The third arena of quality management results from the requirements for quality management by standards, laws and customers. All those involved have to ask themselves critically: does quality management, with regard to conformity with standards, guidelines and laws, have protection of the status quo against any changes and alterations that other departments of the company are exposed to?
In other words: can quality management rely on everything remaining the same? Are there perhaps forces that are working to tear down the ivory tower, insofar as quality management considers itself to be in one or is seen by others to be in one? Then the question arises as to whether quality management is still involved in discussions about the necessary change in the company or about future business models.
The Thin Line
It may seem easier not to be involved in controversial and emotionally charged discussions about future business areas. Perhaps it is also not the strength of every quality manager to get involved and contribute to these topics when, at the same time, demands from outside, i.e. customer pressure, keep him fully occupied.
But what if these requirements have something to do with the fact that the business partner is also thinking about his business model and now new demands on the quality management of the supplier arise from this? Wouldn’t it be better to be prepared for these customer expectations by actively participating in internal discussions within the company? In times of digitalization and digital transformation of entire processes, the quality manager’s task is to master this thin line between external influences and active participation in the company. No easy task, mind you.
This arena therefore logically follows the first two and ensures acceptance of quality management in times of change. It is also an active contribution to the development of the new job description of a quality manager. This results in prioritized tasks with great potential for the future. Not only because the quality manager has to cope with constantly growing demands, but also because he or she has to ensure that his or her work remains relevant to the success of the company.
What Does this Development Mean for the Quality Manager?
The first arenas have already shown: The demands placed on quality managers have continued to increase in recent years. this goes so far that today it is almost impossible for a single person to meet all the requirements. And this is also part of the problem: pressure for efficiency as well as tight personnel budgets do not leave quality management unaffected and often the remaining team is only focused on operational reaction.
More complex products and methods make it increasingly difficult to assess product and process quality. In addition, there are numerous industry-specific quality standards and growing customer requirements to which companies must respond. For a single person, the multitude of tasks arising simply cannot be mastered. After all, there is no such thing as the egg-laying wool-milk sow in quality management. In order to cope with change, the job description of the Q-manager must therefore be realigned, perhaps even completely redefined.
Of course, the quality manager must deal with everyday quality assurance and take into account the constantly increasing standard requirements. However, in terms of protection of the status quo it should also be a central task to continuously improve business processes and maintain the quality management system. The quality manager can contribute to the strategic development of the company with his insights and experience: Employees are trained by him and sensitized to the topic of quality, so that quality is not only heard, but also makes an active contribution to shaping the company. Quality management is value management and serves the long-term and sustainable increase in value for customers, investors and other legitimate stakeholders. This awareness is required to first position the company strategically and then to align it step by step and in a benefit-oriented manner.