In the first four parts we have begun to understand a little on Understanding End User Approvals. We have discussed the variations in end user approvals explaining how no two audits are the same, looked at end user’s prioritization and started to review ”quality in action”. In this article we will look at Mission Statements and Management Team Performance Reviews.
Typical Mission Statement
“Typical” mission statements refer to:
- The Company desires to be the best in class delivering
top quality products and services …often through
- Delivery to be on time …others qualify >95%
- Customer satisfaction to be > 98%.....or even to exceed
- HSE performance ….
I am fully supportive of such Mission Statements where there is evidence that the whole company operates towards these goals. These statements should be underpinned with a structured approached to demonstrate that all employees are energized to contribute. The company strategy and objectives should be clearly linked to continuous improvement.
Management team performance review
As the company progresses or develops there should be management team performance review meetings that identify areas of improvement. Effective communication is essential for success. Targets should be set, schedules agreed and the responsible person and team identified to deliver. Once delivered follow up checks should be done to confirm the effectiveness of
the change. Some targets may be needed to be reduced on an annual basis to achieve the desired performance. The norm is to hold an annual meeting for stable companies. More frequent meetings are held for more pro-active or developing companies.
So who should attend these management team performance review meetings? Sales, Engineering, Manufacturing? The quality answer is “Multi discipline teams covering the various operating functions.” Preparation for this meeting requires the gathering of meaningful performance data, pre-analysis and recommendations. Often the Quality Manager sets up and facilitates the activity though the COE will often chair and drive the meeting. I have seen a wide spectrum of minutes of these meetings. Those that are focused and well prepared with clear deliverables and goals for the next year. Others have “weak” actions that do not promote improvement. Experience indicates that a large proportion of these companies lack understanding and training to what is required. Follow up of reviews are poor.
Performance topics typically covered are:
- Audit findings
- Process and product conformity
- Customer feedback
- Delivery performance
- HSE performance
Should HSE be the first on the list?
Audits findings refer to internal and external. Too often companies concentrate on external audit findings and sometimes the various findings are not cross related from
audit to audit. So many lessons that can be learnt are missed. Internal audits require trained internal auditors, with audit teams and a schedule. It’s a pity that, whilst auditing companies, such performance data is lacking or is just in-hand. I cannot over emphasize the need for internal audits. I always look at those firms that have audited the company. Are they end users, contractors, distributors or OEM’s etc? Each views the company differently. Comments vary.
Process and product non-conformity
Process and product non-conformity data is gathered from client feedback, external audits, internal audits and sub-supplier audits. Special areas of concern could also be included as reduction in design changes, reduction in waste material or even reduction in changed orders. Companies identify improvement areas and set up measurement techniques.
Annual targets are a healthy approach stating how many audits are aimed for together with an annual reduction in non-conformances. The “how many audits” is uncommon? I view if a company is being audited especially by new potential clients then this is an indication that the company is having some success in the market.
The common question is: what’s the acceptance level for non-conformances? The goal is obviously zero. I look at the company’s age. If it’s a young company then targets could be higher at first compared to those older, mature companies. The trend though is to reduce over time. I am happy to report that there are those companies that consistently achieve zero audit findings that do not warrant a NCR. Recommendations are made but are not mandatory.
Delivery on time
Delivery on time measurements vary within the valve community. This should be simple, contract award to the contract delivery date, whether it’s ex-works of delivery on board etc. Some practices adjust the delivery to accommodate changed orders, delays of response from the clients and even packaging for dispatch. The hours of discussions on this topic have been excessive. A company that consistently delivers on time reflects that it’s well organized and controls its critical path of production.
Customer feedback via, say, internet questionnaires or due to the product not being correct at receipt is analyzed. Unfortunately normally only negative feedback is received though you do see complimentary letters. If you are like me on the internet when receiving questionnaires I normally give them very low priority and delete. The company assumes no feedback is good feedback. I tend to look for those companies that consistently exceed customer expectations. Quality is genuinely being executed.
The HSE performance statement within the valve community Mission Statements can be omitted. End users are looking more and more to those companies stating HSE within the company Mission Statement. Companies do undertake analysis of lost time accidents, visits to doctors and have directives to improve HSE within manufacturing so why not include it in the Mission Statement?
Thank you for your continued support. Please contact me if you have any questions or different views.
Barrie Kirkman, BSc CEng MIMechE, writes a regular column for Valve World, bringing his own personal views from inside the valve business.
Barrie can be reached on: firstname.lastname@example.org.