‘What can you do …?’ is probably more associated with a bid for the presidential race! So let me assure you my aims are much more down-to earth … What can you do to improve the success of your business? What can you do put the manufacturing plant where you work on the map?
I’m not suggesting anything too wild. On the contrary … Why not start by taking quality management seriously?
Audits often have a bad reputation.
Suddenly everyone is tearing their hair out because the big bad wolf is visiting, and we need to make sure we have all our paperwork in order. This reflects a culture where people are checking quality indicators just to pass the audit, not because they really understand how that process can help them improve the business.
Definitely it’s key that what you measure/assess in the quality management process has a useful purpose. If you need to ensure no allergens are present in your food products, then you need to measure whether workers entering the controlled area follow the required allergen control steps.
How to measure is key. Having a security guard checking what everyone is doing will produce poor return on investment. So maybe you could check whether protocol is being followed by doing unannounced visits, a specified number of times per day or per week.
If you do notice that people are straying from the required procedures, it’s important to take some time to investigate why this is happening. Is it because they don’t know what the procedure is? Because they couldn’t care less what it is? Because they are too busy to take time to follow the correct steps? Or because it seems that replenishing the hand-sanitizer is not really anyone’s job?
By understanding the underlying issue, you can address it. Whether it’s ensuring that the procedure is reliably and regularly communicated to staff, exploring why staff are unmotivated, ensuring there are enough resources for things to be done properly, or clarifying certain roles in the team.
Unfortunately many times manufacturers are so focused on getting the product ready for the client, that they neglect to allocate enough resources to address and manage issues raised by internal audits. So the audit is seen as an enemy, rather than a partner to help us succeed.
In these cases, the obvious answer is that a culture change, starting from the top, is needed. And I stand by this. Such a culture change could lead to people taking more individual responsibility, more resources to ensure that there is time to do things well, and a workplace where problems are resolved – so people are more likely to point out issues, as they know it won’t be a waste of time.
But also, what can you do? How can you bring about change? How can you ensure that was is being measured is actually leading to good management decisions?
So often there is a culture of complacency within a team, but if one person gets their act together, there is soon a clear shift in the right direction. That person could be you!
How is this relevant to BRC?
We are very proud to have developed a gap analysis for BRC-V8. Get in touch for more details as to how this can help your business.