Quality Management

Blogs related to Quality Management in Professional Home Building and Remodeling Business.



Receiving a NHQA feedback report can result in a freeze due the amount of Opportunities for Improvement (OFI’s) reported, but remember even award winners receive OFI’s!  They are after all the real benefits of the process it is through these that an improvement plan can be developed.  However, the number of OFI’s can be overwhelming and result in the OFI’s being sidelined and no action plan being put into place.  In addition many organizations take offense at the OFI’s and regress as a result.

Making the cut for a National Housing Quality Award (NHQA) site visit is a major achievement, however, quite naturally many are anxious about the process and view the arrival of a team of Judges as a stressful experience.    This stress often arises from the perception that absolutely no mistakes should be made during the site visit and as a response some applicants actually avoid the Judges as much as possible during the visit.  While it is natural to be nervous about a visit it should be seen as an opportunity.  The Judges are not visiting to tear apart the organi

This year 69 organizations have applied for the nation's highest recognition for organizational performance excellence the Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award which Professional Builder Magazines, National Housing Quality Award is based on.  This years Baldrige applicants are from manufacturing, service, small business, healthcare, education and nonprofit/government sectors. So despite the recession organizations are turning to Baldrige as a key way to drive improvement and create return on investment. So what ROI evidence is there?

The 2011 Housing Giants Ranking Report shows that the Housing Giants are taking advantage of this slow period to focus on what they see is the top opportunity, working on improving operational efficiencies to boost profit margins. (Professional Builder Magazine, May 2011, p 28-44)

The impact of quality management on home builders is dramatic. For example of builders that used the National Housing Quality Award criteria to help drive their business performance and went on to win NHQA recognition, 94% are still in business despite the recession.

The use of Quality Management Systems (QMS) has also shown significant impact. A study conducted by Duncan Prahl of IBACOS, Serge Ogranovitch of The Potomack Group and Denis Leonard of Business Excellence Consulting, focused on the impact of QMS and its impact.

A tool referred to as the “Quality Life Cycle” provides a strategic mechanism to chart and sustain quality while proactively countering shortcomings of its implementation, such as stagnation and limited application, which can ultimately result in failure. The quality life cycle was developed as part of a UK and US research study, allows for the characterization and visualization of the various complex stages and dynamics of quality. It allows charting of not only the current status of quality in an organization but also its historical development or life cycle.

There are many ways to determine how successful a process or project is. These methods normally involve detailed metrics and may include cycle-time reduction, number of process steps and customer satisfaction. The more improvement projects there are, however, the more difficult it is to monitor their progress, especially in relation to one another and at a high level. 

As the broad range of topics discussed in this blog clearly shows, Quality Management involves a wide range of issues. Perhaps the National Housing Quality Award criteria best reflects this. It covers Leadership, Strategic Planning, Performance Management, Customer Satisfaction, Human Resources, Construction Quality, Trade Relationships and Business Results.

So where to start your Quality journey?  This fishbone diagram was developed with IBACOS for the DOE Expert Meeting on Quality Management Tools and Integration for High Performance Homes in October 2010.

We all have a long list of improvement projects we would like to work on. The problem is picking which to focus on now and which to leave until later, it is all about the resources available. This is a simple tool to help prioritize. Consider the ease or difficulty of implementing your projects, for example the number of people involved how long it will take. Then the impact or benefit from each using this matrix, this might be the potential increase in customer satisfaction, reduction in defects or cycle time. Note on the table where each of your project lies.

First off, most companies mix up 360 reviews and employee reviews. 360 reviews involve feedback from peers, superiors, and those the employee manages or that work with him or her at a lower level. This provides a well-rounded (360-degree) perspective. They need to by anonymous (as much as possible) and must provide honest feedback. This includes feedback on negatives, but in such cases they should be provided in a constructive manner and they need to provide some examples or depth to the feedback.

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