By Rick Townsley, Ph.D.
Editor’s note: In this four-part series, contributor Rick Townsley offers a lively, if imaginative, look at an ISO 9001:2015 implementation at a single small business. In part one, we were introduced to The Pizza Shack restaurant and some various problems they were having with quality, customer service, and training, among other issues. Here, in part two, we start to see them use the principles of ISO 9001:2015 to improve. Any similarity to actual businesses are purely coincidental.
Fast forward to three months later.
“OK, Pop,” says an excited Luigi. “It’s time for our first Management Review (9.3, Management Review) to see how well we did against our objectives (9.1, Monitoring, measurement, analysis and evaluation). Let’s look at our inputs.
“We said we wanted 100-percent customer satisfaction, and to be the people’s first choice,” continues Luigi. “To measure this, we said we would monitor the number of pizzas sold and track any verbal complaints or refunds for anyone who doesn’t like our pizza (8.2, Requirements for products and services). Based on my numbers, we averaged sales of 750 pizzas a month. I talked with the guys and they remember receiving about a dozen complaints. Plus, we show refunds for four pizzas (9.1.3, Analysis and evaluation). So, with the details we have, it looks like we have approximately a 98.5-percent customer-satisfaction rating (9.3.2, Management review inputs; and 9.12, Customer Satisfaction). That’s not bad, but we still missed our goal of 100 percent (9.1.3, Analysis and evaluation).
“So how do we fix this?” asks Mario.
“Let’s take an action to continue to monitor and do a better job writing down each complaint (9.3.3, Management review outputs; and 10, Improvement). I’ll get with the staff and ask them to place notes on my desk with the complaint, who took the complaint, the date, and what we did to satisfy the customer (9.1.3, Analysis and evaluation). We’ll decide which complaints are legitimate and make changes as needed” (10.2 Nonconformity and corrective action).
“Sounds like a good plan. OK son, so what’s next?” asks Mario, eager to keep moving.
“We said we can set a goal that no customer has to wait more 15 minutes for in-store pick-up no matter how large the order,” responds Luigi. “So, I picked up some stop watches (7.1.5, Monitoring and measuring resources) to record the time from the placement of the order until the pizza arrives in the customer’s hands.
“And?” Mario asks with anticipation.
“We gave 10-percent discounts for late orders,” Luigi responds.
“And?” Mario asks again with anticipation.
“Maybe we should relax our time window,” Luigi hesitantly responds.
“When I totaled up the discounts,” Luigi continues, “We lost an average of two percent of sales monthly, or about $583 per month (9.1.3, Analysis and evaluation; and 9.3.2, Management Review Inputs). Maybe we need to better understand the process and look at how we do things. I can take another look at the receipts with discounts and monitor the times when discounts were highest, then take another look at peak times and how we managed by adding staff or otherwise (9.3.3, Management review outputs; 7.1.1, Resources; and 7.1.2, People). Maybe we need to not only track lateness by counting the number of discounts (attribute data); instead, maybe we can start tracking how late we are in time? Is it one minute, five minutes, or 15 minutes (variable data)?” (9.3.3 Management Review Outputs; 9.1.3, Analysis and Evaluation; and 10, Improvement).
“Maybe we just need better stop watches?” asks Mario with a sheepish grin.
“Good one, Pop,” replies Luigi. “But you know, I can verify the calibration (9.3.3, Management Review Outputs; and 188.8.131.52, Measurement traceability) and how these stop watches are used for consistency” (9.3.3, Management Review Outputs; 7.2, Competence; and 8.5.1, Control of production and service provision).
“I can live with that. So how did we do against our delivery objective?” asks Mario.
“Good question. Let’s see, its right here in my notes. Got it! We said we would offer free delivery within 10 miles and within 45 minutes of placing an order, or the customer gets an automatic 10-percent discount… So, I was right, our customers did help us monitor this objective. Apparently, we did a good job of communicating our policy about the 10-percent discount if deliver was more than 45 minutes late (7.4, Communication; and 8.2.1, Customer communication). Well, if you think our in-store pick-up numbers were not that good, you may want to have a seat over there on the couch. We lost an average of 2.5 percent, or $729 per month, against our objective of 0 percent (9.1.3, Analysis and evaluation; and 9.3.2, Management Review Inputs).
“Ahhh, run that by me again son,” responds a startled Mario.
“Nope, you heard it right, Pop,” replies Luigi. “But let’s try to better understand this information (9.1.3, Analysis and evaluation). First, we are relying solely on our customer feedback (8.2.1, Customer communication) when granting discounts. Our drivers (7.1.2, People) have been told to never disagree with the customer (8.2.2, Determining the requirements for products and services).
“So how do we know if we really are late?” asks Mario.
“We don’t know, that’s the point!” responds Luigi.
“So how do we fix this, then?”
“Well I have an idea. We’ll still continue with the free delivery up to 10 miles, however, we will take action to control and correct the issue by removing the late delivery discount” (10.2, Nonconformity and corrective action; and 9.3.3, Management review outputs). This on-time delivery objective is difficult to measure and monitor effectively. Our real goal is to increase the effectiveness of our quality management system by improving to get better results, and at the same time, prevent negative effects like customer complaints (8.2.1, Customer Communication). This is part of our risk-based thinking (6.1, Actions to address risks and opportunities; and 4.4, Quality management system and its processes). Aside from this, I’ve been getting some feedback from our drivers. They worry about speeding tickets, accidents, their safety, and giving our customers an excuse not to tip them. They’re also telling me that some of the other pizza shop drivers are having similar concerns (7.4, Communication). We have an obligation to our drivers to make them feel comfortable, safer, and less pressured (7.1.4, Environment for the operation of processes).
“Agreed,” Mario responds in a serious tone. “Let’s remove this as one of our objectives; it’s just not effective or safe” (10.2, Nonconformity and corrective action; 6.1, Actions to address risks and opportunities; 9.3.3, Management review outputs; 5.1, Leadership and commitment; and 4.3, Determining the scope of the quality management system).
“OK, let’s move on to the next management review agenda item which would be how well we managed our vendors,” Luigi continues. “Let’s start with Joe, our pizza dough delivery guy. Was he always on time?” (9.3.2, Management review inputs).
“Yep,” Mario promptly replies. “I have his logs here. He is always on schedule as we request, and his dough is always fresh (8.4.3, Information for external providers). No issues with Joe” (9.1.3, Analysis and evaluation; 9.3.2, Management review inputs; 7.1, Resources).
“Good, seems he’s been a good vendor (external provider) since we started using his company,” adds Luigi (8.4, Control of externally provided processes, products and services). “And he’s on our Approved Supplier’s List as an ingredient supplier” (8.4.2, Type and extent of control; and 7.1, Resources). No further action required at this time. We will continue to monitor for effectiveness (9.3.3, Management review outputs).
“OK,” continues Luigi, “let’s talk about our internal audit results (9.3.2, Management review inputs).
“Oh yes, that’s right, Jack from ISO Audits R Us (9.2.2, Auditor selection) audited our complete QMS last week,” Mario replies (9.2.1, Internal audit). “He nailed us for our customer feedback and said we need to do a better job of obtaining all feedback from all sources. I think he interviewed Sharon working the counter. First, she couldn’t find her stop watch to record time from order placement to order receipt by the customer. Then she told him she stopped recording a few weeks back” (9.3.2, Management review inputs; 8.2.1, Customer communication; 4.4, Quality management system and its processes).
“That’s right Pop,” interjects Luigi. “I remember now. I opened a corrective action (9.2.2, Internal audit—appropriate corrective actions) to find a better method (10, Improvement) of capturing all feedback and to determine if any other of our counter employees were doing the same thing (9.3.3, Management review outputs).
“So, let’s step back, recap, and evaluate the effectiveness of our QMS,” Luigi says, in beginning to summarize the meeting. “Our mission is to the people’s first choice for fresh tasty pizza so that our customers will want to keep coming back. We established objectives to support our mission. We analyzed our inputs and from these inputs, we established outputs. I’d say, we’re not perfect but we’re planning, doing, checking, and acting on what we said we would do (4.3, Determining the scope of the quality management system; and 10.3, Improvement).
Luigi pauses for a moment and then says, “Pop, you do know we need to keep records of these management review meetings. (7.5, Documented Information). Have you been keeping notes?” (4.4, Quality management system and its processes).
“No, I thought you were,” replies a confused Mario.
“Ahh, well, I guess I am now,” replies a somewhat irritated Luigi (5.3, Organizational roles and responsibilities).
In part three, Mario and Luigi get philosophical about the organization’s mission and begin to test new products.
About the author
Rick Townsley, Ph.D., is a Principal QA Engineer at Raytheon in Largo, FL. He holds a Ph.D. in business administration from Kennedy-Western University in Cheyenne, WY. A senior ASQ member, Townsley is an ASQ certified quality auditor, engineer, and manager of quality/organizational excellence. He is also an Exemplar Global QMS auditor.
©, Rick Townsley. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise specified, no part of this publication may be reproduced or utilized otherwise in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or posting on the internet or an intranet, without prior written permission from the author: firstname.lastname@example.org.