One of the biggest aspects of quality management is change. This affects everything from small changes that need to be made to document management, processes, procedures and tasks, all the way to large scale changes that need to be implemented company wide. There are many reasons why change may be required. Product recalls, upgrades or revisions. Brand new service offerings. New branches or departments added. Whatever the reason for change, the process often includes many different factors, ranging from employees to suppliers, tasks, procedures, departments, equipment and various other things. Not too surprisingly, change is something that is often feared. It means taking a step into the unknown, away from comfort zones and familiarity. It is human nature to fear the unknown, so naturally, change is not always the easiest thing to bring about when quality measures are put into place. Many businesses worry about losing track of the way that they do things when new systems are introduced, especially as far as functionality goes. With that said however, change does not have to be traumatic or even overly complicated if you learn how to simplify it in your quality strategies.
Using Quality Management to Implement Change
Change is inevitable where growth is concerned. Without change, things remain the same. When things are broken or outdated, this is not a good thing. As a vital aspect of quality management, change can be managed simply through streamlined, automated processes for each aspect of quality – documents, audits, competency and customer complaints. Some of the stages of change include the following:
Stage 1: Define and Design.
The first step in bringing about change is laying the foundation. You need a process that collates all information needed for change, in order to build the new service, product or strategy you wish to implement. Post-market data, research and development, product non-compliance and audits and customer feedback all help to create the foundation. With your quality software system, you can then automate corrective actions to determine the impact of change with risk management tools that help you determine the best way forward.
Stage 2: Approve, Plan and Source.
The next step, once this data has been reviewed, is to move forward with the intended change. Collaboration is essential for changes to be implemented across the company without issue, and for this, tools such as document control come in handy. This will make it far easier to navigate through various rounds of approval, revision, versions and input from multiple departments, employees and suppliers. As a good quality system helps with version control, it becomes much simpler to keep multiple parties updated on the most recent version of any change document, ensuring that everyone is kept on the same page at all times.
Stage 3: Execute and Verify.
The final step takes place after all change elements are ready to roll and fully approved. Now, what needs to happen is execution across the company. This is not a small step in the least. For many companies, implementing changes across multiple departments, at all levels from factory floor to senior management is stressful to say the least. Training and competency assessments therefore help greatly to make this process less stressful, while customer complaints management tools will be helpful to deal with any customer feedback once changes are set into place. As you can see, having a reliable, automated system goes a long way in making those stressful changes far easier to set in motion. With its flexibility and collaborative features, the quality management system becomes your ultimate secret weapon for the effective management of change… no matter how big or small the changes may be.