Quality is an assurance that product / services matches with specifications promised at the time of accepting the contract from customer or giving order to a vendor. If the quality matches consistently, the product / service builds BRAND.

The Quality Department ensures above both for raw material received from a vendor and finished goods before delivery to the customer.

Why activities of Quality Department critical?

Imagine a racer driving on a racing track. He drives at the best since he believes that the track is smooth and of good quality. But, if the track happens to be of poor quality and cracks in between, then, what happens → a major accident!!!

Similarly, rocket launched in space with one minor non-quality product causes failure of entire mission;

Similar is the situation in case of an organisation when it delivers the good of poor quality or inconsistent quality. Following are ramifications:

      • Delay in delivery of goods;
      • Goods rejection → resultant loss (demurrage, air-uplift, scrap sale, etc.);
      • Claims, deductions in dues, debit notes from customers;
      • Discontinuity of future orders;
      • Bad reputation in the media → losing existing / prospective customers;
      • Disputes at various courts → organisation to prove that it had no mala-fide / bad intentions while supplying the goods

Organisation cannot afford to deliver Non-Qualitative products come what may.

Therefore, the activities of Quality department are very critical in ensuring that organisation meets the customers’ expectations of delivering qualitative goods and honouring their trusts of delivering what was promised by the organisation.

Role of Entrepreneur / CEO

    • Very important role of Entrepreneur / CEO in department’s functioning;
    • Quality department’s checking to be built in lead time of product flow / value stream;
    • Sufficient staffing of the department for conducting quality checking;
    • Giving reasonable time for quality checks;
    • Investing in latest technology for conducting quality checks;
    • Hearing observations / suggestions /complaints of the department and resolving in a time-bound manner;
    • Emphasising not to take short-cuts / short-term benefits while conducting quality checks.

Deliverables (i.e. expectations from the Department)

    • Ensuring finished goods matches customer’s specifications;
    • Ensuring raw material matches organisation’s purchase specifications;
    • Updating purchase and store department of defective quality → warnings to vendors;
    • Working in un-biased transparent manner and not fudging / manipulating the test results;
    • Maintaining sufficient documentation to justify the working of the department;
    • Demanding independent certifications / test reports of raw material for cross-verification of results.

Important developments in the Quality function

    • Development of sensors to detect defects during product flow → checking of bigger sample possible

Traditional / Normal ways of working in Quality function

    • CEO not giving due weightage to the department → voice of the department subdued;
    • Quality department checking very small samples → result of sample not good for entire lot;
    • Biased functioning → tempered results;
    • Customers not satisfied with product quality.

Conflicts (Inter-departmental) / Challenges with Quality function

    • Transparency in working
        • Major challenge;
        • Compromise in quality happening in the industry;
        • To maintain adequate documentation of tests conducted and their results;
        • Demanding independent certifications / test reports of raw material for cross-verification of results.
    • Delay in goods’ approval
        • Belief that the department creates flow blockage → takes undue long time in giving approval;
        • Production and marketing department bypassing quality department;
        • Pressure on the department to pass the goods’ lot with very small sample.
    • Investment in technology
        • Department demands investment in technology for using sensors → for checking consistency in quality → organisation not willing to invest

Some of the Process Implementation for better Quality Department

    • Checklists for: 
        • Receipt date of goods; inspection date; report date; comments;
        • Sample drawn; sample results; samples rejected;
        • Goods not inspected; reasons for non-verification (reason may be “based upon rating of the vendor” or “third party certification”);
        • Goods rejected; reasons for rejection; vendor’s submission;
    • Instruction to departments
        • Accounts department not to process vendors’ bills and Store department not to accept the goods unless checked by Quality department;
        • Dispatch department not to dispatch finished goods unless checked by Quality department;
        • Checking of small lot even for top-rated vendors to cross-verify vendors’ claims or avoiding en-route tempering of goods;
        • Preservation of test reports for future customer’s claims for poor quality
    • Templates for
        • Verification of quality specifications by the quality department;
        • Vendors to send filled quality templates alongwith goods;
        • Organisation to send quality certificate alongwith finished goods for building customer confidence.
    • Reporting (Monthly)

        • Average sample checked during the day by the department;
        • Customer’s complaints for quality; report of quality department; actions taken to avoid in future.
        • Goods rejected; reasons for rejection; vendor’s submission

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