Eric Bowersox shares his background with quality systems, and how implementing them properly has helped BAP manage their rapid growth.
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Two words that will make you cringe or make you smile. Based on what your past experiences with these systems have been, you will likely feel one of these extremes. In my own experience, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of quality systems.
For this discussion, it is important to define a quality system in our eyes. To put it simply, a quality system gives rhyme and reason for what it is you do as an organization.
A quality system puts into writing what an organization does to:
- Ensure products and services satisfy the customers quality requirements
- Comply with any regulations applicable to your products or services
- Enhance customer satisfaction
- Achieve continual improvement in performance
It organizes these functions so that you can do them repeatedly while minimizing the opportunity for errors. At their best, they truly help you improve.
Back in 2017 when I was given the task of implementing a quality system here at BAP that could help us achieve ISO 9001 & 13485 certifications, I was not overly enthused. I had always observed a quality system being used to cover one’s tracks.
In my past I had seen a quality system be revised repeatedly to align its processes and procedures to whatever the company felt like doing at the time, not necessary what was best practice. This wasn’t just my experience - I have talked to many others in the manufacturing arena who had gone through very similar situations and it also left them with the same negative feelings.
Thankfully, as a company we were able to step back and gain a better understanding of quality systems that we had previously not experienced. This enabled us to implement a system that has completely streamlined the way we operate. We were forced to think through what is most important to our customers and how we need to operate so that their expectations are met or exceeded.
The quality system that we developed as a result of this way of thinking not only helped us to achieve the 9001 and 13485 certifications, but it also allowed our company to average 50% growth in the 3 years since its implementation.
This experience has allowed me to see the good in the words “quality system”. Without a robust quality system, the growth we have experienced over the past 3 years would not have been manageable.
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