Thursday, August 29, 2013

Quality Training

Here are my observations regarding quality training at my previous employer, AT&T Bell Laboratories:

At the Naperville, Illinois location of the AT&T Bell Labs, we had a major initiative to embark on a quality improvement journey in the Switching Systems Business Unit (SSBU) in mid 1980's. The following projects were implemented:
  • Quality 101 for Executives and Employees - This involved sending a core team for crash quality management training (e.g., 3 days with Dr. Deming). The core team designed a 2-day Quality 101 course for Directors and delivered to division directors (train-the-trainer approach). Then these directors cascaded the training in their departments. The entire SSBU was trained in basics of quality. 
  • Process Management Teams - This involved formation of process management teams and documenting key processes using the SIPOC (Supplier, Input, Process, Output, Customer) diagram and necessary training in the use of SIPOC Diagram. This effort required identifying key processes within SSBU, forming process management teams which received training in SIPOC use. The teams then captured their processes using a uniform SIPOC diagram approach. Understanding customer requirements led to key metrics and the continuous improvement journey started using facts and data. As a result, we received the ISO 9001 certification in one year in 1991 for the entire SSBU (6,000 employees across three countries - Netherlands, UK, and USA).. 
  • ASQ Certified Quality Engineer (CQE) preparation classes - As I have already shared in my previous blog posts, between 1990 to 1995 around 350 colleagues enrolled in the CQE preparation classes, 200 took CQE exam, and 89 became ASQ CQEs. The pass rate was 66% as compared to average ASQ pass rate of 33% for CQEs. The number of CQEs at the Naperville Switching Design and Development location was the highest among all ATA&T Bell Labs locations including manufacturing units.
  • Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award Assessment of all AT&T Divisions and necessary training in Baldrige - This initiative required each division to form a core team of directors and engineers to use the Baldrige criteria to annually assess the division. All executives received appropriate training in interpreting the Baldrige criteria. Under this initiative AT&T received three Baldrige Awards - one in Manufacturing and two in Service.
Another example I can share was with our three Medicare Contractor clients who were getting ready for ISO 9001:2004 certification. Here we organized a 1/2 day training for the Executives to provide ISO methodology and its importance. Then we trained the entire staff an Introduction to ISO Process. The teams then started mapping their key processes using the SIPOC diagram. Before the Auditor came for certification, the entire workforce was trained in the ISO Process. As a result, all three Medicare Contractors achieved their ISO 9001:2004 certification without any non-compliance.

In summary, when appropriate quality training is provided with alignment to the organization's strategy, the employees get motivated and achieve great results.

I look forward to learning about your experience in quality training.