Creating a Quality Management System Piece by Piece

Improvement Insights Blog

Creating a Quality Management System Piece by Piece

Some people think that Quality Management is an all or nothing event. Not true. Here’s why and how:

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and QI Macros [software].

“Very often, people talk about creating a quality management system, but it’s as if you can create one from whole cloth. No, you can’t, right? Very often, most of your organization does not need full-blown quality management yet. I always say “start with the worst first,” and there’s a lot of research; Diffusion Of Innovations suggests that four percent of your business (or four steps out of 100, one step out of 25) is causing most of the mistakes, errors, waste, rework, lost profit, patient harm, whatever it is, right?

“So what do we have to do? I would suggest to you that rather than try and implement something out of whole cloth: broad-spectrum, wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, every door in the in the building. [Instead] what we do is we take one thing that’s the worst and bring that under some sort of quality management so it has some control charts so we know how it’s doing. We make improvements, we get that stable. Then you look for the next worst thing, and then the next worst thing, and then the next worst thing and slowly bring each one under control, right? By the time you hit four percent this quality management will stick in your organization. Diffusion Of Innovations says that you add four and four and four… somewhere between 16 and 25 percent adoption, it’ll just take off and find its way throughout the organization, because even the outliers will [think] “That seems to be working over there; maybe I should get on board with that.” So instead of trying to do it all, which is a recipe for failure, I have found, [it’s better to] just start small, but start on something big and meaty, because when you fix that you’ll get more money, time, people to do more of it. You can’t start on something trivial because people don’t care.

“Anyway, that’s my Improvement Insight for this week: Let’s start making those improvements and bringing things into quality management, and bringing them under control, and setting that stuff up. If you want to describe all of those structures, great, but don’t get too much documentation because it’ll be out of date in no time at all. All right?

“So that’s my Improvement Insight. Let’s go out and create a hassle-free America; hassle free healthcare. Let’s go out and improve something this week.”

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