Of course we want to measure our performance to know how well we’re doing. In fact, if we don’t measure how things are going, we run the risk of experiencing ‘unplanned results’. Never a good thing, unless the results are better than we had planned for.
In order to meet the requirements of this section, we’ll need to find useful activities to measure, as well as our product or service that we deliver to our clients. Those measures are important, of course, but we need more information that that to meet the requirement to ‘…evaluate the performance and the effectiveness of the quality management system…’ (clause 9.1, paragraph 2).
So how do we do this? First of all, take a page from John Seddon’s playbook* and make sure that you are taking measurements in these 4 broad areas: 1. Customer Satisfaction, 2. Organizational Capacity, 3. Process Performance and 4. System Performance. This will lay a fine foundation for a measurement program. Remember that people will pay attention to what’s being measured, so choose your measurements carefully and evaluate the risk of creating unwanted focus and unusual behaviours. For example, if you reward regional managers for having ‘no non-conformances’ then that’s what will happen. They will be hidden, ignored or called something else. If, on the other hand we set rewards for ‘system improvement’ then those dreaded NCs will become nuggets of gold.
Previous versions had us measuring products (8.2.4) and processes (8.2.3). This new requirement is broader, and we have to be able to demonstrate that we are measuring the performance and effectiveness of our management system. One way to do this is to make sure that when we audit, we have our Quality Objectives in our crosshairs – right in the audit objectives, in fact. We can perform internal audits with the aim of determining whether the system we have can actually help us achieve our objectives. The audit activity will be a big part of meeting these performance evaluation requirements.
This transition activity is also a great time to assess whether our measurements are telling us what we need to know. It’s easy to fall into a measurement rut and carry on measuring even though some processes may be very stable. Keep monitoring, of course, in case they go out of stability, but where’s the value in spending time and resources measuring something that is under control and giving us the results that we want.
If you use KPIs, they’ll do the trick for this section – but see if you’re measuring Seddon’s 4 areas. This could be your chance to clean house and improve effectiveness!
Feel free to use the comments box, and drop me a note if you have an idea for another article…
*Seddon’s website for Systems Thinking is: http://vanguard-method.net/
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