The Oyster and Pearl
Sometimes the things that make us better are not pleasant. A dose of medicine, a vaccination or an abrupt change of diet. These things are prescribed by a physician to make us better when we are ill. Quality is the same way.........Quality is the health of your company. To achieve Quality (or a healthy company) there are certain "prescriptions" that are necessary and some are not pleasant at the time of application.
Auditing is often seen by those who do not fully understand Quality, as a "bitter pill". Managers who think of audits as a waste of time are missing out on an important and beneficial contribution to their departments. Managers who appreciate what Quality adds to their organizations view audits as a way to gather data, ensure compliance, solicit feedback and find ways to make processes more efficient and therefore save money and time.
The findings from an audit are the vehicles to communicate deficiencies and/or defects. The Findings require an analysis of the Root Cause of the finding......."why did this happen"? The Corrective Action will correct the deficiency that has occurred but will not identify a way to keep the deficiency from happening again. The Preventative Action will address that issue.All of these elements require numerous communications between the Manager and the Quality Department. This takes time, thought, attention and focus.........which in a busy workplace, can be a limited resource for the Manager. If the Manager does not realize the importance of the process, it will seem like a huge waste of time and effort.
The term "spur under the saddle" is used here in Texas quite often to describe something that is an irritation.........and sometimes the Quality System can be seen as an irritation. An oyster uses sand in a way that produces something beautiful. The formation of a natural pearl begins when a foreign substance like sand slips into the oyster between the mantle and the shell, which irritates the mantle. It's kind of like the oyster getting a splinter. The oyster's natural reaction is to cover up that irritant to protect itself. The mantle covers the irritant with layers of the same nacre substance that is used to create the shell. This eventually forms a pearl.Audits and Findings are the small inconvenience that matures and improves the Quality System. Hopefully with time and patience, the company will evolve into a "beautiful thing".
Until next time, think Quality.