We are the Champions...Sing It! Take Ownership of Your SPC Project

Rich Osborne
By Rich Osborne | August 17, 2018
Senior Account Manager
Successful companies take true ownership of their SPC quality solution. There, I said it. In my experience, a company really needs to have someone “owning” their quality solution at both the corporate and plant levels to be successful.
Companies that do not have that ownership aspect to their quality solution tend to struggle. I am always preaching that it’s not just a “right now” project; quality is a long-term project if you want to get value out of your (sometimes substantial) investment.
Therefore, I urge companies to take that ownership, latch on, and hold tight. Don’t let go of any aspect of your quality solution, from implementation to everyday use. Own it. Don’t let your quality endeavors wither on the vine. Be champions of your own success.  

Pass on your SPC ownershipPass on Your SPC Quality Solution

The chain must remain unbroken. What companies need is some sort of mechanism in place that enables the person overseeing the quality solution to pass that responsibility on to others within the organization, so there is always someone owning the solution. What I’m trying to say, essentially, is that companies really need to keep their quality solution as a priority.
I liken it to maintenance on your car. If you neglect changing the oil, the car is eventually going to fail. If you stay on top of it, maintain it properly, then it will last a long time, and you’ll get value from your investment.

Ownership in Action

Years ago, I worked on a quality project at a company that manufactured high-end turbine engines for power plants. Corporate bought in. They wanted a successful quality project. We trained them on how best to implement their quality solution. During the training I asked, “Okay, which one of you team members is actually going to take charge of this project after implementation is complete?”
Crickets. They all looked at each other and someone muttered, “No one.” Well, now the crickets were on my end of the conversation. I couldn’t believe it. I finally said, “Why are you wasting your time with this then?” Why did I ask this? Because this project is probably not going to be successful. The odds are not in their favor…unless someone takes ownership.
Corporate and Plant Level buy-in will make your SPC project succeed 
I continued, “Unless you get involvement at the plant level and someone takes ownership there, you will not see a return on your investment.” They nodded. I pushed on, “You’re going to go through all this effort, through all this expense, and you’re going to put something out on the floor that nobody has any idea what to do with. It’s just going to fail.” Some stunned looks. More nods. They seemed to be getting it.

“You Know What, You’re Right”

That’s what they said. Of course, then the struggle for them became this: they were so far along in the project that to get anyone new involved (to hopefully take over the project when we were done implementing it) was nearly impossible.
The lessons I took from this experience: They needed to include the key people from the start, get them involved, and make them feel like they’re part of the project (which they definitely would be). But this is not a new story. This happens all the time. And it doesn’t have to…as you’ll see below.

Be a champion for your SCP projectA Success Story

It’s not all doom and gloom. I also have a success story to share. I inherited a customer a few years back, a fairly large company. I began the relationship by setting up a call, introducing myself, just getting acquainted and kicking things off.
They were just starting their corporate-led quality project. I went to their main facility to meet the key players. They immediately asked me, “What do we need to do to make this successful?” Hmmm, I thought, that’s a good sign.
I answered, “Well, you’re obviously taking corporate ownership of this project. That’s great. Now, who is taking ownership at the plant level?” Crickets again. Blank stares. Uh-oh. “What do you mean?” they asked.
“Well,” I continued, “the companies that are successful with implementing a quality solution are the ones with which there is not only ownership at the corporate level, but also ownership at the plant level. Somebody is taking charge; someone becomes the champion. They gain and share the knowledge. They don’t always have to rely on us, or you at corporate, when there are questions.”
Champions are the key to SPC success

Dress Your SPC Implementation for Success

Sounds corny, but you need that gung-ho person championing this thing from the get-go at the plant level. Someone in the trenches. The corporate folks listened, and then responded just like you would want them to: “We’re going to set up a champion at each plant. Sometimes two people at each plant, so we always have a fallback. We’re going to set up a “champion’s network,” too; and we’re going to train everyone.” I nodded, liking what I was hearing. But they weren’t done. “We’re going to keep a knowledge base and make it available for them online, through the corporate Intranet. And if someone leaves, we’re going to have someone ready to replace them.” And, you know what? That’s exactly what they did.
And their quality solution project was a grand success. They had champions meetings; they had training for champions. And they had great success with their working solution. Why? Because they took ownership—at both the corporate and plant levels.

Your SPC Project – Ownership with a Helping Hand

Just to be clear, it’s not like we expect customers to take ownership and then do everything by themselves. That’s not what I mean at all. In fact, we were there every step of the way to provide support. InfinityQS is always there to be a part of the regularly scheduled meetings, but when a company takes ownership the way this company did, we act more as advisors than anything else.
SPC champions own their project’s successRather than take the reins, we have found over the years that a company that owns the implementation of their quality solution is not only more successful with the product, but they are also better prepared when situations arise that require attention. Rather than offer a lot of advice, which we’ve done on occasion with several companies, things go more smoothly when we can be there to confirm that, yes, they’re headed in the right direction. Teach a man to fish, you know the rest…

A Final Note

Ownership is all about the relationship of the company to the product and its implementation (and use). Companies that take ownership feel attached to, vested in, close to, dug in, and protective of their project. It makes such a huge difference.
When you want to succeed with your quality investment, own it, get everyone involved, take it seriously, be conscientious in your dealings with it, be champions of your quality endeavors, and above all let everyone know when it’s a success. Workers at companies everywhere like to be proud of what they do and where they work. Trumpet your success…and your champions’ success.
Well, that’s all for now…thanks for reading…see you next time.
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