality.

When you started your journey did you think that Quality only applies to manufacturing processes or have you progressed to believe that Quality is a part of every aspect of a company's activity from finance to sales and marketing and all points in between? Regardless of where you are in your journey, you should ask yourself whether your actions are creating sustainable improvement. If you are not seeing sustainable improved performance from your corrective actions, perhaps you are not measuring the right things or the actions being taken are not addressing the point where poor Quality is actually being generated, the root cause of the issue. It's time to think outside the box. Your first step should be to understand output requirements and determine the right things to measure that identify the total impact of poor quality so that you can focus your energy in the proper area needing improvement. More on this as we progress through the book.

You may have read that Quality may be without tears from Philip Crosby’s book “Quality Without Tears,” but it can come with a lot of pain when it is not managed well or is absent from the company culture or the executives’ radar. Since we are setting the introduction to Quality, for the record, let’s consider company executives as those who have Profit and Loss (P&L) responsibility for a company, division, site, product line, manufacturing, or service function; in other words, the top decision makers, where the “buck stops”; the guys or gals in charge of building a business and making money for themselves, partners or shareholders.

Clearly there is an order to things and a chain of command for decision making and goal setting. Regardless of what management position you hold you likely report to higher level of accountability in the company hierarchy. Unless you are at the top (i.e. an owner), you are taking direction from above. Even a CEO reports to an owner or a board of directors. While board members provide guidance and approval for major decisions, they seldom interact with employees nor set the pace of the company other than by approving the hire of the CEO who is usually charged with returning shareholder value; not wrong by the way. By their direction, and the actions of the CEO/President, the pace and beat of the culture drum is set at the top. The rhythm, however, is either suppressed or amplified as you get lower into the organization.  This is the impact that leadership has on the culture and momentum of the company. For those readers not at the executive level, please read on as one day you may be in that position and can refer back to what you have gained from this book to set the correct pace of your organization.

You can tell a lot about the dynamics of a company just by looking at it’s organization chart and spending a little time understanding the reporting relationships. Where is Quality located? Why should an executive worry about Quality? That’s for some lower level person in the organization to worry about; after all, the executive’s job is to keep shareholders happy with increasing profits and growth of the business, right? And there lies the answer! Poor Quality costs the company money and may impact growth. That money comes directly out of profit and adds to the cost of doing business. Technology, innovation, and “the new best thing” may allow a business to grow and even be successful, but if Quality is poor, the cost of doing things right, after the first time, will erode customer confidence, shrink profits, and eventually impact competitiveness of the product or service and thus the company’s growth potential.

I have never run into an executive who wasn’t aware of Quality, but their level of understanding and interest ranged from bothersome to “all in” support of why Quality is one of a company’s key ingredients to success. If you are not sure why Quality is important, but are interested, please continue with this book as I believe you will learn why you should care about Quality and how “unleashing Quality” can improve your financial bottom line. If your perception of Quality is close to, but not at the “all in” level, then please read on as you will gain some additional insight to take you to the next level where you understand that Quality can become a competitive advantage to you and your company. If you think that Quality is the responsibility of the other guy or gal or one of your managers, then definitely look deeper into this book as you will learn why Quality is everyone’s job regardless of where you are in the organizational structure of the company or the department in which you work.

Unleash Quality© by Arron Angle 2016 All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without express permission in writing from the author.