“Recently, I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on leadership and culture with Forbes. As many of you know, culture is the cornerstone of our business here at BZI, and ...READ MORE
QMS: A Benefit, Not a Burden
Do you struggle with embracing training? Or integrating a Quality Management System? BZI had the same challenge.
Our Chief Training Officer, Justin Barlow recently presented at NASCC in Charlotte, North Carolina and emphasized that in order to successfully implement a QMS, there are key questions an organization needs to answer:
- Why implement a QMS?
- Who is involved in a QMS implementation?
Answering the “who” question first is vital in understanding the “why” in a QMS. It’s important to understand the needs of the stakeholders. Involved parties in steel erection and fabrication include field team members, steel companies, general contractors, owners and jurisdictions, each with their own sets of needs, priorities, concerns, and motivations. Properly understanding the needs at every level of the stakeholder journey provides a path to providing necessary training and addressing questions at each level, leading to buy-in for the standards and the QMS system overall.
Through our time of developing a QMS, we’ve learned several lessons:
- Management needs to appoint an advocate to champion the QMS development. Company leadership must be bought into the program but the drive behind the everyday effort is someone appointed by the leadership team.
- Focus on the team – the bolter and welder on the front lines. These employees play a critical role in the production process and are often the ones who encounter quality issues first. By involving them in the QMS development and implementation, the company can ensure that the QMS is practical and effective in the real world. When the front-line employees buy in, other pieces start to fall into place.
- Keep it simple! Especially when starting, the QMS can grow later if you want it to. It doesn’t have to be – and won’t – be perfect right out of the gate.
- Don’t go it alone! There are consultants that can be used to help the certification process.
- Continually educate your team about the process and its benefits. Find a rhythm for team updates that works for you and stick to it.
At BZI we’ve seen several benefits of QMS adoption, including:
- Risk Mitigation and Risk Management: Protect what you’ve earned and built within your business by not getting tangled in litigation or claims due to incorrect work or conflicts with jurisdictional authority.
- Industry Validation: Business opportunities grow as clients are assured through internal and AISC audits that your program disciplines make their jobs easier and protect them.
- Scalability and Growth: Through process orientation driven by SOPs in a Quality Management System, it will enable your company to be lean, reducing waste, and delivering consistency that will make you more profitable and scalable.
- Culture: An effective QMS provides a vehicle for learning, improving, and adapting to new market conditions.
QMS development and adoption certainly has not been an easy process for us, but it definitely has been worth it. By understanding the needs of different stakeholders, appointing an advocate, and focusing on the front-line team, a QMS can be developed that enhances quality of service, improves customer satisfaction, and increases your competitive advantage.