Quality is not Overhead

Three days after starting a new job, I met the CEO in the elevator and introduced myself. Without skipping a beat, he said he was familiar of who I was, stating that I was that highly paid “Quality Overhead”. I was brought in to help turn around the Quality area. About 2 months later, I had the opportunity to meet with CEO again, this time not as Overhead, but as someone to proactively update the company’s approach to Quality and tools to expedite product development and commercialization. It became clear during my first week at the company that the problems were not a lack of quality or the Quality area, but lack of business centric quality processes.

The events that proceeded my second meeting with the CEO were lack of defined deliverables as products made it through the development process. Defining roles, responsibilities and clear deliverables during product development enables unified approach, focusing team members to work cross-functionally on commercialization efforts. The CEO became an enthusiast of process, metrics and deliverables; transforming an overhead mentality into Quality as a key member of Product Life-Cycle Management.

The Quality role should not be thought of as a policeperson or overhead, but as an active business partner. Utilizing tools familiar tools in evangelizing proactive practices versus reactive compliance. The example transformation was achieved using basic root-cause analysis tools. The issue was not lab failures, but in not clearly defining the deliverables in transferring product from pilot plant to manufacturing sites, including testing requirements. While there was a clear failure, the root cause went much deeper. Defining a phased approach for deliverables helped each organization prepare for short-term and long-term requirements. This successful process reduced cycle-time and elevated ‘at-risk’ project for Management Review. You could learn from this example by checking out our website: https://www.consultwing.com/product-development-tplc/

Example of Phased Approach Product Development with Deliverables

Come back to our site and blog for continuing stories on transforming Quality from “overhead” to engaging business partners. At Consult Wing, we help organizations align, achieve and sustain.