Tag: csr

What is Responsible Sourcing & How Do You Manage It Effectively?

Our latest video discusses a topic increasing in relevancy. Responsible Sourcing is also a topic we’ll be discussing next week at ASQ’s annual World Conference on Quality & Improvement.  Visit us in Booth 607, or attend one or both of our sessions on Monday, May 1st.

3pm – 4pm

M26: Managing Supplier Social Responsibility: On-Site Audits

5:30pm – 6:45pm

AF04: Incorporating SR Into Daily Life

Resolving issues w/ QC in the textile/garment industry

The International Journal of Information, Business and Management recently reported on the garment industry and the impact on quality in the current environment.

Garment factories in Bangladesh have been the site of rights abuses and fatal accidents. The industry also faces its share of traditional business challenges, including mounting international competition and a lack of formal quality management systems, researcher Hasanuzzaman writes. Common challenges to adopting quality management systems – such as Six Sigma – include a lack of financial resources, infrastructure, and education, according to the author’s interviews with factory managers. Those who had implemented quality management, however, reported better customer and employee satisfaction, better waste management, and faster delivery.

CGMA Magazine highlights the ongoing issues noted in the textile/garment supply chain despite attempts to implement corrective actions via quality management:

The industry is also struggling to confront unsafe conditions in its supply chain. In 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh, which housed factories making garments for global brands, collapsed. More than 1,100 people were killed, and thousands more were injured. Since then, driven partly by media and consumer pressure, the industry has attempted to prevent and remedy the dangers to its workforce. The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was drawn up with much fanfare and signed by more than 200 clothing brands. Factories were inspected, and corrective action plans were put in place. However, 1,401 of the 1,646 factories covered by the accord are behind schedule on these tasks, according to the Accord’s quarterly report dated July 2016.

As an industry faced with these issues, ensuring product quality control and a stable quality management system can be especially challenging.

Recommendations to improve quality in both the short and long-term include:

Focus on supplier selection

  • Consider various regions and their reputation for quality and overall sustainability/social responsbility .
  • Verify potential supplier’s capabilities and environment with an on-site assessment. View an example SR report and an Initial Supplier Evaluation.
  • Contact other clients working with the supplier.

Conduct ongoing inspections & data analysis

  • Depending on how comfortable you are with the supplier, first-article, in-process and pre-shipment inspections can be employed.  A previous blog post reported on common issues we note during textile/garment inspections.
  • Evaluate inspection data on a periodic basis to drive continuous improvement efforts. Consider the 80/20 rule for monthly management.

For additional information, a comprehensive article discussing all aspects of textile/garment quality can be be found here. Akter HossainDepartment of Textile Engineering at Daffodil International University offers several insights and recommendations.

For more information regarding how Pro QC can assist with supplier selection and on-site quality control, contact us or visit our website at here.

The Quality – Social Responsibility Connection

As a guest blogger on the ASQ site this month, my post discusses the connection between quality and social responsibility, in addition to highlighting ideas for action as it relates to individual accountability.  Check out the article here.  For additional info regarding the quality – SR connection, I reference the following articles:

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Investing in Sustainability & Social Responsibility

A recent TED Talk that caught our attention includes Chris McKnett making a solid case for investing in sustainability.  In fact, several TED related talks focus on this topic and do an exceptional job demonstrating the benefits of this long-term strategy.

In McKnett’s talk, he highlights three additional components to sustainable investing that add to the commonly accepted and used financial indicators. He prefaces the discussion effectively disputing many of the common objections we hear.  He argues sustainability and sustainable investing is “less complicated than you think, has better performance than you can believe and is more important than we can imagine.”

ESG:

  • Environmental – Energy consumption, water availability, waste, etc.
  • Social – Human capital, labor and human rights, etc.
  • Governmental – Oversight of companies by investors (corporate governance)

As we often do when discussing sustainability and social responsibility audits, we focus on the benefits that are difficult to dispute:

  • Financial outperformance (no tradeoffs) – “Environmental leadership is compatible with good returns”
  • Improves and supports innovation.
  • Supports a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
  • Improves quality and supports continuous improvement.
  • Contributes to long-term, future success. 80% of Global CEOs surveyed agree.

We have written several articles related to sustainability and social responsibility auditing as a third-party provider.  Two of the most applicable articles include the following:

Sustainability Audits: An Evolving Process

Social Accountability Audits: Benefits & Features 

Pro QC’s related supplier audits incorporate the following:

Social Responsibility – These evaluations focus on health and safety, discrimination, disciplinary practices, working hours, compensation, management practices, forced labor, freedom of association and child labor laws.

Sustainability – Although we have offered ISO14000 (environmental) and SA8000 (social responsibility) audits for a number of years, many organizations are now requiring audits that combine elements of both of these standards along with additional elements covering energy usage, renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions, materials and waste reduction, life cycle management, supplier’s supply chain activities and more.

The CSR Minute by 3BL Media is also a useful resource to quickly stay up-to-date regarding global organizations and their efforts towards sustainability and social responsibility.

Contact us to review and/or discuss example sustainability/environmental (ISO 14000) and social responsibility (ISO 26000 & SA8000) audits.  

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How do you know quality when you see it?

After describing what it is that Pro QC does the other day, an individual paused and asked how we know what quality is when we see it. And, that’s a very interesting question that many conclude is just too subjective to answer. Likely the most popular general definition is Deming’s idea of whether something is meeting or exceeding customer expectations. But, how can you tell? Our engineers would probably start talking about product specifications, testing requirements, tolerances and such.  But, another broader assumption is that quality focused organizations produce quality products. But, how can you tell if an organization is quality focused?

In partnering with companies of all sizes and various industries over the last thirty years, we have observed a few common traits within organizations that are quality focused and successful at meeting or exceeding their customers’ expectations. (We highlight some of these organizations as Client Stories in our quarterly newsletter. )

Our observations include:

1) Corporate culture: People talk about quality and are enthusiastic about it. They know it’s important.

ASQ and Forbes Insights recently posted a must-read on this topic. “This first-of-its-kind global study offers actionable insight into how a more quality driven culture can accelerate business performance.”  Culture of Quality: Accelerating Growth & Performance in the Enterprise 

2) Long-term vision: Actions, such as investing in supplier performance and internal evaluation programs and/or audits, focus on long-term results and support sustainability and social responsibility. Forbes identified six reasons companies should embrace CSR that we also see as quality contributors:

  1. Innovation
  2. Cost savings
  3. Brand differentiation
  4. Long-term thinking
  5. Customer engagement
  6. Employee engagement

3) Proactive: When there are issues with production identified through QC evaluation or otherwise, the organization is proactive.  Corrective actions are identified and implemented.  Failures are considered a learning experience as long as they don’t keep occurring.

“The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct and learn from it.” ~Steven Covey

4) Committed: Quality and continuous improvement are a priority in good times and bad.

Continuous improvement is an ongoing effort to improve products, services or processes. These efforts can seek ‘incremental’ improvement over time or ‘breakthrough’ improvement all at once.” (Source)

How do you know quality when you see it?