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Quality Creates...Perspective

A Dr. Seuss Approach to Quality Management Systems

Brenda Percy
by Brenda Percy on Fri, Sep 26, 2014

drseussCoverI’m a huge fan of the genius that was Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss.  His lighthearted stories all had deep meaning at the core. His words were filled with great advice for the young and the young at heart.  So it comes as no surprise to me that while reading “Horton Hears a Who” to my daughters, I was struck with this thought…how would Dr. Seuss have approached quality management?  Certainly not conventionally. And with that, here’s my tribute to the prose of Dr. Seuss…with a quality management twist.

One extremely long day in the building of Tule, a Quality Manager sat pondering, not knowing quite what to do. Something must be done to improve our processes galore, lately things seem to be lagging, I can’t take much more. 

Quality Dr. SeussHis employees were working earnestly, much like every day, yet something in the system was getting in the way. I must figure it out, I must know what’s wrong, why something we’re doing isn’t effective, and why each task takes so long.

His processes were manual, they required much work, there wasn’t much that could function without an employee tasked to help.  There had to be something, something that could be done, to take the brunt off each person and fix the way the process was run.

Dr. Seuss QualityThen one day, at last, he realized with a start—aha! I’ve got it!  I know what’s kept us apart. Our processes our siloed, our system’s grown cold, we can’t move forward without doing out with the old.  Yes, that was it.  I hear automation is key. Yes that must be it, and that it shall be.   

So our Quality Manager, what did he do? He did away with the spreadsheets and said, in with the new! No more manual entry, which saved hours in time, no more hunting down folks for updates, everything was now in its prime! 

Quality Dr. Seuss

How has life been easier in the building of Tule? Keep reading, I’ll tell you, that’s just what I’ll do. 

Oh, the Time You Will Save!: Before, way back then,  to get any updates in this place, our Quality Manager would have to chase after Ben and get briefed face to face.  You see, Ben didn’t respond to emails, not once, not at all, which drove our Quality Manager right straight up the wall. It wasn’t Ben’s fault, no, not at all, for Ben was always working on the production floor, a place called “the vault.” So with a sigh our Quality Manager just said, fine. He would have to do all his follow ups in person if he wanted to get things done on time. This wouldn’t have been an issue, this would have been fine, except for a problem found down the line.  For our Quality Manager was stationed in wing 3 and Ben? Ben was in wing 5,042 B.  But here’s the silver lining, here’s the fix for that. The quality system can go mobile meaning Ben can see updates no matter where he is at. This change, this one single change, has saved countless hours of running after Ben, so our Quality Manager can now focus on training the new girl, Jen.

Risk 1 and Risk 2: Back in the old days, not that long ago, our Quality Manager took a manual approach to risk, which turned out to be a big no-no. Risk here and risk there, there was risk everywhere! He started to lose track and worried that things would begin to slip through the cracks.  His new process is much better, since automation is here, now he can let the system do the heavy lifting, so there!  He can identify risk, and see just where it’s at, but there’s more, so much more, there’s not only that. He can see risk from here in Tule all the way to their office in Timbuktu. No matter where it’s at, he can associate risk in all areas, with no more surprises out of the blue.

Risk 1 and Risk 2One CAPA, Two CAPA…:  Speaking of risk, this one goes hand in hand, for you need one to help with the other, it’s really quite grand.  In the old days at Tule, regardless of nature, it used to go that each and every adverse event reached corrective action stature. They used to think that this was the best way, but soon realized that their energy was simply wasting away.  In fact, on corrective action 5,400,262, they realized that this process just wouldn’t do. For poor Jill in Wing 1, she just couldn’t keep up. You see, she was tasked with looking for the riskiest corrective actions of the bunch.  However, as she soon found, when everything is a CAPA, the critical issues get drowned. She couldn’t tell larger catastrophes from small fixes, they had become too hidden in the CAPA jumbles and mixes.  A corrective action on their corrective action, that’s what needed to be done, and with the implementation of the quality system a new life had begun.  

Now life at Tule is much simpler, much simpler indeed, they are making new progress, and everything is approached with such speed! All corrective actions have been reduced, now that they are approaching risk right, cut by more than three-quarters, much to Jill’s delight.

The lesson found here and what our Quality Manager has learned to do? Don’t try manually what technology can automate for you.  Don’t overexert energy that can be used in another way, let the quality system do the work, it’s much easier I say!

Oh the Time you will Save!

Oh the Time You Will Save! [VIDEO]
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Brenda Percy
Written by Brenda Percy
Brenda is the editor of the EtQ blog.
Written by Author

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