CQ Guide: The Importance of Quality AND Safety. Don’t Just Focus on One.
Safety & Quality: Better Together
At ComplianceQuest, we published a Whitepaper titled ‘Harnessing the Power of an Integrated QHSE’.
This paper focused on the following topics:
1. Why organizational mindset is critical to improve both quality and safety performance
2. The role of automation and digital transformation in building an enterprise-wide culture of both “Safety AND Quality”, not one or the other. At some companies, health & safety management becomes a checklist item – something to tick off, and people don’t take it seriously and just get the basics done instead of proactively improving workplace safety initiatives.
3. Finally, the paper covers how both safety and quality management revolve around the ability to monitor, capture data, analyze and improve a series of business processes. In fact, some of the processes like CAPA and Root Cause Analysis, Change, Audits, Inspection, and Equipment Management overlap across quality and safety management. Since the underlying approach is somewhat similar, why not integrate the two systems.
Of course, there are a few differences between the two functions. Quality Management is about having a set of metrics and specifications in place and doing whatever it takes across the product lifecycle to meet quality goals. A quality policy is documented and the quality team is responsible for running a data-driven, collaborative process to meet these goals. One can say the quality function is fairly predictive in nature; it is possible to plan out a series of steps to ensure quality goals are met.
In the case of safety management, it is all about being proactive and building resilience and capabilities to tackle safety hazards. It is difficult to predict what mishap will happen when; After all, safety events happen because of oversight or a particular process gone wrong. The key here is to be reactive, preventive, and proactive all at once. The safety team has to bring together the whole organization, build a safety culture and encourage Total Employee Involvement (TEI) to ensure the company ends up avoiding major safety incidents or accidents.
Regulatory Guidance for Integrated Quality & Safety Management
For business leaders and marketers, the phrase “customer delight” is not new. But, customer obsession is slightly more. It refers to how each and every aspect of what a customer is saying and experiencing about your product or service makes a big difference to your internal operations. It needs to be captured and acted upon.
The Integrated Management System (IMS)unifies the standards recommended by ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, and ISO 31000, bringing together aspects of health, safety, and quality into a single business system.
ISO 9001 provides guidelines for Quality Management, ISO 14001 for Environment Management, and OHSAS 18001 for Occupational Health and Safety Management. It recommends consolidating internal management practices into a unified system, enabling sharing of tools, methodologies, and systematic management of different areas that are governed by different standards or models.
All three standards rely on the common underlying principle of continuous improvementbased on Deming’s cycle of Plan-Do-Check-Act. The benefits of the IMS implementation are:
A holistic approach to managing all types of business risks
Less clash between individual management systems
Lower duplication of effort and lesser bureaucracy
More effective and efficient internal and external audits
Easier in terms of execution
Renewed focus on employee well-being
Greater operational efficiency and therefore lesser costs
Enhanced customer satisfaction
Increased motivation levels of employees
In line with any organization’s goal of streamlining overall operations
Quality and Safety Management: Are there overlapping processes?
In terms of day-to-day operational processes, there are a number of areas where quality and safety management systems overlap.
Therefore, in organizations where a full-fledged safety team is not yet there, it makes sense for quality leaders to play a role in monitoring safety performance and help the Health & Safety (H&S) team in certain areas like risk management, audits, inspections, etc.
Risk Management: There is a need for a risk-based approach to both quality and safety. Businesses must identify, rank, and implement controls for better management of quality and safety risks. They need a centralized repository of risks that need to be assessed and a score should be assigned so that the high-risk elements can be addressed first.
Key parameters need to be tracked to make sure that the quality and safety risk controls are performing as expected. In case of any deviations, they need to be reviewed and corrected to prevent any quality or safety events from happening.
Document Management: Documentation forms an essential part of quality and safety management. Quality and safety policies need to be created and made available to all employees to ensure the SOPs are adhered to. Processes, hazards, risks, events, and incidents need to be documented for compliance and review purposes. The documents need to be stored and managed in an easily accessible format with provision for version control and collaboration.
Change Management: Any change to a process or product or people can have a significant impact on quality and safety and need to be managed efficiently. Management of Change (MoC) is one of the most important aspects of quality and safety management functions. By adopting an automated approach to change management – taking advantage of data, analytics, and collaborative capabilities of modern software tools – companies will have better control of managing risk and keeping up with regulations.
Continuous Improvement (CI): Quality and safety management are not one-time activities. They need to be reviewed regularly and modified to suit the changing needs of the organization to ensure continuous improvement. At the core of CI is access to real-time data and information. Periodic management reviews, with the support of a world-class Quality Control Tower and Safety Control Tower, are critical to making sure there is an ongoing improvement.
The key is to implement a control tower that not only tracks metrics (lagging and leading indicators) but also has the capability to monitor the status of open action items.
The key to safety and quality excellence revolves around stellar execution. And, that will happen only if there is top-notch training, responsible personnel, and a system that truly brings people, processes, and systems together.
Audits and Inspections: The workplace needs to be audited and inspected to ensure that the processes are adhered to as per the rules and regulations. The findings need to be recorded and shared with the management and the relevant stakeholders for correcting and strengthening processes.
Audits and inspections are at the core of any management system. A robust audit system is critical to “knowing and identifying gaps” ahead of time – so they can be fixed before any quality event or incident happens.
Management Reviews: The management needs access to data to understand trends, identify patterns, and predict future quality and safety events to implement preventive measures.
To conduct holistic management reviews, you need an EQMS and EHS that serves as a system of engagement, brings the real-time data to the fore, and is integrated with other business systems including the ERP and CRM.
CAPA and Root Cause Analysis: Identifying the root cause for any event that has occurred or may occur in the future is crucial to preventing it. Root cause analysis and CAPA are also common and essential parts of quality and safety management. Tools such as the 5 Why Analysis Whiteboard4 help with automating, streamlining, and driving clarity into the RCA process.
The findings from these activities form the basis for making workplaces safer and ensuring quality. These are essential to improving brand image and increasing employee engagement and productivity. It is also important to note that top-notch quality and safety performance can act as a key differentiator for business and drive overall competitive advantage.
Understanding the regulatory environment and the safety and quality hazards associated with planned expansion activities can also be efficiently handled using a risk-based, integrated approach to quality and safety.
Training Management: Ensuring all employees are up to speed on quality and safety training/certification requirements is also an essential requirement. Training plays an important role and should be managed effectively to ensure that all employees have the know-how to follow SOPs and proactively address quality and safety risks.
With an integrated quality and safety management solution, the entire product and manufacturing lifecycle can be streamlined and optimized for a “quality-and-safety-first approach” for doing things.
Digital Transformation of QMS and SMS Workflows
Automating the quality and safety workflows, especially using an integrated solution such as ComplianceQuest EQMS and EHS, provides quality leaders with all the data they need to support safety teams. This provides the visibility needed to take a proactive approach to quality and safety management.
Furthermore, the solution from ComplianceQuest is aligned with ISO and all other leading regulations, thereby making compliance easy. It enables businesses to take a risk-based approach to quality and safety processes, ensuring efficiency and effectiveness.
It is a cloud-based, modular solution that is cost-effective and includes features for audit, document, inspection, change, supplier, equipment, CAPA, root cause analysis with 5 Why, management reviews, and more for quality management. This is integrated with safety management features such as incident management, observations, and permit to work.
By providing a unified view of enterprise-wide data, ComplianceQuest’s integrated solution empowers quality leaders to help the safety team make the workplace safe for people and the environment while also taking care of the quality.