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Quality Management

The Potential of Data to Improve Quality Management

Just by using data that already exists in the company, quality management teams could make a big improvement in the job that they do

Quality management teams, whose job it is to minimize the chances of any product, service, or process being defective, have a golden opportunity to improve their performance and the support they give to the firm that funds them.

Just by making better use of the data already available to them will reduce by 9% the frequency of errors reoccurring after putting a CAPA (“corrective and preventive action”) in place, and will cut by 30% the amount of days to complete an investigation of an issue not related to health and safety, according to CEB analysis.

The potential impact of all this is substantial. It could mean the difference between a ruined and a rescued reputation for a team, manager, or entire brand, not to mention avoiding damage to the company’s bottom line and market value. In short, making the Quality team stronger at using data and analysis will improve detection of quality issues, save time and money spent on recalls, rework, and re-delivery, and build trust with colleagues and customers.

More Data, More Opportunity…

The way that all employees use data is transforming and, as has been well documented, the amount of information available is growing faster than ever in human history. Quality teams now have access to a range of data from new sources, such as e-mail, call centers, the internet, and social media. The problem is that because this information is often unstructured and can be difficult to analyze, most Quality employees are not yet using it: just 11.7% of Quality staff agree or strongly agree that they do so, according to a recent CEB survey.

But this is changing, albeit slowly. In some rare occasions, Quality teams are already making use of this data, and reaping the rewards. For instance, the team at one large US manufacturer in CEB’s networks used internet of things data — details from internet-connected devices that capture information — to learn how customers use its products.

The company used this information to automate customer service interactions, ultimately reducing call center and field service costs, as well as finding new sources of revenue.

…If You Use it Properly

Quality teams around the world need to learn from others and start using data more often. Beyond the efficiency gains referred to above, it will help them predict quality problems, uncover previously unknown information, validate hypotheses and root causes, communicate decisions more confidently, and reduce manual processes.

The best way to make use of the data is to make sure it meets three criteria – something that CEB dubs “insight IQ” (see chart 1). More than half of Quality leaders are prioritizing attainability and usefulness when it comes to using data to improve quality. But while those two factors are important, it’s the third — staff capability — where it most important to invest time and resources.

Chart 1: What makes up insight IQ  Source: CEB analysis


More On…

  • Known Truths About Analytics

    Learn more about how Quality teams can make the best use of all the data that's swimming around their company by downloading this white paper.

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