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Thread: Quality department: Do they have to be the enemy of everybody?

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    Default Quality department: Do they have to be the enemy of everybody?

    In most companies I've worked in, relations with the quality department and quality people were almost always very tense. This is often understandable from the top management viewpoint who set things this way in order to check that they're not being cheated. It makes quality people more or less the equivalent of factory police.

    However in another big company known for its cutting-edge supply chain strategies and implementation of lean manufacturing, six sigma etc (GE), relation were not nearly as tense. Sure quality could still block the day's production and make everybody not so-happy but the rapports were a lot more reasoned and heads were cooler.

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    Default Re: Quality department: Do they have to be the enemy of everybody?

    Quality control and quality assurance - the 2 things that are required of production. I believe that there should be a smooth and amiable relationship between the quality department and the production people since their objectives are the same, i.e. to come up with a competitive product that is above par in market standards. But I also understand that sometimes the production people are remiss in their task of quality production such that their output fails when it comes to the standards of the company. However, it is not good to have a tense atmosphere regarding quality control because it will only hamper the efficiency. Maybe a good interaction among the departments should be cultivated so there would have no personal bias and prejudice.

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    Default Re: Quality department: Do they have to be the enemy of everybody?

    At first impression, the quality department could indeed seem like the enemy of workers but as you said, it shouldn't have to be this way. While the people under the quality department have the responsibility to ensure that all products are satisfactorily acceptable by customers, the working atmosphere between them and the workers need not be too stiff. A super strict way of implementing rules and standards could lead more to mistakes because of the atmosphere of fear among workers.

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    Default Re: Quality department: Do they have to be the enemy of everybody?

    Maybe it's because the production personnel is viewing the quality control people as a type of internal police so the efforts of the quality controllers are greeted with apprehension. There is a great deal of responsibility that is resting on the shoulders of the quality controllers. The task of ensuring that the products are able to maintain the highest standards to ensure that it will be able to satisfy the customers and compete with the competitor's products is not an easy undertaking. The diligence that may have to be exercised by the quality personnel may make it seems that they are on the edge most of the times. They will not be able to relax until they are totally satisfied that the product has achieved the required standards. The job that they do is important for ensuring that the workers will have continuous employment and the business remains viable because of the goodwill that is developed when good quality products are able to reach the market. I believe that the other sectors of the production should try to understand the importance of the quality controller's involvement and try to work with them in the best way possible to achieve the ultimate results.

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    Default Re: Quality department: Do they have to be the enemy of everybody?

    Quality assurance often has to be the "tough guy" because they're under a lot of pressure. Depending on what you manufacture, a lack of quality control can cause a huge product recall and failure (at best) and could lead to massive safety issues and potential lawsuits - look at poor Takata with their unending airbag problems. Maybe I'm just used to it, but I think QA being tough on workers and processes is really one of those things that's better in the long-term.

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    Default Re: Quality department: Do they have to be the enemy of everybody?

    I think it is up to the bosses to make sure employees understand that quality checkers aren't their enemy as if bad quality goods were put out then the company would suffer and everyone loses their jobs. These days when everything is outsourced I believe that quality departments are a big part of what separates the expensive products from the cheap products especially considering they both come from the same place nowadays.

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    Default Re: Quality department: Do they have to be the enemy of everybody?

    Quote Originally Posted by explorerx7 View Post
    Maybe it's because the production personnel is viewing the quality control people as a type of internal police so the efforts of the quality controllers are greeted with apprehension. There is a great deal of responsibility that is resting on the shoulders of the quality controllers. The task of ensuring that the products are able to maintain the highest standards to ensure that it will be able to satisfy the customers and compete with the competitor's products is not an easy undertaking. The diligence that may have to be exercised by the quality personnel may make it seems that they are on the edge most of the times. They will not be able to relax until they are totally satisfied that the product has achieved the required standards. The job that they do is important for ensuring that the workers will have continuous employment and the business remains viable because of the goodwill that is developed when good quality products are able to reach the market. I believe that the other sectors of the production should try to understand the importance of the quality controller's involvement and try to work with them in the best way possible to achieve the ultimate results.
    Very well said. I think that this is what workers in the production department need to understand so they won't have to view the quality assurance department as their enemy. Both of these areas are important in running the business and if one of them fails to do the work properly, the other one will surely get affected. The two departments need to work as one and maintain a symbiotic relationship in order to produce high quality products.

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    Default Re: Quality department: Do they have to be the enemy of everybody?

    It is not the control per se that people hate, it is the perceived injustice and also the perceived arrogance of the quality guys. That is what makes relations tense. In my experience, I've seen a case of a quality guy assigned to monitor a production line, the earliest he came to the job was 10:30 and on average 11:00 to 12:00, the way he justified this is that he had to wait for the first batches to be produced so he can control them so he had no reason to come at 8:00 like everybody else. Justifiable but doesn't bode well for team spirit. Another guy was in charge of control between production lines, and he spent most of his day on Facebook, not even hiding it relaxed and stretched on his chair like a sloth. That was also because he had to wait something like a whole day before he had his batch to control. The quality bosses who were in offices and not in the production workshop could just block your whole day production at a whim, with no real justification. The whole batch can be dumped if they block it for too long.

    I personally faced an issue with one quality lady, who out of no where, objected to the upgrade of my privileges in a traceability software, even I was entitled to it and production could go without me being assigned these privileges. Why? Because she wanted to "review me" (I ended up having an annoying and entirely futile 20 min interview in her office). This was the official reason, the true reason that all insiders knew, is that she had nothing else to do and found an opportunity to fill time of her day. Yes, because quality people generally have an empty schedule and spend their days doing nothing.

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    Default Re: Quality department: Do they have to be the enemy of everybody?

    The tensions and the friction between quality and production don't really have anything to do with the nature of their respective departments. It's the set of standards that must be upheld that causes misunderstanding.

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    Default Re: Quality department: Do they have to be the enemy of everybody?

    Quality and production shouldn't be the enemy, they should be working towards the same aim. For example if production cannot production because of a broken machine, Quality and Testing should be standing there with them in the office talking to management and stating that they will not pass anything until it is repaired, not just pushing things back to production and saying "your problem".

    In the more modern production methods, like Agile, testing and QA are part of the system working with development and production to get the products out and the best they can be. When departments have tension, that's when problems really start because then it becomes which department wins, instead of whether the company does.

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