The ultimate purpose of both Quality Management Programs and Quality Control Systems is essentially to provide risk management. Producing consistent quality work to established minimum standards serves to assist leadership in maintaining a standard of care to reduce risk to the Company and the Client. Properly administered and led, it is a great way to establish and foster a culture among staff well.
I like to begin with defining and understanding the terminology. Dictionary.com defines risk management as, “the technique or profession of assessing, minimizing, and preventing accidental loss to a business, as through the use of insurance, safety measures, etc.” A common term related to risk is exposure which is defined by IRMI as, “the state of being subject to loss because of some hazard or contingency. Also used as a measure of the rating units or the premium base of a risk.”
These definitions essentially serve to reinforce the fundamental values of Quality Management. Effective and efficient quality control and quality assurance measures reduce the possibility of errors. This ultimately reduces the exposure of a business to financial loss.
Relating Risk Management to Quality Standards
From a corporate perspective, Quality Standards establish expectations via appropriate Quality Assurance Management. The execution of these standards by way of Quality Controls and systems used by engineers to review plans and documents increases the confidence that the information included is accurate and correct. The fundamental accuracy of information serves to reduce exposure to claims resulting from errors and omissions, thus reducing risk.
My What is the difference between Quality Assurance and Control? article describes a scenario that expands the concepts of Quality Management beyond the somewhat limiting terms of Assurance and Control.
Perhaps a program with terms like Quality Management (Assurance) and Project Performance Reviews (Control) would be more appropriate for your needs. Maybe you want to apply a broader stroke of scrutiny on the finished product with aspects of cost-benefit analysis, documentation of changes, and consideration for manhours spent to reach different project milestones. Perhaps terms like quality control are too narrow and don’t achieve the desired performance objectives for project deliverables. Not trying to reinvent your system, but simply offering a different perspective.
When you introduce components of cost-benefit analysis, design optimization, and detailed progressive documentation, you add other ideas that help manage your projects and business. Take that one step further. Learn about manhours spent achieving different milestones and analyze how you can become more efficient without sacrificing quality.
Taking proactive measures to address the means of how you execute the production of high-quality documents. This contributes to further reducing risk. Combining these concepts with your corporate culture, oversight, and general management practices at all levels provides an unmatched understanding of where your success is and where you can improve upon it.
Ultimately, the goal of any good quality management system strives to improve confidence in the finished product being delivered to your client. Consistently meeting expectations while minimizing the risk associated with any engineering design, instills confidence in your work.
The resulting success improves your reputation, both individually and as a business. At the same time, you achieve a balance of risk management. You also become a positive influence on your staff, your clients, and your community.