PCB Norsemen: The Importance of Quality Management

Didrik_Bech.jpgWhy Your Company Should Focus on Quality Management
Most companies have a quality management system (QMS), but the important factor is not if you have one; it’s about how that system is implemented in your company’s values, strategies, and goals. How can you use your QMS as a competitive advantage to support your core business and not be just a document collecting dust?

Over the last 18 months, we have worked diligently in the board and officer group on our strategies and QMS. This work has been done to facilitate adjustment in market trends, updating it for potential future challenges and opportunities, risk analysis, and ensuring that we are internally aligned. Most importantly, we have included the manager group in this development to further enhance and improve our strategic implementation and execution strength.

Having the full team aboard has resulted in a more agile, responsive, and coherent organizational structure, which has proven invaluable during the COVID-19 outbreak. We are able to detect, respond, and implement global measurements with speed and efficiency relative to prior times.

The Must-Haves in Quality Management
To ensure that a QMS functions optimally, it needs to represent the core aspects of the company, known by heart by every employee, and linked to every department’s procedure and methodology. It’s like building a house or producing a faulty printed circuit; if the design is wrong, then the end-product will not be as planned.

Implementing a QMS is all about ensuring that it is designed to support the organization and its procedures and not something irritating, representing bureaucracy and extra work. It should be well-written and documented, but often it is hidden away in a dusty drawer and only read when there are major challenges. Quite often, that’s too late.

What factors should you consider when implementing a QMS? First, start with the basics: Why, how, and when? 

Why Is It Smart and Necessary to Implement a QMS?
Unquestionably, a QMS will improve the effectiveness of your organization. It is needless to say that with clear goals, mandates, and responsibilities, life becomes easier for everyone. With clearly defined goals and measurements, one will be able to determine the efficiency of one’s strategies. The consequences of improving your performance and introducing innovative processes are as endless as the pursuit of outstanding quality performance. 

Firstly, by understanding and keeping track of your actions and your external environment, you will be able to implement changes before an emerging market condition, environmental circumstance, or government regulation is in full effect. This ability will improve your competitive position and strengthen your shareholders’ values. 

Secondly, by eliminating defects and waste, you will benefit from higher profitability as a result of reduced costs by having a better cost management system. This will result in increased job security for the employees and allow them to focus on other value-generating aspects for your customers. The end result of this chain reaction will be an increase in customer loyalty, retention, and improved market value. 

How Should You Build Your QMS?
As we all know, there are as many paths as there are masters, but only one destination. For example, our quality methodologies are based on Six Sigma, Lean, Kaizen, and good old common sense, but these must be adapted to customer and company requirements to be optimal.  

A good starting point is quality performance toward customers and what creates value for them. Set your goals based on this. Once the goals are defined, determine where you can support our customers and create value in your systems, procedures, and decision processes. Accordingly, once you determine and define where you can create value in your systems, procedures, and decision processes, create an internal log system and methodology to document and measure this value-creating process.  

When Is Your Attention Required?
As important as defining strategies, goals, and measurements is, the method and routine for continuously analyzing the situation are just as critical. Hence, a sturdy organizational routine in your management structure to ensure that one is monitoring the situation frequently and consistently. 

Establish a regular analysis meeting with one responsible person from each department, let them make decisions, and implement corrective actions and measurements to improve the company’s excellence. This will be one vital step during a long journey in your company path towards continuous working with your QMS.



Five Reason Why a QMS Is a Smart Investment
If you are still in doubt about implementing a QMS, here are the top five reasons why you should. Having a QMS improves:

1. Organizational Effectiveness
It’s all about goals. We need a goal to stretch toward, no matter if you work in sales, customer service, technical, or procurement. No goals = no gains. With no parameters to measure improvements, or a lack of them, how can you expect the teams to keep the spirit up? Set clear goals and measure and review the organization’s ability to reach them. When an organization can present clear and reachable goals, increased improvement and effectiveness can happen. 

2. Customer Satisfaction
Satisfied customers mean returning customers, which is what we all work hard to achieve. A well-integrated QMS should focus on customer satisfaction and be designed to document customer feedback on performance and further use this information to improve customer satisfaction. Then, the “circle of improvements” in your company will avoid any disruptions.  

3. Compliance
Compliance is a high priority. Developing and following multiple standards and regulations for an industry allows no room for slack when documenting, auditing, and reporting internally to governments and customers. There is no room for mistakes. By integrating these processes into your QMS and tailoring your IT systems to handle this data, you can obtain full control of your customers’ data, access control, audits, and certificates.  

4. Company Culture
Humans have different purposes and goals, but working in a company where there is no goal or strategy can potentially drain your energy and make the job and role unfulfilling. By establishing clear goals and priorities in the QMS, communicating it internally, and aligning the departments, your colleagues will know where the company is heading and feel more secure and confident in how to support the goals.

5. Documentation
The need for documentation, review control, escalation levels, and process control is as important in small as large organizations. Including this in the QMS will ease the review situation and secure that correct information is shared at the right level. Implementing routines and documenting all processes in the QMS provides predictability and ensures that all activities and documents are aligned and fulfilled. This makes life easier for all colleagues with clear mandates and objectives and complete control for the manager and officer group.

All On Board, or Else the Ship Goes Down
I stumbled across this quote the other day by John Ruskin: “Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort.” I absolutely agree. Quality is not something you will naturally obtain overnight; it’s an ongoing expense that needs to be constantly developed and nurtured.  

The world, as we know it today, offers endless opportunities and challenges in all industries and on all levels. However, by implementing a QMS, it’s easier to stay on track, avoid costly deviations on the road, and make sure the entire team is on the same path. Success does not come because of one group of leaders with good ideas. Success can only be achieved when all are on board, contributing at every level of the organization toward common goals. Seek to be aligned with your customers’ processes, support their value-creating process, and strengthen their competitive advantage, ensuring quality process control. 

This column originally appeared in the June 2020 issue of PCB007 Magazine.



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