Capitalizing on the information provided by Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) has a direct relationship to how well your company delivers quality products. The best way to ensure quality is to create an on-going and consistent culture of quality. The key word here is “culture”–a holistic and easily-recognized standard that is embraced at all levels within the organization. It becomes a beating heart, quietly driving each person’s efforts. The end results are healthy teams, quality products and happy stakeholders.
Quality andCompliance: Intertwined
The focus on compliance in the Life Sciences is paramount, always, but a culture of quality doesn’t stop there. It focuses on excellence, with accountability built-in at each level: Leadership answers to quality metrics; employees answer to audit, non-conformance and corrective action processes; and suppliers answer to the quality expectations you have provided. That way, compliance is a natural by-product of a cohesive culture that focuses on quality first.
Create a Culture of Quality by Monitoring and Measuring KPIs
Companies with a strong culture of quality are constantly watching and learning. They perform ongoing reviews of well-defined KPIs in order to monitor the level of quality. Your indicators might be different, but generally KPIs look something like this:
- Minimizing the number of issues per project
- Minimizing scope creep and tracking changes
- Measuring true quality delivery with a Net Promoter Score (NPS) or customer satisfaction score
- Delivering on-budget without unplanned expenses
- Mining team health indicators such as engagement, job satisfaction, or human-hours to complete a project
Monitoring is an engaged process of watchfulness; measuring is discovering how close each aspect of the business comes to the agreed-upon KPI. KPIs have to be well-defined, bought-into, and attainable. They provide clear, actionable, and relevant information. And the data is accessible and reliable. They naturally lead to the most important element of a culture of quality: What you do with the data once you have it.
Leading or Lagging Indicators: Root Cause Analysis
Analyzing the information from KPIs is what makes or breaks a company’s commitment to a genuine culture of quality. It means that they apply what they learn from lagging indicators in order to prevent future issues. (Or, in the case of leading indicators, to repeat past successes.)
Well-run RCA works to uncover the real problem instead of pointing to the issues that came from it. It focuses on how and why the problem arose instead of who caused it. And, finally, well-run RCA designs a corrective course of action to fix issues and clearly defines a preventative action policy going forward.
Quality Equals Trust
A culture of quality engenders trust from your employees; they trust you recognize that they are actively involved in the process. When empowered they identify and resolve quality issues they see in their everyday work because they know it aligns with the company culture– not because you are looking over their shoulder. They know that sharing their ideas or pointing out observations will contribute to the overall quality of the organization.They take action to resolve problems instead of delaying or closing issues in order to move on or cover-up mistakes. Quality becomes a part of their everyday conversations. Their colleagues, suppliers, and ultimately your clients and stakeholders, will trust you to demand and deliver quality in all aspects of the business.
With a commitment to quality not just in isolation but as an ethos for the entire organization, companies are more productive, receive fewer complaints, open fewer CAPAs, and have lower quality-related product costs. Freeing-up resources for innovation allows them to operate in an environment of creativity. They cultivate customer loyalty. A culture of quality extends beyond the company walls to the “end users,” helping the patients with your commitment to quality and the products that resulted from it.