Author: Paul Van Metre
Running a business in 2017 is all about exceeding your customer’s expectations, developing deep relationships built on trust and continuously improving your company to add more value to clients. If you aren't doing this, you're going backwards!
Continuous improvement is what the latest ISO-9001 (and AS9100) standard is all about. The developers of the standard recognize that companies who focus on constantly evolving will have higher quality and better customer satisfaction. It’s proven that companies who are certified are also more profitable. When you fix problems that improve customer service, you also fix problems that cost you money. Unfortunately, some companies only see the certification as a costly requirement pushed on them by customers, or a necessary evil to get a foot in the door at a new customer. They do the bare minimum to get certified and then go back to business as usual until they need to scramble to pass their next audit. You can see it in their QMS. The manual, documents and procedures are all at rev A and haven’t been touched since their last audit. I hate to break it to you, but there is nothing continuous about rev A. Continuous means you’re constantly thinking about and implementing new ways to run your business that increase your value and make you better. This isn’t just about Quality Management, it’s Business Management because it needs to encompass all aspects of your business.
I’m going to throw out a challenge. I’d suggest that every high-level procedure should change revs at least once per year, and more detailed level tasks for daily work should change at least 2-3 times per year. If you consistently make improvements to your business on that type of schedule, you’re going to be a leader in your industry and be unstoppable. The key is to do the work. But where does the time come from?
Just keeping up with working IN your business is more than a full-time job and managing a QMS is a tedious nightmare of paperwork, forms and filing cabinets full of documents, right? How can you find time to work ON your business which is so critical? I’d suggest you must lean out the process of managing your QMS. So it isn't a tedious nightmare of paperwork and filing cabinets. The first step is getting rid of the paper. It’s gotta go!
When you eliminate paper and go all digital, you’ve made the first leap forward in the struggle with rev control and making your QMS much less expensive to manage. You can make sure that people are only finding the latest revision of a document when they go looking. There is only one place to update it when the time comes to make that improvement in your process. The easier it is, the more likely it is that you’ll do it. When you make those improvements, you’ll save time which enables you more free time to make other improvements. It’s an upwards spiral. Auditors will also be impressed - as will customers!
With our customers, we often see high level procedures at rev E or even G! After just a few years. They live the reality that improving business frees up their time to work on their businesses. Through their use of ProShop's QMS software modules they have all the data they need to make the right decisions. Data that is being fed from the ERP and MES modules directly into the QMS systems. They make huge leaps in business improvements and ride that upward spiral to be leaders in their market. So, is 2017 the year that you’ll abandon paper in your shop and focus on accelerating the improvement of your business?