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The ABCs of developing TQM.

LAYING THE FOUNDATION FOR SOLID corporate profitability has never been more important than it is in today's tough, recessionary times. A total quality management (TQM) program may be just the tool security organizations need to construct a framework for success.

TQM is the process by which traditional management practices are restructured to improve performance and product quality and customer satisfaction. The process involves strong quality leadership, customer-driven quality, employee participation, quality measurement and analysis, and continuous improvement.

Its benefits were championed in a 1991 Government Accounting Office (GAO) report to the House of Representatives in which select US companies that had implemented TQM practices were studied.

The GAO found that companies that adopted TQM experienced an overall improvement in corporate performance. Nearly all of the companies achieved better employee relations, higher productivity, greater customer satisfaction, increased market share, and improved profitability.

One method of formalizing a program for TQM is through the development and implementation of a quality performance plan (QPP). The QPP describes how quality is being developed, maintained, and assessed in each function of a security department. Eight basic steps should be followed for QPP development and implementation.

Step one: Quality structure. For the quality process to succeed, senior management must take the lead. It must demonstrate a personal commitment to developing and sustaining an environment for quality excellence. In addition, it must convey how quality will be achieved, integrated, and reinforced in the company.

To assist in accomplishing this task, the organization should have a quality assurance department or a quality focal point that represents senior management. The management of each security department should appoint a quality coordinator (QC) to serve as a liaison between the functional activities and the quality focal point.

The department QC should be an individual who has full knowledge of the processes of the security activity. Moreover, the QC should have a close working relationship with the management of that activity. The qualifications of the QC should be cited in the QPP.

Step two: Functional responsibilities. The second step identifies the major functions in the organization to be covered in the plan. In a typical security organization, the major functions could be

* guard force (fixed posts and roving patrols);

* investigations (incidents, complaints, and accident reports);

* pass and identification (badging, visitors, and registration); and

* traffic control (enforcement, parking, and registration).

The applicable procedures and documentation that govern the security functions are addressed in the QPP. Those procedures are determined by reviewing what requirements apply to the task performed by the security organization.

For example, if the company contracts out for security services, the contract should stipulate how security is to perform. Also, local, state, or federal regulations may mandate what training is required for security officers.

All the documentation that is in place in the security organization that satisfies those requirements should be listed. Relevant documentation may include training procedures, operating procedures, post instructions, records, and company policies.

The quality and measurement factors should be established to provide information on how to measure quality control and continuous improvement. This data is determined by citing the requirements, quality goals, and key quality measurements of each function. The information may be illustrated as follows:

* Requirement. Under this section, the security department assumes the responsibility for maintaining quality of performance in all assigned functions. The department will also be accountable for ensuring continuous improvement through quality measurement and analysis of each functional unit.

* Quality goal. The overall quality goal of security is to protect life, property, and information while maintaining a safe working environment for security employees; to perform security services efficiently and effectively in accordance with established quality procedures; to ensure customer satisfaction; and to maintain continuous improvement in operations.

* Key quality measures. The key quality measures are how the organization intends to meet its goals. Generally, this section focuses on procedures and processes in training, inspection, supervision, customer satisfaction, documentation, and execution of duties.

For example, a measurement standard may be applied to the response time taken to call for services, recording clocks on supervised rounds and inspections, application of procedures by security personnel, and customer satisfaction feedback.

Step three: Work force considerations. The success or failure of any program in an organization depends directly on the degree of support from the work force. To enhance the successful implementation of a TQM program, the following work force considerations should be addressed:

* Internal communications. Internal communications are vital to every organization, and how effectively the company communicates with its employees is a major factor in TQM implementation. Under this category, the various methods used by the department to keep employees informed about current issues and company policy should be described.

A security organization may use the following forms of internal communication: preassignment shift briefings, postshift briefings, security staff meetings, post inspections, personnel evaluation meetings, and security routing slips.

* Employee participation. Employee participation is a key part of TQM. If the program is going to be successful, employees must understand, support, and be a part of the project. Under this section, the methods that are available for employees to participate in the quality improvement process should be explained.

To encourage employee participation, companies should seek ways to improve methods for giving employees authority to act, such as providing opportunities for employees to report quality deficiencies. Involvement in quality team participation, feedback from individual efforts, access to management beyond an immediate supervisor, and support for employee innovation are also important.

* Employee training. Security personnel training is an essential part of quality performance. Under this topic, all training requirements and overall quality educational needs to perform the work should be described.

Additionally, the specific methods that the company has in place to accomplish training objectives should be addressed. Pertinent facts concerning training may include training requirements for the job function, approach to quality education and training, quantitative measures for types and duration of training, how quality education and training are evaluated, and documentation procedures of education and training processes.

* Certification requirements. Certain functions require security employees to be licensed or obtain certified training to perform their duties. Under this section, the requirements for each function and how those requirements are met and monitored for security personnel should be described.

Certification requirements may include compliance with state or local law for training and license; compliance with company policy and procedures; weapon permits, if applicable; procedures for monitoring quality assurance; documentation system supporting quality assurance; and quality improvement practices related to certification.

* Employee safety. Accident prevention is the key to employee safety, and senior management has the primary responsibility for the organization's safety program. Because of the inherent danger that can confront security personnel, strict adherence to safety procedures is essential.

All security personnel should receive appropriate instruction on the proper safety techniques of performing their work. In particular, any potential hazards the employee may encounter must be identified, and any personal protective equipment that the employee is required to wear must be explained.

Training should be followed by periodic supervision and inspection to ensure proper application of safety procedures.

The company should establish a comprehensive safety program. Department safety representatives need to be appointed to work directly with the QC. For the safety program to be effective, all employees should get involved.

Another method of accomplishing employee safety and employee participation is for each department to conduct a job safety analysis (JSA) for every function addressed in the plan. The JSA, which is recommended by the National Safety Council, identifies each sequence of basic job steps and the equipment used in each step.

In security applications, the JSA could be used in traffic assignments, inspection of hazardous areas on rounds, and assignment and use of specialized equipment.

* Weapons use. The JSA may also be used for training new personnel and in conjunction with accident investigation. The JSA should be reviewed periodically to keep hazard identification current.

* Employee well-being and morale. Providing a safe and healthy work environment is essential to maintaining a motivated work force. Under this section, how the company safeguards the health and safety of security employees should be described.

The company could improve employee conditions in many ways. It might conduct analyses of accident causation and work-related health problems and establish prevention methodology. It could include in quality assurance and quality improvement activities such quality of worklife factors as health, safety, satisfaction, well-being, and morale.

Management could also establish policies for retraining in job assignments, provide counseling and employee assistance, and solicit employee feedback on quality-related issues.

* Community and environmental involvement. Everyone is concerned about protecting the environment, and most companies are expected to make some contribution toward that end. One example would be employee participation in the local recycling program. Another instance might be the duty security officer reporting environmental concerns to the proper authority to avert damage, loss, or safety hazard.

Any incentive programs the company may have to recognize individual employees and their contribution to the community or environment should be noted.

Under this section, specify how the work force participates in the community and the environment outside their immediate work area. Procedures or programs in place that serve to protect the community or the environment should be included. Finally, the company's policy as it relates to the community and environment should be described.

Step four: Customer considerations. Establishing and maintaining customer satisfaction is critical to remaining competitive in today's business world. Under this category, explain the company's knowledge of its client base, its ability to be responsive to that group, and its skill in meeting buyers' requirements and expectations.

First, how the company determines current and future customer needs and expectations should be described. For example, the process for identifying potential buyers and their needs and expectations through interviews, surveys, and personal contacts should be explained.

Next, how the company provides customer service and ensures its continuous improvement should be described, such as how the service is integrated with management. Also, note how the company ensures that its clientele will have easy access for comments and complaints or when seeking assistance.

Finally, what training is provided for security employees who have contact with the public and the process for improving customer service should be stated. In many companies, keeping the customer satisfied is the bottom line to longevity and contract renewal.

Step five: Supplier quality. In some instances, the company's overall quality performance may depend directly on its supplier. If this is the case, forming a partnership with suppliers is a necessary element of TQM.

As an example, the lead time needed for providing security officers with proper uniforms and equipment may be a factor in quality performance. Under this category, how the quality of materials and services purchased or provided by other businesses is ensured should be described. More specifically, the approach to verification of how the company's quality requirements are met by suppliers, dealers, distributors, and other external providers should be explained.

Indicate the number of suppliers, contractors, and other external providers, and identify the selection method and existence of long-term relationships. Lastly, how the company conducts audits, inspections, and certification programs in reference to suppliers should be addressed.

Step six: Self-audit. Self-auditing is one method of continuous improvement used to assess the performance of the plan for ensuring quality. Under this section, the measures in place to accomplish that task should be described.

The self-audit should be conducted on a periodic schedule and may include a complete review and update of the quality plan, review of all previous external audits or evaluations, department coordination for analysis and recommendations, deficiencies noted and corrective action taken, and documentation of plan improvements.

Step seven: Corrective action. Continuous improvement is a fundamental attribute of TQM and arises from the concept that all work activities can be done more efficiently. Therefore, TQM requires a management approach that encourages the identification of methods to improve operations. Under this section, the formal and informal processes that are in place for corrective action should be described.

A security organization may initiate formal corrective action following a scheduled audit where discrepancies are discovered. One example could be when a problem is found in the accountability and inventory of weapons and related equipment. On the other hand, an informal process involving corrective action may be initiated following a discrepancy found during the normal course of business, such as problems in report writing procedures.

Whenever corrective action is indicated, the quality coordinator should review the problem with affected department members, propose appropriate corrective action to management, and implement corrective action following approval. He or she will also want to review department procedures and the quality performance plan, updating them as required; document changes; and initiate department notifications.

Step eight: Documentation and review. The last step addresses three factors: adequacy of the plan, required changes, and formal management review.

Adequacy of the plan describes how the requirements are being met, guidelines used in developing the strategy, and the scope of the program. Changes to the plan should address the approach to continuous improvement, processes involved with keeping the plan current, and the documentation required for record purposes.

To address the process involving the formal management review of the plan, the coordination effort between the QC and management following self-audits and plan reviews should be described. In particular, strong management support and commitment for maintaining quality performance and continuous improvement should be emphasized.

Finally, a provision that the plan will be validated twice a year via a formal management review should be included.

The objectives for implementing TQM into the organization are to improve product and service quality and to increase customer satisfaction. Most companies that have instituted TQM practices have also experienced improvements in employee relations, operating procedures, and financial performance.

Whatever the desired outcome is for improving performance in the security organization, implementing TQM practices through the development of a quality performance plan is one method of achieving that goal.

Ronald W. Ash, CPP, is manager of fire and security for General Electric Government Services, which is headquartered in Cherry Hill, NJ. He is a member of ASIS.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:total quality management
Author:Ash, Ronald W.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Sep 1, 1992
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