The next step in quality management

TEXT: ROELOF DAVIDS

ROELOF DAVIDS
…is a consultant at TOPdesk. He is seeing more and more customers who implement TOPdesk for Quality Management.

TOPdesk is regularly used in quality control departments or by quality controllers to replace workflow-oriented Excel sheets or other simple databases, as such solutions are often not ideal if you wish to create reports before or after routing activities. This article will explain how two customers use TOPdesk to monitor quality.

Quality Management
Quality can be defined in many ways. The frequently used ISO standard, geared towards quality management, defines quality as ‘the extent to which a number of inherent characteristics [of a product, service] fulfill certain criteria’. By this definition, quality is a relative concept in relation to a set of specific requirements and quality management incorporates all activities that are geared towards raising the level of quality. The Deming-circle: Plan, Do, Check and Act (PDCA) is one example of this. There are a variety of principles and standards according to which you can work, such as the already mentioned ISO standard, HKZ, NEN, SOX, and ITIL. A key component in the organization of quality improvement is to ensure that the organization learns from complaints and other problems. This can be done through accurate registration, analysis

and, where necessary, organization or initiation of improvement projects or activities. This includes corrective and preventive measures. Quality control departments and quality controllers may also deal with other company-related incidents and audit results. Two organizations that use TOPdesk for quality management are the William Schrikker Group (WSG) and Yokogawa Europe B.V.

WSG – From Excel lists to one central place
Janneke de Graaff is a quality controller for the William Schrikker Group, a national organization for youth protection, youth rehabilitation and foster care for parents and/or children with a disability.
Janneke de Graaff is a quality controller for the William Schrikker Group (WSG)

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THE PROGRESS OF LONG-TERM IMPROVEMENTS WAS DIFFICULT TO FOLLOW
Janneke de Graaff, William Schrikker Groep

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In Yokogawa’s line of business, safety is a key issue

The WSG consists of five results-driven units (RDU). De Graaff is responsible for a number of things including monitoring the improvements that are made as a result of complaints, suggestions from employees, audit results and evaluations. At WSG there is no separate quality control department, but quality improvement is practiced in all levels of the organization. “Until now, each RDU kept Excel lists listing the ongoing improvements,” explains de Graaff. “I had very little insight into the status, duration and activities that were part of improvements and it was difficult to follow the progress of long-term improvements. The lists provided a poor overview and did not properly inform the MT about what still needed to happen. The Excel lists were managed by one person per RDU, and I would receive a summary every now and then. There was an enormous backlog in maintaining the lists and, as a result, I often had to wait for lists to be updated.” In the Change Management module, a standard template has been made for improvements. Every improvement has a number of steps that are always carried out, just as in the PDCA circle. When implementing an improvement, the individual responsible selects the template and assigns the relevant operators to the various activities. In this way, it’s always clear who is doing what. Additionally, you can also run a report on the number of improvements per RDU and the source of these improvements – an audit or a suggestion from an employee for example. Complaints come in through TOPdesk as incidents and, if they require a more formal process, a template for this can also be selected in Change Management. In this way you will always have an overview of which complaints are being processed and what has or has not already been taken care of. The complaint report is compiled digitally in TOPdesk. “Those responsible go through any outstanding improvements and process them in TOPdesk,” explains de Graaff, “while new improvements are created in TOPdesk directly. During an internal audit at the youth probation unit, for example, it became apparent that the procedures that should be followed when the

safety of the youth was threatened were not clearly defined. In TOPdesk we were able to register the source of the ambiguity, as well as why a procedure should be introduced and who is responsible for seeing to it.” “As a result I have a good overview of any outstanding activities and can get my reports in order faster. I can see which RDUs see to improvements quickly, as well as when certain activities are unnecessarily left waiting to be done. I can also see whether the problem has actually been solved, because we first have to enter a goal, and later confirm whether it has been achieved. So does the new procedure really offer the clarity that the employees want?” “Tough problems also come to the forefront, because they remain open for a longer period of time, or reoccur. An added advantage is that TOPdesk facilitates communication between RDUs about improvements. For example, when the youth protection MT decides that something should be changed as a result of a suggestion, the IT department is issued with an activity through the system, and youth protection can monitor whether it has been carried out according to expectations.”

Yokogawa – Securing a grip on the improvement process
Jeroen Buurman works in the Quality, Health, Safety and Environment department (QHSE) at Yokogawa Europe B.V., an international enterprise that focuses on industrial automation and control. In Yokogawa’s line of business, safety is a key issue. Customers have high expectations, and that demands compliance with certain standards, such as the ISO9001. It is therefore imperative to properly record and follow up possible areas for improvement. Take customer complaints, findings from audits, or health and safety actions for example; these could all indicate ways to improve safety on the work floor.

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“We are a growing, worldwide organization, and we want to better support the improvement process,” explains Jeroen. “At the moment we work with Excel lists and various databases; there is no central registration. For Europe and Africa, we are going to begin processing all improvements in TOPdesk. For this we will use the Change Management module, within which we can assign different operators to the various activities within each improvement.” “An ongoing area of improvement, for example, is ensuring that all our electrical equipment conforms to the NEN3140, a standard for working safely with electricity. Nowadays, issues are normally resolved, but because there is not enough insight into what has happened, you can not always be certain that the problem will not reoccur. Careful and central registration in TOPdesk allows improvements to penetrate all levels of the organization, and therefore ensures that we all benefit as much as possible from improvements that have been made.” “We also want to go further with our reports: which factors are impeding improvements? We keep track of, for instance, whether an improvement can be traced back to a specific process or production line.”

WE ANTICIPATE THAT WE WILL EARN BACK MUCH MORE THAN OUR INVESTMENT
Jeroen Buurman, Yokogawa Europe B.V.

“Even just the fact that we are now working so intensively on this has brought a lot of attention and, more importantly, support from the management. The commitment from employees to improve the quality of our processes and products is also considerable. It will take time and training to implement TOPdesk throughout the whole company, but we anticipate that we will earn back much more than our investment.”
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ISO 9000:2005, Quality management systems -Fundamentals and vocabulary.

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