Enterprises looking to build a culture of safety and quality excellence have no choice but to embrace automation and digital transformation. But, there’s one more factor that is essential to spread this culture across the organization. That factor is organizational mindset.
At the end of the day, it is not about processes or automation. While technology can drive efficiency, real cultural change happens because of people. Continuous improvement, real-time analysis of key quality and safety events, combined with the right organizational culture, lie at the heart of a safety and quality-first company.
In this blog, we highlight five examples where companies took a big hit because of a failure of safety management, even though these companies had a robust quality management strategy.
It is now time for enterprises to harness the power of an integrated Quality, Health, Safety, and Environment (QHSE) system.
At ComplianceQuest, we’ve served our enterprise customers across a range of sectors – from manufacturing and life sciences to automotive, aerospace, and hi-tech – with automating their EQMS process.
Our product that is natively built on the Salesforce.com platform makes it extremely easy to drive a data-centric culture to embrace quality excellence. With a highly flexible, scalable, integrated, and collaborative platform, our EQMS made it easy for quality leaders to look at data across customer, internal and supplier dashboards and make quality-related decisions with data at the core.
Additionally, the system drives continuous improvement of quality processes, making it simple to upgrade both technology and workflows.
Thanks to conversations and discussions with numerous leaders across the world, we realized that there was a crying need for an EHS (Environment, Health, Safety) system that was also built on the ‘Real Cloud.’ Adding safety (and health and environment) related solutions would make a quality system genuinely complete. We realized that pursuing a mission of quality excellence alone wasn’t enough.
To truly complete the process, an enterprise had to embrace a continuously improving mindset towards both quality AND safety.
Earlier this year, we acquired LifeGuard Solutions, a comprehensive Environment, Health & Safety Management (EHS) Solution that is also built natively on the Salesforce platform, just like our EQMS solution.
Our EHS Solution includes the following solutions:
- Health and Safety
- Risk Management
- Supplier and Contractor
- Training compliance
We’re now building a truly integrated QHSE (EQMS + EHS) that’ll empower business leaders across sectors to take advantage of a combined technology solution.
In a recently published whitepaper, we focus on seven distinct advantages of implementing a unified system for quality and safety.
Let us take a look at several safety-related mishaps from around the world. These events have happened across decades and industries, highlighting the failure of an organization’s safety system. It emphasizes on the need for not choosing between quality or safety but pursuing both. It also throws light on the significant damage caused by a safety mishap, even in organizations that are well-known for their quality management standards.
In 1978, Ford recalled 1.4 million units of its 1971 model Pinto, priced at just $2,000. It was found to have a structural design fault where the fuel tank was found to be close to the rear bumper and rear axle. In case of a rear-end collision, it would elevate the risk of fires. Ford had been aware of this design flaw during production. Still, following a cost-benefit analysis of repairs to the cost of settlements for injuries and burnouts, it had decided not to modify the design. In the final analysis, Pinto was found to be safer than cars in the same class. The cost-benefit analysis reflected a callous corporate culture where safety and risk were relegated to a secondary place.
Challenger Space Shuttle Explosion
The NASA Shuttle Challenger explosion minutes after take-off on January 28, 1986, left seven astronauts dead on board. The cause was traced to hardware failure of a solid rocket booster (SRB) ‘O’ ring. Investigations revealed that NASA had been warned of the potentially adverse effects of very low temperatures on the ‘O’ ring’s performance a day before the launch. The engineers too recommended delaying the launch till air temperatures touched 53 deg. F but were ignored. In a way, safety was sacrificed to protect cost and schedule.
In 2000, 6,200 complaints were filed regarding unintended acceleration in Toyota’s Prius model of cars. According to data from public filings, this safety issue had caused 89 deaths and 52 injuries. Finally, in 2014, Toyota was fined $1.2 billion for hiding safety defects.
BP Deepwater Horizon Explosion and Oil Spill
On April 20, 2010, BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and killed 11 onboard workers. Four million barrels of oil were released into the Gulf of Mexico and took three months to seal on July 15, 2010. Eight cases of quality management failure were identified as the cause of this disaster, which had an overarching impact, killing people and harming the environment.
The Recent Oil Spill in Russia
A decade later, now (in 2020), we still hear of tragic accidents. In the Arctic Circle in northern Russia, an oil spill of 20,000 tons from a power plant that is the largest producer of palladium has been reported. The president of the country heard of it through social media two days later. This is a significant breakdown of not only the safety systems but also communication and reporting.
In each of the above cases, while quality was a key part of the company’s strategy, safety and health management was ignored.
The take away is simple: Quality without safety will not work! Investing in a world-class safety management system is a no brainer for most enterprises.