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  • Jay Zweibaum

Without quality assurance, what do you have?

Inspect what you expect…

Quality Assurance…

Manage What you Measure…

Trust But Verify…

What gets measured gets accomplished…

Have you heard any of these before?

These are not just sayings, but an important part of any process.  I hear people use them all of the time but sometimes when I suggest we set up a way to actually do it, I am often presented with arguments or rationales why it is not necessary.  Later on, these same leaders are surprised that the results are not flowing through.

Without a robust quality assurance, you don’t really have a process at all.  For those of you familiar with Lean Six Sigma, it is the last part of the DMAIC process – control.

When I used to work in an international division of a major foodservice company, I worried if I really knew what was happening thousands of miles away in Chile or China.  As a team, we worked on implementing critical processes to drive productivity, improve guest experience and improve outcomes.  What tools did I have to verify the processes we were working to implement? Were these processes actually being implemented and driving value?   In some cases, it was pretty easy to verify our progress through a system admin or reporting page and in other cases, my onsite visits were eye-opening.  In either case, I was able to support the business and help them improve their operations.  Having the remote access certainly gave me a window on progress and process.  When I tied them into the financial or other metrics, a true story was evident.

This remote monitoring is so critical to help change behavior and also to support the associates on the front line.  Who doesn’t want to eliminate unnecessary tasks or improve the product that they are producing?  As leaders, it is encouraging to know that your team has a process to drive consistency and achieve desired outcomes, be it quality or cost.  Additionally, providing online access and a verification to processes and training will ultimately help avoid issues in the future, be it fines, employee training verification, process breakdown or financial costs.

Over the past few months, it will have been very difficult to monitor or quality assure any process if it relied on people visiting your operation.  Today, more than ever, having tools that allow you to “see” into your operations remotely is critical.  Even for onboarding new associates or reviewing existing training, working with partners that allow you to track progress, support training but that do not require you to be onsite is the new normal.  The cost of travel, the current risk of face to face contact and inability to be in all places at once truly requires a systematic way to manage your companies expectations and underlying operating model.  Your team will appreciate the transparency as well.

Finding the right tools first requires you to map out your processes and needs so that you don’t go into discussions blind.  Look for systems that have a robust admin reporting section that allows you to track progress and activity for the things you need to quality assure.  Nothing can take the place of onsite support and review, but in these changing times, this approach is the next best thing.

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