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You've taken an AQAV Class. Where do you go from there?


Lorrie Morrow

So, you’ve completed your AQAV Classes and love the checklists and quality processes, but how do you bring it back to your company and imbed it into what you are doing? This can be difficult and frustrating, especially if management doesn’t buy into the process. I’ve assisted in many of the CQD and CQT classes where this question has been put to me many times over. My answer is an example of what I did when I went to work for a company that didn’t have any real quality processes in place.

At the time, I was the coordinator for the Service Department and came from a company where processes were in place, so I was able to use what information I had previously learned (this was pre-AQAV). Service is one of the most complicated of the processes because the process will change depending upon the type of work you need to perform. For example, a preventive maintenance (P/M) visit is very different from a warranty or service call, and the consideration of how it’s going to be paid for needs to be taken along with the type of work that is to be performed. When this is handled properly, the Service Department can be a magnificent profit center. When that profit starts to show on the books, management comes to you and asks, “What are you doing differently?” This would be your goal, and an opportunity to get buy-in from management.

I began by using helpful processes that I knew even though others in the department were not familiar with them. We started with a Request for Service (RFS) form where all the pertinent information concerning the job was to be found (i.e. date/time call was taken, who filed the complaint or request, contact info of that person, address, location including room #, problem or complaint with as many details as possible).

I won’t go into all the details of the Service process as this would take too long, but once the technicians were familiar with the process, they saw that it made their lives a lot easier. Having an RFS eliminated a lot of questions and gave the technician the ability to contact the client prior to showing up at the job site to ask questions and be prepared with the proper tools to complete his/her work. This gave, not only the technician but, the client the confidence that the problem would actually be addressed. The client noticed that our department was always prepared. A trust was built with the client, and they wanted only us for their service agreements.

If you are willing to attempt to make changes within your department, you can start by doing or suggesting:

  1. Gather your team and ask them what they think they do for a living?

  2. Eliminate any duplications (You do that? I’m already doing that!).

  3. In a flow chart manner, start to jot down the process (Begin with the beginning...we receive a service call, what type is it and what happens next?)

  4. Select process owners (i.e., SC, VP, Tech, OP Mgr., etc.) (Who’s responsible for what part of the process?)

  5. Describe any documents involved that need to be maintained (RFS, Job Work Order, Invoice, etc.) and where will they reside (i.e., Hard copy, on the server, in the cloud, etc.)

  6. Decision Matrix (i.e., Does the equipment need to be pulled for repair? Yes, this happens or no, then that must happen, and how does it come back into the flow once repaired?)

  7. Connectors - how and where do you connect with other departments (Turnover to Service from Installation? Engineering to Installation, etc.)

  8. Once you have your flow chart developed you can begin to put it in a written descriptive procedure for all to learn from and understand.

  9. Put a method in place for continual improvement (where anyone can make suggestions for a change)

  10. Give people the chance to express themselves and adapt and always be a good listener.

I’m giving you very basic steps as a jump off point to develop a simple process, but if you really want to know how to properly write a quality plan see The American Society for Quality

Using a quality process also helps to train new employees to become familiar with the way you work. There are many benefits that you will begin to realize once people get comfortable with a process that makes life and work easier.

Having a dedicated team who are knowledgeable, trained, and equipped makes not only for a happy client, but a happier employee and a profitable department. Don’t hesitate to put to use the knowledge you’ve gained and the skills that you now know work. It will be noticed...and if it’s not, you probably won’t be working there for very long.

Already, have buy-in? Mario J. Maltese will address this in our next post.

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