Quality management professionals have become highly valued resources in organizations where product or service excellence is a priority. And it turns out that quality management can be applied all over the enterprise, from software development and manufacturing to operations and customer-facing business processes – and in many distinct industries.
In general, quality management achieves results by building in short-term initiatives that have a positive effect on long-term corporate goals. As an increasingly strategic initiative, quality management encompasses many activities that impact workers up and down the product and service line, including developing a quality policy, creating and implementing quality planning and assurance, quality control and quality improvement. Following are five things to keep top of mind as you examine and evaluate your quality management processes.
1. Assess Your Current Status with the Lean Maturity Matrix
Lean management is a field of quality management that optimizes end-to-end business processes by weeding out unnecessary activities that do not add value to the process. Lean is all about eliminating waste, simplifying individual process elements and implementing a philosophy of continuous improvement, whereby small changes are implemented systematically. How do assess how lean your organization is already? The Lean Maturity Matrix was created to evaluate various components of Lean such as value stream, flow, pull and perfection. Existing processes are mapped and rigorously analyzed to determine which ones are adding value and which are categorized as waste and can be eliminated. The goals is to ultimately maximize long-term value of an entire business process.
2. Integrate Six Sigma Into Your Mix
Six Sigma is another key quality management initiative. It is a structured, data-driven methodology for improving the different processes of an organization to such an extent where it can reduce the defects to only 3.4 per 1 million opportunities. Years ago, Lean and Six Sigma were often administered in separate functional units but are now commonly deployed together to leverage the synergies of each and maximize quality output. Lean Six Sigma focuses heavily on the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) methodology to conduct high-quality projects and build a process of continuous improvement. As organizations strive to squeeze every ounce of value out of their operations, they turn to Lean Six Sigma practitioners who can employ problem-solving and business know-how to enhance internal processes.
3. Master Statistical Analysis
Lean Six Sigma quality management professionals rely on sophisticated yet easy-to-use statistical tools to be successful. Minitab is widely regarded as the leading quality management software package used to manage and manipulate data, gain insights into mechanical processes and turn those insights into actionable solutions. Improving quality often relies on assessing variances in a process analysis, conducting hypothesis testing and developing innovative ways to reduce waste. With practice and training, Minitab can be used as a tactical tool to glean insights and derive solutions to complex manufacturing and process-oriented challenges.
4. Learn Where Lean Six Sigma Can Have the Biggest Impact
Six Sigma Daily recently identified several key roles that leverage Lean Six Sigma principles, and those jobs are increasingly high demand. Some of those roles include:
- Project Manager: It should be no surprise here that those who manage the day-to-day tasks of organizational projects can be key beneficiaries of Lean Six Sigma best practices in quality management, and project managers are increasingly important players that touch almost every facet of the digital enterprise.
- Preconstruction Manager: These professionals oversee construction projects from design to implementation, ensuring that the project meets the client’s requirements. There was a 126 percent increase in these jobs over the last four years.
- Agile Coach: Agile project management methodologies, commonly used in the software industry, help cut waste in the product development lifecycle. Combining Agile with Lean Six Sigma principles can help creates multiples of benefits for those organizations, and Agile coaches are tasked with guiding PMs to leverage every tool at their disposal.
5. Train for the Right Skillsets
Lean Six Sigma can really make a difference for project managers, operations professionals and software developers who need to raise their marketability in today’s highly competitive hiring environment. Online upskilling is the perfect path for many of them because they are able to follow proven learning paths and do it at their own pace in most cases. Quality management training includes:
Lean Six Sigma Green Belt: Users learn the core principles of Lean Six Sigma, DMAIC methodologies and how to implement quality projects and applications.
Lean Six Sigma Black Belt: The highest level of LSS mastery is the black belt. Users learn to master Design for Six Sigma (DFSS), Six Sigma Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control (DMAIC) and Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) using statistical tools and analysis.
Minitab Training: Users get an in-depth look statistical data operations, exporting data to common MS Office applications using Minitab, and applying data and statistical analysis in quality projects.
Many companies talk about the importance of quality in their organizations, but the ones who take it seriously follow these important principles to bring true value to the entire enterprise.