Originating in 2008 in London, the purpose of World Quality Day, and now World Quality Week, is to raise quality awareness and provide support to individuals and organisations for the achievement of organisational prosperity through the adoption of high-quality standards. This year, the annual campaign was focused on ‘Quality Conscience’. This is the second year running where it has been spread over a week, instead of having it be a single day. This is beneficial for both awareness of WQW and also for organisations who want to take part in it, as they have a full week to engage in the celebration event.
A simple definition could be fulfilment of requirements and ISO9000:2015 details that an organisation focused on quality promotes a culture that results in the behaviour, attitudes, activities and processes that deliver value through fulfilling the needs and expectations of customers and other relevant interested parties.
The Chartered Quality Institute (CQI) defines quality management as, “Quality management is about making organisations perform for their stakeholders – from improving products, services, systems and processes, to making sure that the whole organisation is fit and effective”. (CQI, 2020).
Quality has a part to play in several aspects of an organisation, and it can have a positive or negative impact on an organisation. This depends on the outlook organisations have towards quality and how they implement assurance practices into their work. This is why ISO9001 is desired by over a million organisations worldwide, and why it is also specified in most clients’ tender selection and/or award criteria. Some tender lists will see having a Quality Management System in place as an essential prerequisite for competing for the work.
At SCS, we decided to promote WQW22 by taking part in different tasks throughout the week, that had aligned with the topic of ‘Quality Conscience’.
Implementing Quality Management Systems can prove to be very effective and provide success for our clients. We had the pleasure of making the trip down to Crossmaglen to visit Skips R Us, a waste management organisation, based in Newry, Northern Ireland. Feedback from the audit team confirmed that ‘Doing the right thing’ was evident throughout their audit and certification activity.
Tracey, our Service Coordinator, has been part of SCS for over 5 years now and she has made a huge impact on our operations. She is normally the first point of contact when you give us a call, she deals with any queries you have, helps out with our socials, communicates with you through your auditing process and is a crucial part of our team. Not only by her work ethic but also her positive personality. This is why we designated our employee recognition activity during WQW to her (it was a no brainer really).
But how does employee recognition have anything to do with WQW 22? Well, it helps to build stronger relationships with the employees as it shows them that they’re work is always valued and appreciated. It also challenges other employees to strive to do better and keep ‘doing the right thing’.
Having a lunch and learn session with our organisation was a great way to finish the week, and the end of this year’s WQW. This activity allowed us to come together as a team and talk about issues that we potentially can face in the workplace and the right way to go about them.
With quality conscience mainly coming into play for our auditors, it is also good for all the staff to understand the correct way to complete/ conduct tasks and tackle any issues that may be faced, as well as participating in the unending process of continual improvement.
With all the good that comes with quality, there will always be a choice that you have to make when you are put in the position of, ‘doing the right thing’. Amanda McKay, CQI Chair, wrote an article on, ‘Weighing up the consequences of doing the right thing’, reflecting on sometimes difficult choices and the role of the quality professional.
As a profession, our principles have been about doing things right and right first time, but that isn’t always the same as doing the right thing. Our core competencies as a profession – being governance, assurance, improvement, and leadership – should lead us down the route of being the consciousness of the organisation. Within quality, we tend to be embedded across the organisation and sighted on all aspects of the strategy and operations, so we are in a good place to understand and advise on doing the right thing. (McKay, 2022)
The shopping trolley theory is an ‘every day’ task that tests us to see if we are, ‘doing the right thing’.
This is a theory to see of a person is capable of self-governing. We have all used shopping trolleys at some stage in our lives, if not weekly. Returning the trolley is an easy task, which everyone knows is the correct thing to do after using it. There is no real reason, apart from dire emergencies, where someone may not be able to return their trolley after use. On the other hand, there is no obligation that says you must put your trolley back….
In relation to World Quality Week and quality consciousness, this theory suggests that a person's actions with regards to returning a shopping cart can be indicative of their overall attitude towards quality and responsibility. Individuals who take the time to return their shopping carts demonstrate a level of care and attention to detail, which are also important qualities in the pursuit of quality and excellence. On the other hand, individuals who leave their carts abandoned may be seen as lacking in quality consciousness, as they do not demonstrate a concern for the environment or the impact of their actions on others.
World Quality Week is an annual event that celebrates the pursuit of quality and excellence in all areas of life, and the shopping cart theory aligns with this goal by highlighting the importance of responsibility and attention to detail in the pursuit of quality.
“Doing the right thing is setting the standards when clients don’t specify them; it’s the customer focus that helps develop products or services for an end user when they didn’t know they needed the improvement; it’s the mindset to not settle for less than correct; its behaving appropriately and as agreed, even when nobody is looking; it is about helping those around you; simple but clear, if you insert ‘are you’ in front of the statement, it is a question for all our quality conscience”. Tony Duff, Director SCS
WQW posted another successful year, thanks to everyone who took part in sharing the campaign. This is shown by stats reported by CQI’s winter edition ‘Quality World’ newsletter.
According to their newsletter, there were:
SCS are looking forward to taking part in #WorldQualityWeek2023 #WQW23 this year (6th to 10th November 2023) and observing the many varied events that Clients, colleagues, and other organisations participate in, and share, to celebrate Quality.