“We heard you have someone who makes quality tools easy to understand and… well, not too boring. During a visit to our facility, do you think he could give a quick presentation… maybe inspire us a little or give us some ideas?”
This is the type of relationship that we develop with our customers. And yes, of course, we can provide a little something extra: that’s what we do. The more successful our customers are, the happier we are as well.
Before conducting quality presentations like PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) or fishbone diagrams, our QSH&E Manager likes to start with a 20-minute introduction to quality. This may sound boring, but quality changes just as our human civilization does and the parallels are riveting, bringing about two main points.
- Quality evolved with supply & demand
- Inventions drive changes in quality.
The key, of course, is to make it RELATABLE. Once you understand and can relate to the purposes of quality from
- craftsmanship pride, through
- the industrial revolutions’ mechanization (leading to mass inspections/audits), and finally through
- process control and Quality Management Systems,
it’s easier to absorb training in whichever quality tools work best for your department and/or organization.
One of our customers asked us if we could conduct this quick introduction to quality presentation and talk about a few quality tools we like to use at Marcus Paint. Great!
The overall goal was to inspire discussion between management, supervisors/group leaders, production, and quality employees in all areas to discuss their challenges and barriers to being more successful.
The entire presentation was just 30 minutes. The feedback was very positive, including that hearing from someone outside the organization, but close enough to understand the manufacturing parallels (e.g. Marcus Paint being a supplier) was important to the interest of the group.
Later feedback was that management took the opportunity to work on better systems or platforms for idea generation. They tried many avenues; with
- dry erase easels in each area of the plant,
- anonymous drop-boxes,
- bi-weekly continuous improvement sessions, and
- 5S inspection sheets stressing the ideas/comments sections.
Their management had always cared about everyone’s ideas for improvement, but just didn’t have the nudge to get started with making it easier for everyone and showing just how much they and their ideas mattered to them.
These “platforms for idea generation” resulted in overall excitement, inclusion, ownership, and morale boosts for those involved, especially as many of the IDEAS were implemented, increasing productivity by an overall 20% in that same year.