Quality Control

Quality control is important to the survival of any operation.  In fact, it is so critical that many companies assign a quality control team that focuses on each specific project.  This quality control process places an emphasis on three main aspects:  defined and well managed processes, competence (knowledge, skills, experience, and qualifications), and soft elements (integrity, confidence, organizational culture, motivation, team spirit, and quality relationships).  Since John has been experiencing some quality control problems with his dishwashing, I have been wondering if applying this model would help improve his performance.

I thought I had a clearly defined process when I showed John how to load the dishwasher.  It’s probably not a well managed process because he threatens to quit whenever I offer suggestions of better ways to arrange the dishes.  However, the real breakdown occurs when he unloads the dishwasher because a simple inspection of the dishes and a rewash of any dirty items would render the loading process a moot point.

I’m not sure how to address the area of competence, as 15 months on the job would seem to be enough experience, but he has never washed dishes professionally nor has he received any other instruction outside of the crash course I gave him.  Maybe he could do an apprenticeship in a restaurant or go to dishwashing camp this summer!

More than likely, the soft elements are the problem.  I need to help John develop confidence in his ability to produce clean dishes and instill a sense of pride in a job well done.  I could also work to improve our organizational culture, motivation, team spirit, and quality relationships.  Maybe I could hold a pep rally for him after every meal.

I thought about seeking professional help from some organizational guru like Bill Gates, but then I remembered he is responsible for Windows Me.  So much for quality control.  In reality, I only have two choices.  I can wash dishes myself or I can inspect every dish before I use it.  John is a quality guy, but I’m just kidding myself if I think I have any control!

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