We primarily get what we want by writing out the Company’s objectives, otherwise they are just dreams! Objectives are like wishes, but better defined and measurable. This week we are tackling the King of Hearts, the master of wishes and desires. We correlate this card to your Quality Objectives. Think of these objectives as markers to ensure your organization is working effectively toward its strategic direction and demonstrating continual improvements.
In our last post, we discussed the importance of the Quality Policy. If you haven’t established your Quality Policy yet, go back and nail that down. By its very nature, it will define and lead you in establishing very clear and precise objectives. For example, if your Quality Policy states that you are to exceed customer expectations, then one of your Quality Objectives should relate to a result that substantiates exceeding your customers’ expectations. The best advice to offer everyone is to establish 3 top level objectives around subjects that everyone can relate to, for instance of: On Time Delivery, Customer Satisfaction (through a survey result all questions or one of the questions) and product/service conformity is mandated. The objectives should be in alignment with other corporate goals, vision and values and prevent from causing conflicting objectives with these. From here your company should develop lower level KPIs (key process indicators) for most departments.
More than just being consistent with your Quality Policy, your Quality Objectives must be measurable. These measures can be quantitative (e.g. percentage of daily output that meets quality standards) or qualitative (e.g. employee’s rating on customer surveys). Regardless, the objectives should be set and measured using suitable techniques, such as SMARTER, balanced score cards, or dashboards. In case you are wondering what the ER includes for Excitement and Reported.
There may be industry specific requirements to consider as well. And while these may meet the overall objectives of your Quality Management System, the Quality Objectives are a great place to communicate those specific, measurable requirements with your team.
And speaking of your team, you need to maintain documented information of your Quality Objectives. Examples of where you can choose to maintain documented information include, but are not limited to, business plans, balanced score cards, dashboards, intranet and communication boards as well as keeping trends in order that they can be easily transferred to the management review presentation. Lastly, the Standard requires that your organization is keeping everyone informed of the status towards meeting the objectives. Use the data presentation as a means to motivate all personnel to be committed to contribute to the achievements.
If you have taken the above steps in creating your Quality Objectives, congratulations! You have a basic and functioning document. However, to ensure its implementation and effectiveness, there needs to be more in place.
There are four additional elements that will make your Quality Objectives really matter and help your organization achieve greatness. Each of your objectives should:
- Be relevant to conformity of products and services and enhanced customer satisfaction – There are innumerable objectives you could institute for the sake of quality. But is this objective directly ensuring the quality of my product or the customer’s need? Make sure your objective is needed.
- Be monitored and/or reviewed for progress – This could be carried out through any suitable means, including progress reports, customer feedback or management reviews. The key here is to ensure they are consistent and measurable. Then they are reported at the management review and if the objectives were not met, it is important to have some explanation and to have had a corrective action to be initiated. It’s definitely expected to revise the objectives as necessary.
- Be communicated clearly with all pertinent personnel – You should communicate the quality objectives throughout your organization at all levels and to interested parties, as necessary. Setting the expectations of what defines quality and how to measure it will save time and frustration.
- Be updated when needed – Potential or actual changes can impact your organization’s ability to achieve its stated Quality Objectives. Those changes need to be considered and action taken as necessary, to ensure new issues or requirements are addressed. This is why monitoring progress and communicating quality expectations is so important.
Now, set up your Quality Objectives! Remember, to take into consideration factors such as your organization’s current capabilities and constraints, customer feedback, other market issues and now new with the Standard needs and expectations of interested parties. Feel free to submit your objectives through our forms and we will supply feedback.