I can’t tell you how many manufacturing plants I have been through that have multiple well-positioned bulletin boards covered with neatly hung quality charts. Sadly at times these charts are tombstones that present a set of isolated and singular evaluations for some time period that has passed. I avoid going over to them because it makes me sad to find that the nice neat charts have not been updated in months or even years.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating against shared and visible metrics. When I see these static displays I am naturally suspicious of the engagement surrounding the data. I want to see smiley emoji’s handwritten in with a sharpie over good times. I want to see “got it” written over low points. I want to feel like these charts reflect a cross-functional organizational view around the imperative of quality.
Effective Quality Management Systems Might Mean More Fingerprints
I believe effective quality management is far messier than neat charts on the wall that don’t reflect impassioned effort. In vertically integrated quality management systems there are fingerprints everywhere. The design team’s specifications are just as apparent as the operator’s identification of potential non-conformance. The data and the expectations are aligned and intimate. Sure there may be some high level metrics but those are about shared success or challenges and not departmentalized.
What is a Vertically Integrated Quality Management System?
Vertical integration is defined as the integration of all upstream and downstream processes that contribute to the quality aspects of manufacturing of a product. At one end of the vertical functional integration is the design of the product and selection of materials. A vertically integrated QMS will include the quality definition of the designed product and the specifications of the contributing materials. The other end of the integrated quality-related functionality covers the management of product that has already been put into use by the customer.
Two out of three manufacturers report their customers see quality as a must-have and not a differentiator. Check out a recent white paper that details the challenges and potential solutions for a vertically integrated quality management system. Manufacturers who require growth and scale need the entire team to get their fingerprints all over the quality initiative for a well integrated and substantial impact.