Quality Management and Accreditation – it just costs too much and is not worth it.
“There is no point in implementing a Quality Management System. It will cost too much on consultants, accreditation fees, Process Mapping, disruption to the business and it’s just a paper exercise anyway!”
“We only want to get the certificate on the wall so we don’t have to fill in all those pre-qualification forms.”
“Our Suppliers are ISO accredited, our Clients are ISO Accredited – I suppose we should be – but how do I convince the board of the huge expense and how do I justify that to the Financial Controller?”
How many times have we all heard this when talking to a new client? Convincing a company to adopt a Quality Management System should not be that hard. Sometimes the overall upfront capital expenditure is all that is seen and is not considered when compared to the overall operational savings that can be realised.
I recently met a client who was reticent to commit to adopting a full Quality Management System across their company. They squarely fell into the category of the third example quote above. Their suppliers were ISO accredited. The companies they supplied to were ISO accredited – they however did not have a documented management system let alone an ISO accreditation. The Director of Operations was aware that they really needed a QMS but wanted a way to justify to the board that they should undertake the expense just to get a certificate on the wall.
My initial approach was to tell him to forget the certificate of the ISO accreditation. Without dwelling on all the requirements of the standard and the needs for accreditation, the conversation went something like the following;
Me – “I bet I know what keeps you awake at night, what takes up most of your time at works and what causes the most headaches”.
Client - “Oh yeah, go on then”, was the response……
Me - “Orders that have been placed for the wrong specification of equipment…..”
Me - “Suppliers that deliver the wrong items….”
Me - “Customers that won’t pay their invoice because the wrong items were delivered, or do not have all the operation or maintenance manuals, or the good do not do what they expected…..”
Me - “The transport company damaged the good in transit…..”
Client - “Yes that is absolutely what takes up all my time at work”. “Even to the extent that I can’t get on with my day job!”, came the response.
Me - “Well, if we targeted the operations that are giving you most pain and developed a Quality Management Process within these areas that targeted the reduction in these issues occurring in the future you would be happy?”.
Client – “Yes”.
Me – “and you would have more time to do those day to day things?”.
Client – “Absolutely.”
Me – “Well if we sit together and review these processes and come up with an agreed strategy that prevents these happening again, you will save money and time wasted on putting these issues right. That saving in operational expense would pay for your ISO accreditation 3 time over. Now that is something you can take to the board and convince them that the expense is worthwhile.”
I have yet to find a company that cannot realise operational savings by developing and implementing a Quality Management System.