16 Dec, 2016
Find out how Santa Claus uses his ISO 9001 Quality Management System to make sure he never lets his important customers down!
T’was one week before Christmas, and all through the factory
All of the Elves were stirring, to make toys all through the day and night.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
But how does Santa complete this large scale mission year on year? It’s a mammoth task that takes place up in the North Pole, with some serious elf-power behind it. Projects on a big scale have to be well manned, well managed and have proven processes in place to succeed. So what’s the secret to Santa’s success? How does he ensure Quality?
- Management System – Santa needs some way of storing and sorting through thousands of letters from Children around the world. How else will he remember who has been naughty or nice? A management system lets him, and all of his elves, store information accordingly and find it just as easily.
- Training – Santa needs motivated and well trained elves to ensure everything runs smoothly. The elves need an evolving and up to date training schedule with the ability to manage training records. Happy elves will work more productively, inspire others and help define your processes for you.
- Managing Non-Conformances – Santa can’t have defects! We all know elves are magical – but how do they make sure that all toys are manufactured to the highest standard, and how do they monitor this? A non-conformance is when something within the business doesn’t go according to plan, which may result in a customer complaint or a delay in the normal process. By recording when something doesn’t go according to plan, identifying trends and finding the route cause, helps the elves to put fixes in place and processes to ensure that little Johnny (on the nice list) gets his train set on time for Christmas.
- Risk Management – Risk Management is all about monitoring and categorising risk to minimise their potential impact. The elves have produced their very own Risk Management Register. They know the risks to quality and success and once they understand them, they can work hard to reduce them – wherever they come from faster than you can say ‘ho, ho, ho’!
- Continuous improvement – In order to deal with a growing population, more technological gifts and changes in the marketplace, Santa and the elves need to find ways to improve on their processes year on year. Making sure Santa reviews the workshop’s quality policy, quality objectives and preventive actions as part of his management review, he can put new pro-active plans in place as he has all the information to his big red hand! This leads to evidence-based decision making based on analysis and evaluation, which Santa can rely on to help him year on year.
- Leadership – Santa is an expert at motivating his workforce (you don’t see many sad elves at the North Pole). This is helped as everyone knows and understands their mission and what they are trying to achieve. The goals are regularly communicated to them through ElfMail, and Santa provides regular and timely feedback. The elves have a challenging goal to complete, but Santa trusts them to complete the job, giving them the resources and responsibility they need.
In order to also get the best from your Quality Management System, REMEMBER: PDCA!
- Plan: Set the objectives of the system and processes to deliver your results (“What to do” and “how to do it”)
- Do: Implement and control what you planned
- Check: Monitor and measure processes and results against your quality policies, quality objectives and report your results
- Act: Take actions to improve the performance of your processes (continuous improvement)
As you can see there are lots of lessons to be learned from Santa and his workshop. Santa can’t be late, can’t have defects and he can’t have dissatisfied customers (they might just stop believing in him!)
What are your business aims in 2017?
Are you looking to build trust with your employees, clients and partners? Ensure quality control and move your business towards a model of continuous improvement? An ISO 9001 Quality Management System can help. Find out more here.
Sources: Quality Digest (2011), ISO Requirements, ISO
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