Have you ever noticed that the Quality Department and the Operation Department of your company seem not to work for the same company? While the Operation Department is looking for productivity, efficiency and cost reduction, the Quality Department is looking for standardization, compliance and robustness in the processes. With these radically different objectives, it sounds logical that the Quality Department and the Operation Department can’t efficiently work together, right? WRONG! Here is why re-connecting both departments will help you reach your objectives as an entity.

Quality is not a department on its own

If there is a department to manage the Quality System, Quality should rather be in every department of your company. The Quality Department cannot work in silo with their own objectives. Quality must help the whole organization having more robust processes to reach their goals. In the case of Operation, Quality must support the daily operation in order to reach the expected productivity. Hence the end objectives of the Quality Department should not be standardization, compliance and process robustness. The end objectives of the Quality Department are exactly the same than the Operation Department. Standardization, compliance and robustness are only the tools to reach them.

How ISO tries to reconnect both departments

One of the most important mission of the Quality Department is to implement a system that fosters the continuous improvement in the organization. The success of this mission, often shaped by the PDCA - Plan Do Check Act - promoted by the ISO 9001:2015 certification leads to better processes and thus to a better productivity. This methodology implies the participation of every shareholder in the organization. While the planning (Plan) often comes from an office, the execution (Do) comes from the ground. That is why the feedback from the real operations matters and it must be reflected in the Quality System. It’s not a secret: continuous improvement is the result of collaboration and the addition of everyone’s knowledge in an organization.

ISO understood it and that is why the last edition of ISO 9001 (2015) is less about documentation (theoretical) and more about iteration (PDCA) on what truly happens in the operation. This will to implement a Quality system closer to the reality of the operations is also reflected by the emphasis on risk management which becomes a foundation of the standard. In Operations everything goes fast and the Department has to ensure the expected productivity is reached at the end of the day. The reaction of a failure must be quick and efficient. With the edition of the standards, the Quality Department is here to support this challenge in implementing a robust risk management system.

Quality’s Objectives = Operation’s Objectives?

The Quality Department is too often seen as a constraint. The Quality Department is not a constraint, it’s a support. In implementing a supportive Quality Department in your organization, you re-align the objectives of each department to get all the workforce work together. And it is obviously win-win. While the Operation benefits of an effective Quality System to continuously improve the processes in order to be more productive, the Quality Department benefits of the feedback received from the daily operation to keep the Quality System up-to-date.

And it’s only the beginning...

In conclusion, Quality & Operation Departments have to work together. Aligned on the same goals, it will lead your organization to an increase in productivity, the continuous improvement and a more robust Quality System that runs by itself. This is all the cohesion of your organization that will be refined for the best, with a better collaboration and a better communication inter-department.

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