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Quality Culture: Internal & external messaging

Creating & Sustaining a Quality Culture: Part 3 – Internal & External Messaging

Quality Management - 9 November 2016

By John Carkner, Senior Consultant, SOLABS Quality Assurance & Best Practices Unit

In previous discussion, we’ve looked at the importance of demonstrating the quality commitment of the organization in our day-to-day actions, and various ways to create an impactful quality message. To conclude this topic, I’d like to discuss ways to communicate the quality culture internally and externally to the organization.

As a quality professional, making decisions that are consistent with the organization’s quality culture may seem obvious. Don’t assume they are obvious to everyone. It is important to “link and label”–when a quality decision is made, take the opportunity to “label” it as consistent with the quality culture and “link” it to the organization’s quality goals. As an example, if a decision is made to initiate a supplier visit to address a component defect, link that decision to the goal of enhanced reliability of suppliers. In addition, label it as a quality action that will reduce the incidence of defects in the future.

In interaction with customers, seek to deliver a consistent quality message from everyone that interacts with the customer, and with everyone in their organization. A sales representative emphasizing the quality culture to a client’s procurement team is just as important as the quality manager communicating it to their quality team.

"While it may seem obvious, a reference to quality commitment in press releases, social media and job ads reinforces the organizational quality identity."

John Carkner
Sr. Consultant, SOLABS QA & Best Practices Unit

In audit interactions, having employees across the organization reinforcing the quality culture is important to instill confidence in the mind of the audit team that the commitment to quality runs across the organization.

Choose spokespersons for operations that can articulate the quality message, and afford them the opportunity to do so whenever possible. For example, during audits, customer visits or new employee orientation tours, ask these subject matter experts to speak to recent quality improvement initiatives and how they are working. For me, there is nothing more impressive than a knowledgeable manufacturing employee explaining quality initiatives with enthusiasm.

While it may seem obvious, a reference to quality commitment in press releases, social media and job ads reinforces the organizational quality identity.

A highly evolved quality culture should be a source of pride for everyone in the organization. Identify the “bragging points” and communicate consistently and relentlessly that quality is fundamental to the organization’s identity and success.

Other Blogs in the Creating & Sustaining a Quality Culture Series
Creating & Sustaining a Quality Culture: Introduction
Creating & Sustaining a Quality Culture: Part 1 – Living the Values
Creating & Sustaining a Quality Culture: Part 2 – Making an Impact

About the Author
John Carkner has had a career spanning more than 35 years in the pharmaceutical industry. A microbiologist by training, he began his career in Quality Control with Pfizer Canada. John gradually took on more responsibility, including overall Quality for Pfizer’s Canadian manufacturing operations, eventually became Site Leader of their Arnprior, Ontario manufacturing site. When Pfizer divested the Arnprior site in 2009, John began a new phase of his career leading a contract manufacturing organization. He concluded his career as President and CEO of Pillar5 Pharma Inc., and after five years in contract manufacturing, moved to a less structured role as a consultant to the industry.

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