Working in this modern industry that is constantly changing, how can we find a solution to a quality problem without knowing exactly what it is?
Till October 1994, I had never experienced before the amazing chance of being in the tequila industry, it was then when I had the chance to talk to the Tequila Sauza General Director in his office in Guadalajara, Jal; I can still remember his smiling, kind and curious face, and I can still hear in my ears the exact words he said: "We have some quality problems regarding our tequila, how can we solve them?"
"Management Wheel" as an Improvement Process
The universal solution we found was to whirl the "Management Wheel". This plan included the following aspects:
- (a) To plan
- (b) To implement/do
- (c) To verify/check, and
- (d) To act/ To make decisions, based on basic tools
How to Start Planning the Continous improvement Program?
The planning stage definitely implies where we are at, and where we are heading to. The organization purpose its critic to build the business expectations and long-term goals, that is to say, the organization's intentions expressed through the senior management: its Policies.
- Identify the required processes to achieve the organization purposes in synchrony with its policies. These must include activites such as:
- (a) Employees identification and competence development.
- (b) Resources, functions, responsibilities and authority assignation to the employees, in a sense of giving them the tools they need to complete their tasks and duties. Resources include: workforce, facilities, equipment, technology among others. These aspects are necessary to promote an adequate work environment where creativity and motivation are present.
- (c) Products design.
- (d) Purchases.
- (e) Information management and storage.
- (f) Products transformation, management, storage and delivery.
- (g) Updating, evaluating, checking and improving the system.
An itemized activities list with due dates and assigned tasks its be very useful, as well as the support from an ISO Rule expert. He may supervise the current organization state and help us to avoid breaching any of the Rule requirements.
- Identify the applicable requirements, such as (a) from the client (b) legal from the product, the environment, work security among others; these will allow us to establish the minimum acceptance criteria related to the processes, and by doing so, we can be sure what to asf for to our providers.
- Concrete goals regarding our processes in a long, medium and short-term period of time. We want our goals to be related to our policies and help us improve our processes development. The importance of our goals is based on the fact that they contribute reducing manufacture costs, specially in quality control and by doing so, improving the products with innovative strategies.
- Prepare the documented information, in extension and proportional depth to the complexity of the activities and the workforce competencies. Keeping the information about work manuals and processes organized, may allow us to complete the duties and tasks with quality and on time.
How to Implement a Continuous Improvement?
When you start managing an organization, you require competent people to be part of your workforce, that's why in Tequila Sauza, our employees are the most valuable aspect of our business.
Being competent means that the person who is working for us has the abilities, education, and experience to accomplish his/her duties, is a responsible persona and applies his/her knowledge on a daily basis.
The personnel's knowledge includs knowing by heart the whole process of the activity they do, their co-workers tasks, the equipment and the facilities surrounding their job. The required documentation, the job instructions and acceptance/quality criteria are also important to meet all the ISO Rule requirements in the implementation process. The best indicator to update the information are the changes reflecting in the organization, such as the facilities, raw material, new products, equipment, providers, applicable legislation and technology.
It is important to document all the activities with flexibility and write useful and easy to read information, regarding the organization different scenarios. By doing so, we would be able to verify the results.
To prove that the Management System has been implemented through an ISO Rule, its necessary to maintain the information and documents organized. Keeping this information updated and reflect the acceptable criteria to be congruent with the legal requirements, its easy following the next statement: .
“Write what you do ”, and add whatever is needed to meet the organizational goals and legal policies.
"Whirling the Management Wheel" is different from achieving goals at any cost.
The veriyfing / checking stage consists in being sure that we are moving forward through the right path. Meeting a goal has several consequences such as positive effects, costs reductions, etc..
Nevertheless, is important to make sure that the implemented work instructions have assured acceptable operation procedures in a more transparent way.
The mechanism to verify the whole Management System results by means of the ISO Rule and Intern Audits.
These belong to a teamwork with a broad range of competencies inside the organization, allowing us to compare facts and the whole available information we have archived to determine an achievement level.
The intern auditor training it's the principal resource to achieve a good audit, since it provides a whole range of knowledge, action alternatives, reflexion moments among other things. An intern auditor should be always having a constant training and learning more about the Management System, to be able to offer an excellent consultancy service to the organization.
To Act, Decision Making to Improve the Performance
It is better to poorly reach a goal, than achieving it with collateral effects.
Making sure that the activities are being completed and that the results are being well planned, its necessary to make decisions oriented to continuously improve results, even if the activities haven't been totally finished or the goals totally achieved. Changing strategies its appropiate if there is uncertainty about the planned results.
Work instructions are not always the cause of a good result. It is important to assure that the obtained results are caused by these instructions and not by coincidence, in the same way goals should be confirmed and oriented to adjust the work instructions.
The Organization Who Takes a Break in the Race of Continuous Improvement will Perish Without any Doubt.
This improvement search is a restless race, and the process of "Management Wheel" must be permanent as well as the creativity and innovation of every team work. Implementing all these different strategies will allow us to be the best and settle the difference between our company and the competitors in the market. To dispose of many alternatives and contingency plans, supports our process and organization. With just an option, failing means leaving space for the competitors. In military terms: "In War, the second place ended two meters under the ground"..
Download our ebook and keep reading about "How to Implement the ISO Rule Correctly the First Time", which generated several benefits to our organization such as costs reductions and improvement of the brand image, to the point that for the last 11 years we have passed through Allied Domeq, Beam Global Spirits and Wine, Beam Inc, till Beam Suntory.
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