A few years ago, the Government & Transportation Sector Technology Development Center (GTS TDC) at Xerox embarked on a transformation to revise our quality management system to ensure that we are being efficient and effective while protecting our profit margins. Donna Thomas, Director of Quality Assurance for Service Delivery for the GTS TDC, led those efforts.
We had a chance to sit down with Donna and ask her a few questions about the project.
1. Why did you decide that the quality management system had to be transformed?
There were a few factors. First, the Technology Development Center was formed from a bunch of different companies being blended together. For example, Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) was acquired by Xerox. Quality was a key goal for each site, but the process everyone was taking to achieve high quality was drastically different. We had to get everyone on the same page in order to run more efficiently and effectively.
Second, our clients were asking for it. Many contracts that we wanted to bid on required certification. If we wanted to grow, we had to rethink our efforts and make sure we were ISO certified.
2. It sounds like transforming the system was a must. What was the first step in the transformation?
Buy-in from executive management was essential. In order to garner that, I showed them proposals of what our prospects wanted, and they started listening. It was very helpful to have researched what our clients wanted, and I used it as evidence to support my argument.
3. That was a smart move. How did you ensure buy in from your team?
I used a similar approach with my team so they could understand the importance of it. The key to getting team buy in was to give multiple people ownership of portions of the project. I reached out to thought leaders and influencers across the Technology Development Center to recruit “Facilitators”. In order to be a Facilitator, you needed either the Certified ISO 9001 Lead Auditor credential or evidence of having taken ISO 9001 Implementing and Auditing class. The Facilitators then engaged others to develop the “process on a page (POP)” descriptions of how each site operated. Both the Facilitators and the discussion participants were a part of the project, and we wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for these people. They helped foster our thinking process. Most of them are process owners and have a continuing role of being a caretaker.
4. What was a benefit from this transformation that you would consider the most important?
People want to know where they fit in the bigger picture, which helps them feel more engaged in their work. Everyone knows their role and exactly what they contribute. Since we’re all on the same page, there is less confusion and we work more effectively. The most powerful thing is that all of our processes are structured against the various functional roles assigned to people. Hence, by looking at the process, you know where people are depending on you to get the job done.
We all understand how we do what we do, and we can all be consistent in answering these types of questions.
5. What do you recommend to other organizations who might decide to go through a similar process?
Get into the heads of the people in the organization. You can lead change, but you cannot force change. You need to communicate with people so that they own it. When someone owns it, the project really takes off.
An unforeseen benefit that I believe was a result of our team members taking personal ownership of different aspects of the project was that our auditor cited 24 best practices, areas where they found us to be amongst the best in the industry.
If you have any questions or would like to find out more, connect with Donna on LinkedIn.