Continuing our coverage of the 2016 ASQ Global State of Quality 2 Research—Discoveries 2016 report, let’s look at the fifth theme: “Knowledge, Learning, and Culture.”
This theme addresses the important question: How can organizations ensure they have the competencies and experience to effectively leverage quality as a strategic asset and competitive differentiator?
The key is to have a strong quality culture that includes a knowledge management strategy that can safeguard against a drain in internal skills and knowledge. It’s never been more important to focus on building an internal quality culture that flows all the way down the extended supply chain and to the customer.
The report also addresses the perceived impact of minimal knowledge capture. Organizations in North America and South America reported the loss of retaining knowledge to have a minor effect, while the Middle Eastern respondents felt this was not a concern at all. In contrast, 49 percent of Australian and New Zealand respondents felt that knowledge retention, or a lack thereof, would have no impact on their organizations.
Despite these negative statistics, more than 40 percent of organizations believe that knowledge retention has an effect on their quality programs. Of this number, 20 percent felt knowledge loss had a major impact on their organizations. The aging workforce and the potential wave of retirements to come, along with forced and natural attrition are possible reasons for this impact.
Concerns surrounding knowledge loss can be addressed through knowledge transfer approaches such as training. This is already being seen in the increased focus on training around improvement disciplines.
Looking specifically at training areas, there was a decrease in ISO, quality management, and audit activities, while increases were seen in lean and Six Sigma training.
As mentioned previously, the themes in the report are closely interlinked and the lack of knowledge retention could be related back to leveraging quality as a strategic asset. Knowledge is priceless, and losing it could lead to loss of a strategic asset, or positioning.
Again, returning to training, almost half of non-world class organizations train individuals involved in quality activities versus 71 percent of world-class organizations. Around one third of non-world class organizations provide training to individuals in other roles, versus 61 percent of world-class organizations. Further to this, 43 percent of non-world class organizations provide quality training to all employees, versus 100 percent of world-class organizations.
So where do industries spend their training money?
- Health care: basic quality fundamentals (69 percent), quality tools (56 percent), quality management (50 percent).
- Automotive: basic quality fundamentals (81 percent), quality tools (68 percent), ISO (66 percent), auditing (64 percent), quality management (62 percent), and lean (53 percent).
- Food and Beverage: basic quality fundamentals (86 percent), auditing (57 percent), ISO (55 percent), quality management (55 percent), and quality tools (55 percent).
- Energy: ISO (71 percent), basic quality fundamentals (63 percent), auditing (59 percent), quality management (59 percent), and quality tools (53 percent).
Top Training Types by Region
- Africa: quality management (61 percent)
- ANZ: basic quality fundamentals (54 percent)
- Asia: ISO (67 percent)
- Europe: basic quality fundamentals (67 percent)
- Middle East: basic quality fundamentals (69 percent)
- North America: basic quality fundamentals (66 percent)
- South America: basic quality fundamentals (67 percent)
To drive a quality culture beyond their own organizations, leading companies are training tiers of suppliers, and world-class organizations are training suppliers almost twice as often as manufacturing organizations. In fact, training of tier-two suppliers has increased 7 percent since 2013. The benefits of training suppliers and seeking a closer integration can be exponential in driving value and profitability across the supply chain.
Continue to read The Auditor Online in the coming weeks for more findings from the ASQ Global State of Quality 2 Research — Discoveries 2016 report.