"Twenty years ago, the subject of quality was still in its infancy here. The first quality department employee was the Health & Safety-coordinator who had various tasks, Emergency Response being one of those tasks. At that time, the main priorities were checking orders based on parts inventory lists; nowadays, we have extended our quality philosophy much further."
Dirk Jansen is Quality Officer at Vencomatic Group, together with his quality department colleagues he is working on setting the department up to be even more focused on quality at a higher level: "We are not only concerned with satisfied customers and avoiding costs, we want Vencomatic Group to stand for quality. Our products last a long time."
What does the department look like?
"The Quality Department consists of three people working at the Campus in Eersel, Vencosteel has its own Quality Officer. We have different responsibilities, I am responsible for everything that is transported from suppliers to our location, Corné Kokx focuses on quality control from the customer's perspective and Wim van der Zanden is focusses mainly on internal matters, for example on the orders that are ready and new orders we are receiving."
"We collaborate with Vencosteel and our department Operations, all together we lead various teams that focus on improvement, to find and solve all possible bottlenecks. I make sure we get the correct data from systems, so we can analyze and present that information. We also keep the complaints system in order, on all levels, from Service and Projects to Operations."
"We also carry out external audits, to assess suppliers. Internally, I work with the R&D and Purchasing departments a lot, for example on the release of new products. Corné mainly works with the Service department, because of its focus on the customer. At the moment, HSE (Health Safety Environment) is also Corné's responsibility; he is traditionally the Health&Safety coordinator."
What innovations are you making in guaranteeing quality?
"We are going to shift our focus more and more towards 'Quality Assurance' (QA) and focus less on 'Quality Control' (QC). Quality Assurance is mainly aimed at guaranteeing quality in the processes, particularly the products. Quality Assurance ensures that each individual process works smoothly, guaranteeing quality products."
"With QC, it's mainly measuring and seeing if it meets the specifications. This really is a shift from the old process. QA is a management and preventative tool, and QC is merely a corrective tool."
What system is used for Quality control?
"We do not use a specific quality management system, we don’t officially work using ISO standards. For our end customer, this is not yet a must. We do however, already follow the ISO norming almost completely, it is described in manuals and not in an ISO system. Our data gets pulled mainly from our complaint system. This helps us keep track of our internal performance as well as our supplier’s performance."
"I use the OGSM ('objectives, goals, strategies and measurements') method for our department. You use your vision to work towards an end result, while working on goals and their corresponding strategies.
In our action plan, we keep track of status and the designated employees assigned to the task. This allows us to quickly see where we are at. For example, we also work together with the Service department on subjects such as cost of warranty. We can, for example, find out what products cost us the most money when it comes to complaints. What can we do to improve the product? We use customer feedback to determine what improvements can be made to serve them even better."
"So we look at the process for incoming and outgoing products. The goals is to take the task of quality guaranty away from our colleagues and we try to handle this as efficiently as possible. We are increasingly moving from product to process, which help us have a better handle on it. It is all about being proactive versus reactive.’’