Quality Management… Star Trek Style
In the Star Trek Universe, things could get stressful in record time. Space is, after all, known for being challenging – and in the future, we’re guessing there were many unknown obstacles that the team had to navigate. It was never made clear whether or not they had any carefully devised strategies for organisation, improvement and quality management, but we would like to think they had one somewhere. If they did, it would have looked something like this…
- Document Control. The Star Trek crew certainly understood the importance of procedure and protocol, which kept things together in their world. Almost every week on the series however, one of those protocols would be violated in some way or another – usually with disastrous, amusing or downright terrifying results. As one of the core elements of any control strategy, document control helps to keep all procedures, processes and various other documents safe in a centrally accessible system. This way, every document that needs to be added, edited, updated, approved or deleted undergoes a strict procedure in order to maintain a consistent, secure method of document storage.
- CAPA. Generally, the focus was on the issue, with corrective actions performed on the spot rather than through an extensive CAPA system. Obviously, a more lengthy system would have been less ideal to keep up a good pace in a television show. They could of course have applied some of their speed warp or transporter gadgets to hasten things up. In the real world, things are seldom able to be solved instantly, and we don’t have the luxury of having Scotty beam us up, either.
- Competency Assessments. The training facility known as Starfleet helped to give recruits all the training they required, leaving them able to solve problems with ease. Training on earth takes longer and is often a lot more complex, but is every bit as important as it is in the Universe. As new employees arrive, current employees grow within the organisation (or find themselves lacking in competence), training helps to maintain a consistent level of skill across the board. This in turn ensures an organisation that is able to deal with customers and challenges promptly and effectively.
- Risk Management. Imagine how things would have gone if no-one on the Enterprise bothered to evaluate risks properly? Every time a situation occurred, the risks were weighed up before any actions took place. In the workplace back on earth, this is every bit as important in order to determine the best course of action. It helps to make better decisions that are based on facts, and also helps companies to grow by understanding which risks will pay off and which will not.
- Reporting. This was definitely something that the Star Ship crew took seriously. Status reports were given to the Captain and supervisors on a regular basis, in order to keep everyone up to speed and prevent miscommunication. Even then, problems often arose. But at least with the information collected by reporting, they could look back and see what went wrong. In the workplace, this is a crucial way to track progress and evaluate strategies. In this regard, a quality system that has the ability to track and report is vital.
You may not need to worry about Klingon war ships and intergalactic conflicts on a day to day basis, but if quality management helped the Star Trek crew, it can help your business as well with results that are just as positive.